February 18, 2024
Preserving Kashmir's Willow Wicker Craft: A Cultural Imperative
Jammu Kashmir Featured by VoM

Preserving Kashmir’s Willow Wicker Craft: A Cultural Imperative

Preserving Kashmir’s Willow Wicker Craft: A Cultural Imperative Image/GreaterKashmir

Preserving Kashmir’s Willow Wicker Craft: A Cultural Imperative

The village of Shalabugh in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is renowned for its traditional willow wicker craft, locally known as KeaniKeam.

This craft, deeply embedded in the region’s culture for over half a century, has been a lifeline for 90% of the village’s population, supporting over 6000 families.

Celebrated for its exquisite willow baskets, especially the Kangri fire pots used during harsh winters, Shalabugh has earned the title of ‘Model Village’ in 2002.

However, the craft faces challenges such as disinterest among the younger generation, competition from cheaper Chinese alternatives, and lack of government support.

Urgent intervention is needed to preserve this craft as it represents not only a livelihood source but also a symbol of Kashmir’s cultural heritage.

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