India | Jammu and Kashmir


A traditional heating pot

Kangri is a traditional fire pot used by the people of Jammu and Kashmir to warm their body during winter. It is also used during summer, when the rains chill the air.

Kangri is usually held inside the ‘pheran’, providing the necessary heat. It consists of an earthen ware bowl placed in a woven willow wicker case. A silver spoon or some wooden pieces, called ‘Taslan,’ is tied to the outer handle to adjust the hot charcoal.

This heating pot varies from region to region. Kangri from the south of the state features a wide earth bowl, while it is conical and elongated in the north. The Kangri from Chrar-e-Sharief is considered the most elegant and decorated one. This particular variety is called ‘Tsrar Kangar’. The pot is smaller and the weaving is more detailed. The price depends on the number of decorated rows in its upper half.

Apart from the basic functioning of providing heat, the Kangri also has ritualistic significance. A special decorated variety, made from superior quality wicker colored in various shades, is gifted to a bride on her wedding day. A carved silver spoon is attached to it, meant to prod into the charcoal. A Hindu family gifts their daughter-in-law with a special Kangri on her first winter in the new home. On festival days, Kangar is symbolically given as an offering to the deceased relatives.

The fuel commonly used in the fire pot is coal or semi burnt ‘chinar’ leaves. Sometimes ‘hak’ (small driftwood collected from rivers) is also used.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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