We all know Kashmir for its beautiful wood craft, carvings and furniture in Walnut wood. I was looking forward to seeing a lot of it on my recent holiday there.
Pretty much EVERYTHING in Kashmir is carved. We stepped into our houseboat and it was a showcase of Kashmiri wood craft at its best! Beautifully hand crafted columns, arches, panels and jali work decorated the small porch at the entrance. Wooden panels decorated the entire ceiling of the 4-bedroom houseboat. The rooms were all furnished with exquisitely carved walnut furniture.
Wood Craft: Jali Work
Jali is a Hindi word which means ‘net’. It is latticed screen, or ornamental openwork, done in wood, stone or metal. The Kashmiris use their jali work in many different ways, all with marvelous effect. I saw jalis used in wall panels, gates, staircase railings, door panels, in window decoration and in garden lamps. At night, the light glittering out of the jali looks beautiful!
I got very inspired and went looking for some jalis for myself. I figured they are so versatile that I don’t need to really pre-plan where and how I am going to use them. So we went went looking for the local wood craft workshops. We saw this row of lovely shops in Srinagar, each of them stocked with amazing stuff!
I loved this door carved with their favourite motif, the Chinar leaf.
Eventually I saw this shop which had a huge range of jali panels on display.
I picked up a few for Project Comeback and I can’t wait to use them! I still haven’t decided where that is going to be although I’m sure the jalis will beautify and glamourize whichever part of the home I use them in… Let’s see how that turns out!