In Frames | Chinars work the autumn magic

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Autumn in Kashmir from mid-September till the end of November is a riot of the warmest colours that envelope the whole landscape before the silent white of winter takes over. The autumnal colours bestow a magical look to the Valley.

The tree that is at the core of the colour extravaganza in the Valley is locally known as Harud (Chinar in Hindi and Bouen in Kashmiri). Platanus orientalis has been a part of Kashmir’s landscape for several centuries now, going back to the Mughal era.

True to its name Chinar, which in Persian means flame, fire or a blaze, the tree drapes itself in colours from green to gold, to reddish orange, before the leaves cascade to the ground in late autumn, bequeathing a carpet of golden-brown to gardens, footpaths and streets across the Kashmir Valley.

Additionally, the distinct yellow of poplar trees planted almost everywhere in Kashmir soothes the souls of the local community and visitors. A large number of tourists visit in October just to witness the Valley wearing this mellow sheen.

The fallen leaves are sometimes burnt to make coal, which is used in traditional kangris (fire pots) that keep people warm in the bone-numbing winter.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Leafy wonderland: The foliage of tall trees at Nishat Garden in Srinagar creates a warm glow.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Wide angle: Tourists click photographs at Pari Mahal in Srinagar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Play time: Sliding into leaf litter can be fun.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Velvety tones: Colourful kurtas on sale at a garden in Srinagar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Smile, please: A carpet of Chinar leaves makes for a lovely backdrop.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Quiet moments: Friends walk through the green, gold and orange of a park in Budgam.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Daily labour: Sweeping up the leaf litter can be quite a task.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Dust to dust: Dry leaves are heaped to burn for charcoal.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Good use: Charcoal from the burnt leaves is used in traditional kangris to keep warm.

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