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Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The world famous Kashmiri saffron has been grown in the fields of Pampore area in South Kashmir for the past 2,500 years. But its acreage has been falling of late because of declining yields—a consequence of climate change

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

During late autumn, farmers of Pampore, wearing homespun clothes, can be seen picking saffron (Crocus sativus) flowers. At a furious pace and heaping them in wicker baskets. The harvesting season is marked by chatter, ring of laughter and men smoking hubble bubbles beneath trees. But farmers these days are a worried lot. Crop yields have declined by 50 to 60 per cent

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Approximately 5,000 flowers are needed to yield enough threads for just an ounce of saffron

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The ideal environment for yielding saffron is cool dry climate and soil rich in organic content. Saffron is not grown in any other fertile, alluvial plateau in Kashmir. Residents claim the soil of Pampore has a certain magical quality that helps the flowers bloom and acquire stigmas with a rich aroma

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Kashmiri saffron flowers have a rich purple hue and their stigmas are deep red, extra long, and have a thicker head

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Farmers say the flowers have to be picked before sunrise because they have such a short life span

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The flowers are picked every four days

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Saffron harvesting is a labour intensive job as flowers have to be handpicked and the slender threads extracted carefully

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The petals of the saffron flowers are eaten as vegetable. No part of it gets wasted

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Sacks of the flowers are taken home for further processing

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The petals are stripped off to extract the slender threads

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

The red stigmas here represent the purest Kashmiri saffron. It is exported to a number of countries. Saffron is used in a number of dishes, especially in sweets to give them a rich colour, delicate flavour and aroma

Photographs by: Imran Nissar

Bio-diversity
Valley of saffron flowers
December 5, 2012
Valley of saffron flowers

Saffron Kehwa (Kashmiri tea) is a must at all festivals

Photographs by: Imran Nissar


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