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  • Writer's pictureLuke Stoffel

Discover Srinagar: Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan Mosque, Houseboats, and Paper Mâché Art

Srinagar - Kashmir, India

Photography by Lucas Stoffel can be licensed on Shutterstock and Getty Images

Jamia Masjid Mosque by Luke Stoffel - Fine art prints available on Etsy.

Paper Mâché Mosque

If you find yourself in Srinagar, the Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan Mosque is a notable site that warrants a visit. The mosque, not only a religious hub but also a splendid display of Persian architecture and Kashmiri craftsmanship, is located on the right bank of the Jhelum River. Its intricate woodwork, colorful papier-mâché interiors, and vibrant frescoes make it a unique blend of art and spirituality. Visitors can explore its multiple chambers and balconies, each adorned with elaborate designs and patterns, providing a glimpse into the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region. While it’s a place of worship, it’s also a testament to the peaceful coexistence of beauty and spirituality, offering tourists an immersive experience.

Paper Cache Mosque by Luke Stoffel - Fine art prints available on Etsy.

Discover Srinagar’s Iconic Houseboats

Shifting the lens towards the tranquil Dal Lake, Srinagar's houseboats are a distinctive feature that provides travelers with a once-in-a-lifetime stay experience. Moored along the lake and its adjoining channels, these houseboats offer a serene retreat, blending the enchanting natural scenery with the warm hospitality characteristic of Kashmir. From intricately carved wooden interiors to the gentle sway of the waters, a stay on a houseboat provides a unique vantage point to enjoy the panoramic vistas of the lake and the encompassing mountains. Opting for a shikara ride to explore the nearby floating gardens, markets, and traditional settlements further amplifies this captivating experience.

Srinagar Street Life by Luke Stoffel - Fine art prints available on Etsy.

Artistry of Paper Mâché

Dive deeper into the artistic traditions of Srinagar by exploring the world of its paper mâché artisans. This art form, deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of the region, involves crafting objects from papier-mâché and then painting them with intricate designs. Visitors can explore workshops and small-scale industries, watching artists breathe life into a mix of paper pulp and adhesive, shaping and painting them into vibrant artifacts, ranging from vases and boxes to decorative wall hangings. The motifs often draw upon the natural beauty of Kashmir, incorporating floral and bird designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also symbolic of the region’s flora and fauna. Purchasing a few of these handcrafted items supports the local artisans and serves as a beautiful, tangible memory of your journey. Discover Srinagar.

Daal Lake by Luke Stoffel - Fine art prints available on Etsy.

Tips for Travelers

  • Respecting Local Norms: When visiting religious sites like the Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan, remember to adhere to local customs and dress modestly.

  • Staying on Houseboats: Ensure to check reviews and opt for houseboats that adhere to quality and safety standards.

  • Supporting Artisans: While buying paper mâché items, try to purchase directly from the artisans when possible, ensuring fair compensation for their work.

In wrapping up a tour through Srinagar’s mosque, houseboats, and art workshops, travelers are reminded of the city’s capacity to weave together spiritual, natural, and artistic threads, creating a rich, textured tapestry that is waiting to be explored, understood, and appreciated.


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