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Kangri: The fire-pot that keeps Kashmir warm

The traditional kangri, fire-pot, in the Indian-administered Kashmir, keeps people warm during the severe winter months when temperature dips to as low as minus 20.

It is a portable and moving heater that Kashmiris keep in their pheran, a long woollen cloak reaching down to the knees worn by people during the frosty winters.

The kangri is earthenware filled with glowing embers and encased in pretty handmade wicker baskets and is carried as a personal warmer.

Manufacturing the kangri involves labour and local artisanal craftsmanship.

Twigs are collected from deciduous shrubs, scraped and peeled and go through a process of soaking, drying, dying and are finally woven around the bowl-shaped earthenware.

The earthenware is decorated with colourful threads, mirror-work and sequins and is about six inches (150 mm) in diametre.

Kangris can be ignited by just 250 grams of charcoal; it is cheaper than oil, gas and wood-fired heaters and costs from Rs 70 ($1.12) to Rs 1,500 ($24).

The traditional fire-pot is an effective and economical heating arrangement in the modern era when electronic heating gadgets are available.

In the absence of electricity or load-shedding, it does not disappoint people and keeps them warm in harsh winters.

The kangri remains an enduring emblem of local craft that is eco-friendly and cost effective.

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