Chinar trees in autumn turn the ground a golden red with their beautiful leaves.
In winter, the snow-laden deodars make the mountains and valleys seem like giant creatures covered in a thick white blanket. Spring sees the hills in full bloom as the Almond trees sparkle with their whitish-pink beauty over the green, warm grounds. Gushing streams, peaceful lakes, and green meadows, all covered by the daunting Himalayas to the far north and the east, make for a heavenly sight.
Even if beauty could really be penned down with words, then words will fall short while describing Kashmir. With its dazzling splendor, the region of Kashmir has aptly been considered a paradise on Earth. The vivid variety of flora is one of the major reasons why Kashmir is ineffably beautiful.
But apart from being a source of peace for the soul, Kashmir has enough things to provide for the body as well.
The expansive variety of fruits is one of the things the place is popular for. The valleys of Jammu and Kashmir offer some of the most exotic varieties of fruits found in the country. Knowing about them is the least you can do to experience the fruitful soil of the place.
You must be aware of Kashmir’s reputation for its mouth-watering apples. But the land is rich in many other fruits as well. So, let’s talk about ten of these fruits grown in Kashmir.
Ripe, green, and fleshy are three adjectives that can describe pears in general. But the varieties of pears grown in Kashmir are unlike other pears you will find anywhere else in the country. Several varieties of pear are grown in Kashmir, the most popular being the Nakka and Babugosha varieties.
Kashmiri Pears– called Tung in the local language– belong to the tastiest varieties of pears in the country. Apart from the usual varieties, exotic varieties of red pears are also found in some villages.
Since the gigantic pear trees are abundant in the region, you can often find young, excited children climbing up the trees on an August day – the month when the trees are ripe with pears– to savor the yummy, juicy pears right off the tree.
Mulberries are grown on rare types of trees that can tolerate a surprisingly vast range of temperatures. Though these fruits grow in other parts of the country in above 40-degree temperatures, in Kashmir, they can even grow around the freezing point.
The local name for Mulberry is Tuell. Several varieties of Mulberry can be found in Kashmir, including Shahtul, Botatul, Robesh Sernal, Rokokuyaso, and Kanva, among others. The month of June is the peak month for harvesting delicious Kashmiri tuell. Mulberries are exported to other parts of the country to make pulp, jams, wine, and other products.
The mountainous terrain, temperate climate, and low temperature in Jammu and Kashmir provide the ideal conditions for the growth of juicy sour-sweet plums (called aerr in Kashmir). Hence, plum trees are found in large numbers here, particularly in the district of Budgam, which is just 30 kilometers from the capital city of Srinagar.
Plum is an important fruit crop in Kashmir. In fact, the region of Jammu and Kashmir is the second largest producer of plums in the country, with over 13,530 tonnes of plums cultivated over an area of 4,100 hectares in 2020-21.
The district of Budgam is the largest producer of plums in the state.
Almonds, or badam, are another common fruit found in plenty in Kashmir and the adjoining areas. In fact, the state of Jammu & Kashmir alone is responsible for about 91% of the total almond production in our country.
Although almond trees are native to the middle-eastern countries, including Iran and Iraq, they are also found in Kashmir during the spring – thanks to favorable climate conditions and just the right temperature.
The almonds of Kashmir have a hint of bitterness in their taste but are good to eat nevertheless. The area of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the only two major producers of almonds in the country– over 9,930 tonnes were produced in 2020-21.
Chestnuts are not indigenous to Kashmir but are grown here for commercial use. Locally known as Punjaeb-Gaer, the sweet chestnuts are grown in the Zabarwan region in the Kashmir valley. They are also found in other regions, including Dhaara and Dacchigaam wildlife sanctuary.
Chestnuts are very expensive, with a single chestnut costing around ₹10 due to their limited supply and low-shelf life. A unique variety of chestnuts, called the Horse Chestnut or Haan-Doon, is also found in some regions in October.
Cherries in Kashmir are in full bloom in the month of May and June. Popularly known as Gilaas in the traditional local language, cherries increase the significance of Kashmir in terms of fruit production, as around 95% of the country’s total cherry production comes from here.
About 15,000 tonnes of cherries are produced in Kashmir each year. These Kashmiri cherries are mainly of four varieties:
- Double Gilaas
- Mishri (the most delicious and hence popular)
Talking about Kashmiri fruits without mentioning apples is the same as talking about popular Indian fruits without mentioning mangoes. Regardless of what time you visit Kashmir, apple trees are one of the things you are most likely to spot on roadsides.
Harvested in September and October, apples are the most important horticultural product of Kashmir, amounting to over 1.7 million tonnes grown over an area of 167 thousand hectares.
You will find Kashmiri apples growing in Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama, Budgam, Anantnag, and Kapwara. Several varieties of lush and juicy apples are found here, including Ambri, Delicious, Kulu, and Hazratbali.
Walnuts, or Doon, are a commercially important variety of fruits grown in Kashmir, mainly because almost 98% of India’s annual walnut production comes from Kashmir.
Walnuts are actively grown in the districts of Anantnag, Shopian, and Kupwara. Although several varieties of walnuts are available, there are three main varieties in Kashmir – Kagzi, Burzul, and Wonth.
Autumn is the harvesting season of walnuts. In 2020-21 walnut trees in Kashmir occupied over 85,000 hectares of cultivable land, producing more than 258 thousand tonnes of walnuts.
Although apricots are mainly found beautifying the valleys of Ladakh (now a separate union territory), they remain a part of Kashmir culturally and historically.
The apricot trees of Kashmir not only produce some of the most delicious apricots in the country but also ornate the region with their beautiful white flowers in full bloom across the mountains. Darchik, Hordass, Dah, Sanache, and Biama are some villages with plenty of apricot trees.
Like chestnuts, strawberries are other exotic fruits grown in Kashmir for commercial purposes.
Red strawberries are one of the most popular varieties of strawberries grown in Kashmir. The village of Gasoo is considered the strawberry hub as it accounts for the majority of strawberry production in Kashmir.
The fruits ripen in May and are harvested within 15-20 days. All in all, about 2830 tonnes of strawberries were produced in the region of Jammu and Kashmir in 2020-21.
Kashmir is widely known as the paradise on earth. While this claim has a lot to do with the region’s climate and natural beauty, its fruits are also key contributors to Kashmir’s overall appeal.
The climate, temperature, and soil of this heavenly hill station provide the desired conditions for the cultivation of a wide variety of delectable fruits. Each of these fruits grown in Kashmir is produced in ample quantity and unparalleled quality. So, if you love both fruits and Kashmir, you know what to search for on your next visit to Kashmir.
Having covered the north, we’ve also talked about the juicy fruits grown southwards in Kerala here. Feel free to drop by and read it!