Sunday, May 3, 2015


                                               ( Walnut on a tree Photo source Wikipedia )



WALNUT TREE is Doo’en Kull in kashmiri . 

Indigenous to Kashmir, It grows in all places above an altitude of 5000 feet from sea level up to an altitude of  of 8000 feet . The tree is propagated from seeds or grafting . A tree gives first fruit after 6 years and fully matures for fruit production after 12 years . The tree also attains a great size and spread .Unfortunately old and traditional methods are still employed in picking walnuts from a tree in Kashmir. A long stick called Laaenz in local parlance, is employed to shake branches and the walnuts fall to ground. Many accidents do take place every season during walnut picking season in Kashmir.
In kashmir we have three main varieties of walnuts . Kaagzi , Burzul and Wonth. The wonth variety is hard with more of hard shell and very little of the kernel . It is a wild variety and is not a commercial cash crop. Other two varieties are marketed and grown mainly in Kupwara and Shopian belts though every area in Kashmir valley has walnut trees .I have also seen Good variety of walnuts  only in Banihaal  Area of jammu Province . Otherwise Walnuts produced in  Kishtwar , Bhaderwah , Poonch , Rajouri fall mostly in Wonth category ..

Inspite of the fact that Walnut is a protected tree , its unauthorized felling by smugglers has not stopped . The wood of this tree is termite resistant , dark and hard and as such very expensive . The walnut Wood carving Industry of Kashmir depends on this tree alone 
The bark of this tree was used for cleaning teeth and gums and known as DANDAASA .

Due to presence of  antioxidants and its " Bad Cholesterol" reducing properties , Walnut demand has shown a spurt over the years .Accordingly ,the prices of Walnuts have skyrocketed to about 400 to 450 rupees per kg with kernel selling at Rs1000 to Rs1100 per kg in domestic Market.
Enough needs to be done for survival of walnut industry in Kashmir as China , Iran , USA , Turkey ,Mexico and even a small country like Ukarine ( 1 lakh Tonnes production annually )are far ahead in Grading , preservation and export of quality walnut in world market. According to reliable sources , Kashmir produces about 35000 to 40000 Tonnes of walnuts annually which is about 95% of total walnut production of the country . The domestic demand for walnuts is likely to shoot up to 75000 tonnes per annum by 2020. Based on this survey, states like Uttarkhand, Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh have already started fresh plantation of high quality walnut trees .Much needs to be done in our state .

Dependent on valley’s crop , Most of the Grading and walnut export cum Trading units are presently located in Jammu where from kernel is exported to Europe and USA .This Kernel is generally used in Bakery and confectionery .

Kashmiri Pandits also use soaked walnuts during shivratri Puja They also send soaked walnuts to their married Daughters during shivratri celebrations apart from distributing them amongst friends , relations and neighbors .Soaked walnuts are also used in Kalash Pooja during marriage functions and Homas ( Hawans ) by kashmiri Pandits .

 In 1988, I met a Kashmiri Brahman in Mattan kashmir  , who informed me that during 19th century , Walnut shell or tree Bark ink was also used in drawing sketches and images by Brahmans who prepared Almanac  (Jantris) ,  Horoscopes (Zaataks) and wrote religious texts   .

I conclude this walnut tree story with a poem of Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963 ) titled “WALNUT TREE “. Loved by all Turks but Persecuted for decades by Turkish establishment for his Marxist beliefs , Nazim Hikmet lived an exile’s life .He died in Russia and lies buried in Moscow …..


My head foaming clouds, 
sea inside me and out
I am a walnut tree in Gulhane Park
an old walnut, knot by knot, shred by shred
Neither you are aware of this, nor the police
I am a walnut tree in Gulhane Park
My leaves are nimble, nimble like fish in water
My leaves are sheer, sheer like a silk handkerchief
pick, wipe, my rose, the tear from your eyes
My leaves are my hands, I have one hundred thousand
I touch you with one hundred thousand hands, I touch Istanbul
My leaves are my eyes, I look in amazement
I watch you with one hundred thousand eyes, I watch Istanbul
Like one hundred thousand hearts, beat, beat my leaves
I am a walnut tree in Gulhane Park
neither you are aware of this, nor the police”

(2 )
ALMOND TREE is known as Badaam Kull In kashmiri.
Almonds grow ideally on Karewas in Kashmir though these also grow everywhere in Kashmir valley upto an altitude of 7000 feet from sea level .We had many large Almond fields on Damodar karewas near present Airport . Almonds are also gown in Traal ,Kunzar ( Tangarg ) , Pampore ,Ranbirpora karewa and many other areas of Pulwama , Shopian, Anantnaag and Budgaam districts in kashmir. I also saw an almond Orchard close to Buddhist ruins on Parihaaspura Karewa ( Plateau ) .

The Badaam Vaari or almond field near Hari Parbat , now , has a well laid out Garden with flower beds and pathways. 

An almond tree gives fine blooms in early spring and the crop matures in September / October . Kashmiri Almond tree does not ordinarily grow beyond 15 feet in height though I saw some trees as high as 25 feet and these could be noticeable exceptions . An almond tree matures for production after 6 to 7 years after being planted .It needs a Mediterranean type of climate .

The fruit consists of an outer hull, Hard shell and soft oily edible seed . Sometimes the hard shell has two seeds . The seed is used for bakery , confectionery and eaten raw or after being salted and fried .
Unfortunately , kashmiri almond Industry is still Primitive and dependent on nature whereas In USA , it is highly mechanized . The orchards in Kashmir are more than 50 years old and need immediate scientific rejuvenation. kashmir ‘s almond tree is also attacked by insects and parasites .

The American variety known as Californian Almonds have captured entire world market . Kashmiri Almonds meet mostly domestic consumption in valley and are Traded mostly in Jammu by Dry fruit traders . Some Dry Fruit Traders in Delhi and Amritsar also trade in these almonds .
Smaller in size , kashmiri almond kernel is sweet and oily . Lately , Grading has also been started for kashmiri almonds to improve marketing . We now have something called ONE TREE ALMONDS that belong to one tree and have similar shape and size Lately .

In Amritsar Dry Fruit Mandi , I found Almonds from Afghanistan arriving and being traded in Bulk. A trader informed me that this stuff is gradually capturing market in North India .

In Kashmir we have Burzul ( known as Kaagzi ouside Kashmir )variety of almonds for consumption while the bitter variety that has a hard shell and bitter seed / Kernel is used for extracting oil sold as ROGAN E BADAAM .

Like Walnuts , almond grading and breaking units are also located in Jammu wherefrom Kernel is marketed .The present price of quality almond kernel of Kashmir is Rs 850 to Rs 950 per kg.
Crushed almonds are an important ingredient of famous kashmiri Kehwa tea .
Almonds are a good source of Potassium, Minerals , and vitamin E and these are believed to be having bad cholesterol reducing properties .

                                                    ( Almonds Fruit on a tree  Photo Source Wikipedia )
Almonds have also attracted the attention of many kashmiri poets . I have come across many poems in world literature wherein the poet has compared the eyes of beloved with a beautiful looking almond. So have many kashmiri poets called their beloved’s eyes as CHASHM E BADAAM .

( Autar Mota.... To Be continued ) 

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1 comment:

  1. Walnut kernals are potent for Health.So eat it in bulky......


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