Iqbal Ahmad

The first blooming fruit trees!

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Kashmir has rightly been described as ‘the land of fruits and flowers’. Its environment and climate has provided greater facilities for horticulture and floriculture industry to grow more rapidly when compared to the neighboring states. Scores of varieties of colorful flowers and delicious fruits are cultivated on its fertile and much suitable lands for such varieties.

However, in the race of cultivating commercialized fruits and flowers, the land has been losing several varieties of century’s old traditional fruits. And there are such traditional fruits the production of which has considerably decreased. In this context mention may be made of Kashmir almonds and grapes, which once were grown here abundantly.

The plateaus of Srinagar, Budgam,  Pulwama, Pompur and Tral were once known as the almond belts of Kashmir. The almonds cultivated in these areas were famous for their superiority of taste and were very popular with the consumers.

Unfortunately  most  of  the almond orchards  in these  home belts  have extinguished  and lands have been vacated  for the other commercials crops and fruits . During the extinguishing period no efforts were made to re plant the almond trees.

There cloud be several other reasons for not restoring the pristine glory of this tradition fruit industry, but one must say that the indifference of the farmers and government apathy towards the almond orchards has contributed to the destruction of this fruit culture in Kashmir.  In fact certain individual and media efforts had been made to make people aware regarding the rich traditions and to preserve this culture here, but more is needed on an institutional level to promote the dying almond culture.

Almond trees are the first blooming fruit trees and an enchanting sight that lends glamour to the spring in Kashmir, almond, known as the king of nuts among dry fruits, is a highly nutritious food. It is rich in almost all the elements needed by tile body. It is an effective health-building food, both for the body and mind and a valuable food remedy for several common ailments. Almond is a complete food with different types of healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, calcium, carbohydrates, proteins, fibers and other health secrets in it, which can help us fight various diseases right from the problem of memory loss to the siemens loss. Almonds help reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some chronic diseases. It also rejuvenates the skin, gives it a glow and helps us in looking younger. If almond paste is regularly applied to the skin, it helps in preventing wrinkles, pimples, black heads etc.

It was because of these qualities, almond (Baadams)  were  grown  here in considerable quantity.  This plant has been favored here by suitable land and environment.

Its cultivation was once so popular here that it has became the identity of Kashmir and  its  motif has been very popular among maximum designers and is displayed on a variety of Kashmir artifacts more specifically on Kashmir textile and metal Works.

Steps are needed to be taken  not only to revive  but to  encourage culti¬vation of this traditional fruit of Kashmir side by side with the more commercialized ones.

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