Srinagar has plenty of handicrafts and textile stores, especially around Dal Lake but they all seemed a little too touristy. I was always afraid of being fleeced as I had no clue what something should cost. But Kashmiri embroidery is very famous and is hard to come by elsewhere so I managed to shop a bit with the help of Fayaz from the floating markets on Dal Lake. However, that only made me salivate for more. So in Pahalgam, when the rains made other activities impossible, I dragged Madhu through some of the stores in the main market area. Eventually, we stumbled upon a gem of a place, which is hidden in a side alley, a few steps below the pavement.
The store, ‘Zamindar – Home of Handicrafts‘, is owned and managed by Mansoor whose grandfather first opened doors for business back in 1932. They specialize in carpets and Gabbas but also have a fantastic stock of shawls and dress materials with lovely Kashmiri embroidery. It is a small store with just about enough space for a couple of customers and Mansoor himself. But it has an old world charm to it, which was very inviting. On one wall there are some old, black-and-white pictures of Mansoor’s dad in the little shop.
Mansoor turned out to be a fair dealing individual with honest prices and a genuine interest in his work. It was this attitude that made us return to his store again later. So over 2 trips to his store, 2 hours and 2 cups of the best Kahwa we’ve had in Kashmir, we bought a whole bunch of stuff as gifts for family and of course, moi . Apart from that we bought cushion covers and a rectangular wall hanging with Kashmiri embroidery in silk. Madhu and I had liked a tea-cozy displayed in one of the stores outside but Mansoor didn’t stock them. So he took us to a couple of the neighboring stores himself and helped us buy them at a very reasonable rate.
Overall, shopping at Mansoor’s store was one of our nicest experiences in Kashmir. Madhu and I are always put off by aggressive salespeople and/or exorbitant ‘tourist-focused’ prices. At Manzoor’s we didn’t have to worry about either, which made it a very pleasant experience.Zamindar Gabba Factory
Ask for Mansoor Bhai
Land Line : 01932-212099
Mobile : 99064-98495, 92051-50726, 99068-24792 , 99064-55192 , 94190-97656, 94690-28571
They have branches in Pahalgam, Dehradun, and Aligarh