Kangri is a traditional heater for the people living in the Kashmir. In other words, we can say that kangari is a fire pot that is made up of earthen pot called “kondul” covered by a wooden stick basket. This basket is knit in the way that that becomes kind of its handle.
The pot inside the basket is filled with the red-hot charcoals that Kashmiri’s carry inside their long cloaks or blankets. Some Kashmiri’s fill it with lobar (dry cow dung) or charcoal of chinnar leaves. The burning charcoals stay warm for the hours. If someone is not wearing cloak it can be worked as hand heater.
However, there are so many modern and new electric and gas heaters are introduced but still a large group of Kashmiri people love and relay on their customary equipment to heat them in winters. People are using it and keeping it as a household from centuries. Kangri for Kashmiri people is more like a culture and tradition. People also prefer to use kangri because it is economical as not everyone can afford modern gas and electric heaters. Some people also believe that they cannot help with this chilling winter without it. History or origion of kangri cannot be traced as some people say that kagri was introduced in the Mughal’s Emperor. It is also believed that kangri was originated in Italy.
Kangri making is a time consuming art that is only mastered by the Kashmiri people. To make it, a bowl shaped clay port is essential to keep hot charcoal in it. A basket of willow is then weaved in a skill so it could cover the pot tightly as it is a part of basket. Basket is weaved in the manner that works as its handle. It takes around 3 hours to complete one kangri. Kangri making is a seasonal employment and a source of income for the people associated with this trade.
Kangri varies in sizes and amount of charcoal in it depends on size. It can be made from different materials so price varies as well with the kind of kangri. Normal rates start from 150 or 200 and can go as high as 1500 and more. It is not limited to the heating only. People exchange this heating equipment as a gift as well.
The sur kangri is a small kangri that is made for children. Charm and ease attached with the kangri is that it is mobile as one can take it anywhere that is not possible with the modern heaters.