Kashmir Pt 1: A Gujjar Wedding
I had the privilege to host my good friend Jon McCormack around Kashmir this past week. We were able to visit some of my favorite places in a short three days. One of the highlights for us was the wedding of the daughter of an old Gujjar friend. If you are a long time reader of my blog you will know that Gujjars are a shepherd people living in Kashmir. We developed close friendships with these people over the years living in the valley. The Bakarwal Gujjars are semi-nomatic traveling from one permanent home to another, the Kashmir version of “snow-birds“. There are other types of Gujjar that raise water buffalo and have settled, like my long time friend Abdul Aziz. We have known each other since before either of us had children. So when I heard his daughter, only a few years older than Jessie, was getting married I knew I needed to attend. Once again I became the official Gujjar photographer. I was pleased to take this role. Like all Kashmiri weddings it is celebrated over several days. Jon was only able to see the preparations. The big day was held after he left. These photos are from that day. On this day there is a wazwan served to sometimes hundreds of people. This time they slaughtered several sheep and a cow or two. There were pounds and pounds of rice cooked on open fires. It is all quite dramatic. All in all, it was great to be back in Kashmir to help out a friend.