Walnut Wood Carving
If one has ever visited the shrines of Noor-ud-din-Wali at Charar-e-Sharif, the Naqshbandi Mosque, or the shrine of Nund Rishi in Kashmir, one can start to fathom the sheer beauty of Walnut Wood Carving. A highly ornamental, and delicate craft process that is unique to the Jammu and Kashmir region, it is one of the few places in the world where walnut is still available at an altitude of 5500-7500 ft. above sea level.
The walnut carved products are rich in recurrent motifs of the rose, lotus, iris; bunches of grapes, pears, and chinar leaves; dragons, and patterns taken from kani shawls. Locally known as Doon Kul, a walnut tree is cut only once it matures at an age of 300 years. Wood can be used from the roots, trunk, and even its branches.
Our craftsman, says that the wood from the roots is the most expensive as it is the hardest of them all, and best or carving. Seasoned from between one to four years, these planks are first etched with the basic pattern by the master carver. He then carves with the help of chisels, and a wooden mallet so that the design emerges from the lustrous walnut wood as an embossed surface.