Srinagar, the capital of the newly formed union territory Kashmir is situated in south/central part of the valley bordering with other districts such as Pulwama, budgam, anantnag and baramulla. The entire city is located on both sides of jhelum river which is also one of the tributaries of the mighty Indus river.
Srinagaris well known for its tourist attractions such as Dal lake, boat houses, mughal gardens from the mughal era in India and a stupendous national park at the edge of the city but none of those have ever attracted as many eyes and ears to this small city as the constant socio-political upheavals have. Ever since the partition in 1947, Kashmir has been reduced to a war zone between India and Pakistan’s constant scrambles to edge out each other in the disputed parts of the valley.
Recently in August this year (2019) the article (370A) providing autonomy to the people of kashmir was scrapped by the Indian government which ensued chaos of an unparalleled magnitude only later to be snubbed by over a million armed forces only inside the kashmir valley and especially in the capital Srinagar. Behind the thick fog of violence, bloodshed and a perpetual atmosphere of fear in the valley lies a culture so unique and beautiful which thrives in a close symbiotic relationship with nature. The rich and vibrant culture in kashmir has many great aspects to it such as culinary, farming, fabric, exceptional hospitality to name a few.
2. CULTURE,PEOPLE & CITY LAYOUT
Srinagar is the biggest city in kashmir and does feature a lot of buildings, housing, markets, busy streets and roadways, but with a closer look at the inner city most of it is still a developing and a lot of ongoing construction can be seen at places where small yet complex ecosystems exist. cannabis plants can be literally seen growing everywhere throughout the city if you keep your eyes open and fixed on the roadsides as more than often the road sides run parallel with either marshy or wet lands or small canals drawn from the Jhelum river that flows right through the city.
A considerable land portion of the city is marshy wetlands complimented with a staggering diversity of flora and fauna, e.g. frequent sightings of himlayan fox and leopards, wild blackberries , mint and cannabis plants.
Looking at the rate which human beings are expanding further into natural habitats of these species it becomes critical to preserve some of these varieties in their unadulterated state before it's wiped clean like many others have in the past. cannabis varieties growing inside the city seems to have at least 5-7 years more before it's reduced to myths and stories. the similar model of destruction of cannabis habitats can be seen in the north indian plains, like punjab, haryana and delhi where human expansion has severely impacted the natural cannabis populations. There are no planned farming or farmed populations of cannabis in srinagar, and the reason being the city is essentially a cantonment area which is heavily guarded and patrolled by Indian army, CRPF (central reserve police force) and kashmir Police. The ever present tensions in the valley affects the capital city- srinagar the most since it always becomes the center of protest and ultimately violence. A high majority of the population in srinagar is of muslims followed by a small percentage of hindu, sikh and buddhists. notably the city has a good literacy rate and most people can at least understand and speak 2-3 languages (commonly Urdu, Hindi and kashmiri - occasionally english). Not so surprisingly a big chunk of the working class is employed in hospitality and tourism related work but with an all time low in tourism at kashmir due to unstable conditions has left much of these people wondering about their future.
The most distinctive feature of the srinagar city is the dal Lake with an area of over 15 sq. kms this lake is the abode to hundreds of floating boat houses, vegetable markets, and communities who have adapted to a floating lifestyle over this magnificent natural lake. During the 90's and early 2000's kashmir used to be the favourite destination for Indian and forign tourists alike which isn't the case anymore in the middle of a constant war like situation in the valley, media has also played a vital role in projecting fear and painting a grotesquely ugly picture of the valley which also effectively deters tourists from travelling out here. Dal lake can be seen absolutely empty even in the evening hours which used have waiting quest of tourists to experience the charm of sunset travelling through the magnificent dal lake in traditional kashmiri boats known as 'SHIKARAS' now it's just a beautiful looking ghost town tirelessly waiting for things to be normal for once.
3. CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY
Srinagar city floor has an elevation of approximately 1585 meters or 5200 ft. and it is located at 34.5'24 N and 74.47'24 E of the equator putting it right above the other 2 himlayan states latitude wise Himachal pradesh and Uttarakhand which span below 33 N at any given part. Kashmir terrains are distinctly different from that of Himachal pradesh or Uttrakhand, instead of narrow valleys and mountain slopes the capital city Srinagar is nestled on an absolutely enormous flat land valley surrounded by high mountain ranges and silhouettes of snowy peaks behind them which can be seen at the horizon at all times no matter where go in the city. In the seemingly modern outdoors it serves as a constant reminder that you're deep in the laps of the great himalayan ranges.
The climate can be classified as Humid/Subtropical under the koppen-geiger system but in order to account for the considerable variation in the range of altitudes between the valley and the surrounding mountains we can more accurately classify it as temperate to medterrenian type of climate.
The difference between the highest point in Srinagar and city floor is more than 10,000 ft. and it creates wide variation in the climate experienced at various places in srinagar. The temperatures can plummet to lowest of -15-20 C at the peak of winters between 15th jan to 15th feb. which also marks the period of heavy snowfall. snowfall is light to mild around the main city area where conditions are a bit more tropical and humid and heavier towards the mountains and outskirts at higher altitudes with much colder and drier atmosphere, great for dry sieving trichomes from dried plants.
3. CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY
Srinagar gets around 700 mm rainfall which is concentrated majorly within the spring season and at least 60% of total precipitation comes in the form of snow during winters. Autumn and winter seasons are quite cold and dry with occasional rains that feels much similar to a high latitude region such as Afghanistan or northern pakistan.Daytime temperatures averages around 2-3 C with subzero nights and period of March to June marks the summer season in the valley wherein daytime temperatures can average around 25 C with highs of 35+ C and an average RH of around 60% in the city area adding to the short lived tropical experience.
The district in general shows conspicuous physiographic variations, consisting mainly of - moderately high hills, mountain ranges and alluvial tracts. 50% of the area of srinagar is covered by high hills characterized hilly rugged and undulating topography. the lower altitudes consists of alluvial tracts which covers the srinagar city area and all the non hillly parts around it. the district is bounded by himalayas from south east, north and north west. Jhelum river in the south which extends upto the western territories.
The soil in the Kashmir valley is broadly divided into 2 types 1. Hpludalfs-This soil is found on the karewa table tops with a slope variation of 1-3% , the soil is well drained with moderate to average permeability. this type of soil is prone to severe erosion and forming gullies and ravines. these are medium to fine textured soils and the surface texture varies from clay-loam to silty clay loam. the color of the soil varies from yellowish brown to dark brown and it's mostly used for cultivating wheat, maize and pulses2.Ochraqualfs -These soils are found in plain (flat land) to mid upland topography, these soils are moderately textured with fine clay loam as the pre dominanat surface texture. the extent of erosion on such soils is much less, it can be from dark brown to dark yellowish brown in color. These soils are less permeable as a result of being finer and packed densely and it's mainly used for the cultivation of rice and spices like mustard.
1. Srinagar Outskirts (upland and alluvial tracts 1500-2000 meters)
Srinagar Outskirts consists of wet grassy swamps, alluvial tracts and mild uplands featuring (type 2 Ochraqualfs soil). Srinagar outskirts have balanced mix of tree growth and open grassy lands but not dense jungles, bonafide forests only begin from lower to mid mountain range. real time feel during the october is very dry and cold especially during the night time. very dry glacial winds blow down towards the valley penetrating through the outskirts first, which adds to the gradually increasing cold during this period.
There is no farmed or cultivated cannabis in srinagar, even towards the outskirts all of the cannabis grows in a regenerative manner every year and without any maintenance. however, local people take full advantage of this opportunity during September and October by making hand rubbed charas and also dry sifting the remainder in late season to make signature corn husk wrapped hashish.DETAILS AT A GLANCESite Altitude : 1900 metersAvg. population height : 5-6ft stature : short to medium tall leaf type : normal on medium tall plants and roundish leaves on short plants stem color : red and green both (less red)anthocyanin production : yes in the majority of the plantssmell : sweet/grape /slightly diesel and sourtaste : grape sweet and incenseeffects : cerebral with gradually increasing onset trichome quality : sticky normal (not very sticky like highland varieties) life span : april to october (12 week flowering maximum)bud structure : airy, fluffy tightly held small bract production covered in extremely dense resin coating.
Pictured above are the 2 different cannabis populations found in the wild at outskirts of srinagar kashmir, growing naturally without human interference
2. Srinagar Town (flatland and alluvial tracts 1500-1700 meters)Srinagar inside city features a lot of buildings, housing, markets, busy streets and roadways, but with a closer look at the inner city most of it is still a developing and a lot of ongoing construction can be seen at places where small yet complex ecosystems exist. cannabis plants can be literally seen growing everywhere throughout the city, the road sides run parallel with either marshy or wet lands or small canals drawn from the jhelum river that flows right through the city.
There is no farmed or cultivated cannabis in srinagar city, however, local people take full advantage of this opportunity during September and October by making hand rubbed charas and also dry sifting the remainder in late season to make signature corn husk wrapped hashish.DETAILS AT A GLANCESite Altitude : 1700Avg. population height : 7-8ft (majority of the plants express a taller expression) stature : short to medium tallleaf type : normal on medium tall plants and roundish leaves on short plantsstem color : red and green both (less red)anthocyanin production : yes in the majority of the plantssmell : sweet/grape /slightly diesel like and sour taste : grape sweet, diesel effects : cerebral with gradually increasing onset trichome quality : sticky normal (not very sticky like highland varieties) life span : april to october (12 week flowering maximum)bud structure : airy, fluffy tightly held small bract production covered in extremely dense resin coating
Pictured above are the 2 different cannabis populations found inside the city of srinagar kashmir, growing naturally with human interference.
2. Dachigam National Park (high-mountain 2500-3000+ meters)This is a protected area so there is minimal to no housing or regular human activities in this area .The only people who do make it to this part are goat herders based on the goat droppings on the grassy patches and missing tops of cannabis plants. This particular spot is approximately 3100 meters in altitude at around 34°N , which makes it very interesting in many ways. It's a High latitude region with a considerable altitude, thus the season is really short and snow starts to set in from November first week. Open grazing spots like this on the mountain tops doesn't appear to have any cannabis populations at all but when we bent down and took a closer look we found the small trodden plants growing everywhere on the floor amid the grass and other wild plants but that is only one half of the story or say tip of the iceberg there is another population growing beside these tiny plants which are medium tall in height and coated in thick resin layers from bracts to leaf and petioles.We will be showing clear examples from both of these populations next to understand how these Unaffected wild varieties grow in such marginal environmental conditions.
Site Altitude :2500+ metersAvg. population height : 4-6 ft (majority of the plants express a smaller expression)stature : short to medium tallleaf type : normal on medium tall plants and roundish leaves on short plants stem color : red and green both (less red) anthocyanin production : yes in the majority of the plantssmell : sweet/grape /slightly diesel like and sourtaste : grape sweet, diesel effects :cerebral with gradually increasing onsettrichome quality : extremely sticky life span : May to October (10 week flowering maximum) bud structure : airy, fluffy tightly held small bract production covered in extremely dense resin coating.