It’s winter
season again and it brings with it a wave of cheer, festivities and
celebration. As the mercury starts to drip, the skimpy summer clothing is
replaced by winter wear of all kinds. Gone are the days when all you could wear
on a chilly December day was an oversized woolen sweater. Nowadays due to the
increasing use of different types of fabrics the average winter wardrobe has
become more fashionable and versatile than ever before. In this article, we
will talk about a garment which is loved all over the world for being extremely
elegant, stylish and providing some much needed warmth during the harsh
winters, the pashmina shawl.

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Pic Credits: Pinterest

The finest
variety of cashmere wool is popularly known as pashmina which literally translates to soft gold in Kashmiri. The
craft of making pashmina shawls has
evolved over thousands of years in the Kashmir valley since the founder of the pashmina
industry, the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin
introduced the weavers of Central Asia to the craft and even today, the master craftsmen in Kashmir pay tribute at his
grave.

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In 1796, the
governor of Kashmir gave a pashmina to
a visitor from Baghdad who gave to the royal family of Egypt. This was then presented to Napoleon Bonaparte, who gifted it to his wife. Josephine, the
Empress loved it so much that she ordered for such shawls in every available
colour. At one point, she owned as many as 400 shawls! Blame it on Napoleon,
but since then pashmina has been an
integral part of every European woman’s trousseau.

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Pic Credits: Pinterest 

The pashmina shawl was earlier worn by the kings and higher class in ancient India as a
status symbol and was known as dushala. It has come a long way from there to being an essential element of winter
wardrobes world over. Shawls are also very fashionable and versatile and can be
worn in numerous ways which makes it very interesting as one can experiment
with different looks and go for what looks best. It is said that an original pashmina shawl can pass through a ring
without a single wrinkle being formed on it! So the next time you decide to get
yourself a pashmina shawl, don’t just
go with one look but remember to experiment and get that look which suits you
best!

-Rishikesh Agarwal

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