Pashmina is a super fine quality of wool that comes from a particular species ofgoat. This wool is then used to make shawls and scarfs. Simply put, a Pashmina is a super soft and super warm luxury shawl that is indigenous to the beautiful valley of Kashmir.

The Pashmina is made from the wool of a particular kind of goat that is native to Kashmir. This goat is called the ‘Changthangi’ goat or it is also popularly referred to as the ‘Pashmina goat’. The word Pashmina comes from the word ‘pashm’, which itself means soft wool. The temperatures in some areas in Kashmir often fall as low as – 40 degrees celsius during the winters. The Changthangi goat develops a special kind of wool to resist against such low temperatures. Later, when the spring season sets in, these goats shed their wool; which is then used in the making of a Pashmina.

There are various theories that suggest how the Pashmina originated. It is said that the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin introduced pashmina to the world. Whereas, another theory suggests that a Persian Sufi named Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani who arrived in Kashmir with 700 Persian artisans sometime during the 14th century introduced the art of Pashmina. It is also said that the great French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte presented a Pashmina shawl to his wife Josephine. And the shawl impressed her so much that she is known to have owned many of them.


The process of weaving a Pashmina shawl is called ‘Wonun’ and the weaver weaving it is called ‘Wovur’. First, the wool/ yarn is obtained. Around 4 to 8 iron rods are fixed on the ground. The wool yarn is first wound around these rods. The rods are usually spread across an area of 10 meters. A person has to walk across these rods multiple times while winding the yarn across them. The yarn is then stretched and perfected. It is then dried out in the sun and then wound again on wooden spindles. Then, the yarn goes on the handloom where expert weavers weave it by hand. Since the Pashmina wool is so fine that it cannot be spun using machines. Hence, each and every process that goes into making a Pashmina shawl is done using hands. It takes a few days for a Pashmina shawl to be made. After the wool is weaved into a beautiful shawl, a skilled embroiderer works his magic next. The shawl is then covered with beautiful, colorful embroidery.

A Pashmina’s warmth is incomparable. Since the Changthangi goats need to survive extreme cold temperatures, they develop a thick fur which helps them in resisting the temperatures. This gives the Pashmina the required warmth. A Pashmina isn’t just known for its warmth but also for its softness and light weighted ness. What makes a Pashmina shawl or scarf so expensive is the process that goes behind it. Since everything is done using hands, it can take several days and in some cases months to craft a single shawl. Another factorthat makes it expensive is the rarity of the wool.

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