Kashmir is globally famous for Saffron, a spice used in cuisine all over the world. It is mainly grown in the fields of Pampore close to Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Pampore, also called ‘Saffron Town’ in South Kashmir has the largest saffron cultivations anywhere in the world.

Saffron, spice derived from the crocus flower is one of the most popular ingredients used for colouring, and is widely used in Kehwa - popular Kashmiri saffron tea. Saffron extracts are used as in perfumes to add the fragrance and in dyeing the clothes. Historically, saffron was brought to India by the Persian rulers around 500.B.C. However, Kashmiri historians believe, saffron was brought to this region by two Sufi ascetics, Khawaja Masood Wali and Sheikh Sharif-U-Din Wali during the 12th century. Since then, saffron has been grown in the Kashmir valley for hundreds of years. Today, Kashmir is India's prime producer of saffron and also among the largest producers behind Iran and Spain.

Saffron fields of Kashmir. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world selling around Rs 2-3 lakh per kg.

Kashmir Saffron is known for its high-quality, a spice derived from the crocus flower.

Saffron flowers bloom in autumn season of the year. The botanical name of saffron is crocus sativus.

The saffron filaments or threads are picked from saffron flower by hand. More than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of saffron.

The Jammu & Kashmir Government has opened up Saffron Parks to increase the saffron production in the state.

According to reports, the total consumption of saffron in India is 40 metric tonnes.

Saffron provides livelihood to the hundreds of Kashmiris who are dependent on the crop for their living in or outside Kashmir.

Saffron is known as Spice of life, made from the red stigma at the centre of the flower.

(Cover Photo: This year, however, due to four months-long dry spell, saffron production is likely to hit in the Kashmir Valley leaving saffron farmers worried.)