Autumn, also known as Harud locally, is the annual harvesting season in Kashmir. As the leaves in the valley turn yellow and golden, the farmers return to their fields to harvest paddy and saffron and pick various varieties of apples for export.
The entire valley is bathed in different hues of red, orange and gold during these months and a large number of tourists visit the area before the weather becomes excruciatingly cold. Children run around excitedly, trampling leaves and playing cricket under the shade of the mighty Chinar — which is considered a sign of resistance in the area. It is said that during the Mughal era in Kashmir, one of the kings stepped over the Chinar leaves during autumn. Fascinated by their bright red colour, he asked one his ministers, “Chi Naar”, which translates to, “What is this fire?” And during these few months, right before winter in Kashmir, it seems as if the flames are touching the ground.
A girl rides a cycle in Srinagar. PHOTO: Haziq Qadri
A boy rides a cycle in Srinagar. PHOTO: Haziq Qadri
A girl walks on fallen Chinar leaves at Kashmir University in Srinagar. PHOTO: Haziq Qadri
Locals burn Chinar leaves at Kashmir University in Srinagar. PHOTO: Haziq Qadri
Children play cricket in the outskirts of Srinagar. PHOTO: Haziq Qadri
Haziq Qadri is a Kashmir-based photojournalist. He tweets @haziq_qadri
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, November 30th, 2014.