Our Kashmir experiences are curated by Devika Krishnan, who has been working to empower craft communities across India as a skills trainer, mentor and advisor in the in the “livelihood” sector since 1993.
Taking into account Culture Rings’ passion for people, culture and craft, Devika has created delicate combinations weaving these three into every tour offered by us.
Her ten years in Kashmir working on a powerful livelihood program for the shepherds’ community, have brought her to bury many urban and media driven myths that effect the way we see the people of Kashmir, plan our travels to the area, understand the politics of the land, recognize its friends and foes, and discover its craft.
Ramneek Kaur is a Kashmiri Sikh who’s family has lived in Srinagar for several generations. Her Great Grandfather started the famous Pahalgam hotel almost a hundred years ago and her family continues to keep up unparalleled hospitality standards the hotel has always been famous for.
Although trained as a Physotherapist at a reputed Medical college in Bangalore, ramneek has always had her heart in all things handmade. She set up a small store within the hotel where she retails kashmiri crafts of Pashmina, Papier Mache, Walnut wood, wickerwork, embroideries etc hand picked and often commissioned by her. She has a fine eye for authenticity and a great rapport with the best of the makers of these beautiful crafts.
Ramneek heads the Shepherdcrafts Initiative which she set up along with Devika in 2010. The project works towards providing a sustainable income to women from the nomadic shepherd tribes of Gujjar and Bakarwal who have little or no access to even the most basic needs like healthcare and education due to their nomadic lifestyle in a conflict zone.
Ramneek and her family are known and respected by a large number of people in Srinagar and Pahalgam as well as amongst the hoteliers in the valley. She is most happy showcasing the beauty of her valley to people from outside so that the world can see the paradise that is Kashmir despite the conflict it is mired in for three decades.