There are only two or three places in the whole world where saffron grows. Kashmir has the proud privilege of being one of these places. There are two locations in Kashmir where saffron grows. One of these two places is Pampur. Pampur is a small town, which is 13 km from Srinagar. The saffron plant is very small and its flower is the only part which is seen above the ground. The blooming time of this flower is autumn. Saffron has a unique sweet smell and is used in dyeing and cooking.
The botanical name of Saffron is Crocus sativus. The purple colored flowers appear just above the ground and are a beautiful sight. The orange stigmas of the saffron plant are harvested as saffron and used as a flavoring and coloring agent in various recipes. Saffron is added to Kahwa - the traditional Saffron Tea drunk by people in Kashmir.
The orange-red stigmas of the saffron plant produce a pleasant aroma and a warm golden orange color. The yellow stamens are also harvested, however they do not have the same aromatic and color properties of the stigmas. Pure saffron consists of only the orange-red stigmas of the saffron plant. Saffron is also believed to have many medicinal properties. Called Kesar in the rest of India, saffron is used as a flavoring agent in many food preparations, from rice dishes, such as biryani, to various sweets.