Centuries-old-tradition of pigeon flying is still alive in J-K's Srinagar
Unlike in Western countries where racing pigeons predominate, handlers say high-flying pigeons are preferred in South Asia.
Syedna Ismail Hussain Bande, a resident of Shahr Khas area of Srinagar, has adopted the hobby of pigeon hunting even today. Four decades later, now that he has graduated and become an engineer, his love for this traditional hobby is still alive. Today he has become a professional pigeon fancier and owns more than 4400 pigeons.
"The company of this bird taught me patience and discipline and these are now an integral part of my life," says Bande. The centuries-old tradition of pigeon keeping lives on in the old quarters of Srinagar, where flocks of pigeons on rooftops, in the courtyards of mosques and shrines, and around markets are a common sight. Many of them are pets, raised by thousands of pigeon fanciers there. Every Friday and Sunday, different breeds of domesticated and wild pigeons are sold in the open market, locally known as Pigeon Market.
Pigeon handlers release their birds into the air to mingle with other pigeons. Their return is often accompanied by stray pigeons. Unlike in Western countries where racing pigeons predominate, handlers say high-flying pigeons are preferred in South Asia.
Like Bande, 33-year-old Imran Ahmad Butt, a taxi service provider, said he is fond of pigeon rearing. Many young people started raising and selling pigeons as a hobby and part-time business.
But raising pigeons is not an easy job. Owners cope with harsh winters. They clean the coops, feed the birds on the roofs and care for the pigeons throughout the year, giving them vaccines and nutritional supplements. Bande said that some varieties of pigeons are very expensive. He has two "Teddy" pigeons that he said are worth US$2,700 a pair.
"To a layman, they are almost identical. But some breeds of pigeons are very sensitive and require careful care," he said. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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