© Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
An elderly Kashmiri Muslim woman holds stigmas of saffron flowers, in Pampore, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Saffron has been grown in Kashmir since the Mughal period, which began in the 16th century. In highly drained clay-loam soil, the saffron crop is sown on an estimated 17,000 hectares of land in Kashmir in the months of May and June and the flower is harvested at the onset of autumn. It takes some 170,000 flowers to get 1 kg of saffron, a precious spice.