Wanwun is one of the most traditional music forms of Kashmir which echoes in the mountains, valleys, lakes and all places of this wonderful area sometimes referred to as the Paradise on Earth. When you are enjoying the beauty of nature and taking deep relaxed breaths sitting at some high cliffy area then you might hear the melodious Wanwun being sung at some distant place. The chilly weather, the scenic beauty and the melodious Wanwun of Kashmir are all, sadly, heading towards destruction. The Wanwun form of music, the traditional folk expression, is no more so popular that it once used to be. However, tourists still come from across the globe and get mesmerized by the traces of this folk music that they can hear the Kashmiri people singing during their auspicious ceremonies.


Wanwun form of music was extremely beautiful when it was sung by the ladies and sometimes to lyrics that were made instantly. This form of music was never hurt by the diversities that were present in the society in the form of religions, ethnicities or races. It was always the culture of the Kashmiri people irrespective of their caste, race or religion. The barrier free existence of Wanwun had helped it to prosper in the land of Kashmir, however of late, militant disturbance and modern lifestyle in Kashmir has somewhat reduced the significance of Wanwun.


It has been the folksongs of both Hindus and Muslims of Kashmir and they were almost the same in nature as well with the only little variation in the dialect and diction of the lyrics. The Muslim people sing the Wanwun songs with Persian words and tones, whereas when the Hindus perform the Wanwun expression there are larger presence of Sanskrit words and tones. The Sanskrit tones gave it a feel of medieval chanting. The songs that Hindu ladies sing are known as Butt-e-Wanwun, the one sung by the ladies from Hindu and Muslim communities both is known as the Musalman Wanwun.


The Wanwun folk songs are generally sung and performed at various occasion of the Kashmiri people. Some of the occasions during which Wanwun and related music are performed can be during preparing for certain activities like before doing house cleaning, rice cleaning, invitation, etc. It is also sung before other ceremonies like thread ceremony and wedding.

During Preparations

When on a holy day cleaning or painting of the house is done i.e. during sat-u-livun, even during tomul chatun i.e. cleaning of rice also the Wanwun and related music are performed. During livun i.e. while decorating the house using natural paint, the Wanwun is sung. Again, it is sung during dapnas i.e. while inviting someone, or while hailing the dress of a bride which is called Mas muchrun.

During Thread Ceremony

Whether it is the time for krool kharnas which is the decoration of entrance using colours, or while it is time for making war-banawas a dish made of walnut and rice which is especially salty, the Wanwun is sung. Not only that, it is also sung during henna nights, which is locally known as the Maanziaraath-Maanz lagenyi. During Duri Batu, a person calls all his close ones like friends and relatives to his house for having a special lunch. Even during this occasion, the Wanwun is performed so that the host can satisfy his invited guests. During Divgoan and Kori Divgoan, a ritual that needs to be performed before any thread ceremony or marriage, the Wanwun song is sung. Some people take holy bath called Kani Shraan, even then also the folk song is sung. During many such other rituals related to thread ceremony, the Wanwun is performed and in the end after successful completion of the ceremony the boy is taken home and ladies sing Wanwun.

During Marriage

Just as during thread ceremony’s rituals, Wanwun is sung by the ladies, it is also performed during the marriage. It is sung before, various rituals at the house of both the bride as well as the groom. At the groom’s place, Dastaaras, veegis and maharaz-e-Neruk the rituals take place. At the bride’s place, maas paarnas, tarengas, poshakas, maharaz-e-Yivuk and many such other rituals are carried out. During all such rituals relating to marriage, the Wanwun and related music are performed.

During Rituals after Birth

Just as any other happy ceremony a child’s birth is considered holy and happy in Kashmir. The Wanwun are sung during various rituals related with childbirth. Various rituals of bathing a child with auspicious herbs, starting of education for a child after birth, etc are also when the Wanwun is sung.

Reaching Jammu and Kashmir

If you are interested at witnessing the culture of the Kashmiris by your own eyes the get to Jammu and Kashmir immediately. It is accessible through plane, train and car routes from across India. Direct international flights are rare but some from Dubai does reach the Srinagar airport.

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