Kandur shop or Kandur waan is a place in Kashmir from which the people purchase their daily quota of bread. Simplistically, it is a term used for a local Kashmiri baker’s bakery.
Long before dawn, hundreds of baker families or Kandur in the Valley fire up their wood tandoors and start making bread which forms an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine. Bread in Kashmir is treated with deference and given an identity of its own instead of being a mere vessel to transport food into eager mouths.
A Kandur waan is a place where you get to hear and participate in discussions that range from gossip to political discourses to moral lectures. It is the place where all the local happenings are discussed.
The Kandur hence forms an intrinsic part of the social life in Kashmir and every locality has its own local Kandur.
Many varieties of bread are made in a Kandur, to be consumed during different hours of the day and on different occasions. It is said a Kandur supplies bread for every season and every reason.
Some of these bread are Czot, Girda, Lawaas, Czochwor, Kulcha, Czochwor kulchè, Khatai, Katlam, Bagirkhein, Ghyev czhot, Shrumal or Krippe.
Kandur is a bakery that prepares a variety of homemade delicacies in clay tandoors. The practice of breadmaking using a clay oven has been around since ancient times, and very little has changed in the way of technique.
Kashmiris are, by and large, inseparable from their wood-fired, tandoori bread. Each member of the Kandur family contributes a different task. While the women prepare the dough, men work on the tandoors, and children deliver the bread, often on their way to school.
There is a separate section with baskets and wooden display shelves that are filled with morning breads like Girda and Czochwur.
Early risers, these bakers start working well before the Mouazin calls for Fajr prayers and by the time the prayers are over, people crowd outside their shops to take the freshly-baked Tchout home. Every locality has a local baker and no baker caters to the requirements of less than 200-300 households.