Passion with a purpose
Mahoor Shaw, a jewellery designer and a passionate hiker, curates heritage walks for history buffs and travel enthusiasts.
Twenty-seven-year-old, Mahoor is not just enthusiastic about hiking but has a purpose. She wants to acquaint people with their forgotten past.
“I have been a history lover since my childhood, and it is my passion to visit historical spots that is why I started these heritage walks,” says Mahoor. “First I curated the walks for my family and friends, which later motivated me to start group tours.”
Mahoor says though she started organising heritage walks in 2019 but her tour and travel registration is still pending.
A BBA graduate from the University of Kashmir with two fellowships, the Young India Fellowship and Naropa Fellowship, Mahoor is fulfilling her dream of being a travel lover by making it a small private organisation. This independent organization of hers is drawing in an ever-increasing number of clients due to its fun and historical visits. The clients are both from Kashmir as well as from outside.
“I picked this graceful name since I am a drifter, and in my friend circle, I am known as Zoon (which implies moon in Kashmiri),” she says.
Hailing from downtown Srinagar, Mahoor never thought a lot about society with regard to her enthusiasm and vocation. With full family support, she figured out how to follow her energy.
“My family is always supportive and they never stop me from following my interests. I started cycling when I was a child and used to go freely around the city,” she says.
“I love to trek and travel a lot, eat traditional food; and all that which is related to our culture is of high value to me.”
The Whirling Zoon coordinates hikes and visits to the various historical spots, but each group has a limit of 15 individuals so that each interested person is connected and gets the attention of the organisers. Mahoor does everything by herself, from administration to guiding the trekkers.
The specific rules are followed while taking individuals on hikes and walks. Protocols such as what shoes to wear and what things to carry so that trekking is hassle-free are strictly followed.
So far, Mahoor has organised trips to Buddhist Monastery Harwan, and mountain treks to Srinagar outskirts, besides various craft visits, where it was a unique learning experience about weaving and weavers for the visitors.
“People from different areas and backgrounds show their interest to join our walks. They want to explore more. They want to be part of such trips,” she says.
“I make it a point to familiarize all the trekkers with our traditional food that is generally served in earthenware.”
The word about ‘The Whirling Zoon’ expeditions has reached quite far. Mahoor even had some clients from Bangalore, who wanted a curated tour of Mughal Gardens.
The upcoming heritage walks would be in South Kashmir, which would be informed through ‘The Whirling Zoon’ Instagram handle. Besides, the visit to various craft centres to make them meet craftsmen, are also in pipeline.
“People get to know one another and share numerous contemplations about anything and everything. It is actually an incredible experience to meet and interact with people coming from different cultures and interests,” says Mahoor.
“Young ladies are cheerfully being a part of it and their folks are likewise permitting them, after posing me few enquiries about the visit and hikes,” she adds.
Mahoor charges a nominal fee from the trekkers so that she could manage the affairs.
“Initially, there were no charges. However, presently, we charge some fees so that we could manage the operations. However, for the students, the fee is minimum,” she says.
Mahoor is also a professional jewellery designer. She manages her business of Jewellery on the online platform, Instagram, by the name ‘Imroz Kashmir’.
“I balance both my passion and profession,” says Mahoor.
The hikes she organises are about knowing the society and culture of Kashmir. Mahoor was planning for an overnight shift as well but, it has not been possible as yet for “The Whirling Zoon”.
“I maintain that people should know their own region, Kashmir has many historical spots, reach out to the local community and know about their lives, we ought to accomplish something which is really great for local people and furthermore, which does not hurt environment too,” she says.
People should follow their enthusiasm and attempt to make something out of it. She encourages all the young explorers, particularly females, to follow their passion and dreams.
“I maintain that an ever-increasing number of people should follow their passion and should not be bothered about negativity,” says Mahoor.
“Live your life, regardless of assuming that you won’t succeed, keep attempting till you reach your goals,” with this advice to her peers, Mahoor signs off.