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In pictures: Kashmiri saffron

image captionIndian-administered Kashmir is known for its high-quality saffron, a spice derived from the crocus flower. Photographer Abid Bhat travels to a saffron field in Pampore town to see how the world's most expensive spice is harvested.
image captionSaffron is grown commercially primarily in India, Spain and Iran. But the Kashmir variety is considered the best and it is the most expensive.
image captionFirst cultivated in Greece, saffron has been grown in the Kashmir valley for hundreds of years.
image captionSaffron fields are a big draw for tourists as well - surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the purple flowers exude the most lush scent.
image captionThe small town of Pampore, where thousands of hectares of land is used for saffron cultivation, is just about half an hour's drive from Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. Pampore is often called Kashmir's saffron town.
image captionHere, women can be seen plucking threads from the flowers to extract the spice.
image captionMore than 75,000 crocus flowers are needed to produce one pound of saffron.
image captionThe spice is used extensively in medicines and cooking in Kashmir with some claiming that saffron is an aphrodisiac.
image captionThe spice doesn't come cheap - one kg of dry saffron fetches around 180,000 rupees ($2,950; £1,800).
image captionThe spice is one of the most popular ingredients used for colouring and flavouring kehwa - popular Kashmiri saffron tea.
image captionKehwa is made by boiling several spices, including cinnamon, cardamom and saffron, and is often served hot with honey and almond shavings and makes for an energising and refreshing drink.