Kashmir , a paradise crisscrossed ….

Paradise on earth or the Urdu term called Jannat etc etc there are many names by which this land is called and for me it was my second occasion to step foot on this land. Though the first time was a transit halt as was the case this time also, but this halt was for around 48 hours and i intended to use this opportunity to soak this land into my senses and also get an idea of how things stand for the normal traveler visiting Kashmir.

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As i sit on the wooden porch of the house boat aptly titled Golden Flower tied alongside on the banks of Nageen lake,  i feel a sense of satisfied emptiness running through my head . There are not too many conflicting thoughts nor deadline memories jostling for attention of my conscious being instead as i look up from the word document that i am writing  i see a kingfisher swooping into the water to try his luck while a water hen is sunning herself a few feet away from me all under a blue sky punctuated with broken clouds and a placid lake below it;  these are the kind of thoughts that abound my consciousness hence i called it  soothing .

I decided to stay in a house boat and picked up Nageen Lake as my base point instead of opting for the more famous Dal Lake, well i did not want tourists to jostle my space which Dal Lake has plenty of …

During these 48 hours i have visted the iconic Hazratbal dargah as well as the Charar e Sharif trying to understand and see the humane side of Islamism and get a whiff of sufism too. As the call for the faithful permeates the air for the namaaz, i felt a sense of calmness descend over me for the words were alien yet the vibes were peaceful.

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I strongly recommend a visit to Charar e Sharif, nestled 40 km away from Srinagar and it is a lovely hill winding road that climbs up to the location. The dargah promotes Sufism and as the ulema chanted verses of Sufism i was glad to chance come here for the sounds of those verses stuck a chord within which was worth the visit to the place.

Hazratbal dargah was a welcome visit as i visited it with the host with whom I was staying. The dargah inner sanctum was extremely spacious and emanated warmth as the faithful sat and immersed themselves in the thoughts of the almighty. There were no glances given towards me nor was i made to feel unwelcome, the visit indeed left a very positive image in my mind. The location of the dargah is unique and the entire image of it when seen in the frame of its location amongst the waters of the Dal Lake and the mountain ranges behind give a feeling of positivity and compassion.The mosque holds high reverence amongst the Muslim community and is definitely worth a visit.

Other than these two visits i spent many hours gliding through the numerous waterways of Nageen lake through mystical water paths towards the small islands inhabited by the local folks. There is full world on the lake and it is a world that needs to be experienced. I learnt that the locals use the lake to grow full-fledged kitchen gardens as well as fresh vegetables for the various local shops. Then i saw lotus farms, such a unique concept and these farms can be towed from place to place.

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The water is also used to grow flowers which are then sold or exported to other cities. There are livestock which are let loose on these small islands for grazing and then picked up once nightfall approaches; truly there is a world out there.

The morning local vegetable market which sets up after the morning Namaaz and then winds up by around seven is a sight to see. The local farmers get fresh produce in their boats and same is then purchased by the fresh provision store owners. I loved my tine in this market where at a glance it looks so chaotic but then the pattern of buying n selling is happening with alacrity and seriousness not realized by the outsider eyes.

The temple dedicated to Goddess Kheer Bhawani , one of the most sacred and accepted Hindu religious places in Kashmir was a very calming experience. The temple is surrounded by spring water and it is said that the colour of the water indicates the vibes of the region . The temple is the main religious place for the Kashmiri Pandits and even to date has been able to preserve its simplicity and aura .

Mughal gardens; considering that there is a lot written about the famous gardens of Srinagar I decided to visit the Mughal gardens. Though i was not overtly fascinated by them yet going by the large number of locals who were enjoying some relaxed time either in its landscaped gardens or in the central themed water canal which was dotted by fountains i guess it was good to make a visit here. The garden was well maintained and i am sure a walk here either early morning or late evening would be a delightful experience.

There are other gardens to see and then we have the Hari fort as well as the Shankaracharya hill temple in addition to Lal Chowk as well as Boulevard Road near Dal Lake, but I guess i will give all these a miss and come evening would once again wander through the canals of Nageen Lake.

This land is exquisite and so beautiful that it touches the soul within but the desires opinions as well as requirement of us all have turned it into a paradox of sorts. It is my personal opinion that the presence of the GUN will never leave the Valley and the aspirations of all stake holders involved including the STATE  have become so much convulated and distorted from the original that no one involved  is clear any more as to what are they looking for in the long term , every action done by all those involved are based on short term results and for personal gains thereby the region suffers on a daily basis considering the fact that 80% of the economy is tourism driven other than those who stay in South Kashmir where it is more of farming and fruit orchards. Kashmir ; a paradise crisscrossed with the mark of the GUN .

Note :For the average traveler Kashmir is quite safe to visit other than specific locations or dates , generally South Kashmir is avoided presently and a few other far flung areas too however other than that most of the hot spots of the region are quite safe . Just keep your sense of the ecosystem alive to understand whats happening around you .

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32 Replies to “Kashmir , a paradise crisscrossed ….”

  1. I loved this write-up. I could feel your happiness mixed with a sort of hopelessness about the political turbulence in Kashmir. I have only heard positive reviews from people who have been there, but everyday we read about the violence and there seems to be no end to this. You have perfectly summarised Kashmir in the title. Lovely read

  2. Oh my god! How beautiful is Kashmir, I’ve been to Jammu but haven’t got a chance to visit Kashmir. But really tempted to go there now 🙂

  3. Indeed a paradise…totally agree. Always wanted to visit this place. But everytime I planned, something unfortunate happened there in state which discouraged me to travel. Your post is quite helpful to explore this beautiful place. This is a good reminder to plan again for this.

  4. You are right, Kashmir is a lovely paradise! We were there 30 years ago and would love to return sometime. The scenery, people and the food all make for great memories.

  5. Oh, this lakes. I am in Finland, land of thousand lakes, so I thoght I saw everything lake-related… but you show something new to me. Would love to get around there with my camera.

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