#KashmirDiaries: The journey begins!

I’ve always wanted to visit Kashmir.

A typical Kashmiri house with sloping roofs

A typical Kashmiri house with its sloping roof

Growing up, I heard stories about Kahsmir’s legendary beauty from my mother and maasi, who had been there as children. I saw it pictured on the silver screen, as Bollywood stars played out their romances in shikaras on the Dal Lake and in the meadows and valleys of Kashmir.

Then militancy struck the valley in the 1990s and continued seemingly without end, and I wondered if I would ever be able to visit Kashmir. But after over a decade of strife, things have normalized somewhat and tourism has opened up once again. Though incidents do happen in the valley occasionally, they have never, to my knowledge, targeted tourists.

So when a friend suggested I visit Kashmir over the summer, I could not resist!

kashmir-street-photo-people-corner-standing

Street scene, somewhere in Kashmir – hanging out at the corner shop

I generally undertake extensive research before I travel {which means I read the Rough Guide and/or Lonely Planet, and look up a few travel blogs}. But the Rough Guide skips Kashmir altogether, and the information I found online was scant and contradictory. Plus, I just didn’t have the time to deep dive into research. So I did something that I never do {mainly because it has almost always ended in disaster} — rely on others to help me plan an itinerary.

kashmir-srinagar-street-photo-download-center

You can’t miss the name of this little store at the outskirts of Srinagar!

Luckily for me, this time around it didn’t, but it wasn’t an all-round success either. I had a few lucky breaks and chanced upon some like-minded people who helped me to choose day trips from Srinagar. I found some places that I loved and some that I abhorred. But I returned with ideas for the next trip already bubbling away in my mind.

kashmir-street-photo-mother-son

Street scene, somewhere in Kashmir: mother and son

In the coming weeks, I will share some experiences and thoughts from my trip. Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all the latest updates. And don’t forget to sign up for Gypsy Wanderings, a monthly letter from me to you. I share heart-centered musings, subscriber exclusives, and a monthly oracle reading. I hope to see you there!

Note: all of these photos were shot on my iPhone while we were driving around Kashmir.

More in this series: Romancing the Dal  | Srinagar in a day | Pahalgam: Of fairy tale gardens and the majestic Lidder | Nara Nag: Where nature and history meet | Doodhpathri: Where the river turns into milk | Sonamarg: Heartbreak and healing


 

Posted in Kashmir, Travel and tagged , , .

26 Comments

  1. I saw Kashmir in a serial Gul, gulahan, gulfaam when I was little. I fell in love with the place and have always imagined how beautiful it would be, you are lucky to visit the place.

  2. aah! This brought back some memories. We stayed in Jammu for 2 years and have been to Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Kargil etc. The best part of Kashmir is that it looks different and beautiful in all the 4 seasons. Like the way you have captured the pics. Looking forward to your travel stories from Kashmir!

    • Yes, I’ve heard about the season changes and how Kashmir looks different in each season! I would so love to visit again, during fall and to see the cherry blossoms, especially!

  3. I have never been to Kashmir but would love to visit it some time. Heard its really beautiful but now its dangerous to go there. Waiting to read more on this series. 🙂

  4. I have always wanted to visit Kashmir. But I am little worried of the unrest. One of my relative had gone last year for a vacation and was caught in a curfew and was stranded for days! But i hope to visit sometime! And that Downloading Center!! LOL

    • Isn’t that Downloading Center the funniest thing you’ve seen? It’s really sad about the unrest there, but I’m so thankful that I got to visit Kashmir!

  5. It’s been on my bucket list (and my parents) for as long as I can remember. I know what you mean by letting other people help decide your itinerary! I hope you have a lot of fun: I am tuned in!

  6. Oh! Ditto! I too have been wanting to visit this beautiful place since long. I will definitely follow your social media handles to see those amazing pictures and updates 🙂

    • The situation there is still not good, sadly. I feel lucky that I got to visit just a week before the unrest broke out, actually!

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