Beneath the blue sky.
Above the Himalayan Ranges,
Surrounded by meadows and greenery,
popular for tense conflicts
Occupied by natives,
dominated by tourists
Kashmir has dark clouds
But has an evident silver lining too!
I have studied a lot about Kashmir in my Geography books, read about the grim side in history books, saw the beautiful locations in movies and heard about the richness of the place from elders but going to Kashmir is all the more same yet different from everything you know!
It is same because the snow-clad mountains, tense conflicts, benign valley does exist in the state but different because when you see those shining and sparkling lakes, sailing shikaras, fragranced tulips and the colourful locals with a sly smile on their faces, it is indeed a heavenly experience! Something that cannot be put into words. These words, sentences, poems are way too less in front of the brilliance of Kashmir – Paradise on Earth.
Despite of the existing frailties and the much-asked question of ‘Is it safe to travel to Kashmir’, there is an onrush of tourists from India and across the globe to witness glory of this place.
Is it Safe to Travel to Kashmir?
Well, since the start of Wanderers Hub we have visited a lot of places, posted stories on different social media handles and received compliments, got several “miss you” texts from our parents and other family members. But the case on our trip to Kashmir was different! First of all, we had to prod our parents to let us go to this trip (no matter how old you grow, you need to persuade them for a consent) because of the safety issues.
Then on our Instagram account also we had several people asking us whether it is safe to travel to Kashmir. Our family members called us religiously to confirm that the dramatic and violent picture portrayed on the TV of Kashmir was true and real or not!
It is difficult everywhere! Even in our hometown Delhi, it sometimes becomes a little difficult to step out alone late in evenings but I think it was relatively better there in Kashmir!
There is no denial that Kashmir is prone to a lot a lot of civil unrest, violence and other major issues that cannot be overlooked but it goes without saying that it is indeed a tourist friendly destination.
Tourists have never been harmed intentionally or deliberately targeted. It has been observed that angry protesters usually pave way for the tourists! Tourism is an important industry for the place, one of the major sources of income. So, they ensure their security and take care that an outsider is safe.
The only time it is recommended not to visit Kashmir is when travel advisories are issued and there is acute trouble in the region! Tourists are unlikely to get hurt but the violence and the turmoil can have adverse effects on the minds of tourists who came to relax and enjoy their holiday.
Kashmiris and their Lives
India is known for its diverse culture! Here is a glimpse of one of its culture, folk, tradition and lifestyle, glimpse of Kashmir and lives of Kashmiris.
Unlike the city and the adjoining states, Kashmiris have a very decent lifestyle – free of pomp and ostentatiousness! They are loving human beings who are so hospitable and welcoming. They as a community are optimistic people, ones who emit good vibes only. We had an encounter with several natives of the sate like shopkeepers, taxi-drivers, owners of the hotels, shepherds etc. Everybody was very genuine and kind.
Urdu is the most common language spoken by the people. You can find a mix of Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir with a few Buddhists also! But the best thing we learnt here was the enthusiasm they have while celebrating festivals of any religion.
The village folk are dependant on apples, woods, saffron, weaving etc for their survival and livelihood while the city dwellers are engaged in the ever-flourishing tourism business.
We the people of other states might perceive inhabitants in a different way but believe me they are full of love and simplicity – no deception and facades!
Dressing in Kashmir
Kashmiris are found in their traditional clothing. For men it is Kurta Pyjama, women are found in Burqa (veil) and in winters woollen clothing called Phiran is worn. Some youngsters are found in western clothes also, however the native community is mostly seen wearing their traditional attire.
People should avoid wearing inappropriate dresses here. Fully covered dresses are acceptable because they are quite particular towards their culture and beliefs.
Driving in Kashmir
We love driving! We have gone beyond limits in all our trips to arrange for a car for self-drive. So here again in Kashmir we went for a road trip with a driver. Also, instead of opting for the public transport we chose are own mode of conveyance. We would recommend the same to everybody else who is planning to visit this state!
Kashmir is indeed one of the most beautiful places. Its extravagance, happy locals, water front gardens, exquisite art left us spell-bounded! It also teaches us that even though there are lots of hardships yet don’t lose the spark of life and stay happy.
Keep checking this space for our next post on Kashmir where we’ll help you plan a perfect trip in winters.
Is Kashmir on your bucketlist? We’d love to know your opinion so leave comments in the below section.