Playing tourist in Kashmir

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A man from Uttar Pradesh that I met in Kashmir. He works at a brick factory outside Srinagar

I wanted to visit Kashmir. Heard so much about the beauty of this place but I could not find the right time.

I want to visit Kashmir in autumn.

Autumn this year, I was in New Delhi waiting for my connecting flight to Srinagar, Kashmir. I happened to read the local newspaper on the latest news about the current unrest and unsettled situation in Kashmir. The struggle has been going on for years … I heard.

As I landed at Srinagar airport, I have to fill in pages of immigration and security forms. Full armed police and military personnel are seen everywhere in the town. Yes … I mean it, everywhere.

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Nomad shepherds preparing their cattle for winter

There has been a fresh attack recently killing a few people from the public. You can feel the tension rising in the air and shops around the Srinagar town choose to remain closed for a few more days.

But despite the unrest situation tourist still continuously flock here, undeterred by the chaos. Just like me and my friends …

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A brick factory located outside Srinagar

Kashmiris knows that their main economic source of income comes from the tourist . Rest assure that tourists and travelers are well taken care of despite the unrest situation, my local guide said.

I wonder … why is it so many unrest or chaos places in our world?

I played “the tourist” this time around. Instead of wandering freely around the streets … I hesitantly followed the group leader. Yes, my heart struggled to tame down my curiosity and my feet were itchy to just walk around and explore my surrounding, the way that I always did whenever I am in a strange land. But if you decided to be in a group, it is best to just stick to the group’s tempo.

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Me sitting in front of our shikara enjoying the view of Dal Lake

But … honestly, playing “the tourist” sometimes is relaxing, just pure vacation.  No waking up early in the morning or staying at secluded location hunting for sunrises or sunsets. No walking aimlessly around villagers hanging around with what they said the ‘unpredictable’ locals.

Food is well served … on time, no hunger, no gastric acid like always, lol. Well pampered accommodation. I even get my own hot water warmer beg, sweet.

Not complaining though … I love it.

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View from the peak of Apharwat Mountain (3,950meters)

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Another side of Dal Lake, Srinagar

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Kashmir apples

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Dashing view of Sonamarg

I am not gonna continue ranting about how beautiful this place is but I would come here again in autumn of whenever years … just to spend more time walking on the streets and wandering around the villages here in Kashmir, enjoying human to human moment … In Sha Allah. I have all sort of plan now in my head on where should I wander and what should I do here.

Just a friendly reminder for photographers who plan to visit Kashmir. Staying light with your camera load is highly recommended as entering and existing Srinagar airport is quite a nuisance due to the tight security check.

I wrote an article about Dal Lake of Srinagar for NST Bots. Sharing it here together with my timelapse video of Kashmir landscape.

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Don’t just exist. Live life.

Cheers,

MM

About Matsuda Mashimaru

Be yourself - everyone else is already taken! - Oscar Wilde View all posts by Matsuda Mashimaru

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