Jammu & Kashmir
Along the young and gushing river Indus, is the beautiful Kashmiri landscape dominated by snow-capped mountains and countless springs and lakes. Wandering through the narrow lanes of Srinagar where wooden houses with delicately carved balconies share walls with ancient temples and medieval mosques, one tends to absorb the ancient wonder that still permeates the old part of the city.
Looking beyond the barrage of tourists and vendors, one notices the vibrant lifestyle of the locals and the Mir Bahris who live on the Dal lake. From the terraced lawns, fountain pools and carefully manicured flowerbeds of the gardens that date back to the Mughal era, to the beautiful wide stretches of roads lined with the mighty Chinar, Srinagar’s architecture is unique and environmentally sound.
Even more remarkable are the houseboats that float in the Dal lake, with their heavily carved cedar facades. With names that range from Robin hood to Buckingham Palace, these houseboats play to the visitors’ fantasy.
We spent the whole day in the beautiful city of Srinagar today. We visited the Delhi Public School Srinagar, and had a meeting with Mr. Vijay Dhar and the students of the school. We then visited the Dal Lake and other local places of tourist interest including monuments and shrines.
We also visited local papier mache artisans and understood their issues in continuing this lovely tradition. We also spent time meeting local business persons and young entrepreneurs to understand issues of development in J&K.
It was a rainy, cold day but we were treated to the best of the Kashmiri hospitality, and the warmth of the people there was touching but we were sad to see the tinge of helplessness in their eyes.