Dal Lake

From a certain point of view, Kashmir is actually hardly accessible. The road. It costed me a night in bus to reach  Jammu from Manali, and another whole day in a jeep, along a “highway” crowded by goats, horses, cows, buffalos,  monkeys, shepherds, all the people involved in the road development/maintenance, plus the army and police. This  last two were the most relevant jam-creators, halting vehicles at checkpoints, and letting the people being besieged by clouds of dust and every kind of vendor. The driver and the other passengers looked exhausted as much as me.

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On the other hand, as soon as you’re able to breach this curtain, you will understand why Kashmir is renewed as “the  Paradise on the Earth”. A friend I made on the way arranged me a meeting in Srinagar with his brother, owner of a  houseboat on the Dal Lake, which dominates the city and its life. Gulab has also been so gentle to hand me a  shikara, the typical local wooden boat. This touched my background of seaman from the south of Italy, so I spent  the whole day just wandering around the lake.

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I was probably one of the really few foreigners I saw that day. For sure, the only one in a swimsuit, with a thick red  beard, taking his own boat. I felt I was catching the attention, but the most were just curious.  Several invited me for a tea on their floating domes. As usual, people living in touch with the nature reveal themselves as  extremely kind and polite. Many of them told me that after the fightings in the ‘89, a bad light was thrown on Kashmir, and this seems to be intentionally kept by national media to divert tourism towards other destinations as Manali and Dharamsala. I will contribute to fight against this stereotype.

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The weather was unstable, so at late afternoon I had to come back to the houseboat for a while. Nevertheless, the sky of Kashmir  was just keeping for the sunset his best shot.

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Photo: Matteo Fabi

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6 thoughts on “Dal Lake

    1. Thanks Sree! I just came to visit the Palgham Valley first, where I’m writing you from, and then I want to make my way through Sonmarg, Kargil, Leh and then closing the circle coming back to Manali. I’m just waiting for the Rohtang Pass to open!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing. A good part of the city is “built” upon the water, with its own daily life. You can go to shops, markets, or simply visiting the neighbours.. just peacefully rowing!

      Like

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