India From Top to Bottom 2005:  From Kannyikumari to Kashmir

Kashmir - Page 1


This was my second trip to Kashmir.  But this time, I came to Kashmir to visit Fayaz and my Kashmiri family, and not so much to see the sights.  I wish I could have come back to visit them sooner, but at least I was able to return.  I was overjoyed to see them again.

During my first trip, I had a very grim, negative outlook of the Indian government and its treatment of Kashmiris.  And while things have improved noticeably, there is still a lot of room for improvement.  Still, though, the Kashmiris that I spoke with seemed more optimistic than before.  When tensions were ratcheted up in 1989, tourists stayed away, and the Kashmiri economy sank.  But now, it seems that the government wants to rectify that. The Army is treating people better.  The government has issued "soft loans" (low interest loans with lax payback limits) to enable houseboat owners to fix up their houseboats to attract tourists.  Srinagar Airport is being expanded to become an international airport.  The railway is going to connect Jammu to Srinagar and therefore the rest of India. 

You'll see pictures of Jamia Mosque, notable for the more than 300 soaring pillars supporting the roof; each made of a single deodar tree trunk, one allegedly having descended directly from heaven.  And pictures of the mysterious and controversial Khanyar Rosabal, which some say is the final resting place of Jesus Christ.  And the majestic mountains of Pahalgam, beautiful Dal Lake and its houseboats, the fantastic Michael Jackson houseboat, and pictures of the sweetest people in the world.

The Ajanta Palace houseboat, my home away from home.  For this second trip to Kashmir, I spent 2 1/2 weeks with Fayaz and his family.

Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.

A view of the other houseboat that the family owns, the Queen of the Lake and the historic Hotel Green View.
Shikaras on Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.  


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