The Himalayas of India:  Ladakh and Srinagar, Summer 2013
Page 9 of 13



Tuesday 25 June 2013 - arriving in Kashmir:
I was on a bus bound for Srinagar from Khaltse. Continuing on through the late evening, we passed through Kargil. We never stopped there, but it did look like the scruffy town that people described, and the feel was markedly different from the rest of Ladakh that I had seen, noticeably more Muslim, the architecture very different, with many ornamental hanging lights on mosques.

We also stopped in Drass, across the street from a police station. From what we saw, Drass is a grim place, with guys loitering, smoking, leering, and making comments in front of tea stalls.

Much higher up in a very dry valley, probably near Zoji La (Pass), we passed another passport checkpoint, this one not nearly as fun as the checkpoint before, where I had befriended the official by passing through his office twice in one day; I had said "Hello again!" and before long, he was dragging me by the hand to his office so we could be friends and exchange contact information.

Our bus drove through Sonamarg, illuminated by a very bright moon. Past Sonomarg, the sun began to rise, and I was able to see many terraced fields with large tree-covered mountains as we continued our descent.

At Srinagar, we encountered many problems, as there had been a recent shooting, and the military was looking particularly tense. Our bus was diverted about five times, rerouted to another area, and we ended up driving through a part of Srinagar unknown to me, not ringing around the city as one typically approached it. We were dropped at Kuchina / Heritage House, walked about fifteen minutes to Residency Road, where I caught an autorickshaw that took us to Nehru Park, a good thing because I was very loaded down, and the length of road from the bridge to Nehru Park (Dal Gate 15) was considerably longer than I had remembered.

I later found out that eight army men were killed and about eleven injured in a deadly attack on their convoy by Pakistani terrorists two days ago (when I was in Dah village),according to CNN and A lot of the people here feel that the Indian military purposely stages stuff to be able to warrant being here and continue to get paid handsomely for their services. And while this appears to have been true numerous times in the past, it seems that this attack actually was a Pakistani attack on the army men. But others aren't so sure.

I have many more photos of my Kashmiri family here.


Wednesday 26 June 2013 - Thursday 27June 2013 - Dal Lake, Kashmir:
Here in Kashmir, the days blurred together, the pace becoming slower. And I'll reflect that by not bothering to keep track of many of the days.

Here, I was in front of the Queen of the Lake Houseboat relaxing. A guy on the houseboat next door waved his hand at me. "Can you take a photo of my beautiful wife?"

"Sure!" I began leaning over the ledge to grab his camera.

"No, with your camera."

I took this photo with my camera. "Thank you!" he replied. And that was that.

Atica, one of the super nice people who are part of my Kashmiri family.

I have many more photos of my Kashmiri family here.

This is Fayaz. He is my Kashmiri brother. Sometimes, you can have sisters and brothers born of different mothers. And sometimes, these sisters and brothers can live on the other side of the planet. That's what has happened here. I have visited Fayaz and my Kashmiri family three times now, the first time in 1997.

I had called Fayaz from Leh, trying to play a joke on him, saying "I am crazy tourist! I vant to be on your houseboat!"

But it didn't work. His connection was very poor and said I kept cutting in and out, so the joke didn't work, and he ended up having to call back.

I have many more photos of my Kashmiri family here.

Do you paddle a boat to your local convenience store?

People who live around Dal Lake might.

One of the pleasant activities for locals or travelers alike is to paddle around Dal Lake and watch the beautiful sunset.

The fountains of Dal Lake.

Traditional walnut woodcarving is a Kashmiri tradition. But unfortunately, Kashmiri handicrafts are dying out, replaced by cheaper imitations from Nepal, India, and elsewhere, and sold to tourists as true Kashmiri handicrafts.

Walnut woodcarving.

Buying vegetables on Dal Lake.

This day was a holiday, and there were many people returning from the mosque across the lake.

Fayaz, shortly after returning from the mosque.

If you stay on the Ajanta Palace Houseboat, Queen of the Lake Houseboat, or Hotel Green View, this is the view you get to see every morning.

The white ball on the left is a tethered hot air balloon ride.

A long exposure photo of several seconds of the evening activity on Dal Lake.

Friday 28 June 2013:
Fayaz preparing a chicken dish in the kitchen with Nazia looking on.

I have many more photos of my Kashmiri family here.

Remember, follow the little forward and backward autorickshaws to navigate.

Ken's photos of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as photos of Peru, Burma, India, Morocco, China, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, and elsewhere, have appeared in many books, magazines, websites, and galleries.  Visit the Ken Lee Photography Website. Some of Ken's select photos may be purchased through his Imagekind Store.

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The Himalayas of India: Summer 2013


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