I really don't know , where do I have these pictures captured as tips in VT. These pictures are very important to me as they reflect life of Kashmir and Kashmiri people. In my total five days of whirlwind tour of Kashmir, I took about 3500 Pictures at random as I felt like capturing the life of Kashmir! Out of these 3500 pictures about 300/400 pictures are useless to me but all other pictures are important to me.
Please do not rate these tips if you don't want to but they are important to me and shall remain always.
I think what Jehangir or the poet Jami could have meant by exclaiming Kashmir a "Paradise on Earth" was not for its landscape. If people can create a paradise, then they were completely right. The people of Kashmir, and Srinagar, are its star attraction. Nothing else.
Don't get me wrong, the scenes are stunning but you might find something similar in other parts of the world. However, the people are quite extraordinary. There is poverty in all of India, including here, but the resilience of their courtesy, strength, dignity, and optimism is simply unforgettable.
Like all people who have been I too can agree that the nuances of their kindness to all, not just guests, is remarkable. Kashmiri Muslims get way too much bad press everywhere for no reason, when in a strange contorted way, just the opposite is true.
I might sound like an impetuous novice visitor in love, but really, I have thought this through.
I know this is wrong on many levels but it might be good to sort out the two regions since they both are often lumped as "hill stations" along with all other northern states. And I cannot help it since I have been to both not too long ago. So here is my simple, and humble, way to differentiate the two.
1. More stark. Just more contrasts: valleys, gorges, steepness of mountains and their sharp falls.
2. Not as well maintained: highways, roads, buses, even some major towns. Could be due to a cultural difference too, maybe.
3. Star attraction: get lost in the mountains.
1. More lush, wide valley feel and less stark. Much greener.
2. Better maintained roads, cleaner large towns, and the smaller ones are also a just a bit more cared for.
3. Star attraction: get lost under the warm culture and hospitality of the people. Seriously.
Either way, I certainly know the mountains have a way of calling you back, and after meeting the Kashmiri people, I would not be at all surprised if they do too.
Favorite thing: One of my fondest memories of Srinagar were the beautiful sunrise and sunset among the tranquil water of Dal Lake with the surrounding mountains. The only problem was that the weather was very cold then :)
Favorite thing: Somehow, there are lots of pigeons and other birds when I was at Srinagar during Dec 2007. I think this is probably because the people are feeding the pigeons and birds as they tend to hang out around the mosques and other tourist attractions.
If you're going for tourism I would recommend going during the summer months, when it is high season in Srinagar, and the city is more occupied and welcoming to tourists.
You will feel like you've gone to a ghost town in the winter.
Kashmir has been a complicated issue and it finds itself in the news almost on a daily basis...
The territory of Kashmir was hotly contested since the time before India and Pakistan won their independence from the British in 1947.
Under the partition plan, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. The Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, was Hindu and his people predominantly Muslims... The Maharaja wanted to stay independent but once armed men from across the Pakistan border invaded Kashmir, he decided to accede to India, signing over key powers to the Indian Government - in return for military aid and a promised referendum fifty years later which hasnt been held yet.
Since then, the territory has been the flashpoint for three wars: the first in 1947-8, the second in 1965, and a third in1999, when India fought a brief but bitter conflict with Pakistani-backed forces who had infiltrated Indian-controlled territory in the Kargil area.
In addition to the rival claims of Delhi and Islamabad to the territory, there has been a growing and often violent separatist movement fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989.