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Days in Kashmir When It Was Idyll Place

Updated on September 17, 2020
emge profile image

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places

Dal lake
Dal lake

Introduction

Kashmir is India's northernmost state. It is a very picturesque place with beautiful people. It is reported that when the Mughal emperor Jahangir visited Kashmir he was struck by its awesome beauty and exclaimed ' if there is heaven then this is it.'

But the entire valley is now under the boots of the soldiers after Islamic terrorists inspired by Pakistan infiltrated to create havoc among the people. Kashmir is a Muslim majority state and the militants have been appealing to them in the name of Islam to rise against India. There is talk of Jihad and the Hindu minority in the valley has been expelled.

All this is well-known but what people should note that before the militancy inspired by Pakistan, the Kashmir Valley was literally like the garden of Eden. I visited Kashmir many times and the first time I visited was with my girlfriend an American when the valley was calm and Tranquille.

Srinagar was a wonderful place and it had a number of bars where one could sit and have a glass of whiskey. There were excellent places to eat with some high-class restaurants and the city was alive late into the nights during the tourist season. The Dal lake was simply beautiful and spending time in the houseboats was like a dream come true. It was so safe to travel around and the greatest pleasure one could get was getting into a Shikara and the boatman taking you all over the lake to a small island where you could have excellent lamb meat.

The boatman would also pilot the boat to houses on the edge of the lake and you could enter the houses from the boat and buy the local handicraft. I used to wonder what a lovely place Kashmir is.

Gulmurg
Gulmurg

The capital and tours

Srinagar the capital had excellent avenues lined with big shops. Two places to visit were Hazratbal and the Hindu Temple atop the hill. Visiting these places was a revelation because everything was so calm and serene.

You could take a trip around Wulur lake and Manasbal Lake. Kashmir tourism had lovely resorts and you could stay there and partake of good food. Alcohol was not taboo and everybody was very tolerant. Our taxi driver told us that he was very happy here and would not like to go to a country like Pakistan. That was the mood of the people.

Two resorts which were a must-visit were at Pahalgam and Gulmarg. Both places are simply beautiful with gushing natural streams and large grassy meadows. Gulmarg had a wonderful golf course and I remember playing a nine-hole game there.

Gulmarg was much colder than Srinagar and at night both of us would sozzle ourselves with a few drinks of Chivas regal and then hit the bed. It was almost like having come to a part of paradise. From Pahalgam, you could take a pony with a guide and go up to a lake higher up in the mountains and there you could see floating chunks of ice in the freshwater lake. I remember my pony almost slipped and it gave me a heartbeat but he soon recovered and we carried on.


Pahalgam
Pahalgam

Resorts and mountains

The valley in those days had a number of resorts and they had the most modern facilities and best of all some of them had well-stocked bars. Kashmir is nestled in the Himalayas which as we all know are the highest mountains in the world. If you want to trek in the mountains there is no better place then Kashmir and you can go up to Sonamarg and many other places.

If you came in winter then you will find the entire valley covered with a blanket of snow and it's all white all around. Visiting Gulmarg at that time is a great challenge and if you are a skier you can ski down the mountain slopes.

Shiv temple
Shiv temple
Wulur Lake
Wulur Lake

Last word

One can make Srinagar the base and then travel all around the valley. It's a wonderful place for people who are in love at least used to be. It's a swell place to spend time in a houseboat, explore the Dal Lake in a Shikara, and take long treks in the mountain slopes of the Himalayas. You could play golf at Gulmarg and in winter come down to ski. Srinagar itself was a vibrant city and I remember myself and my friend enjoying a lovely time at the hotel Broadway with the girl belting English songs.

All this is a dream now and the paradise has gone. Why this has happened? nobody can tell and in any case I don't want to do any analysis. The memories of the Kashmir of those days live with me and have fond memories trekking in the mountains with my girl and playing golf at Gulmarg and spending two exotic nights in a houseboat. God save Kashmir.

Comments

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      4 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thank you Vanita, I have been to Kashmir so many times and I dont see any normalcy coming until a demographic change takes place like China did in Tibet and Bangladesh in Chittagong hill tracts.

    • Vanita Thakkar profile image

      Vanita Thakkar 

      4 weeks ago

      Very nice article with such beautiful pictures !!

      Kashmir always enchants. Movies that were shot in Kashmir become easy favourites (and they have most wonderful, memorable songs as well) - Kashmir Ki Kali, Jungalee, Bemisal, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Shagun and so on ....

      I pray and wish the lost paradise is regained. And I really wish I can visit it when that happens !! I hope that is not too unrealistic ....

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      5 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thank you for commenting Kalpana, Hope you make it to Kashmir.

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 

      5 weeks ago from India

      I always wanted to visit Kashmir. It was on my travel visit and I wish we had done that trip earlier. Your article made me miss the place more. Hopefully we will get to visit soon.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      5 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Mike, Kashmir can still be visited but under escort in conducted tours. The old days of peace and tranquility are gone like the wind.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 

      5 weeks ago

      A great story! It sounds like an absolute great place to visit. I liked the pictures you provided. Can I assume it is not a place to visit anymore?

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      5 weeks ago from Singapore

      Dale, thanks for commenting. Yes, Kashmir is a beautiful place but now it reminds me of Paradise lost.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      5 weeks ago from The High Seas

      Wow Kashmir really does look like a beautiful place that I would want to visit. Thank you for sharing this.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Rinita, nice that you have memories of Kashmir. Thank you

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Pamela, for a wonderful comment.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      It is sad that this paradise is gone because these beautiful pictures tell a lovely story. It is wonderful that you did get to visit Kashmir. As we get older it seems we appreciate special memories like this one is to you.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      6 weeks ago

      Thank you for writing this. I myself was one of the lucky ones that had the opportunity to visit Kashmir before all the sad things began. Although I was a child then, I still remember the breathtaking beauty that is incomparable.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Ankita, so nice of you to have spared time and commented.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Flourish, Yes its sad.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 weeks ago from USA

      It’s sad that paradise has been ruined.

    • Ankita B profile image

      Ankita B 

      6 weeks ago

      Wonderful article. You are indeed lucky to have visited Kashmir and witness its magnificent beauty. I enjoyed reading your article. The photos are truly beautiful.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Chitra so sweet of you to have commented.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      You described the beautiful Kashmir so well. You were lucky to visit this heavenly place in earlier times.

      Nice pictures and well presented article about Kashmir.

      Thanks for sharing.

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