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In Paradise Called Kashmir

Soon after returning from my year long trip around the world, my parents suggested that we do a short family trip to Kashmir. I have visited Kashmir many times but this was to be my first family trip to Kashmir.

Pahalgam, Kashmir
Pahalgam, Kashmir

As a solo woman traveler, I have always witnessed the generosity and kindness of people. I can’t recall how many cups of tea, free food and candid conversations I have had with strangers, the people I happened to met while roaming around. Such experiences I have hardly experienced when traveling with someone, so for last couple of years, I have only traveled solo.

But because I love Kashmir too much, I agreed for what was to be my first family/ group vacation in years.

My love for Kashmir has only grown stronger over the years.
My love for Kashmir has only grown stronger over the years.

And quite expectedly, Kashmir did not disappoint. If you happen to have a conversation with Kashmiris, you would surely get overwhelmed  by the simplicity, love and hospitality of its people. Years of conflicts, struggles and torture might have changed the way how people outside of Kashmir perceive its inhabitants, but it has not changed KASHMIRI people.

For a week, we traveled to some touristy and not so touristy places in Kashmir. From places we stayed in, to people we happened to meet –  shopkeepers, taxi drivers, shepherds, everybody made us feel at home. We found them genuine in their conversations and very positive as a community.

People of Kashmir
People of Kashmir

In fact, we spent two days staying up in the hills with the Gujjars – a tribal community of Kashmir. Not rich in materials, they opened their homes and hearts to us and offered us a peak in their lives.

The tribal community living on the hills of valley are called Gujjars and are herdsmen in occupation.
The tribal community living on the hills of valley are called Gujjars and are herdsmen in occupation.

It is quite natural that most people regard the circumstances of others as better and many people I have met, especially in conflict-ridden areas, have expressed the feeling that if they got a chance they would like to swap their situations with me.

However, quite ironically, people of the valley feel the other way. Nobody here in Kashmir wants to swipe their life with us. They relish their clean air and postcard-worthy living spaces more than the comfort and convenience of city life. Probably, that is the reason why Kashmir is called Paradise on earth. Everyone wants to stay here forever.

8 thoughts on “In Paradise Called Kashmir

  1. Thank you for your posts about the Kashmiri people! I really enjoyed learning a little bit about them from your stories and pictures.

    1. Thanks, Emily! I am glad you enjoyed my stories and pictures. I would soon share more posts on Kashmir. This place is totally heaven on the Earth. 🙂

  2. Being a non Kashmiri, married to a Kashmiri pandit, it was my dream to visit the land which Pandits were forced to leave. And Finally I happened to visit Kashmir in the summer of 2013. For the first time I saw nature in its glory. Flowers loaded vines n a riot of colours everywhere. Sadly there is the other side to it….for for the first time I could sense the pain when I saw the remains of once called homes of his community….saw him misty eyed….passing through his colony. Yet beaming with pride while showing me the land which they own….only in name. Truly its a paradise which no one would like to exchange for but some people don’t have choices.

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