The holiest city in all of India, Varanasi.March 17, 2017
Part 2 of Kashmir: Himalayan Kush (kinda, not really)March 22, 2017
Ok, I'm exaggerating.
Kashmir is not Iraq, it's not Yemen, and it's definitely not Syria. But it is a place where even some of my Indian friends wouldn't dare travel.
Kashmir is a region that is being fought over by a few different groups. Pakistan and India both lay claim to the land. Moreso, there's a local sentiment held by some that Kashmir should be an independent country for Kashmiris.
A story of Kashmir:
It was by an unexpected turn of events that I found myself in Kashmir, but that's neither here nor there. What is important is that the trip was split into two areas:
- Srinigar, Kashmir's largest city.
- And Pahalgam, a beautiful, natural town.
The first few days of the journey were spent on a houseboat in Srinigar. I'd spend my days working online, sipping tea and smoking hashish when I could.
Here you can see me outside the houseboat doing some freelance work for a marketing client.
Here's the very nice owner of the houseboat, Muzaffar.
Those are the Himalayas in the background.
A panoramic view that our residence gave us.
Walking around the houseboat complex.
I was surprisingly bad at rowing this boat. Like I couldn't get it to go straight :(
A story of Kashmir:
Now it's time to enter into nature, but first let me ask you a question:
Would you travel to where this guy lives... to a place where many people look like this?
A local herdsman whose path we crossed in Pahalgam.
Our media would lead any sensible person to believe that we have something to fear from people who look like this, but it's simply not true.
Kashmir is heavily Muslim, like over 90% Muslim. Men and women wear traditional garb, and men who look like the man above are common in Pahalgam. In my time in Kashmir and in India I've only had pleasant or neutral experiences with Muslim people. In fact, a child I sponsor and visit somewhat frequently is Muslim.
For pictures of Pahalgam and to continue this journey, click the button below: