Tomorrow is my birthday! 5 yrs ago, in this blog, I had revealed a birthday wish to visit Pakistan to explore the country as I explore India. Its yet to come true. Today, for this birthday, I'm expressing my wish to explore Kashmir. Well, I already said my wish to do a Himalayan trek in my Tada trek post. May be Kashmir, Ladakh, Himalayan trek, Pakistan and Baluchistan together in one trip.... Anyone from Pakistan Tourism Dept reading this???
Ever since I was a child, I've always loved the shape of Kashmir. It indeed looks like a crown atop India! The state is in 3 parts - Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh.
Pic Courtesy: Basharat Shah via Wikimedia Commons
The place is filled with water (lakes & rivers) and mountains (the mighty Himalayas). Its a place where, unlike Chennai, but more like London, the 4 seasons are much more pronounced, where the whole valley fills with snow in winter, sun shines in summer, all Mughal gardens and valleys fill with flowers in spring and all their leaves fall in autumn!
Close to Srinagar is the famous Dal Lake where a ride in a house boat or a flower boat would be just perfect! Esp in winter, when the water of the lake almost freezes on the surface yet stays water below makes the ride even more spectacular. I'd want to go there not alone, but with my guy for a romantic day out!!!
Pic Courtesy: Monson126 via Wikimedia Commons
I haven't skied in my life so far but I have to do it and what better place than our own Kashmir. Switzerland of India - the spectacular Gulmarg, is India's place to do skiing and cable car! There are some proposed ecological preserve like Bungus and Gurez etc where snow leopards and Himalayan Brown Bears exist.
Pic Courtesy: Bhadani via Wikimedia Commons
What's the best way to feel any place than with the people living in them and personally for me it would be with the artisans and craftspersons. A few years ago, a junior in my university went to Kashmir to understand the crewel embroidery from the craftspersons there and I was definitely a bit jealous, I should say. I really wish to meet the people who do various crafts incl Namdas wool work, chain stitch embroidery crewel work, Pashmina work. Most of them are Muslims who practice these crafts and they deliberately leave a small portion of the piece of art incomplete, because in their philosophy, the only one who can be perfect is Allah!
Pic Courtesy: Doniv79 via Wikimedia Commons
Apart from all these regular places (well though not all are tourist destinations), there are some unique places that I'd like to visit. Kargil War was one of the first point (if you read my post on Pakistan, you'd know) when I felt deeply about the general public of Pakistan. So yeah, I'd really love to visit Kargil. Another unique place that I'd like to see is Rozabal shrine - a controversial place. The tomb here is of Youza Asouph. Some believe that Jesus Christ survived his cruxification and traveled to India and lived in Kashmir till his natural death and Youza Asouph is actually Jesus of Nazareth!!!