Friday, February 24, 2006

Kashmir-A paradise on earth

A poet once described Kashmir as "Paradise on earth".I never really could figure out how he could point out that only Kashmir could be a paradise and no other place.Two years back,after the semester IV exams I had gone to Kashmir along with some of my school friends for 14 days.After seeing Kashmir with my own eyes,I understood what the poet meant when he said "Paradise on earth".I consider myself to be lucky to have toured a large part of India in my short life(I must thank my stars and parents for that).However, I would say that of all the beautiful places in India,Kashmir is something really special.There are the Himalayas in Himachal pradesh,Uttaranchal,the backwaters in Kerala,the temple towns of South India,the desert of Rajashtan,the Himalays of North-East and then there is Kashmir.All these places have their own characteristic beauty.But,by no means am I trying to downplay their beauty when I say that Kashmir is a place which God has made with special attention.

What can I say about the house boats on the Dal lake which are as big as a normal 3BHK flat in hip suburban Mumbai.I would anyday trade a ride in a luxury car for a long ride on the lovely shikara .The daily rides that I had in the shikara's when I had been there made me feel like a prince.The beautiful lake city on the dal lake with house boats surrounded by the great Himalayas on all sides was truly a sight that I'll never forget. The view that we get of Srinagar atop the Shankaracharya temple is simply breathtaking.I had heard stories about the dal lake being polluted over the years,the market place being destroyed during the period of insurgency,places like Gulmarg (which is not far away from PoK) being soft targets for the extremists.Inspite of all these drawbacks,I found Kashmir to be a cery beautiful place.In fact it would be an understatement to say that Kashmir is a beautiful place. There are just no words to describe the beauty of the dal lake,the picturesque highway between Jammu and Kashmir valley,the roadway that passes through the sanctuary in Gulmarg,the snow capped peaks of Sonmarg,Gulmarg and Srinagar.The mughal gardens are an added attraction.I must admit that I've never been a plants and flower enthusiast,but there is no doubt about the fact that the Mughal gardens are one of the best gardens in India.
I have just been to some of the places in Kashmir valley.The locals over there told me that the Kashmir we see today is not even 10-20% of what it was before the separatist movement started.My dad also vouched for it.No wonder he has been to Kashmir umpteen number of times.I must admit one thing though.Inspite of living in the terrorised valley for the last 16 years the people of Kashmir still haven't lost the warmth they are so well known for.I could see them smiling at all tourists.The children over there have experienced and seen violence that we have seen only in the movies.Yet,they still are as innocent as any other child from any other place in India.The people of Kashmir have really played an important part in makin Kashmir a "Paradise on earth".Locals of famous tourist spots are always known for their honesty.The same goes for Kashmir.But,what is truly great is that they are still honest inspite of having not earned much in the last 16 years of insurgency.There was a period between 1989-1998 when almost no tourists went to Kashmir.Kashmir is a state where the locals have always survived on the tourism and handicrafts industry.I shudder when I even think about the sleepless nights these innocent people must have spent inside their houses with children crying for food and a curfew imposed outside(which was a daily routine).Hats off to the people of Kashmir for having a smiling and cheerful face inspite of losing their sons,daughters,mothers,fathers,brothers and other relatives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, so cool about the Kashmir thing. Hope I get to see it too.


7:20 AM  
Blogger Vivek said...

Indeed, Kashmir is Heaven on earth. It just has been blemished by the sight of mortals.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kashmir is beautiful, Muslims have just fucked it up for everyone! Damn muslims!

5:00 PM  
Blogger Pranav said...

Mr. Anonymous I wud have appreciated it if u had revealed ur name.As far as ur comment on the Muslims goes it only makes me laugh at ur knowledge(or rather the lack of it) and ur narrow minded thinking.Let me remind you that Kashmir has been a home to Muslims for centuries.The beautiful Mughal gardens, as the name suggests,was built by Muslim rulers.Even today,as I have written in my article the people(95% Muslims) are honest,simple and have been responsible for maintaining the beauty and charm of this place which was once called "Paradise on Earth".I really don't understand the connection between Kashmir being destroyed by terrorsim and Muslims,since in this case both the perpetrators and the victims are Muslims,the only difference being that most of the perpetrators belong to the other side or are for a separate state and the victims are our own people.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i shall remain anonymous because as we all know, muslims are religious fanatics/fools. i'm doing this for my own security. i'm sure you will understand.

from what i know, kashmir is a place where hindus are not safe. hindu families are often killed by muslims. ever since muslims started "spreading their wings", so to speak, ie. spreading terrorism (this is what they do best!), tourism to this place has declined substantially. when i said muslims have fucked it up for everyone, this is what i meant. can you honestly tell me that you will visit kashmir with your family AND feel safe? i don't think so! that proves my point.

i'm not sure where you're getting your numbers from? 95% muslims are honest, simple etc etc? 95%??!! i disagree.

if muslims were so honest and simple then we wouldn't have so many muslim-hindu, muslim-christian, muslim-jewish, muslim-muslim, muslim-athiest, muslim-buddhist conflicts all over the world! it seems to me that the koran is a terrorist manual.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Pranav said...

When I spoke about figures( 95%),I meant the Muslim population in Kashmir.As far as the safety of me and my family goes,I would like to remind you that I have already been to Kashmir.Let me tell you very honestly,although it still has separatist elements,some of the places are safe for the tourists.The people of Kashmir are very honest.There is no doubt about that.Even though they are poor,have suffered for more than 15 years,they haven't resorted to looting,robbery etc.The belongings of toursits are not stolen by the locals.I can vouch for that.
As for the last paragraph that you wrote,I would like to tell you that there are extremists in evry religion.Yes,I agree that most of the religious conflicts involve the Muslims,but that is only in the middle east.Those countries are still living in the dark ages.As far as Indian muslims go,I don't think we have any right to brand them as terrorists.They are Indians,just like you and me.Many of them have been a part of our armed forces and have fought againts Pakistan.So,I really don't think they are anti-nationals.I am proud to say that they are a part of our country just like others from our community.Yes,there are a few separatist elements,but then the majority have abstained from violence.I'm not concerned with what conflicts the Muslims from other countries have against the christians,hindus,jews etc as long as the Muslim brothers of my country don't resort to mindless violence like their counterparts in other countries.I'm ver proud of the people of Kashmir who are Muslims,as I have rarely seen such pleasant,sweet and kind hearted people in other places in India(inspite of the troubles they have faced)
Let me remind you that people like Javed Akhtar,Aamir Khan,Shah rukh Khan who have contributed to the society in their own ways are Muslims.
I would also advice you to refrain from saying anything against any of the holy books like the Koran

P.S- If possible do mail me and let me know who you are.Do I know who you are?It would really sadden me if you are a close friend of mine(since our views on religion seem to differ a lot)

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assure you that you do not know me and have never seen me.

Also, it is nice that there are still people in our country that think like you. I wish I could... I will try!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Pranav said...

I wish I could know you.I guess we could have a nice conversation over such topics.Anyways,I do hope you keep visiting my blog and keep commenting on the posts.I appreciate genuinely frank comments from everyone.I hope your attitude towards the moderate muslims changes.God bless you.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Ankur jha said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful destination travel guide with us, The beautiful Kashmir valley looks like a paradise on earth. The valley is so beautiful that you will fall in love with it at the first sight itself. Same Day Taj Mahal Tour By Car

3:01 AM  

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