Guest Blogger Bio: Bryan Bailey is the brother of Adam Bailey. He is easily identifiable in India as the Canadian who’s either in others’ way snapping a photo, or seeking Internet for Tiger baseball updates.
The first half of my India Adventure consisted of stops in Delhi, Kashmir, and now Mumbai. I’ve just arrived, and am patiently awaiting Nicole’s arrival after a long, half-traverse of the globe. While I found Delhi to overwhelm the senses (particularly hearing), it appears that Mumbai will be equal to the task (I’ve heard from multiple people that Mumbai’s chaos is actually worse). Needless to say, for a guy used to Canada’s order and population density, a buffer was needed. Enter Kashmir (cue Zeppelin…)
My four days in Kashmir provided the calm and relaxation that I needed. Yes, I’m referring to the Kashmir… that land in dispute since 1947, that is the focal point of tensions between two nuclear states. The fact that this setting could provide a respite really speaks volumes as to the action in Delhi and Mumbai 🙂 Well, Kashmir has been calm for a few years now as the natural ebb-and-flow of tensions hasn’t boiled over to cause any major incidents. Warning: I’m not a security expert, just a conscientious tourist who follows travel advisories. Every Kashmiri I met was very friendly (an observation also made by Adam & Amanda while they were in Delhi), indicating that the source of the unrest is likely from external influences.
The idea was to spend two days taking in the glorious Himalayan mountain scenery near Sonamarg, then enjoy two days in Srinagar, the summer capital of the Jammu & Kashmir state. Unfortunately, my mountain time was impacted by two straight days of continuous downpours. However, I had some decent accommodations, so I was content to take in the scenery from my balcony. There was no Internet and no distractions, which allowed for some quality “me time”. The rain had mostly subsided by day three, so I delayed my travel by a few hours to provide more mountain time. That’s when most of the following pics were taken.
Srinagar, which can be as much a bustling city as others in India, is also known as the “Venice of Asia” for its canals. Contributing to Srinagar’s water culture are hundreds of houseboats, originally an innovative solution by the British to a Kashmiri law against foreign land ownership, but now a unique place for tourists to stay. While some of these houseboats are near the action of the city centre, others are in the quieter outskirts of town, and this is where I chose to lay my head. Few things are more relaxing than bobbing up and down on a quiet lake, so I do not regret that choice.
Traveling solo may seem like a lonely endeavour, but I actually find it has the opposite effect. Whether in transit, or back at the hotel, or houseboat in this case, it provides more of an opportunity to engage with the new people around you. Indeed I made many new friends on this leg of the journey, ranging from Torontian to Filipino, and of course, Kashmiri, whom I look forward to meeting again some day.
Anyways, I’ll leave it at that, and let the pictures do the rest of the talking 🙂 All in all, I had a fantastic four days in Kashmir!
Adam and Amanda, thanks for letting me butt in. To those followers who don’t know me, and could care less, I apologize for the intrusion 🙂
A taste of the ride back down to Srinagar.
A boring video of raindrops falling on the lake greatly enhanced by a surprise drop-in by a hungry Kingfisher.