Kashmir – The People Of The Valley

If there is one thing travel has taught me, it is that the world is far more complex and layered than we perceive it. That beneath all the superficial differences, people are just people across cultures and geographical boundaries. That their hopes, dreams, travails, even in the most vilified of places, are similar. I have always believed this in my heart, but travel has unequivocally underscored the universality of human life.

We were as humbled by the warmth and kindness we encountered in Kashmir as by the unparalleled beauty of its landscape. I conclude my Kashmir dairies (for now) with this gallery of people from the troubled valley. Just regular people like you and me.

Young Kashmiri girl.

A young girl in her mother’s shop in a village near Doodhpathri. She’s studying commerce in Srinagar and hopes to land a good job in the city when she graduates….inshallah.

One of many lovely moments from our sundeck on Sukoon.

Friends at the floating vegetable market.

Friends, at the floating vegetable market on Dal lake, Srinagar

Shalimar Garden

Deep in contemplation in Shalimar Garden, Srinagar

Two lovely little ladies beside the river in Doodhpathri

Congregation at the Shah-e-Hamadan shrine, Srinagar

Mother and child, on our walk through a village enroute to Doodhpathri. (I think it was Mujpathri)

Gujjar nomad woman, Dodhpatri

A gorgeous Gujjar nomad woman in her hut in Doodhpathri.

Village school near Dodhpatri

At a village school near Dodhpatri. The littlest one in the printed headscarf just decided to accompany her older sister to class that morning!

Gujjar Nomad, Dodhpatri, KAshmir

Gujjar Nomads return to their mountain homes after a winter sojourn in the plains – Doodhpathri

A sly little one looking for an excuse to skip lunch!

Old Town, Srinagar

Awaiting his turn to buy fish – Old Town, Srinagar

Honoured to be included in a group portrait with students of an Army Goodwill School on a trekking trip to Doodhpathri.

Catching up with news we were happy to shut out for the entire duration of our stay – Old Town, Srinagar.

Twins perhaps, but of unalike temperament! – Old Town, Srinagar.

Shepherd, Dodhpatri

My sweet shepherd model – On the road to Dodohpatrhi.

As you might have guessed by now, Doodhpathri was the highlight of our trip. It is relatively untouched by commercial tourism despite being just 42 km from Srinagar. Restaurants were practically non existent apart from the odd tea stall, so go prepared with food and water if you plan to stay all day. The J&K Tourism Board is trying to promote the area and we noticed a few brand new guesthouses on the perimeter that we wanted to check out for a future visit, but they were all shut. We learned later that the forest department lets out some lodges nearby.