Kashmir Out – Ladakh In
You might be wondering why I have not been blogging much this week. Well, I have been busy rewriting our Lumen Dei itinerary. Maybe you have been reading some of the news coming out of Kashmir over the past summer. Kashmir has been in it’s normal turmoil and more.
Earlier this summer, the Kashmir state government gave a portion of Muslim land away to a Hindu shrine authority. This decision to give the land away was extremely controversial do to some old laws, and as a result it inflamed radicals on both sides and there was stone throwing and violent protests. We watched it then and during the summer the decision to give the land back was made and all seemed well.
Recently there has been another flare up as a group of Hindus had blocked the roadway into the Valley. The Jammu Srinagar road is the only road in and out of the valley to the rest of India, it is the Valley’s life line. The situation then escalated and there have been riots, stone-throwing, shootings, and a city-wide curfew. As a protest to the closing of the road thousands of protesters took to the streets defying the curfew order. But when protesters clashed with police 13 people lost their lives. Obviously this is not the ideal climate into which to take a workshop, or in which to learn photography. David and I have been watching it closely, speaking often with our local contacts. This past week the decision was made to change things now rather than wait until later and hope the situation improves. We are committed to providing our participants an unforgettable experience, but we’re even more committed to making sure they are safe. So David and I have decided to move the tour from Srinagar to Ladakh, both are in Jammu-Kashmir State, but they have distinctly different cultural flavours. And, most importantly, Ladakh is as safe as you can get in India.
So this week I have logged a lot of time on SKYPE talking with contacts in Leh and working out a new itinerary. It is coming together and in fact, David and I are even more excited about this trip than the Srinagar one. So stay with me, I will keep you posted on our new adventure to the top of the world.
To give you an idea of what kind of things we will be seeing, I have put together a small slideshow of some older images of Ladakh HERE. I hope you enjoy them.