Kashmir Pt 3: A Slice of Life
In this 3rd segment I offer you a look into everyday life in Srinagar. The city of Srinagar is the summer capital of Kashmir. In the winter the government offices and staff move to warmer digs to Jammu in the plains. Srinagar is situated around a shallow lake called Dal. It is spring fed and full of house boats and weeds. The house boats are said to have been started by the Brits. You see, Kashmir has a law that forbids anyone that is not Kashmiri from owning real estate. So the Brits are said to have built house boats to get around this law. The lake is full of aquatic plant life (weeds) and it is the task of many strong men to use long sticks to pull the weeds out every day. These men then sell the weeds to local farmers to feed their stock. One of the main neighborhoods that surrounds the Dal is called Rainawari. Men, women and children ply the stinky Venice-like waterways in wooden boats called shikaras.
The city’s history dates back to around the 3rd century BC, but the building are nowhere that old. Srinagar proper is made up of the old city–dating back to the 1300s–and the new city. The old city was the home to many militants and distant activity over the past 20 years. These days there is still fighting but it is less militant and more about communal clashes between Shia and Sunnis. The old city is also home to many of the most colorful and picturesque shrines and mosques. I hope these few images help give you a tasted of my old home.