Traveling Kashmir - India meets Muslim world
We took a 26 hour buss to Srinagar, so now we are in Kashmir, enjoying the exquisite peace of Lake Dal, which hosts our house boat. The bus trip was an experience in itself. The farther from Delhi we were getting, the cleaner it looked. T-shirts and jeans were replaced by traditional Sikh or Muslim clothing. The whole journey was filled with a cozy smell of smoke coming from fields were the farmers were burning grass to fertilize the soil. We passed a lot of villages where all along the road people were busy with their crafts and everything looked like it probably did hundreds of years ago.
A trip on Dal Lake was an unforgettable experience. Once we passed all the multiple shikara (boat) shops selling jewelery, crafts, drinks, etc. all the noise and chaos were left behind and we discovered the real charm of the beautiful lake with its majestic serenity, floating gardens of water lilies an lotuses, the peaceful rhythm of the shikara peddle, the reflections of the clouds and mountain in the water, local people collecting the grass from the lake to nourish their gardens, fishermen houses, etc. The shikara man told us stories of Kashmir in his poetic broken English, expressing in his own way the tragedy of this area when torn by war and the bliss of peace.
Mughal Gardens, the old city and the temple
We visited the Mughal Gardens - a paradise of roses and water cascades. Lots of Indian tourists wanted to take a picture with us.
After the gardens we visited the old city - everywhere you can see a lot of police and army guys, sometimes barricaded in rolls of barbed wire, preserving what might be a fragile peace.
Another wonderful experience was another Sikh temple on top of the mountain. We saw a lot of Indian pilgrims, rang dozens of bells and inside the temple a wise looking monk painted an orange spot on our "third eye chakra".