Thursday, 17 July 2014


Srinagar was the summer capital of the Indian state of Kashmir. It is now the capital of that part of Kashmir below the Control Line which is ruled by India. I went there once.

It is supposed to be very beautiful and it is beautiful, with lakes, gardens and high Himalayan mountain scenery. Is it nicer than Northumberland? Well, it’s different. New Mexico is different again but they are all beautiful. I thought Dorset [see previous post] was beautiful.
What prompted this post was a report on BBC last week referring to the re-emergence of well-off Indian tourists in Srinagar. Couples walking arm in arm; families; galleries re-opening and artefacts being sold in markets. The point being, they must feel safe. Perhaps Pakistan and the Kashmir insurgents are finally accepting the status quo, after twenty years.
When I was there, we lived on a houseboat on the Dal Lake, with its own cook and houseboy trying to recreate how life must have been back in the British Raj, when the expats escaped from the summer heat of the Indian plains. I thought it was pretty awful. The food was the cheapest cuts of meat; lots of rice and hot curry ingredients to hide the taste of what was actually being served; antique beds and grubby linen. Real take the money and run stuff.
I caught Typhoid Fever there and almost died.  

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