Kashmir, the ethereal paradise on earth, needs no introduction. It is Mother Nature’s finest work, and people have thronged since eons to roam, live and die in this magical land. In spite of the troubled times the land is going through, the beauty of Kashmir has not tarnished a bit.
Kashmir is an integral part of ancient India’s culture and tradition, with various temples and structures located here. It is also home to various Mughal era gardens, minarets and palaces, such as Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Mughal Gardens etc. The Chinar trees, known in Kashmir as boonyi or boonyi kul, are kind-of-maple trees which line the lanes and streets of the valley. One of the most famous postcard images of Kashmir is that of amber hued Chinar leaves wilting in its soothing autumn air.
Srinagar is the capital of Kashmir. It is one of the most beautiful and well-planned cities of India. As you roam through the streets, the smell of succulent kebabs, rista-goshtaba (meat balls in a tomato-curd curry), yakhni, rogan josh waft through the air and overwhelm your senses!
Ladakh is a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (Jammu being the winter capital) which has its distinct geographical and socio-cultural identity. The people here are predominantly Budhhists, and live in some of the most inhospitable, and the most beautiful, regions of the planet.
It is saddening to see Kashmir being ravaged by the inequities of humanity. The valley is fighting a valiant battle, but unless we let go of our apprehensions and go there in droves to restore Kashmir to its former glory, the war, whoever may win it, is ultimately LOST.
"Agar firdaus bar ru-ye zamin ast,
Hamin ast o hamin ast o hamin ast "
"If there is a paradise on earth,It is this, it is this, it is this
Amir Khusrao could not have said it better.