Just when you thought you guys had me pegged……. I’m not going to blab ( too much) at you this time. Instead I wanted to share some photographs from Srinigar, Kashmir, circa 1975. I’m in the midst of setting up a new computer and was moving my digital library over to the new back up system when these gems were rediscovered. Wish I had taken more, but digital cameras hadn’t arrived on the scene yet and the cost of buying film and having countless photos developed was too steep for a young vagabond of 23. Henceforth, not too many photos for six weeks of visiting in one area. I am however grateful for the photos I have and most happy to be able to share them. I am sure they will find their way into a media slideshow soon that can enjoy a wider audience.
Many of the photos have a grey sky quality to them. Srinigar is in a broad valley bowl, situated below the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Consequently there was some temperature inversion and often some smog and haze was present.
In 1975, nothing- I mean absolutely nothing was satisfying to me. So I figured a radical change in environment for period of time would shake up the status quo. Boy, was I in for a ride. But I will save that verbage for a later time.
For the upcoming posting, please enjoy your trip to a region that has suffered far to omuch trouble and upheaval since these photos were taken. If you’d like, click on a photo to enlarge it.
Srinigar is a dense city. Built mostly on land and partially on Dal Lake, it currently has a population of close to 900,000. Not quite sure what it was back in 1975 but I certainly considered it plenty crowded.
I was staying with friends who owned a fabric busines. The crewel work they imported was made in Srinigar. Occasionally I would go into town with them when they had business to attend to. They lived on the west side of the valley next door to the botanical gardens and their Spriritual Master, Swami Lakshman Joo, a highly respected and loved being, the last living Kashmiri teacher of Kashmir Shaivism.
We traveled to and from Srinigar in several ways. One was the bus, which was always an interesting experience. Westerners, although not rare, were uncommon enough to be the object of unabashed staring. The busses were well used and during rush hour it was asses to elbows. When everyone was jammed in way to intimately for comforts sake, a small boy would then somehow weave his way through the tunneled openings of arms and legs, collecting the bus fare from each individual.
My favorite way of going home after taking the bus into town , was to indulge in a water taxi home across Dal lake, through the water neighborhoods and gardens, across the open shallow waters to the landing at the Botanical Gardens, where along with the exquisite beauty of the countryside, there was this concession stand that made the best mango milkshakes you could possibly imagine.
We’ll travel around the west side of the valley a bit next time.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me.