My wife and I hadn't intended on traveling to Kashmir on this trip but some alarming news headlines made it seem like a safer alternative than Ladakh proving that irony is alive and well in 2009.
Though Kashmiri salesmen are some of the pushiest I've ever encountered and the 4 a.m. Ramadan prayers that are broadcast via loudspeaker were a bit much, Dal Lake in Srinagar is one of the most peaceful places I can imagine.
Just as the sun goes down the daily call to prayer began, rising and falling in a gentle rhythm all over the lake
Some of the people on Dal Lake paddle 'shikaras'--water taxis--while others sell saffron and woven goods
In the late of the day men fish amid the lotus flowers
These houseboats are in various states of disrepair but are charming nonetheless
This boy was one of many wonderful, funny, and smart people we met during our time in Srinagar
The houseboats of Srinagar feature prominently in Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories which is highly recommended. Unfortunately, Dal Lake is horribly polluted and efforts to install modern sewage lines to the houseboats and remove trash have been slow in coming. To read more about the clean-up efforts, go here. To read more about some full value, drop the clutch climbing that the late Johnny Copp and Micah Dash did in Kashmir, read "Line of Control" (pdf download.)