This post was first published here

A month of sadness and reduced self confidence had passed by. I frequently found myself scrolling through Instagram’s travel pictures for hours to escape my mundane life. I could only passively look at all the places and yearn to be there. Unless… one such day I simply decided to pick myself up and instantly booked a flight to Srinagar thinking of it as ‘travel therapy’. A week later, I had stepped into heaven, because if this wasn’t divine, I fail to understand what can be.

1547219945_dal_lake_srinagar_kashmir
Pinks hues and the serenity of Dal lake

Before coming here, my research had told me that November witnessed Autumn in full-swing in Srinagar. The place bathes in color orange in November owing to the Maple trees all around the city. Well, it is all true, except that just when I landed, the city also witnessed it’s season’s first snowfall!! Now I could see the Whites along with the Reds and Oranges of the city!

1547217556_autumn_srinagar
Mohabatein feels? 😛 “Red carpet” in Shalimar Bagh
Photo of Shalimar Bagh By Shrey Bansiwal
Here come the whites

What was more pleasing than the hues of Srinagar, though, was my two-night stay on a house boat on the Dal Lake. The Lake spans 20 kilometers in length and houses around 200 thousand people. It goes unsaid that the only mode of transportation are the Shikara boats.

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-02 at 2.44.27 AM
Snow covered shikaras- what beauties!

Talking of Shikaras, my own boat ride experience had me lost in trance, so much so that I did not realise a shop ‘floating by’ and the vendor calling out to me. I had reached the floating market where people sold Kashmiri artefacts on boats. This is also the market, where you can easily bargain for products.

Photo of I Found Solace in Dal Lake- A City Built on Waters #KashmirInPhotos By Shrey Bansiwal

Happy with my boat-shopping of some Kashmiri gems and stones, I decided to get back to my houseboat, only to encounter another floating vendor, this time offering exactly what I needed at the time- some fresh fish tikka, right from the lake!

I finally reached my cozy houseboat where my bed and electronic quilt were waiting to warm my numb fingers and toes. Before tucking myself inside however, I had one last drink for the day- a traditional Kashmiri Kahwa- made to warm the body and the cockles of my heart.

Photo of I Found Solace in Dal Lake- A City Built on Waters #KashmirInPhotos By Shrey Bansiwal
Traditional Kashmiri Kahwa before bed-time
I finally slipped into my sleep as I dreamed about the happenings of the day. In that dreamy state, I was already planning my next trip to this divine land. I was dozing off slowly, but the Farsi couplet rang in my head: “Agar Firdaus bar-roo zameen-ast, hameen-ast o hameen-ast o hameen-ast” translated losely as, ‘if there is paradise on Earth, it is here’. I had just seen Paradise.
—————————-

PS: A full-fledged Kashmir itinerary has been provided by Radhika here. You can read and plan your trip, and let me know how it goes in the comments 🙂