Passing through Jawaharlal tunnel one realizes now is the moment when you enter heaven. Kashmir is not just a beautiful hill station but its existence holds a lot of stories, it is a true gold mine in terms of culture, tradition, food and beauty and situation a little different It can be the best tourist spot in the world.
There are two ways to reach Srinagar one is via National Highway from Jammu and the other via Srinagar Airport. I would strongly recommend travel by road as the journey is beautiful. Kashmir is divided into five main tourist regions- Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Gulmarg and Leh-Ladakh.
As soon as you reach Srinagar, after dropping your bags in a nearby hotel you need to take yourself to one of the famous restraunt- “Ahadoos” which serves the best traditional food in Kashmir. Wazwan is the traditional cuisine of Kashmir; it’s only made for special occasions like weddings. The cuisine consists of 36 different dishes made out of meat and certain native vegetables. This is normally eaten with boiled rice. In the Kashmiri language, waz means a ‘cook’ and wan means ‘shop’. Traditionally guests are seated in groups of four and share the meal out of a large copper platter called the traem. The must taste out of the 36 dishes are Gostba, Rishta and Tabak Mazz.
The prominent tourist points that you need to visit in Kashmir are Dal Lake (Srinagar), Mughal Gardens (Srinagar), Gandola ride (Gulmarg), Glacier (Sonamarg), Snow Bridge (Chandanwari) and Betab valley (Pahalgam).
Another very beautiful place called Verinag is the starting of river Jhelum. There is an architecture developed by Jahangir which is basically a big tube well structure in which ground water comes which later forms Jhelum after combining with various other tributaries. Rest of the travel is all about relaxing and enjoying with nature, not very much of a sightseeing type place.
But all these places can be shown to you by any website, what I’m going to talk about is something restricted to Army personals. Hidden between the Himalayan Mountains in the Uri sector is a very active Army Guard post called Kaman post. It takes about 3 hours to reach this place from Gulmarg but it is worth the time.
This post was created to administer a bridge that connects India to POK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir).On both sides of this bridge are two country’s post that are managed by their respective armies. This place is not just a security point but, a host to one of the most beautiful patriotism practices.
On the road to this post, you drive along the Jhelum River which acts like a LOC (Line of Control) between the two countries after the 1947 conflict, for the acquisition of Kashmir. It is amazing to see Pakistan from this close. As you drive on the road you notice small Pakistani villages on the side and how their farming practices are so similar to ours. Few people might just even wave to you from the other side
The name of this post is after, Lt Col Kaman Singh, MVC from Gharwal Rifles. During the 1947 attack to acquire Kashmir, he played a vital role in planning and executing the plan to capture the Pakistani guerrilla.
The most interesting thing about this place started years back which is the INDIA-PAKISTAN barter system.
Four days a week via this bridge the two nations exchange spices, handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, cloth etc.by sending loaded trucks. The trucks enter the other nation in the morning after a complete security check of the luggage, the truck and the driver to avoid any kind of smuggling. Next they go to the trade center at Salemabad, unload and return back in the evening. The products unloaded at the trade center are then moved to the main Jammu market.
Once a week busses also travel between the two nation carrying passengers. They also undergo a strict security check. This practice of exchanging products reminds us of the brotherhood the two nations had. It makes us feel that there is still hope to attain peace between the two nations. The commanders of the two posts also have timely meetings to discuss the conduct of one another. On occasion of Diwali and EID gifts are exchanged between them on the bridge.
On the gates of Pakistan stands a huge billboard that says “GOD IS ONE, AND HIS NAME IS ALLAH” in Arabic and Urdu. Whereas on the gates of India stands a board saying “MAZHAB NAI SIKHATA AAPAS MEIN BER RAKHNA” in Hindi and English and Urdu. Both countries strongly showcase to each other that they are strong but do come together in times of need.
Another very interesting aspect of this visit is coming across the Pakistani trucks. These colorful beautiful hand painted trucks grasp your attention in the first look. The trucks have small ethnic designs and patterns made on their sides and have many handicraft items hanging all around. The trucks are decorated with tiny mirrors, wall hangings, plastic flowers lights and various other beautiful items.
This entry was submitted for Holidify’s Travelogue Writing Contest, Wanderlust in association with Mood Indigo, IIT-B. The content and pictures may not be used without prior permission of the author.
Submitted by: Nishita Karun
It is a delight to see the effort that the driver put in order to make their trucks look attractive. They put in their own money and hard work to create these as they want to make their country proud when they come to India. Another unique thing is the shape of the truck which is like a platform that is made on the front. Upon asking the driver we got to know that they make it themselves and use it for storage and sleeping purposes. All trucks have their district name “Azaad Kashmir” beautifully written on the number plate. It is great to the see the amount of dedication shown by them to keep the tradition of barter system alive and maintain peace between the two nations.
Kashmir is truly God’s country. Do visit if you have the chance because from here even Pakistan is not that far.