Posted on February 06, 2018 at 08:50 am By Amit Sharma
Tourists often, and understandably and have reservations about visiting Kashmir. After all, this charming region is prone to civil unrest and violence. It's been declared off-limits to tourists on a number of occasions. There have also been a few isolated incidents, with Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley being temporarily shut down. However, tourists always begin returning after peace is restored.
While there is a military presence in Srinagar, it is mostly handled by a paramilitary force that is there to reassure both tourists and locals about security. There are times when you’ll see military vehicles, armed soldiers, and surveillance equipment along the streets and highways, but this is to ensure safety. It’s probably a good idea to register with your country’s consulate upon arrival in India and give them a copy of your itinerary. Before you go, read any travel warnings that might be current.
Over the years, spontaneous protests have broken out by various groups trying to carve out their place in Kashmiri society. As a result, sometimes curfews and checkpoints are imposed. Be aware during curfews it takes longer to go places. This is especially relevant if you are flying during this time. It might be difficult to get transportation to the airport, so plan ahead. Also the airport only lets passengers in who are departing within three hours. If you arrive earlier due to curfew restrictions, you might have to wait outside.
The only carry-on allowed are pre-checked laptops and cell phones. All other luggage must be weighed, scanned and checked. Make sure you have your departure ticket, passport, and carry-on electronics accessible before you arrive at the security checkpoint.
The population of Srinagar is about 1.2 million people. There are approximately 880 women for every 1000 men. It is also a predominately Muslim society with about 5 percent being Hindu. Women are not required to cover their face or head but should dress respectfully with pants and sleeved shirts. It is perfectly safe for women to walk on the streets without much danger of being approached or harassed, but still be aware of your surroundings.
Srinagar, once known as the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is famous for the grand houseboats anchored on the piers and floating in the middle of the lake. The James Bond movie “Octopussy” featured these floating barge homes. However some have fallen into disrepair from years of neglect. Recently, the newly elected government worked with the local tourism officials and formed the Houseboat Owners Association. Together they wrote safety standards and are bringing back these Kashmiri palaces. Be careful when booking your stay that you choose a houseboat with the HOA approved logo.
If you venture to Srinagar during the winter months, make sure you bring proper clothing. Layering and a good jacket should be sufficient. Near the lakes can be icy, so be careful when walking that you don’t slip though the ice. Winter storms in Zabarwan Range can freeze the lake or envelop the valley with a foggy mist, giving Srinagar an ethereal beauty.
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23 Feb 2018
good post keep up the work
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