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Experiencing Kashmir Valley

As I trek along the rocky mountainous path, I take a pause and look around. On my right is a valley covered with lush green forests. In the horizon I can see another valley soaked with ice. Below, I can see water gushing out from glaciers which are situated distantly in this landscape. I turn to left and see a hill, covered with green grass and flowers of colors yellow and lavender. I look above, as if searching for something divine, but all I can see is a beautiful blue sky, patched up with clouds that never ever looked so enchanting in 24 years of my life. And it is then it dawns upon me once again; I am in Kashmir. Kashmir, of whose beauty, lengths have been written, movies have been filmed. Kashmir, that is supposed to be so beautiful that so many countries have territory disputes over it.

I have been to a lot many hill stations and have had my own experiences of them. Most of the times, they look all the same to me now. Markets selling over priced souvenirs, guides and touts all out to fleece you, dirt, untidiness, hills covered with concrete; that is my take on almost all hill stations I have visited. In that sense, even the Kashmir valley is not very different.

Yet it has a very distinct character of its own. The scenery, the sense of landscape, is clearly not visible in any other hill station. You feel like sitting down and allow yourself to soak in the raw, natural beauty all around you. This is not a Shimla or Mussorie, with a mall road full of shops that you have to walk around. True, the area of Kashmir valley is not exactly remote or underdeveloped. In fact they come across as quite urban.

If you ask me to give an adjective to Kashmir; it would be enchanting. It has a spell bounding effect on you. To the writer in me, this is a place of several untold stories. Every nook and corner of Kashmir beckons me towards a story, never heard of, a story that should be told. To the traveler in me, Kashmir valley comes across as a picture, so raw and innocent, ravished my millions of travelers before me, yet retaining its purity, serenity and soberness. 

And it is finally, when I am traveling back, that I wonder about the fact that China holds interest in one part of Kashmir, Pakistan another and India the rest of it. Yet, there is a voice for an independent country of Kashmir. Remembering the landscapes en route, I think I found the answer, as to why Kashmir is such a disputed place. You can never seem to get enough of it.


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