Monday, April 2, 2007

Srinagar, Kashmir

A change of plans has brought us to Kashmir and the town of Srinagar on Dal lake. We're staying on one of 1000 houseboats, built by the Brits because the local Maharaja wouldn't sell them any land. An ingenious and bloody-minded solution, as one might expect.

Srinagar is a pretty amazing place. Dal lake is full of floating houses, gardens and people going about their daily lives. The lake is surrounded by enormous mountains and our first encounter with the Himalaya to the east. The architecture, people and culture are very different from the Hindu plains. Here Islam is the majority and the buildings look almost Swiss-like - built to withstand winters snows.

We have arrived in the middle of celebrations for Mohammad's birthday. Many thousands of people from all over Kashmir are here to pray at a mosque which contains a hair from the Prophet. Five times every day the amplified sounds of Imams from all over the lake drift across the water to our houseboat.

Local kids always want to practice their amazingly good English

The school run, Kashmiri style

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