India · 55 Days · 40 Moments · June 2017

Luke's adventure in Jammu and Kashmir

21 August 2017

Kashmir campsites. Coming to the end of my 2nd stint here in this beautiful place. 3 weeks have shot by!

14 July 2017

What a way to end off the Kashmir leg of the tour - staying in a house boat on Lake Dal in Srinagar. The Shikara rides on the lake and through the canals offer an explosion of sites - floating markets, a variety of goods, amazing birds, touring families, old and new romances cruising calmly about and everything else. What a special treat from our trekking company, and a good way to ease back into the craziness that is India. Highly recommended.

13 July 2017

Aslam's brother Zakeer and I negotiated a deal where I now have a lekker wide brimmed hiking /fishing hat (together with handmade, by Zakeer, necklace attached) and Zakeer is the very proud owner of a harmonica. He seems to be a natural, Rameez on the other hand not so much. It was one of the few times I noticed his mom looking a bit irritated due to his efforts...
After trekking we spent some special time with Aslam and his family. There is a deep and intimate connection between these people, and not just limited for those in their family. It takes a village to raise a child ~ so very apt here in this little charm of a village, Naranag.
Once our campsite was set up by Aslam and the two horseman, Catana and Ikbal, we changed up into some warm clothes and played some uno in the one tent. Meanwhile this elderly gypsy woman was hard at work getting her cows to go somewhere. 2 of them, and who knows where and why she was hurding them. Young Catana went to offer a hand but didn't seem to cut it.
Soon after arriving at our final camping spot the rain set in. The non stop drench you to the bone type. Fortunately for us the neighboring gypsy hut is currently occupied by Aslam's sister in law. She is one of the most beautiful woman I've seen. It doesn't surprise me that Aslam's slick and well groomed brother Rafiq managed to charm her, he's quite the metro man / cowboy. The experience in the smokey gypsy house while it poured down outside was an absolute privilege. We also met Aslam's parents who were staying in the hut at the same time. Together with some of the cows who's 'stable' is in the house. Wood, rock and mud. Gypsys live an unbelievably crazy life!
Fly fishing and the freshest fish n chips in town
Sights around Mount Haremuk and the great lakes
Finska (the best game!) with some mountain spectators, uno and helping around camp gathering the horses - or in Shaun's case, kicking out at the chickens!
Intimate dinners in the tent are mandatory. Aslam turns out the most amazing meals and snacks from a 2 hob gas stove within the kitchen tent. Here seen grinding spices for the delicious Kashmiri tea. Whether eating breakfast or just taking it easy, it's impossible not to be confronted by a breathtaking view. Night's 2 and 3 were spent on the grazing fields near one of the gypsy homes. Last two pics were of some of the curious family members when we where passing by. Later they came to us in search for medicine for a young boy with a really bad tooth infection - gypsy life is fucking hardcore.
Day one. I requested plain noodles for the first lunch on the trek due to my stomach being out of kilter. Man down for 3 days before the start and energy levels were down, luckily I regained the much taken granted for ability to process food properly by day 3 of the trek!
Yesterday we returned from a 6 night trek through the Kashmir Himalayas. It was absolutely incredible. Most certainly a life changing experience. I will cherish a number of the special memories and moments shared during our adventure for years to come. The pictures should shed some light on our epic experience, however definitely won't truely capture the extent of this majestic place.

5 July 2017

Taxi is full but the driver is out and about, so we just chilling, enjoying each other's personal space and pretending its not really that hot. Looking forward to getting back to the others at Naranag village (and to the toilet)

4 July 2017

3 July 2017

Another cosy dinner on the kitchen floor, this time joined by an elderly gentleman who doesn't speak any English. He seemed to enjoy the flash of the camera and, very tenderly and without wanting to look too keen, asked to see the pics after the first shot. Thereafter he very subtlety struck a more thought through pose until getting completely photo-bombed by young Rameez. He didn't look impressed and I think it took a great deal for the old bugger not to strike out a quick flatty. These experiences seem endless here. It is such a privilege to share this life of theirs, these people are incredible. What a way of life!

1 July 2017

30 June 2017

29 June 2017

28 June 2017