One of the reasons we’d gone anti-clockwise around the loop in the Himalayas, was that Western Kashmir had been drowning in flash floods and the road was blocked by landslides and lakes of mud. Srinagar had been affected too and the shikaras had been floating as a kind of taxi service where the streets used to be. But when we got there, the water had receded to normal levels and the streets were as sandy and dusty as any Indian city. Rubbish and gunk hanging high up in bushes and under bridges and mud caked out-of-order ATM remained to tell the tale.
Srinagar is a lake city to which the British used to retreat from the summer heat in colonial times. Not allowed to own land here, they built elaborate houseboats. Nowadays these have been converted into guest houses and a few are occupied by local families. The boats…
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