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  The Chatter Box : Travel
indian Kashmir by moelli on 6 November 2005 3:34pm
Has anybody got any experience travelling to places like Srinagar / Dal Lake ? We are wondering if it is safe and how easy it is to get from one place to the next.
Re: indian Kashmir by tucsonmike on 7 November 2005 3:08am
MP spoke about Kashmir in Himalaya. The photographs of the area look really nice.
I guess if you don't go to the area where Indian and Pakistani troops are staring at each other.
Re: indian Kashmir by Godfather on 8 November 2005 2:27am
Kashmir is indeed beautiful, and is a mixture of Central Asian and Pakistani influences more than Indian. Quite a unique place, with it's own climate and culture. Delightfull in either freezing winter, spring, summer, or autumn. My first visit was in 1997 when the road up there from Jammu was convoys of heavy artillery. Getting around Srinigar in day and night meant army stops at sandbagged checkpoints. Getting to other valleys outside of Srinigar was fairly restricted, but possible.

On another visit in 1999 (i think it was), things were much better there. Yet nobody can guarantee anything about Kashmir. There are travellers who go up there and return saying rather naively - "Hey, i was fine. It's totally safe".

This is NOT true. Local people suffer on a daily basis. Mostly under the Indian Security forces. Long story which can be researched on the web. Bombs go off several times a year either in markets or on buses up from Jammu.

Any traveller could be caught up in those incidents. So no, it's never totally safe despite what any traveller who spent a few relaxed days on a Houseboat says. When people ask me about Kashmir's safety and whether or not to go, i simply say "Fully Inform yourself of the situation. Then decide"

Don't rely on traveller feedback. Inform yourself of the risks you 'could' face there, and whether or not you are prepared to face trouble if it comes. Then choose to go or not".

One thing to keep in mind is that if you have travel insurance with a British company, it becomes void while you are travelling in Jammu and Kashmir (even though they wont tell you that until you need their help). I love Kashmir dearly, and have many friends up there. But i'd neither call it a hotspot warzone (Kargil aside), nor a paradise where all is safe now.

It's accurate to call Kashmir a "Cold War". Usually it's tepid. Occasionally a spike of heat occurs randomly without warning, and you might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Re: indian Kashmir by Ken Dunn on 7 May 2006 10:49pm
Brought forward for research.
Re: indian Kashmir by Wild in Africa on 8 May 2006 10:52am
I am travelling ot Pakistan Administered Kashmir these days as part of my present job. I also expect to be travelling to Indian Kashmir fairly soon also. I believe there is a fairly regular airline service to Srinagar from Delhi (on Jet Airways).
There is still a fair degree of unrest and danger in Kashmir that sometimes erupts in Srinagar. Godfather's comments are wise and well worth heeding.
Re: indian Kashmir by 7777777 on 10 July 2006 1:02am
I will preface this by saying I am a 58 year old female traveler. I have just returned from 3 weeks in Srinigar and drove to McCloudganj from there. There is heavy police and army presence all through the mts. with road blocks. Make sure you have your passport and air ticket with you at all times to show the forces if you are stopped.
The drives to Phalgam, Sonnemarg (point you begin drive to Ladak) and Gulmarg have heavy army and police. You are stopped regularly and asked for passports etc.
The town of Srinigar is safe in areas, but as my friend I stayed with says there are areas that are hot spots and if anything is going to happen it happens in the same places. I drove through the area once and saw sliced barbedwire everywhere. I had no desire to get out of the vehicle for sure. There was a Congress rally on a sunday and hand grenades were thrown and 7 people died and several were injured. Three days later hand grenades were thrown into a crowd of Indian tourists and 20 or more were injured. So it is not safe. But you can go there and follow the recommendation of your people there and you will probably be fine.
You are not the only one responsible for your safety. If any Kashmiri takes you into a bad area and anything happens to you they are in big trouble with the local police. So it is in their best interest to keep you safe.
I will add that I live in Cape Town, South Africa and we are yellow or red flagged regularly by the USA and British state depts. I feel fine here, but I am not foolish. I lived in San Francisco for most of my life and again I was not foolish. For many years London had IRA bombs going off but we still visited there. I go to Egypt, Morocco and Bali on a regular basis. The world is not a safe place so you must be informed. But either you live your life or become a prisioner.
Re: indian Kashmir by sighthound on 10 July 2006 4:13am
You are a woman after my own heart, 7777777! I wish you safe travels and hope to hear more about them here.

I usually travel alone and, as a woman, it has sometimes gotten dicey. I've had to restrict myself sometimes from travelling to places that would not have been an unsurmountable problem if I had been a male. I'd love to hear more about your experiences and how you have coped.

Re: indian Kashmir by tucsonmike on 10 July 2006 5:42am
77777 do you live in Capetown now? I've been to South Africa, but never made it there.

You are right. You have to live your life. Anything can happen at any time. Life doesn't come with assembly directions and is not foolproof.

Re: indian Kashmir by 7777777 on 10 July 2006 7:21pm
Hi Geraldine, I began traveling in 1971. My first trip to Europe was solo. Since that time I have traveled europe alone alot. I just didn't have friends who had the money or the desire to travel. I did go with friends the first time to Thailand, Egypt, Morocco and India, but now I know I can do it alone if I need or want to. I guess the drawback is that it is more expensive than traveling with others.
Now that I am older I don't have the same hassels I did as a young woman.
I don't get pinched on buses anymore or followed by young local men. It does make traveling much less complicated.
I don't do rough and ready type travel, but I don't do 5* either. I love the adventure of traveling and am now attempting to revisit all the places I saw as a young woman to see what they feel like to me now.
Tusconmike...Yes I do live in Cape Town, Kalk Bay to be exact. I have been here almost 10 years and hope to remain here for as long as I so desire.
It is not that different visually from my homes of the past in northern California. The people are very different, a bit conservative. Coming from California and being a "Baby Boomer" I find most people conservative these days. Where did all the spirit go?
Re: indian Kashmir by Ken Dunn on 11 July 2006 11:56pm
With my daughter organising for VSO to India I have brought this forward for her to read again, especially the postings by 7777777 as it is relevant to the situation after today's terrorist atrocities in Mumbai.

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