"The Vale of Kashmir covered in yellow crocus fields,
© Elroy Christenson 1968.
The Vail of Kashmir was one of the richest centers of the Himilayas for
its saffron stamen, carpet weaving and tourism. Crocus growing widely
throughout the valley is a labor intensive activity which created a
reasonably prosperous area compared with greater India. It is disputed
territory between India, Pakistan and China. Recently Pakistan and
India have decided a cessation of hostilities, however, for the past
fifteen or twenty years it has been the target of the military against
the radicals who have taken and executed hosteges who may have been
tourists. This has ruined the tourist industry and wrecked the economy.
During the Colonial era Kashmir was used by the British as a "hill
station" or a place that the bureaucrats went during the hot season on
the plains. Since they were not allowed to buy property according the
local laws so they stayed in houseboats that floated on Dal Lake or on
the river. Some were quite spacious and came equiped with a cook,
servants, baby sitters and a sometimes a ricksaw driver. These boats
still served as a tourist mecca during the late 1960's when one was
renamed Amercan Peace Corps.
"The Shalimar Garden of Kashmir, India", © Elroy
The Shalimar Garden is a formal garden from the Mogul era. It has a
cascading marble-lined waterfall fed by a mountain stream that cuts
through the flower gardens on its way to Dal Lake.