Wolfgang Praegler & Gudrun Mirbach-Praegler
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Past times: Srinagar in Kashmir, 1988
         In   1988   Gudrun,   me   and   daughter   Birte   visited   India.   We   also   wanted   to   see   Kashmir,   but   all   roads   were   closed   because   of the   insecure   situation   due   to   the   border   problems   between   India   and   Pakistan. Therefore,   we   had   to   take   a   plane   from   Delhi   to Srinagar,   the   capital   of   Kashmir.   There   we   were   staying   on   a   luxurious   houseboat   on   Dal   Lake.   The   history   of   Srinagar   starts in   the   3rd   century   B.C.   with   King   Asoka.   During   the   times   of   the   British   Colony   India,   Srinagar   was   a   favoured   place   for   the British   making   holidays   in   a   moderate   climate,   thus   escaping   the   hot   temperatures   in   India.   They   had   big   houseboats   built   to live   in.   Due   to   the   continuing   conflict   about   this   region,   claimed   by   both   India   and   Pakistan,   Kashmir   nowadays   is   still   insecure. In addition, there is a religious problem between Hindu India and Muslim Kashmir.
This is the houseboat we were living on. It is permanently moored at the waterside. It is very spacious: This is just the living room. On the Dal Lake those Shikaras (wooden boats) carry the few tourists around that are there. These Shikaras are real supermarkets, selling their goods from the boat. Behind Dal Lake, the West Himalaya starts with peaks like K2 and Nanga Parbat rising to more than 8,000m. On one of our trips, we meet these workers taking their brake. He is leisurely enjoying his hookah (water pipe). On a hill behind the Dal Lake we can see the Srinagar-Fort, named Hari Parbat which was built in 1808. Shikaras are the common means of transport. Waterways are crossing Srinagar. There are gardens along the shore of Dal Lake. Big stone houses are built directly at the seaside and along the channels. Family life is taking place here. Washing is done in the lake and in the waterways. Even the daily dishwashing is done in the open.