The sky is a clear blue, and it is a pleasant 22 degrees celsius. The flowers blossom and almost speak of the happiness that pervades the air…gigantic roses in various colours; pink, orange, magenta, red, yellow…alongside tiny blue flowers that glow in the dark. There are little kids dressing up in traditional kashmiri costumes, that run exitedly about pari mahal (Fairy Palace), that was the educational centre for the Prince of Kashmir. I taste the waters flowing from the spring, adjacent to the gardens, and it is the sweetest water I have ever tasted. Outside, an old man is selling beautiful jewellery in coloured stones and silver polish, such eye catching designs…I could not help but buy some. After bargaining the price down to half, of course.
After spending an hour in the palace, we sit down in a restaurant owned by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism development Centre, to drink their traditional tea, kehwa, topped with chopped almonds and saffron. Overlooking us are the ice capped Himalayas and tall christmas trees… Equally beautiful are the people here, tall fair and light eyed, with an accent to die for. I swear I am crushing on the one in my boat.
Half the city lives on Dal lake. I am also living in a boathouse…and it is absolutely stunning…More soon!