My Browsing History

Everywhere I travel, I like to see the fruit and vegetable markets, the motor spare parts shops, the back streets where printers have their presses and the second-hand clothes and books bazars. For, much more than the manicured centre of town, it is these areas, with their hair let down, that you will get the…

Knocking the bastard off

In 1953, a British led expedition to Mount Everest included a New Zealand bee-keeper and a Sherpa who had settled in Darjeeling. There was rather a lot at stake. Ever since the discovery and the naming of the mountain, it had been identified with the British. Or so the British themselves liked to think. They…

Kashmir in the New Millennium

As symbols of normalcy go, the all-glass front of Pick n Choose on Residency Road, Srinagar, is as telling as any. Five years ago, you couldn’t find glass doors in Srinagar – they’d be a sitting duck for a terrorist’s bullet. Five years ago, you wouldn’t even have wanted the transparency of glass. Thick wooden…

What’s Cooking in Kashmir

Think about Kashmiri food and the first thing that comes to mind is the justly famous wazwan. However, try eating it for two consecutive meals and you’ll be laid up in bed for a week thereafter, so heavy is it. Indeed, most visitors to Kashmir have no difficulty finding the ristas and gushtabas of a…

Kashmir and the Mughal Connection

In 1598, Emperor Akbar annexed the Valley of Kashmir to the Mughal Empire. In one fell swoop, the Mughal emperors acquired a summer home. Kashmir in turn, acquired some of its most important heritage sites. Emperor Akbar’s contribution was limited to the wall around the hill of Hari Parbat, which still stands today, complete with…