30 May - 31 May 2011 Khanarbal

South Asia
Republic of Incredible India, the world's biggest democrazy
Jammu & Kashmir
Kashmir Valley
Hotel Friends' Plaza +919858711473
Adequate and clean double room for only INR 400.- or US$ 9.10 per night.
Friendly staff.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Hotel Friends' Plaza in Khanarbal and for directions:

Overnighting and exploring the non-descript village of Khanarbal, feasting on fresh and delicate Kashmiri cherries and learning from the locals about the modern history of the Vale of Kashmir, the contested jewel of South Asia’s northernmost region, with its very obvious police/military presence and frequent acts of violence, whose lakes, fertile valleys and remote, snow-covered peaks have remained the single most important cause of the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India ever since 1949 CE (including some nuclear sabre rattling), while arguments for Kashmir’s autonomy have periodically dominated the political agenda and the aspirations of the hospitable local people, and demands like “Go, India, Go!” or “We Want Freedom!” could be seen written in white paint onto the road.

Taking a rugged regional bus from Khanarbal's bus stop to Srinagar’s dirty, dusty and heavily polluted Batmaloo General Bus Stand (60 km, 2 ½ hours, INR 35.- per person), spotting en-route (i) beautiful women clad in colourful kameez and churidars tending the fields, (ii) ordinary men clad in cheapish banker’s outfit publicly urinating without any sense of shame and (iii) grumpy Indian soldiers clad in primitive flak jackets guarding the Kashmiri people against Delhi’s invisible enemies, jumping thereafter in a city bus (INR 12.- per person) bound for Lake Dal, witnessing Srinagar’s rampant urbanisation and bumping eventually into tout and boatman Farooq +919797011459 with his elegant water taxi aka shikara “Phool Aur Pather” (INR 100.- for one hour) who reliably helps us to find a suitable and cheap houseboat for a week.

Click below for more blog posts with images of snapped cops
27 Jun - 11 Jul 2013 Kota Kinabalu
03 Jul - 31 Jul 2013 Beijing
24 Oct - 26 Nov 2011 Kuah
08 Jun - 18 Jun 2011 Leh
16 Feb - 17 Feb 2011 Colombo

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2011 Map Konni & Matt

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