Dal Lake, Shikaras, Houseboats & other memories from Srinagar Kashmir
Today on desi Traveler we go to Kashmir. No, I have not been fortunate enough to visit Kashmir ever, though it is very high on my wish list, but w e go with somebody who was born in Kashmir. After all it is not from today but from the days of Amir Khusro that Kashmir is considered as Jannat or heaven when he said “Gar Firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” meaning “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here,”
Most of us today don’t know much about Kashmir and all views and opinions formed are based on news media or movies. There was a time when every single movie of Shammi Kapoor, Sashi Kapoor and other major Bollywood movie was shot in Kashmir and it was proudly shown in advertisements that movie was filmed in Kashmir. Today things have changed so much that a movie like Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, that was shot in Gulmarg in Kashmir, is shown as filmed in Manali for reasons best known to the movie producers. Anyways I will now shut up and take us to fellow photographer and my dear friend Shoaib Mohammad Kirmani, who is a Kashmiri but he has been living out of Kashmir for many years due to studies and job in different cities of India. His family lives in Kashmir and he visits them whenever time permits. Below are a few questions that I asked him about Kashmir and his photography and later below are some really beautiful pictures taken by him when he last visited his home in Kashmir.
So here are my questions and Shoaib’s answers about Kashmir and his pictures of Kashmir
DT: Hi Shoaib, please tell me what do you miss most about Kashmir?
Shoaib: The thing I miss most about Kashmir is the Kashmiriyat (being a Kashmiri), the connection between me and my motherland. It’s been over a decade I have stayed away from Kashmir except for a few small visits after every 6 months, it has brought me closer, even closer than when I was there. I miss the cold breeze, the Mountain View from my window, the attire, people and most of all the food – God Bless My Mom for that.
DT I see your pictures capture a lot of beauty of Kashmir, the Dal, the Shikaras, the Gardens, but you leave people out of most frames, and when they appear they appear as Silhouette. Why is that? Also please tell us which your favorite picture from the Kashmir series is.
Shoaib There is a lot to click in Kashmir, the beautiful landscapes, the lakes, the birds, the mountains and the people. Clicking people is a bit hesitating for me, as when I click there, I go on a solo visit and don’t know the reaction of the people there. In groups, it much more comfortable to click people. Also due to the sensitivity issues, I mostly leave people of Kashmir off my frame.
DT You have focused a lot on Dal Lake, are there any special memories associated with Dal Lake Srinagar Kashmir?
Shoaib Dal Lake, which you can say is the jewel of Srinagar city as it is located in the heart of the city, almost all the tourist and travel related business is around it. The hotels, the house boats, the shops etc… Dal lake is a very beautiful lake with mountains surrounding from one side, with famous Mughal gardens and Hazratbal shrine on its shores. My connection with Dal Lake is very old. Since the lake is close to my home, I still remember my grandfather used to take me for motorboat ride to Char Chinari (a small island with 4 Chinar trees on it) which is in the middle of the lake. In winters the lake used to freeze and we could even use to walk on it. Kids that time even played cricket on the frozen lake. There are a lot of my childhood memories associated with the Dal Lake.
DT: Please share a bit about your childhood and family in Kashmir
Shoaib: Since I was born in 80’s so have seen Kashmir in turmoil since my childhood, the militancy, the military, the guns, the bombs, and the blood. Srinagar in Kashmir is a small city with mountains covering it from all four sides. It is a beautiful valley with great landscapes and lakes. But by the grace of God, Kashmir was always beautiful as ever. My parents used to tell me that Kashmir was much more beautiful before, it was well maintained and clean. Being a student of a Christian Missionary School, which was much in extracurricular activities, we used to trek and visit a lot of places in Kashmir and admire the beauty of it.
DT Please help us understand how your photography has evolved in last few years and what you like to click more.
Shoaib Photography just happened to me. Before I was into painting and sketching but I found photography much more convenient, quick and advanced. Both photography and painting capture expression and the moment but photography is much more and better way of doing it. we can carry our camera everywhere and capture the moment in an instant, unlike painting. So photography has inspired me in past couple of years and I am trying to improve my skills every day.
Thanks a lot Shoaib for your time, and answering my questions and sharing your breathtaking pictures of Dal, Srinagar and other places in Kashmir. I am sure our visitors here on desi Traveler will love these pictures.
About Photographer: Shoaib Mohammed Kirmani is a passionate amateur photographer. He loves to travel and photograph. His favorite subject is indeed his beloved Kashmir. You can check more of his work on Shoaib’s Amateur Photography on Facebook. He works for a large MNC, and on weekends you can find him with his camera in hands clicking pictures of streets and monuments.
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