This tourist has a message for anyone scared to visit Kashmir
Srinagar: On his third consecutive visit to Kashmir, one of them in 2016, Pratik Hemka, a Kolkatta-based backpacker, is eager to complete his tour of seasons in Kashmir with no sense of insecurity at all.
He so far has experienced two seasons of Kashmir and has decided to spend his third week long holiday at Gulmarg, which recently received fresh snowfall.
Being an adventure lover, Pratik along with her wife has entered into a skiing contest between the fellow tourists who are learning this sport from local trainers.
“You visit Kashmir and then haven’t seen snow clad mountains means your trip is not worth,” he said, while heading towards a shop.
Apparently inspired by the documentaries and photographs on internet, Pratik has decided to experience all four seasons in Kashmir.
His tryst with Kashmir began when tourists across the world had chosen other places over this Himalayan region.
He first visited to Kashmir in 2015 when the valley was struggling to get out of the trauma of the 2014 floods.
The constant floods threats in the following year however, didn’t hamper his plans to explore this Himalayan region in summer season.
Witnessing most of the Srinagar parts devastated, it was the people’s hospitality and love, which kept him hooked up with this place.
“I have seen the pictures of Kashmir on internet and every time I couldn’t resist myself from visiting here. Yes, the valley had recently seen floods then but I had already made my mind to experience autumn in Srinagar in between Chinars,” Pratik says as he cleans the snow over his sledge.
After experiencing autumn here, Pratik planned to visit Kashmir during summer 2016- the year when the valley witnessing longest ever unrest.
He along with his family spent almost a week here to experience a summer season at tourists destinations.
“We knew nothing is going to happen to us. We had already seen how loving people actually live here,” he said.
Pratik claims that throughout his visit has never experienced insecurity in Kashmir.
“To be honest I have not witnessed an iota of unrest here. Yes problems were here but then such things happen in every part of the world,” he said.
Apart from the scenic beauty, Pratik claims it was the people’s hospitality, which has kept his love for Kashmir going.
“Yesterday only we bumped into a party at Gulmarg club. Many among us thought we will be dragged out but to our surprise were served Kehwa with snacks. The locals treated us as their guests and entered into a discussion about beauty of Kashmir,” he said.
Pratik says that he has planned to witness spring season with his family this year.
“The only season left is Spring. I would love to see tulips here and almond blossom,” he said.