Aru Valley

Aru Valley: Kashmir’s hidden mountain gem

Srinagar left me feeling like I needed to explore Kashmir a bit more instead of going straight to Ladakh, and so I headed to Aru Valley, a place not even mentioned in my guidebook. I’d hardly seen anywhere so green in my life, and it appeared like a landscape that belonged more in Switzerland than anywhere near India.

Dal lake sunrise

Srinagar: the contested jewel in Kashmir’s crown

The city had been exactly what I had imagined it to be and more; it was completely different to anything else I had seen on the subcontinent, the people were full of colourful and passionate conversation and the lake was truly beautiful with the background of the Himalayas faded under haze. Yet, I'd felt much safer than I perhaps thought I would, the media always driving a particular fear of certain places, and in fact, after I left I found myself telling people, "Go to Srinagar and spend time there," because only then can you truly understand it... Read about my time in Srinagar, Kashmir.