Kashmir, the Himalayan Paradise Beckons
By Meera Bhardwaj | Published: 10th August 2014 06:00 AM |
BANGALORE: Travel in the Kashmir Valley is an extraordinary experience as there is a paradigm change be it in culture, customs or traditions of the people. If one wants to see this Himalayan paradise, one should begin one's journey from Srinagar, the capital city whose heritage goes back to the days of the Pandavas. However, the modern day capital city has changed a lot in these years especially after 1989-90.
When I visited the beautiful Himalayan capital with its pine and cedar forests and its verdant Mughal style gardens, the situation was completely different.
With the city located on both sides of the River Jhelum and many old bridges abounding, one can take a walk across the meandering river that ultimately makes its way around the valley. With wetlands abounding here, it is a pleasure to see plenty of migratory birds from Central Asia and Siberia including ducks, geese, teals.
Some of the most important bird spots are just outside Srinagar like Hokersar, Hygam, and Mirgund. You can also spot grebes, herons, geese, and other exotic birds pecking at the rich source of food available in the wetlands. They rule the roost from September to March and many ornithologists and bird watchers from across the world come here to study their breeding and nesting habits.
Lakhs of winged visitors throng these water bodies. However, in the recent times, inflow of waste and sewage material from nearby residential areas, growth of weeds and further encroachment has sounded the death knell for these flocking birds. One of the forest guards in this wetland said that if the situation continues, the arrival of birds may decrease in the coming years.
The Himalayan ranges make a perfect backdrop for temples, mosques, gardens, lakes, rivers as one travels across the city. In the months of May-June, one can see a variety of flora and fauna.