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Photographer's Note

I step further back in time, now to October 1977. During a journey to India I went to the far northwest, to Jammy & Kashmir, the only Indian state where a majority of the population are Muslims. I spent a week in the summer capital, Srinagar, and made a few day trips by bus in the valley surrounding the city.

Since the second half of the 19th century the administration of Kashmir is based in high altitude Srinagar during the warmest six months of the year and moves to Jammu on the Indian plains for the winter.

Srinagar is surrounded by lakes, the largest being Dal Lake. The British colonists circumvented local laws forbidding foreigners to own property on the ground by building house boats. I'm not sure if they invented these boats or borrowed the concept from the locals, but in any case the house boats got bigger and better and more comfortable during colonial days and later became popular with tourists. In recent decades the idea was exported to the southern state of Kerala where a few days on a house boat is now a "must" for tourists.

Everywhere along the shores of the many bays and inlets of Dal Lake house boats are anchored. Smaller, covered boats like those in this photo, called shikara, are used for local transports.

On top of the hill to the right you can see a small part (rather blurred, I'm afraid) of the Hari Parbat Fort, originally built in the 16th century, largely rebuilt in the 18th century. Today it is used by the Indian army and not open to the public. It also contains a prison.

You can see more boats on Dal Lake in two workshops. All photos were scanned from Ilford HP5 b&w negatives.

Here is a larger version of the main photo.

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Viewed: 1892
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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11811 W: 564 N: 22660] (98108)
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