Itinerary for #AshiKashmir

imageDuration: 03 Nights / 04 Days

Destination: Srinagar - Pahalgam - Srinagar

November 15th: Arrival to Srinagar

On arrival at Srinagar, we will meet our representatives from Moonshine Houseboats at the airport who will transfer us to Srinagar and our bags to the houseboat. Make sure your carry-on is ready to be your day bag in Srinagar on Friday afternoon. We will explore the city, visit mosques or Jamia Masjid, walk the streets with our guides in small groups, and take a late afternoon lake tour from the city to Char Chinar, Floating Gardens & interesting canals by shikara at sunset.

imageWe will talk with Kashmiris at night at the houseboat about experiences in the city, the dominant religions in Jammu & Kashmir, and how religion connects to the current political climate. Early overnight stay at houseboat because of early rise Friday and Saturday.

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November 16th: Pahalgam

We leave early morning before dawn by shikara boat to visit a floating vegetable market through wonderful canals. Bring your camera and money to purchase produce or small artisanal goods/foods. Students can reflect and record by shikara, as we return to houseboat before breakfast.

After breakfast, we drive to Pahalgam (also known as the Valley of Shepherds), which lies 95 km or two and a half hours northeast of Srinagar.

This mountain town along the banks of the Lidder river is home to many Gujjars or mountain gypsy families that will open their homes to help us understand their history and citizenship, relations with Pakistan and impact during the height of the violence, lifestyle impact of weakened tourism, their religion and daily routines of subsistence living (including animal husbandry).

We will have either small group conversations about the different topics and come together in a whole group conversation, or we will flex based on the opportunities afforded to us and student recommendations. Students are able to take hikes along the pony trails amidst the thick pine forests of the Himalayan mountains (7500 ft). We will overnight in a mountain gypsy house in a village, and it is likely to be an adventure.image

November 17th: back to Srinagar

Take part in preparing breakfast and explore in the morning by the river/around village. Time for writing or other reflection form.

Students will take part in determining the itinerary for the day, which could include:

  • staying a little longer in Pahalgam with mountain gypsies or visiting religious sites along the way home

  • visiting locations around Srinagar that Kashmiris show with pride, such as: the Mughal Garden, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Hazratbal Shrine & Shankeracharya Temple

  • following interesting strands of our trip focus in Srinagar city and choosing locations or activities based on that focus

  • visiting Mudi’s parents and learn about handmade Kashmiri rugs (or Monday?)

On the final evening at the houseboat, we will come together with our notes and understandings from the trip and record an audio podcast of these findings through the eyes of traveling teenagers. Students will also have time to develop work of their own and complete it as much as possible before departing for Hyderabad the next day.

November 18th: Depart from Srinagar

Breakfast on the houseboat can be followed by:

  • small group shikara rides for filming, recording, writing, exploring

  • a small group walk around the neighborhood of the houseboats and discuss the existence of houseboats in general

  • writing time on the houseboat or conversations with guides/students

  • visits from artisans on shikaras

  • yoga or meditation at your leisure

  • cooking on the houseboat and learning about Kashmiri cuisine

  • a group trip to Mudi's parents at their home where they make Kashmiri crafts

Depart for SXR for an afternoon flight. Lunch at or before airport.