Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Kashmir - A Sign

We get off the highway at an impossibly named place called Bumchawa to reach Matan (pronounced mutton), where a spring flows down from the mountains and is captured in a series of tanks. We are there because the guide books talk about its hot water springs. The heavily guarded campus houses two places of worship, a Shiva temple and a Gurudwara. It's a hot morning by Kashmir standards and the water in the tanks is quite chilled. We ask the man selling roasted horse gram and puffed rice about the hot water. "When the weather gets cold," he replies, "the water gets hot. And vice-versa. That is the miracle." We buy horse gram to feed the holy fish in the main water tank. You drop a grain into the tank and dozens of fish jostle and attack it. Outside and elsewhere in Kashmir, a tourist drops in and dozens of porters, horsewallahs, shikarawallahs, sledwallahs, Kashmiri costumewallahs, souvenirwallahs jostle and attack to secure a meal. 
Where the water overflows from the last tank into a channel, women sit around and wash clothes.

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