Published March 9th, 2017 by

The two are inseparably linked.

Next to horticulture if properly explored within the parameters of the ecosystem, tourism is the most significant for Kashmir’s economy and employment. Tourism has a long history in Kashmir, Europeans gave direction and push to Kashmir tourism by introducing Kashmir, its natural beauty and adventure prospects to outside world. They laid the foundation of Kashmir tourism by introducing basics of the tourist trade. The place like Gulmarg which was established by British to have a good time during harsh summers ultimately became the bedrock of modern tourism in Kashmir. Kashmir was a favorite destination with international tourists, particularly adventure lovers.

Quality domestic tourists would also contribute considerably to our tourist trade. However, for last two decades either because of travel advisories or negative coverage by a section of media foreign tourist are not impressed to visit Kashmir in big numbers. The pioneers of the tourist trade in Kashmir had identified Kashmir only for adventure and vacation tourism that would coexist with its fragile ecosystem. However, immediately after independence, the popular governments in a bid to extract the maximum out of every available resource without proper planning and expertise made a mess of tourism industry by promoting whatever came in their way in the name of tourism. Vandalizing hill stations and banks of Dal Lake by the influential and protégés of political opportunists in the name of tourism are worst examples of defacing beauty and ecological system of Kashmir. Read More Kashmir tourism and environment!

Published March 1st, 2016 by

Materialism has done the damage.

On universal garden and landscape scenario only two forms of gardens are documented as formal and informal. Almost all Mughal gardens are formal and the rest all landscape is categorized as informal. So, most of our landscape in Srinagar is formal. Formal pattern of landscaping suit well to topography of Kashmir as formal terraced gardens can be carved out easily out of hilly terrain. Srinagar and its surroundings have a long history of gardens amid beautiful landscape. However, the Mughal era in Kashmir was glorious period for magnificent gardens and orchards. Mughals preferred Dal and Nigeen banks and its catchment area for laying beautiful and spacious gardens in Srinagar city and its vicinity. Unfortunately, at present several of these gardens are either in bad shape or have vanished from the landscape scene of Srinagar. During the last four decades several modifications and additions were made to dwindling landscape of Srinagar. First informal landscape in Srinagar was tried at Nehru Memorial Botanical garden (NMBG), later more planned informal landscaping (Japanese Gardens) at Sheri-e-Kashmir institute of Medical sciences, Baghi Shagufa near Nigeen Lake, and Zabarwan Park on boulevard set a new trend of informal garden laying in Srinagar. Read More Bleak Srinagar Landscape!

Published January 8th, 2016 by

One is fresh and living, the other dull and dying!

During the last more than three decades I may have visited Chandigarh many times, but my wish to visit its most prominent landmarks—Sukhna Lake and Nek Chand’s Rock Garden materialised only last week.
Sukhna Lake created in the year 1958 is just one more man-made water body to harvest the runoff water from Shivalik hills catchment area. Created by Chandigarh’s designer Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier this well planned water reservoir portrays the sense of taste and foresight of this legendary urban planner. A stroll on well-maintained landscaped bank of Sukhna Lake reminds me of my own Dal Lake. Sukhna is nowhere close to Dal in anyway—natural scenic beauty, quality feeding water, but in the same breath we should concede that present Dal lake is nowhere close to Shkhna’s health, excellent management and its proper maintenance regimen. While Dal is a natural water body with huge catchment and water surface area, Sukhna is artificial Lake with limited catchment and water surface area of three square kilometers only. But with all limitations of natural beauty, hydrological cycle and other obstacles Sukhna is surviving not only because of proper planning and foresightedness of its planners, but commitment of its managers, managing this lake with dedication and honesty.

Read More Sukhna Lake and Dal Lake