Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bath-Houses along Vitasta


John Burke, 1868-69


By Geoffroy Millias.
from 'Irene Petrie : Missionary to Kashmir' (1903)

At Shah Hamadan
By Brian Brake, 1957

by Douglas Waugh (late 1950s, early 1960s)

From the book
"Tikkus' tourist & shopping guide of Kashmir covering Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh " (1970) by Bharat Tikku.
2008


"In the upper part of the city the banks are lined with houseboats in which the visitors live. But lower down these banks, which are sometimes twenty and thirty feet high, have a very interesting and varied life at the water's edge, where you find laundrymen and laundrywomen at intervals all the way along, and bathers, sometimes composed of groups of men, others of groups of women, and again men and women together. As a rule this bathing takes place at the foot of some of the wide stone steps that lead up from the water to the upper level of the bank, and frequently in the vicinity of a temple or mosque. There are also a number of small bath-houses, without roofs, and divided into very tiny little cabinets that are hardly large enough for a single person. These are indulged in by the more fortunate, or the better-to- do classes, who constitute but a very small percentage of the total bathing population.

This bathing, too, is a very interesting process to witness, especially the dressing, for, while the men are rather indifferent as to how much or how little clothing they may have on, the women are exceedingly modest and rarely, if ever, is there the least exposure of any portion of the body besides the arms, and head and feet. They go into the river with one dress on and when they have bathed they have not only washed their bodies but the garments they have been wearing, and when they come out they have on the bank, or steps, another garment which they put on, and so skillful are they in making this change that it is almost impossible to tell how it is done. One moment they are clad in the wet, clinging clothes which they have worn in the river, and the next by a rapid sleight- of-hand transformation they are dressed in dry garments of most pleasing hue."
~ 'Our summer in the vale of Kashmir' (1915) by Frederick Ward Denys

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