Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sindhū River

Sindhū River near Nimmu.

Sindhū River near Nimmu.

Confluence of Sindhu and Zanskar

Confluence of Sindhu (Indus, green coming from left) and Zanskar (muddy white coming from top).
Near Nimmu.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Echoes of Ladakh

Some sights and sounds from my brief trip to Ladakh.



Next couple of posts are going to be about bits and pieces from the place.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

First page of the last Rajatarangini



1456.

Then there appeared a comet, a sign of calamity, extending over the sky with its tail towards the east. It was first seen by Vahramakhana. Its tail was like the bearded lance of death, and its wide extending form was seen even in the day time, towards the west. A mare in the king's stable gave birth to twins, and the king, in order to remove the animal from the country, gave it away to the Yavanas. Lions and other animals of the forest wandered about during the day in Shrinagara town, a bitch gave birth to kittens. The Sadanandi tree, which had been barren, bore fruits and flowers grew on the roots of pomegranate trees near the palace. A rain of blood fell on the clothes that were in the garden, and when men saw this, they felt as if salt has been sprinkled on a wound.

In the the meantime the Hindus, excited to anger by Parna the barber, were guilty of severities on Saidakhana Agaha and others who were residing in the town. When the Yavans heard of this, they became angry and went to the king and lamented aloud, and the king ordered a persecution of the Brahmanas. In his fury the king cut off the arms and noses of Ajara, Amara, Buddha and others, and even those Brahmanas who were his servants. During this time of the pillage of the property of the Brahmans, that gave up their cast and dress and exclaimed, "I am not a Bhatta, I am not a Bhatta."


1986

The comet again appeared in western sky, a sign of calamity, extending over the sky with its tail towards the east. It was first seen by Vinayak Razdan at Chanpore. The bearded lance of death now had a name: Halley. Pakistan needed four runs to win the match off the last ball, Javed Miandad hit a six off Chetan Sharma to win. Shers driven from the beautiful Golden temple, now roamed around Srinagar, ready to cross border. Bearded kids of downtown were seen always walking in trekking shoes, talking in whispers to moneyed agent provocateurs. A fatherless child was born with an AK-47 in hand. A hand-grenade grew on a pomegranate tree. In two years it was going to burn the roots of a barren Chinar. The sweet water of Chamashahi garden, it was said had turned sour, someone it was claimed had added a certain poison that dried your nutsacks. The clown king was seen driving a scooter with an Indian actress. Gull'e Raid'e, the new king held onto his brief reign using curfews and tear gas. Dancers were ashamed to dance and sing. Even old women now were often seen in black burqas. Old men claimed they were all headed for heaven. Hearts of generational neighbours were turning stiff.

A Muslim woman in India asked for divorce rights and was denied by the highest court of the land. Hindus in India planned to demolish the Babri Mosque of Mughals and plant a grand temple of Rama. The temple was opened by the son of a Bhatta. A cow's head was found inside a temple in South-Kashmir. There were riots for days. Their properties burned for days. The Brahmans of Kashmir discovered their ancient threads and exclaimed, "I am a Bhatta? I am an Indian? I am a Bhatta! I am an Indian! I am a Bhatta. I am an Indian."


-0-

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

dislocated


Somewhere around 1989, I dislocated my left shoulder after falling from a broken chair while dancing. In 1990, while leaving Kashmir, among the important things taken along was this X-ray. Things that have to be borne. I think my shoulder is still a little off balance-0-

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wood carving Workshop on Jhelum river


Wood carving workshop on Jhelum river.
Fateh Kadal, Urdu Bazaar.



Way to the Ghat

Upper floor

The entire building used to be wooden. It is now being remade in cement and bricks. The upper floor was still under works. If I could get into that floor, the view would have been something like this:

from the book Irene Petrie : Missionary to Kashmir (1903). Photographs by Geoffroy Millias.
Had been trying to find the spot for quite sometime
Only other option left is to find Ahmed Joo's Shop







Stories from Kashmir



This entire floor was under water in the flood of 2014






He was kind enough to tell me that the shop/house once belonged to a Pandit family long ago.







-0-

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sher Garhi Palace as it Was



Last month received an email from INTACH (Srinagar), they will be using the images shared by SearchKashmir to help with the renovation of Sher Garhi Palace. Here are the images and some elementary back info. about the place.

Located on the left bank of River Jhelum near the Budshah Bridge. Built originally by Afghan governor Ameer Jawan Sher Qizilbash in around 1772. It is said the stones for the palace came from Pathar Masjid. It was built on a site where King Ananta had built his Royal Palace in 1062-63. Later it became palace of Dogras who added a Dogra art touch to it. Sometime before 1900, the palace was again renovated in faux Greco-Roman style with great Grecian columns. A major portion was destroyed in fire, I believe, in late 1970s. This building was the "Old Secretariat". It was used as an office building in 1980s. A description of the palace and the adjoining buildings can be found in "The Happy Valley: Sketches of Kashmir & the Kashmiris (1879) by William Wakefield".

Pursuing our course down the river the sides of which in former days were em- banked from the first to the last bridge, by an embankment composed of large blocks of limestone, of which at present the ruined remains are all that is left we soon come to a large building, the Sher Garhi, the city fort and palace. Situated on the left bank, it presents to the river, which flows along its eastern side, a long loop- holed wall, with bastions rising between twenty and thirty feet above the general level of the water, surmounted by roomy, but lightly-built, houses. Its southern and western sides are protected by a wide ditch ; the Kut-i-Kul canal bounds it on the north, and in its interior are grouped a number of dwelling- houses for the officials of the court, government offices, and barracks. On its wall, facing the river, and perched upon one of the bastions, is a large double-storied house, the abode of the Dewan or Prime Minister, and just below his residence is a long lofty building, the government treasury, containing shawls, 'pushmeena,' coin, and other valuable property. A curious-looking wooden building comes next, the Rang Mahal or 'audience hall,' a part of the royal residence, which is just below it, styled the Baradarri, and which is unquestionably the most important modern structure in Srinagar. It is a large irregular building of a peculiar style, for while partly of native architecture, one portion, with a large projecting bow, partakes somewhat of an European character. A flight of wide stone steps leads up from the water's edge at the angle of this building, and conducts into the palace. Adjoining is the temple frequented by the ruler and family, called the Maharaj-ke-Mandir, the domed roof of which is covered with thin plates of pure gold, which glitters in the sunlight, causing it to be plainly perceptible a long distance away. To reach the interior of the palace, one ascends by the before -mentioned steps, which at all times of the day appear thronged with people, some waiting to prefer petitions to the sovereign or his ministers as they descend to their boats, others to obtain a hearing or justice, which is here administered in open court daily by the governor. To the more private portion of the palace they have no access ; for, guarding the gateway at the top of the stairs which leads directly into the royal abode, stands a sentry, a warrior belonging to the Kashmir, army, and near by is the guard-room, what we should call in our service the main-guard.
View of the Place before the last renovation
Probably by Samuel Bourne
in around 1860s


Sher Garhi Palace, the Summer place of 19th-century Dogra ruler, Pratap Singh. From 'The Romantic East: Burma, Assam, & Kashmir' by Walter Del Mar (1906

Sher Garhi Palace. From Dutch travelogue 'De zomer in Kaschmir : De Aarde en haar Volken' (Summer in Kashmir: 'The Land and its Peoples) by F. Michel (1907)

From 'The road to Shalimar' by Carveth Wells, 1952.

view of Sher Garhi Palace in winter.
Postcard. Early 20th century. [courtesy: Micheal Thomas]

from 'Our summer in the vale of Kashmir' (1915) by Frederick Ward Denys.

From 'Kashmir: Its New Silk Industry' by Sir Thomas Wardle (1904)

Illustrated Weekly of London. 1921.

Postcard. 1920s.
[via: ebay]

From National Geographic. 1921.

-0-

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vohorwod gift





And on my angreez vohorwod, the woman I am marrying gave me this. A scrapbook with Kashmiri verses.

My afflictions are obvious.

Weeds have laid our gardens waste,
since conjurors became the gardeners.
The commoners learnt the dirty tricks from elites.
Among ourselves let us crop our own candour.

~ Abdul Ahad Azad
A yearning dragged my steps to you, To be greeted with wrinkled brows,
And a wish sprang from deep within me.
"May you live long as Rum Rishi"
(a Kashmiri Rishi said to have lived a very long life.)
This one is by a poetess named Arnimaal, a woman who had a bright but stupid husband.

-0-
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