Imraan Ibraheem – Riding my Heart for Meditation at the Indian Paradise – Kashmir
Places: Amritsar, Srinagar, Daksum, Pir Ki Gali and Sinathan Top
Wednesday Morning | Location Office | I’m feeling high without the daily dose of caffeine | Booked
In the office during the midweek, I should have been deep in my work, feeling pressurized and irritated with countless deadlines, but I am feeling like a cloud – light, above all the worries and just above everything. You would ask me why?? It is goddamn simple… it was the start of my meditative process.
Yes, on that boring, Wednesday afternoon I kicked off the process of meditation by ticketing for my next travel adventure. I headed to my most favorite place in India– Kashmir (a true paradise).
It is a place where everything happens in duality – nature, government, people and their mindset. We sit in other parts of India and say various things about Kashmir and thanks to the media, we get exposed to different sides of northern states every day. I was curious about the fact that I had heard, read and seen so much about Kashmir. I had been there earlier as well.
This time I had planned my trip little differently. I was traveling from the western part of India so I decided to take a little stop at the breadbasket of India – Punjab. I visited the Golden Temple at Amritsar. We say “places create spaces.” Yes, this place has made a big space in my heart. The place is not like any other holy place. It has its own charm. The smell, feel and the sound of the place are very soothing. You automatically start to relax once you enter the premises. Worry takes a hike. You close your eyes and all you feel is serenity.
After soaking up peace and tranquility at the Golden Temple, I moved northward to Himachal Pradesh, the state with majestic hills with a little apprehension. I thought Himachal would probably rob the peace I attained in Punjab but I was soon proved wrong. Himachal’s mountains distilled the peace I acquired in Punjab. I packed my backpack and went for a hike. And what I felt while climbing the mountain top was like when one achieves life’s goals. You hike through steep, dense forests, and open barren lands and finally, you reach your goal. With this motivation and fire, I reached the destination Kashmir.
Every time I go Kashmir, I feel more connected to the place. Nature, the culture, I feel these are all parts of me. Kashmir has ‘me’ in it.s Every time I go there I discover something new. I have also rediscovered few things and that inspires me. This keeps the fire inside me burning. This makes me live.
My first stop was Srinagar, the most important city of Kashmir. As soon as you reach Srinagar, you start feeling proud of your country. Every corner, every street, everyplace you see is like a painting. Usually, when you go to see a place, the first thing you take out is the camera. We take photos to capture the moment so that once we go back we can relive the moments. But to ‘relive’ the moment first you need to ‘live’ the moment when you are actually standing there. I was living the moment. I soaked in the mountains, the chinar trees, the Dal lake, people wearing traditional attires, the houseboats and the small boats called Shikaras. The ‘tranquility-mode’ took over my senses. I was roaming around in the city on foot, from small lanes to the open roads to the road around the iconic Dal lake.
The best way to get to know any city or the meaning of traveling is by being a part of that city. I am lucky enough to have few local friends that made everything easier for me.
For me, being in any city means being with the locals, eating what they usually cook at home, wearing what they wear, listening to their language, music, getting to know the history and the literature.
Yes, I did everything. A place called Daksum comes on the way when you are traveling in NH 18 on the Anantnag-Semthan – Kishtwar road sector. This lush heaven is yet unexplored as it is not yet part of the J & K tourism’s ‘places to visit’ list. So I jumped at the opportunity and took a little detour to Daksum. The scene was so picturesque that even now when I close my eyes, I can feel the breeze and see the huge rock structure. I had never seen such a deserted place with high energy. After experiencing Daksum, I felt I had finally seen Kashmir. Further, I went to Pir Ki Gali and then Sinthan Top and each and every place bestowed with a fresh and rejuvenated vibe.
When I was in the town lanes, they were filled with people with the beautiful sound of azaan on loudspeakers, the smell of fumes from clay ovens. But when I was in the mountains, it felt like I was hugging Mother Nature. I was impressed with the size of the chinar trees in Srinagar, but here in the untouched parts of Kashmir, I saw the actual size of it and was blown away.
I visited huge farms of hazelnut and walnuts and ate peaches and juicy apples directly from trees with the local noon chai and kahwah which was made with saffron.
Local delicacies like Duma Loo (potatoes cooked with mild spices on dum) and Rista Gushtaba (minced meatballs in curry) are a must try. I talked to the locals, heard their stories, laughed at a few and cried at some. The transition happened from ‘being there’ to ‘belonging there.’ But I had realized it was my time of departure as well. I was feeling content.
And I am looking forward to my next meditation camp….
What do you think of the concept- traveling?
“I love traveling”, “I am a travel freak”, “my greatest hobby is traveling” – we keep hearing such sentences regularly. The meaning of “I Travel” has changed completely. It has become show off for people. I never say traveling is my hobby or any such thing because by the time I think about traveling somewhere, I find myself booking tickets, managing work, making notes on my calendar until the day of my travel arrives.
I believe you travel to confirm your ideas and whatever you cannot confirm you discard. In a certain sense, you redesign yourself when you travel. I felt that I had changed a bit, in a good way.