Kishtwar to Baltal-day2

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Another villager from Hanzal joined us. So we stopped when tired or needing a drink of water from one of the side streams but otherwise saw few others or habitation. Needless to say it was beautiful and in every way unspoilt. Nothing like having an area proclaimed dangerous to protect it from dhabas, rubbish, barb wire and all the detritus that happens when humans invade an area.

It was a long day with only a break at a dhaba for Farook’s lunch. He had been moaning for ages that he was starving. Rice and dal 20 rupees. I couldn’t bring myself to eat what was on offer. It is quite easy to diet under such circumstances. I just watched the chickens around my feet looking for morsels.

We arrived in Hanzal towards evening. On the outskirts of town was a dhaba where the men congregated and I guess talked about the days events. I sat down with them and asked where we might stay the night. No one really came up with anything or so I supposed. (not much was really understood as no one seem to speak English) So I was about to set off and do some sort of door knock when one of the elders Shamtar announced that I would be the guest of his home. So it turned out that we were shown a lovely room with lots of Persian type carpets in a traditional deodar wooden house. The only real change to the building is that the long split shingles made of deodar had been replaced with sheets of corrugated tin.

Hanzal is a Moslem town.  The women are in general dressed smartly in trouser/top combos. I always wonder how they look so tidy when they toil all day either carrying wood or working in a dusty environment in their homes over a wooden fire.

The toilet was the bush and showering was the bucket but at a common area on the edge of town. Toilets or wash facilities seemed to have been made but were no longer used.

During the evening many of the townsfolk would visit and wish to know more about me. But it was a nice place to stay as the military presence wasn’t there and the town seemed to get along quite well without any help from the outside world. Needless to say there was no mobile reception and the shop that I visited was very poorly stocked. Horse traffic in this village also seemed to be much less than in all the other villages that I visited or would visit.

That just about finishes day 2.


Kishtwar to Baltal-day2 — 2 Comments

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