Seasons of Kashmir – Spring is in The Air

I grew up in the valley of Kashmir – a mesmerizing place known for its charismatic beauty, rich culture, a slow paced life, luxuriant Cashmere, royal feasts and much more. I would want to point out here that when the Mughal Emperor Jehangir came to Kashmir, he was so captivated by its beauty that he said the famous couplet

“Agar Firdaws ba roy-i zamin ast, hamin ast-u hamin ast-u hamin ast,” meaning, “If there is Paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.”

And being an ardent lover of Nature, I tend to agree with this. The place is definitely a spectacular sight with all its seasons showing off a different type of beauty – one that soothes your senses and replenishes your soul. Kashmir is characterized to four major seasons and my personal favorite is the Spring, (known as “Sonth” in the native Kashmiri language) which begins from Early March and extends upto late April.

So are we ready? Lets go!

Spring in Kashmir is a time when the despondence of the winter skies is overcome by a bright and beaming sun. The earth takes on a refreshing green jacket, while snow-capped mountain peaks glisten in the backdrop like a precious jewel. Daffodils and narcissus (also known as yemberzal) are the first to break the barren winter earth, followed by a wide variety of flowers which fill the breeze with their fragrance.

By mid March, almond blossoms, known as Badam Phulei start gracing the orchards in delicate pinks and whites. For those who haven’t witnessed it, the blossoming of almond flowers is one of the most spectacular things you could ever set your eyes on. Take my word for it!  It is during this time that people – tourists and locals alike – throng the Badam Waer (Badam translates to almonds) which is home to thousands of Almond trees, clicking pictures, spending quality time with their families and surrounding themselves with beauty which I cannot put into words.

almond-blossom

This is followed by the blossoms of cherries, pears, peaches, plums and apricots, which again lends a fruity incense to the air.

Come April and I make it a point to visit the Asia’s largest Tulip Garden before the seasonal beauties wither out. A colorful riot of tulips flaunt themselves proudly, making an awe-inspiring sight as they do!

tulip-garden

(Credits: Getty Images)

But we are not done yet. Take a trip to Pahalgam and you will get to see mustard fields spread as far as the eyes can see in full bloom, their vibrant yellows carpeting the earth in the backdrop of magnificient mountains. And how can we forget our well terraced Mughal Gardens like Cheshma Shahi, Nishat Bagh, Harwan and Shalimar. They too are at their colorful best.

mustard-field

(Image: Huffington Post)

As nature springs forth with a new life, the temperatures are ideally suited to enjoy the beauty of this place. One moment you are dancing in the rain (if you are are a pluviophille like me) and before you know it, you are basking in the subtle warmth of the sun. I must add that colorful rainbows are frequent in this season. Add it to all the beauty I described in this whole write up (yes, I love rainbows too!).

To summarize, the cool morning breeze, songs of migratory birds, blossoms of flowers and everything beautiful are the definition of Spring in Kashmir. As somebody rightly said, “they call it heaven on earth, I call it home”. Cheers!

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A Letter To My Younger Self By Charlotte Hill

Here’s sharing a hauntingly meaningful letter I dedicate to myself and all the beautiful ladies out there!

“Dear Younger Self,

You are.

I wanted to write, “You are beautiful,” but that doesn’t do you justice. You simply are. And no one else is — not in the way you are.

Your presence fills the room in a way that no one else’s does. Your shoulders sit at their own angle. You blink at your own rate.

You are uniquely — in the unadulterated sense of the word — uniquely you.

Others will try to mold you into them — or, worse, into someone whose multidimensionality has been stripped, leaving them a two-dimensional object on a magazine page or a TV screen. You are so much more than a photo. You are more than a poised smile on a Facebook wall.

You are.

Others will tell you that you are selfish, that you are self-obsessed, that you love yourself too much. Don’t believe them for a second. You deserve to be enthralled with your you-ness, the way a toddler is mesmerized by a leaf. You are full of wonder and wondrous.

You are.

Someday, someone will fall in love with who you are. He will be intoxicated by you. And then, without warning, he will do the unthinkable, the devastating: he will challenge you.

He will demand that you act differently, dress differently, feel differently. And you’ll consider listening, because at one time, he loved you. You’ll think he knows you better than you know yourself. You’ll feel like less than you are. You will realize that long before, you gave someone else the power to determine your own self-worth. And you’ll consider changing.

Don’t.

You are perfect.

You are.”

 

This article was originally posted by Charlotte Hill on The Huffington Post.