The road to buddhist Ladakh runs through the troubled region of muslim Kashmir. Here, the Indian government has to defend itself on two fronts: against Pakistan and Kashmiri insurgents. Never have we seen such an overwhelming army presence. The border road is congested with military convoys and we ride past one army camp after another. While we’re enjoying a shikara boat ride on touristy Dal Lake, a few incidents elsewhere in Srinagar (hindus burning a quran and the police shooting a protestor, or so we’re told) result in a curfew being announced, out of fear for demonstrations after the friday prayers.
We leave Srinagar at five o’clock the next morning, just before the curfew starts. Police is on the ready, blocking the entry roads to Srinagar.