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autumn-Srinagar
Reuters/Danish Ismail
Solitary.
A SILENT VALLEY

In photos: Kashmir’s stunning, fiery, and forlorn autumn is missing its tourists this year

By Itika Sharma Punit

Kashmir is in its blazing autumn glory.

The Dal lake’s charming houseboats, the Chinar trees soaring towards the sky, the bloom in the saffron plantations—all slowly getting enveloped by the descending mist—make this Himalayan corner one of the world’s most scenic places. Its glory flames up further in October and November as leaves slowly turn golden-yellow and then shades of deep, fierce crimson, making the entire region look like it’s on fire.

But this year, it will all be in vain.

For almost five months now, a deep lull has set in across Kashmir due to the turbulence following the killing of a young militant, Burhan Wani, by Indian security forces. Since then, parts of the state have been locked down by intermittent periods of curfew.

In July, Kashmir saw 90% of its tourists flee due to the upheaval. All hotel reservations for the following months were canceled given the situation.

Here are some images of autumn in Kashmir over the recent years:

AP Photo/Dar Yasin
Kashmiri boys at a Nishat Garden strewn with fallen chinar leaves on the outskirts of Srinagar, the state’s capital.
Reuters/Fayaz Kabli
A boy rides a bicycle on a road leading to the Pari Mahal garden.
Reuters/Fayaz Kabli
Kashmiri youths practice kayaking in the Dal lake.
Reuters/Fayaz Kabli
A villager collects saffron flowers from his field in Khrew, 25 kilometres south of Srinagar.
EPA/Farooq Khan
A woman carries a bag of chinar leaves. Kashmiris collect the fallen leaves in autumn to make charcoal for use during winters.
EPA/Farooq Khan
Locals stroll through a garden.
AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan
As autumn sets in, leaves of the gigantic chinars first turn pale and then a fiery red.