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Mondlan: Staying with the Maliks

A narrow path leading towards Mondlan
A narrow path leading towards Mondlan
Mondlan village is centred around this mosque
Mondlan village is centred around this mosque
Vegetable garden on the bank of Lidder River at Mondlan
Vegetable garden on the bank of Lidder River at Mondlan
A young girl at Mondlan
A young girl at Mondlan
A young Muslim girl at Mondlan
A young Muslim girl at Mondlan
Maliks family at Mondlan
Maliks family at Mondlan
Kashmiri boys pose for a photo at Mondlan Village near pahalgam
Kashmiri boys pose for a photo at Mondlan Village near pahalgam
A typical Kashmiri kitchen at Mondlan near Pahalgam
A typical Kashmiri kitchen at Mondlan near Pahalgam
A beautiful house with the backdrop of pine canopies at Mondlan
A beautiful house with the backdrop of pine canopies at Mondlan
Unripe wallnuts near my window at Mondlan
Unripe wallnuts near my window at Mondlan
A man loads food supplies on his pony as he prepares to leave for Lidder Valley
A man loads food supplies on his pony as he prepares to leave for Lidder Valley
View of the pine wooded mountains surrounding Mondlan
View of the pine wooded mountains surrounding Mondlan

Mondlan is the nearest village to Pahalgam situated at a distance of around 8 km, right on the bank of river Lidder. It is an idyllic village, midway between Pahalgam and Aru and a homeland of a close knit Muslim community. There is also a small mosque situated in the middle of Mondlan. This is where I stopped though it was not on my travel plan but it turned out to be the most rewarding experience of my Kashmir trip. 

As soon as I landed at Pahalgam, I met a man by the name Javaed Malik, a small time travel agent. I ended up staying at his home at Mondlan, a small village not yet affected by the big tourism businesses in any way.

I slept and dined at his place, with his family and got the true essence of arriving at Kashmir. Staying with Javaed's family at Pahalgam was an eye opener as I steep in true Kashmiri culture and traditions; something that a hotel at a downtown could never have educated me with. It was like a workshop on many things about Kashmir. 

Their houses are made of mud, wood and stone and have tin roofs. There were around 50 or 60 houses and they did little farming by the river bank. The constant roaring sound of the river was like an integral part of the place.

I slept on the floor, the way most Kashmiri do and ate at their kitchen sitting on the carpet. There is something very relaxing and soothing about the way they sit on the floor. 

A window at the kitchen looked out to a wall nut tree; below I could see the river and the mountains looming behind. Even on a rainy day I could just watch the mountains and pine trees gathering fog from my room.

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