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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

The environs of Srinagar are charming


"This

veritable king of the Himal--" (here follows a pageful of regulation guide-book gush).

"Good sport is to be obtained from the obliging and enterprising manager of the hotel, Herr Baer. A few rupees will purchase the privilege of shooting at that monarch of the mountains, the markhor. Start not, fair tourist, for no danger lurks in the sport. No icy precipices need be scaled, no giddy gulfs explored, and the only danger which menaces the bold hunter in the mimic stalk, is that which menaces his shins in the broken soda-water bottles and sharp-edged sardine tins with which the summit of Apharwat is strewn."

"As a matter of fact, the consumption of mutton is considerable in the Hotel Baloo in the tourist season, and the worthy Baer conceived the brilliant and financially sound scheme of attaching some old ibex and markhor horns (bought cheap when the old library at Srinagar was swept away in the last flood) to his live stock, and turning his decorated flock loose on the mountain's brow, where the sportsman saves him the trouble of slaughter while enjoying all the excitement and none of the difficulty of a veritable stalk."

"Another brilliant invention of the good Baer is his 'sunset spectacles.' These are made with the glasses in two halves--the upper part orange and the lower one purple. These are simply invaluable to those who have only a brief half-hour in which to 'do' Apharwat

before darting down to catch the 3.15 express for Leh (_via_ the newly opened Zoji La tunnel), since for the modest sum of 8 a. a superb sunset can be enjoyed at any time of the day."

"Should, however, the leisured globe-trotter have unlimited time at his disposal, he would do well to lunch at the Hotel Baloo, in order to taste the celebrated Kashmir sauerkraut (made of wild rhubarb) and Gujar pie (composed of the most tempting tit-bits of the water buffalo), before returning to the 'Savoy' at Srinagar by the turbine tram from Tangmarg, or by the pneumatic launch which leaves Palhallan Pier every ten minutes, weather permitting."

"Should the tourist be a naturalist he can hardly fail to observe, and be interested in, the mosquitoes of this charming and picturesque locality. He will note that they rival the song-thrush in magnitude and the Bengal tiger in ferocity. A coating of tar laid with a trowel over the exposed parts of the body will be found the best protection, especially as the new Armour Company's patent hermetically sealed bear-proof visor will be found too hot for comfort in summer."

"The environs of Srinagar are charming. Notice the picturesque 'furnished apartments' for paying guests all along the water-side, and the mixed bathing establishments, crowded daily by the Smart Set, whose jewelled pyjamas flash in rivalry of the heliographic oil-tins which deck the neighbouring temples."

"By a visit to the Museum, and an inspection by eye and nose of the quaint specimens of antique clothing exhibited there, the intelligent and imaginative traveller may conjure up a mental picture of the unpolished appearance of the old-time Mangi and his lady before he adopted the tall hat and frock coat of civilisation, or she had discovered the 'swanbill'!"

[1] It is by Courthope, not Collins.

[2] See Appendix II.


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