Dangers & Annoyances

Safety in Kashmir

Kashmir’s difficult 20th-century history and the delicate relationship between nationalist Muslims and Jammu Hindus create a cauldron of communal tensions, which are contained or exacerbated (according to one’s viewpoint) by a very visible Indian army presence. When things are calm, Kashmir is probably safer than most places in India. But cycles of unrest, stone-throwing and curfews can erupt remarkably rapidly.

If troubles should break out while you're there, use common sense, avoid public demonstrations and military installations and consult a wide range of resources to get a feel of the situation. Useful starting points include the forum of www.indiamike.com and local news feeds, including Kashmir Times (www.kashmirtimes.com), Greater Kashmir (www.greaterkashmir.com), Kashmir Monitor (www.kashmirmonitor.in) and Daily Excelsior (www.dailyexcelsior.com).

At such times Srinagar's Old City is worth avoiding (and is in fact often sealed off by razor wire), as is Anantnag (and thus trips to Pahalgam), Kishtwar and Ganadrbal, but Dal Lake generally remains trouble-free even during fairly significant disturbances. Foreign tourists have never been targets, but in the worst recent periods (summers of 2008, 2010 and 2016), things were bad enough to paralyse land transport for days or even weeks. At such times, it was often still possible to drive some routes at night and Srinagar airport remained open, for those who could reach it. Internet and mobile-phone networks are also often down during disturbances.