In Photos: New Year Means New Hope as Normalcy Returns to Kashmir
Kashmiris reading an Urdu Daily on New Year day. They wear Pheran, a Kashmiri traditional winter cloak. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)
Kashmiris reading an Urdu Daily on New Year day. They wear Pheran, a Kashmiri traditional winter cloak. (Photo Courtesy: Pradeepika Saraswat)

In Photos: New Year Means New Hope as Normalcy Returns to Kashmir

As the world welcomed the new year, the first Sunday of 2017 came as any other day in Kashmir Valley. There were no celebrations, no fireworks or cakes, not even snowfall. The first day of the year began as usual.

Unlike other cities in India, no parties, decorations, loud music or movies welcomed New Year in the city of Srinagar. “We do not celebrate New Year here in the city, though people go to Gulmarg and party there,” says Abrar, a student in Kashmir University.

 A Shikara waits for tourists as Dal lake freezes. Kashmir has lost its tourist season to unrest post a young militant leader Burhan Wani’s encounter in July 2016.
A Shikara waits for tourists as Dal lake freezes. Kashmir has lost its tourist season to unrest post a young militant leader Burhan Wani’s encounter in July 2016.
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People avoid leaving their houses after 7 in the evening as the temperature dips to sub-zero.

After six months of unrest as the new year tip-toed to the Valley, I took a walk around the city with my camera and tried to capture the day. Here are some frames from the Dal lake, Hazrat Bal and down town Srinagar. These photos reflect the life in the city coming back to a certain kind of normalcy after months of unrest and hartal.

A man walks on Abullah Bridge in Srinagar on New Year morning.
A man walks on Abullah Bridge in Srinagar on New Year morning.
A woman prays outside Hazarat Bal Shrine on new year day as the board on the gate reads, ‘women are not allowed.’
A woman prays outside Hazarat Bal Shrine on new year day as the board on the gate reads, ‘women are not allowed.’
A little boy waits for his father in his Shikara. He holds a Kangri or a local fire pot in his hand as temperature in Srinagar dips on New Year day.
A little boy waits for his father in his Shikara. He holds a Kangri or a local fire pot in his hand as temperature in Srinagar dips on New Year day.
A young man sails his Shikara on Dal Lake as he moves from his houseboat towards the city.
A young man sails his Shikara on Dal Lake as he moves from his houseboat towards the city.
A Kashmiri balloon seller at a park in Srinagar, on New Year day.
A Kashmiri balloon seller at a park in Srinagar, on New Year day.
A child in Hazarat Bal, Srinagar sits at her doorstep on the first Sunday of the year.
A child in Hazarat Bal, Srinagar sits at her doorstep on the first Sunday of the year.
A street-food seller in downtown Srinagar fries lotus stem fries on New Year day.
A street-food seller in downtown Srinagar fries lotus stem fries on New Year day.
A bronzeware shop in downtown Srinagar. Delicately carved bronzeware is traditionally used in Kashmiri kitchens.
A bronzeware shop in downtown Srinagar. Delicately carved bronzeware is traditionally used in Kashmiri kitchens.
Local shopkeepers sit together for their usual chit-chat in a provision store in Hazarat Bal, Srinagar.
Local shopkeepers sit together for their usual chit-chat in a provision store in Hazarat Bal, Srinagar.
A young woman sits at a park in Srinagar on New Year day.
A young woman sits at a park in Srinagar on New Year day.
Two old man sailing Shikaras on Dal Lake on New Year day expecting locals to come out for a ride. Kashmir has lost its tourist season to unrest post a young militant leader Burhan’s encounter.
Two old man sailing Shikaras on Dal Lake on New Year day expecting locals to come out for a ride. Kashmir has lost its tourist season to unrest post a young militant leader Burhan’s encounter.
A local old man waits for sunshine at boulevard, Srinagar.
A local old man waits for sunshine at boulevard, Srinagar.

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