CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences Of Jammu City India

Travel Experiences In Jammu India

02.28.20
CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences Of Jammu City India

Travel is something that feeds the soul and nurtures the spirit. We all love to travel and most of us have some pretty amazing travel adventures to showcase. Sometimes it is a place that catches our breadth, sometimes is a person or people who make an impact and other times it is an experience that makes the adventure memorable.

Sandra Morante, a travel writer and photographer from Spain shares her travel adventures exploring the region of Jammu in India. Her story and her experience made us believe in the power of the human spirt and in the good that can be found in humanity.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirFrom Sandra,

This is the short story of an afternoon of 2 siblings traveling around northwestern India. As in all stories, good —and not so good— things happen but it seems that when they are located in India, what happens is extraordinary. And that is just what the city of Jammu gave us – a pinch of magic.

It is well known that every foreigner who steps on Indian territory does it because they are willing to experience something extremely different, something that has nothing to do with the intensity of what they have already experienced before getting off the plane. Something that, for better or worse, cannot leave you indifferent or with the sensitivity untouched.

Going back to the story. We arrived to Jammu from Amritsar after a 6-hour ride with a local bus. Once there, we had no other plan than wandering through its streets, soaking up the atmosphere at sunset and leaving the next day to Srinagar. Walking towards the end of the Afghan Town, and looking for a point of view to contemplate the Tawi river, we stumbled upon the doors of the Mubarak Mandi Palace. This set of buildings, which in the 1800s had been the residence of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from the Dogra dynasty, to our regret was locked. On top of that we weren’t sure whether we just came in the wrong moment or the place was just closed permanently. Without any hope of finding anything else to do around, we started to leave the place.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirBeing the only tourists in the area, we called the attention of a local man who, after observing us for a while and without uttering a word, made a gesture with his hand to follow him as he was entering a side gate. I looked at my brother and he looked at me. What do we do? — We could read each other in the look. Should we follow him? Where and why? We found ourselves in the dilemma of not knowing what to do. Trust him or leave immediately? Although our instinct was shouting “You love adventures, we all know that but, this time, please, don’t be naive. For sure his intentions aren’t crystal clear”, the voice of curiosity was louder than doubt and following him, just a little bit, would do us no harm. Despite the risk, we decided to put faith in that man and follow him into a building next to the Dogra Art Museum.

We continued through an inner courtyard where he lived, from what we understood, with other companions. The place was completely abandoned. We were surrounded by balconies with hanging clothes, broken windows, wild bushes and bare bricks. The man greeted his comrades and took a large set of keys. Without hesitating, he opened one of the multiple gates that connected to another dark corridor and kept walking. At this point, doubts and fears came back to remind us that maybe our trust was highly questionable and excessively naive.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirWas it a predictable and, therefore, avoidable scam? Would he ask us for a high sum of money for taking us wherever he wanted? Would there be someone on the other side waiting for simple-minded tourists to ruin their trip and boost their credulity in humanity?

Against this, we kept the faith and followed him. This time until the end. And without any doubt, it was the best decision we took.

After crossing several tunnels and doors, the bowels of the Maharaja complex unfolded before our eyes. They were massive: dozens of decadent buildings full of thickets and wildflowers appeared dramatic due to the hundreds of years. It is impossible to convey with words the unique charm of the places that are abandoned… Moments ago we were looking for a modest point of view to glimpse the river and minutes later we embraced it as if we were the owners of the palace.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirRoaming through dozens of shady corridors and wandering around desolated floors without walls, we felt invigorated but hectic. As we were climbing hundreds of stairs to reach one of the roofs (the highest of all buildings), we were more and more amazed by how enormous the complex was. At that precise moment, when the city of Jammu posed only for us, we surrendered to its majestic views. Still shocked and full of adrenaline, we felt the most blissful people on the planet and, possibly from the universe and beyond — I still feel this excitement when I think of it.

Someone from the very ground raised the voice asking how we got there and the man confirmed that we were with him. Without expecting it at all, this anonymous human appeared spontaneously on our way, becoming the best improvised guide we had ever imagined inside a unique place that we enjoyed in the purest solitude and exclusivity.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirUpon returning to the initial courtyard, we tried to express our immeasurable gratitude with a tip but he refused to accept it. He only wanted to show us the hidden wonder he guarded in exchange for nothing, just for the pure pleasure of sharing. The happiness and the still surprise we had in our faces were his best gift. When we parted ways we couldn’t thank him enough, but eventually it was time to say goodbye and continue our adventurous journey.

India is a sensory excitement: it overwhelms the senses while feeding the soul. It tenses without breaking. It freaks you out in such a way that you think you can’t take it anymore, and then something unexpected happens that makes you regain faith in humanity. But of course, it also makes you wonder, over and over again, what is good, what is bad, how fair and how unfair the world is.CulturallyOurs Travel Experiences From Jammu And KashmirThis is just a small story of one of the many things that happened to us along the trip. During the remaining 25 days, we went through a whole spectrum of emotions that we didn’t know we could live. And all this, under the magnificent blanket of experiences that India always provides to its travelers.

Thank you Sandra for sharing this wonderful experience while traveling to Jammu. It sounds and looks like an incredible adventure and proof of the amazing people we tend to meet while traveling.

{Words and photos by Sandra Morante; Website: Hola Sandra; Instagram: @holasandraphoto}

Related Reading

Leave your comments below

  1. Laureen says:

    Adding this to my collection for my hopeful future trip…I can’t wait. This looks amazing.

  2. Marilyn says:

    A delightful read. I can sense your gratitude for being given such a humbling and amazing experience.

  3. I saw this on Instagram and had to click through. I adore stories of chance encounters with incredible human beings showing us magnificent wonders. Serendipitous. Great images

  4. A very touching and powerful story. I loved reading about how India is a sensory experience and can make you regain faith in humanity. It’s refreshing when a place can do that.

  5. Georgina says:

    A touching and powerful experience – I hope to visit and experience India for all its beauty and wonder.

  6. Jan says:

    What an interesting story! It sure must have been an overwhelming experience. Thanks for sharing. 🙂