After a short jaunt into Jammu & Kashmir and an expensive hotel in Jammu last night we did a U-turn and headed back to our final destination in northern India, Amritsar, Punjab. The change between the landscape of JK and Punjab is striking, at least along the road from Jammu to Amritsar. Punjab is agricultural. Green fields of new wheat spread out as far as you can see through the ever-present haze of fog and wood smoke with a good dose of smoke from the burning of dried cow dung patties which are used for heating and cooking. The wheat will be ready for harvest in May or June and then we’re told the fields will convert to rice-growing. Jammu and Kashmir, at least what we saw was dusty, dirty, grey and drab. We know the north of JK is beautiful but we’ll have to save that trip for another time.
There are many military bases around India and in Jammu and Kashmir in particular and all are heavily fortified and guarded. On our way out of Jammu we came across large crowds gathered outside the entrance to Sunjuwan Military camp. Several helicopters circled above and we saw two fly quickly into the compound. Something was going on but we could only speculate. The next day the below front page headline donned the Hindustan Times.
So as we were driving by there was a major special forces operation going on to purge any remaining militants that had not been killed earlier in the day. Today, the 12th, the papers reported 6 people dead.
Below is what the border crossing looks like on the JK side. There was nothing to speak of on the Punjab side.