Just before I arrived in India in mid-September, unusually heavy monsoon rains in the state of Uttarakhand led to widespread, destructive flooding which resulted in 5,700 deaths and over 110,000 evacuations.
In the three and a half weeks since I’ve been here, the following events have also happened:
The fourth day in Delhi was fairly uneventful. I’d been intending to go to Moradabad and stay with a couchsurfer to break the journey to Nainital, but he wasn’t responding to calls and texts, so I decided to go directly to Nainital the following day instead. Also, having spent the first few days hovering around a healthy 3-5, I plummeted to a 7, combined with a mild stomach ache. So I spent the morning in, feeling sorry for myself. By the afternoon I was a bit better, and went to meet another CS, Tanveer, who is from Srinagar in Kashmir, but studies photography in Delhi and works in a hotel on Connaught Place. We sat in the cool, air-conditioned lobby of his hotel and looked at his photos of Srinagar and other places in Kashmir. It all looks very beautiful. He kindly offered to let me stay with his family if I go to Srinagar.
In the evening, we went out to visit some family friends, and discussed travel plans. Apparently the Valley of Flowers is closed due to the monsoon floods. I was strongly urged to consider going to Leh, riding there from Manali then across to Srinagar, completing a loop via Jammu and Amritsar.