Kashmir

The story so far: The trial at Chandrapore court is over. Miss Quested has withdrawn her accusations, and the case against Dr Aziz collapses. Everyone leaves the court: Dr Aziz in triumph, carried shoulder high to a grand victory party by his supporters, whilst Miss Quested leaves alone, shunned by the Europeans. She is found wandering in a daze by Mr Fielding, who rescues her from the agitated crowd. Mr Fielding goes to see Aziz, and persuades him not to press for damages against Miss Quested. She returns to England alone. Fielding returns to England at the end of the college-term, and marries Mrs Moore's daughter Stella, whom we haven't seen in the film up until now, though she was mentioned in a conversation between Dr Aziz and Mrs Moore at the mosque, and later at the lower caves.

Professor Godbole leaves for Kashmir, to take up a post of Minister for Education. Dr Aziz also goes to Kashmir, and opens a small hospital in the old city of Srinagar, next to the Jhelum river. Fielding writes to him, but Aziz, assuming that Fielding has married Miss Quested, ignores the letters. Fielding and Stella go to India on honeymoon, and travel to Kashmir to seek out Dr Aziz.

On the road to Kashmir - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On the road to Kashmir

The scene opens with Mr and Mrs Fielding driving along the road from Jammu to Srinagar. At Banihal, they go through the 2,200m Jawahar Tunnel, which runs under the Banihal Pass, and is still the main way of entry to the Kashmir Valley. Being such a strategic resource, photos these days are difficult to take.

On the way to Kashmir in 2005 - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On the way to Kashmir in 2005 - 1

Movie trivia: The part of Stella was played by David Lean's wife Sandy, using her maiden-name of Sandra Hotz. She was not an actress, and was nervous about playing the part, even though it had no lines.

On the way to Kashmir in 2005 - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On the way to Kashmir in 2005 - 2

Map of Srinagar and Kashmir
Map of Srinagar and Kashmir

Exit to the Jawahar Tunnel - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Exit to the Jawahar Tunnel

At the exit to the tunnel, the Fieldings stop to admire the views of various stunning snow-capped mountain peaks. Unfortunately, it isn't really like that, and although these mountain views were probably taken somewhere in the Kashmir region, it wasn't at the northern exit to the Jawahar Tunnel.

Kashmir Mountain Scenes - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mountain Scenes - 1

Kashmir Mountain Scenes - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mountain Scenes - 2

Does anyone recognise any of these scenes? If you have matching photos, I would be very interested to see them.

Kashmir Mountain Scenes - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mountain Scenes - 3

Kashmir Mountain Scenes - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mountain Scenes - 4

Kashmir Mountain Scenes - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mountain Scenes - 5

'Yetijuice', a contributor, says that 'Kashmir mountain scene # 5 shows Ama Dablam in the Khumbu region of Nepal. This photo of Ama Dablam was taken from the southwest direction. This is the view most trekkers would see from Tengboche. I believe that mountain scenes # 1 to 4 are also of peaks in Nepal.' Has anyone got any matching photos I could use here?

Into the Kashmir Valley - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Into the Kashmir Valley - 1

The Fieldings continue their drive, on through Kashmir to Srinagar. This poplar-lined road is a delightful location to use in the film, and was obviously used again at the end of the film, when Dr Aziz says goodbye. Does anyone know where it is? It is very typical to Kashmir, even today. I would suspect that it is located on one of the back-roads just to the south of Srinagar, probably within 30 miles of the city, before the mountains of the Pir Panjal begin to rise up and the road climbs to meet the Jawahar tunnel.

Into the Kashmir Valley - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Into the Kashmir Valley - 2

Another possibility is the road from Srinagar to Baramula, as this old photo taken by James Ricalton in 1899-1900 shows.

The road from Srinagar to Baramula
Srinagar to Baramula

Professor Godbole tells Mr Fielding where to find Dr Aziz, so leaving Stella at the hotel, he takes a boat across Lake Dal to find Aziz's houseboat.

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 1

In the book, there is no mention of Kashmir or houseboats - it has a totally different ending, but David Lean chose Kashmir because he wanted the snow to be a complete contrast to the 'burning plains' of the India used for the rest of the film. Even Maurice Jarre's wonderful music takes on a different style in Kashmir - to me, a Chinese feel. For those not lucky enough to have visited Srinagar, 'the beautiful city', yet, I should mention that it is situated on the south-western shores of Lake Dal, a large lake 6.4km long and 4km wide.

Click here to see the original 1924 map of Srinagar
Map of Srinagar and Lake Dal - 1924

Mr Fielding's boat is joined by another, containing Dr Aziz's two children: son Akbar, and daughter Jamilla. There is no mention in the credits as to who played these parts. Do you know?

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 2

Movie Trivia: There are few mistakes in David Lean's script, but one that I have noticed concerns the conversation between Mrs Moore and Dr Aziz at the mosque in Chanderapore, earlier in the film. Mrs Moore asks about Dr Aziz's wife, and he replies 'In giving me a son, she died.' This is obviously at odds with the actors used to play Aziz's children - the son is older than the daughter, and therefore must have been born first.

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 3

Lake Dal is divided into 2 main parts by manmade causeways: the upper 'Bod Dal' and the lower 'Lokut Dal'. These causeways have occasional bridges in them, to allow the passage of boats from one part of the lake to the other, and it is next to one of these bridges, not far from the Nishat gardens, that Lean sited Dr Aziz's houseboat. These days, and I suspect when the film was made too, there are no houseboats in that area; they are all to be found in the lower, western section of the lake, near to Srinagar city and amongst the famous floating vegetable gardens. However, the place chosen is by far the best, visually.

Dr Aziz's houseboat - scene looking west - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Dr Aziz's houseboat - scene looking west

Dr Aziz's houseboat - scene looking east - Click to show full-size image in new browser
The view from Dr Aziz's houseboat, looking east

Mr Fielding meets Dr Aziz - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Mr Fielding meets Dr Aziz

Dr Aziz waves goodbye - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Dr Aziz waves goodbye

The scene above, of Dr Aziz waving goodbye to the Fieldings, was taken in exactly the same place as the earlier shot 'Into the Kashmir Valley - 1'. In real life, this would not be true - there aren't any roads like this on the upper-eastern shore of Lake Dal, where the houseboat was moored, and the mountains are much closer, too.

Houseboats in Srinagar - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Houseboats in Srinagar - 1

The following photos were all taken during my 2005 visit to Kashmir and Srinagar. Though Kashmir still can't be classified as '100% safe', and is not suitable for the novice-traveller, Srinagar is at long last slowly emerging as a possible destination for experienced travellers to India once more. I was very pleased to have been able to make a visit there in 2005, after so many years of wishing to see that stunning yet troubled land, and hope to go again as soon as I have some time to spare.

Houseboats in Srinagar - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Houseboats in Srinagar - 2

Houseboats in Srinagar - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Houseboats in Srinagar - 3

Houseboats in Srinagar - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Houseboats in Srinagar - 4

Water market near Srinagar - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Water market, near Srinagar

Amongst the water-lilies - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Amongst the water-lilies

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 1

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 2

On Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
On Lake Dal - 3

Houseboats on Lake Dal - Click to show full-size image in new browser
Houseboats on Lake Dal

 

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