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Gurez, the Kashmir valley at the top of the world

Learning to savor solitude without loneliness

The Gurez Valley, viewed from the top of Razdan Pass. Located high in the Himalayas about 2,400 meters above sea level, the valley is cut off from November through April. (Photo by Safina Nabi)

GUREZ, India -- For the five years that I lived in Delhi, I was always enchanted by the idea of travel.

Sitting on the terrace at my friend Jayashree's place one afternoon in the summer of 2019, we discussed where we could go. Jayashree's first suggestion was to visit some mountainous place in my home state of Kashmir, but I wasn't so keen. Kashmir is full of mountains, is surrounded by them in fact, so why would I want to see more?

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