Srinagar: It is like a ‘home away from home’ for the famous travel blogger, Amelia German, originally from the United Kingdom, who is on her maiden visit to Kashmir.
During her sojourn in Kashmir, Amelia has been mesmerised by the natural scenic beauty and impressed by the hospitality of people here.
“I was invited to Kashmir by Jaan Muhammad who is running a tourism business, specialising in bringing Omani people to Kashmir. Jaan lived in Oman for 12 years selling Kashmiri Mussar which he makes at his home in Kashmir and sells in Muscat,” Amelia told Greater Kashmir
Mussar, which is embroidered Kashmiri Pashmina stoles, worn in turban-style on the head are famous among Omani men. “Jaan’s friend Khalid, who is a well known tour guide in Oman, suggested that he invite me as he knew that I would be interested in seeing the nature, beauty, culture, and life of Kashmir,” she says.
When Amelia landed in Kashmir, she straightaway drove to Jaan Muhammad’s house in Magam area in central Kashmir Budgam district.
“Actually I wasn’t travelling alone as I have been with Jaan Muhammad and his family the whole time, staying with them in their house in Magam with his parents and children,” she says. On whether she was apprehensive to travel alone to Kashmir, Amelia says, “I wasn’t really due to the political and security situation in Kashmir before I came here,” Amelia says.
However she says, “Once I started to mention to people that I was planning to travel to Kashmir they questioned me whether it was safe. However, I trusted my host that they would not bring me anywhere unsafe.”
Amelia says: “Since being here I have felt safer than in many places. In some places I have travelled, there has been the threat of pickpockets, or people following you as you walk down the street, especially at night, but here I didn’t feel that there was any danger at all, and the people here are very polite, kind, friendly, and considerate.”
Jaan Muhammad says he invited Amelia to visit Kashmir.
“She is a famous blogger in Oman. I wanted her to see the rich culture of Kashmir and its natural beauty and promote our place and culture. She stayed with my family like one of our own family members,” he says.
A native of Newbury Berkshire in the south of England, Amelia did her Bachelors degree in Biology at the University in Bangor, North Wales. She did her Masters in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability from Aberdeen University in Scotland. After her Masters, she worked in Scotland as an ecologist for seven years and then returned to Wales to work as a teaching assistant in Bangor University.
She then took a teaching certification in secondary school biology and chemistry.
Amelia found a job teaching Biology and Chemistry in Bahrain in 2016 and since then has lived continuously in the Middle East.
“I spent two years in Bahrain and then moved to the Sultanate of Oman in 2018,” she says.
In Oman, Amelia worked for an educational institute, which organises groups of Omani students to study English in the UK and India.
Her job is mainly a marketing role and to accompany children on trips abroad.
“I also became a social media blogger while I was in Oman because I have traveled extensively across the whole country, visiting every place, meeting local people and I was exploring many aspects of traditional and local life and showing the beauty of the country and the culture on my social media accounts,” Amelia says.
Mesmerised by Kashmir, she says: “I love nature, traditional life, kindness of the people, stunning nature, and landscapes, clear and fresh air, beautiful weather, and the beautiful clothes they make here. The natural beauty of Kashmir is amazing. Each way you turn, you will find beauty – the snow-capped mountains, forests, valleys, and running rivers. I also love to see the rural life with the many different fruits, vegetables, and crops which are grown here, and the traditional farming methods.”
Amelia’s social media handles are full of her photographs and videos of famous places including Dal Lake, historic Jamia Masjid, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Gulmarg
She even wore a traditional Kashmiri dress during her visit to Doodhpathri tourist resort in Budgam district.
“I love food here… it is fresh, healthy, and delicious. Many foods come straight from the garden. I love the bread, roti, and Kahwa made of Kashmiri saffron, which I learnt is the best quality and most expensive saffron in the world,” Amelia says. “I am so happy to know Kashmiri people. I have felt so comfortable living with a family at their home. They made me feel so welcome and looked after me so well.” About her message to people from other countries who are planning to visit Kashmir, she says, “Visit Kashmir, you won’t regret.”