On the eastern outskirts of Srinagar, lies the town Nishat Bagh — the second-largest Mughal garden in Kashmir.
Aamir Khanyari’s family has been living here since 1965, when his grandfather decided to purchase the orchards here.
The 40-year-old recalls spending all of his childhood amid the sweetness of the peaches, plums and apricots that we would get from these trees in the orchard.
His favourite memories growing up were the lush green gardens that expanded across the driveway, and the walnut furniture that adorned the interiors.
The home he says “has collected stories of people and places from a variety of cultures, customs, thoughts, and attitudes”.
In 2004, Aamir converted the place into a homestay where he now welcomes guests.
‘My Kashmir Home’ is a traveller’s delight with its lush green gardens, walnut furniture, traditional Kashmiri carpets, decor, and handicrafts.
Aamir says the house that guests book for their stay today is the very same that has existed since 1965.
The 10,000 sq-metre property has three super luxury suites and five semi-luxury suites. Since the house is located in a ‘green belt’, not many structural modifications have been done.
The garden, too, is an abundant source of all their daily greens — potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, zucchini, cucumbers and more.
This means the family rarely has to venture to the market for their produce.
Perhaps every guest who has stayed at the homestay will agree that the main draw here is the traditional and authentic Kashmiri wazwan.
Other dishes include harissa lamb cooked with oats, trout, Kashmiri Kehwa, and Marchewangan Korma, among others.
Like the food, everything at the homestay is rooted in Kashmir’s heritage and tradition.
Aamir, who watches his guests enjoy every moment of their time here, says that when he started out, the intention was never for their guests to be tourists, but rather feel that this was their home. “This is now true.”