Srinagar, 1943: Historical photographs
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'LIFE Goes on a Date in India'
For American troops stationed in India the Vale of Kashmir, lying high and cool in the Himalayas has been a taste of heaven. To it men spending their second summer on the blistering plains have been sent for brief holidays by their commanding officers as a protective measure against malaria, and fevers that accompany the heat. Some of the men go to rest camps, where American girls from Red Cross centers see that they have a good time. Others, more adventurous, make for hill stations like Darjeeling and Gulmarg, traditional summering places for the British, or to Srinagar, capital of Kashmir, a stone's throw from beautiful Dal Lake. Here centuries ago the Emperor Jahangir built a series of floating gardens for his favorite wife, Nur Jahan, of which the most famous, Shalimar, was the inspiration for the Kashmiri Song (Pale hands I love beside the Shalimar).
A large part of the feminine population of India, including beautiful English and Anglo-Indian girls, summer in Kashmir, contributing an additional bit of glamor to the already glamorous setting. Writes LIFE Photographer William Vandivert, who took these pictures of a Kashmarian holiday: "There is considerable competition from British officers, but Americans are bowling a mean wicket."
One of these last - or a guy who was just plain lucky - was Lieutenant Vaden Carney of Forth Worth, Texas, test pilot at a U.S. air depot who has been in the Air Force for three years. Having established himself with two buddies in a houseboat on the Jhelum River ($3 a day, including food and servants), he proceeded to meet Pamela Rumbold, a London girl who has been doing censorship work in Bombay and is known as the most beautiful girl in Kashmir. She was serving as a WVS hostess at the Srinagar club when Carney came along. Vandivert's pictures complete the story.