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.

Rhythm of the paddles is like beat of boogie woogie as Pam and Carney rest in their shikara passing through a canal to the lake.
"Careless Rapture" is the name of the shikara Pam and Carney take along the River Jhelum. Shikara is Kashmirian version of Venetian gondola, costs $1 a day. Others are named "Mae West," "Love Comes to You-" all with "best spring seats." Below, they pass beneath one of seven curious bridges over river.

Solomon's Throne is a mountain rising a sheer 1,000 ft. above the city, topped by 8th Century temple. It took Pam and Carney half an hour to reach the peak. From the top (below) they look down on the Dal Canal, with its clustered houseboats. Opposite is Hari Parbat, a sacred hill with 400-year-old fort.

Shopping on the Bund, Pam and carney stopped at the floating gift mart of Safdar Hussain, called "Suffering Moses" ever since British officer protested high prices.
Stepping stones in Shalimar Garden, which means Abode of Love, led the couple to tea in upper gardens which used to be set apart for the emperor's zenana (harem).
Gallantly toting Pam to shore after wading, Carney brought shy smiles to faces of Indian children and their mothers who came to gardens to see the fountains play.
Pam served coffee and liqueurs after dinner aboard her houseboat for Carney and Lieut. Frank Dannelly (right), who had a date with Pam's friend, Ditty Hodgkinson.
From their shikara Pam and Carney emerged at Nageem Club Annex for Saturday night dance. At most hill stations there are several dances weekly, plenty of girls.
Dance orchestras move from cities to the hills for the summer. Nurse at right wears same insignia as Carney - Chinese sun and American star of China-Burma-India Theater.


Adapted from the August 30, 1943 issue of LIFE
Portions copyright 1943 Time, Inc.