Kashmir Kronicle

11th Jul 2015
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 1/15 by Bhargavi K
Symbol of Kashmir-The Dal Lake
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 2/15 by Bhargavi K
The Shikaras
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 3/15 by Bhargavi K
Thajiwas Glacier,Sonmarg
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 4/15 by Bhargavi K
Nishat Bagh-an iconic Mughal garden
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 5/15 by Bhargavi K
Golden Meadows-Sonmarg
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 6/15 by Bhargavi K
Interior of a House Boat at Dal Lake
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 7/15 by Bhargavi K
Pari Mahal
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 8/15 by Bhargavi K
Signature of Kashmir-House Boats at Dal Lake
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 9/15 by Bhargavi K
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 10/15 by Bhargavi K
Apharwat peak,Gulmarg
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 11/15 by Bhargavi K
Snow point appx.4200m above sea level,Gulmarg
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 12/15 by Bhargavi K
Yusmarg-Green valley meadow
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 13/15 by Bhargavi K
Kashmiri girls ;)
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 14/15 by Bhargavi K
Betaab Valley
Photo of Kashmir Kronicle 15/15 by Bhargavi K
Kheer Bhawani Temple,Tulla Mulla

Ever since I saw this place in the movie called "Roja" I wanted to go here and I had my own preconceptions about the place such as full of ice and snow, extreme weather conditions and a destination meant for honeymoon couples. But surprise SURPRISE!!! Kashmir can offer any type of traveler something, whether it is a family holiday or an adventure trip,whether you are a trek fetishist or a nature lover or if nothing else if you simply need a quite retreat/break from the noisy outside world. Snow points,forests,water streams, snow clad mountains, valley views, horse rides, religious places, resorts, boating, skiing, sledging, trekking, scenic view through the drive way and most importantly the opportunity to enjoy is endless.  

  • People & Culture- Shankaracharya temple, Hazrathbal Shrine, Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara, Kheer Bhawani Temple are all must visits.People are warm and friendly. They might instantly recognize you as a person from outside and they might even be interested in taking a photo with you as this happened with our family with some local school girls at a tourist place.Youngsters like them instantly mingle without any second thoughts.

  • Food- Your trip wont be complete without the famous Kasmiri Wazwan (traditional Kashmiri thali) Don't forget to purchase local bakery items like sheermal, kulcha, Lavassa etc.These will have a shelf life of appx. 48hrs without refrigeration.Another must have is the kashmiri khawa (traditional tea).

  • Shopping- Saffron, original pashmina shawls, dry fruits, kashmiri khawa are signature buys. Saffron can be got at Dal Lake itself but you will be advised buy it on the way to Pahalgam (Pampore fields)which is costlier. Dry fruits can also be purchased from here. While buying pashmina shawl see it if it comes with an authentication tag. Apart from these you will be spoilt for choices when it comes to Kashmiri crewel-work wall hangings and rugs, walnut wood carvings, papiér–maché products.

  • Seasons to go- Apple orchid season (Aug-Sep), Best time to visit (March-August), Ice Cover (Nov-Feb) and Afarwat Peak can be reached by helicopter and not by Gandola cable car at this point of time, Tulip bloom (April). So choose what suits best.

But all good things comes with its own price and yes here are certain things to watch out for:-

  • Traffic Jams – Of course we would have all experienced it, but nothing like traffic jams in this place especially roads connecting to Srinagar city from nearby places.So beware!!! time your visits accordingly.

  • Fuel conscious drivers – Plan your trip for a day that involves all places of one part of the state eg:- Sonmarg means entire Sonmarg and places on the way to Sonmarg. If you plan for some other place out of this it wont be covered and once if you miss a place on that particular day then its missed on your whole trip.

  • Surprise costs – Certain places involves travelling only through horses and special vehicles that are meant only for those places alone.Lots and lots negotiations need to be carried out with the horsemen as well as with other vehicle personnel otherwise huge losses can be incurred So a lump sum amount of money needs to be spent apart from your pre-booked tour expenses.

  • Money-minded and business oriented-Right from your travel agent to hotel receptionist,tour driver to guide all are like minded. So get lot of knowledge about the places you visit, charges involved, time of visit, accessibility etc beforehand and do not rely on these people entirely.

At the end of my trip all I took back was those beautiful moments I spent at each and every place I saw, felt and enjoyed. It was like leaving a different planet on the way back home.

Iconic exclusive of Kashmir---the Shikara ride, a blissful experience of floating on the waters of Dal Lake where pics can be taken wearing traditional costumes.You can get to see a number of house boats (of course from outside) and you can also stay in one :) . The ride includes Shopping at meena bazaar on Dal Lake where saffron to shawls,general provisions to medicines can be got and the catch is, all the shops are on water (shop boats).And the price is much cheaper when compared to any other place in the entire trip.
Photo of Dal Lake, Srinagar by Bhargavi K
Photo of Dal Lake, Srinagar by Bhargavi K
It's unique!!!...It's a boat cum house---> HOUSEBOAT, an experience in itself. One can view the night life of Srinagar. Small boats can take you anywhere within the lake and to the mainland if you wish to from your houseboat
Photo of House Boat stay at Dal Lake by Bhargavi K
Photo of House Boat stay at Dal Lake by Bhargavi K
Photo of House Boat stay at Dal Lake by Bhargavi K
View points,Scenic Beauty,Climate,Horse Rides. Baisaran , Betaab valley,Chandhanwari and tullian Lake are must visits here where we had the time to go only to the first three. BAISARAN located at an altitude of 2,438 m above the sea level.surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine can be reached only through pony.CHANDHANWARI is the place from where the famous Amarnath yatra starts.BETAB VALLEY got its name from Sunny Deol’s movie, Betaab, Surrounded by snow-covered mountain peaks and dense pine and deodar forests, this valley is the mouth of River Sheshnag.Both chandhanwari and betaab valley can be reached by tourist vehichles.
Photo of Pahalgam by Bhargavi K
Photo of Pahalgam by Bhargavi K
Snow point called Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft) .To reach here we have to take the Asia's highest and longest cable car ride, the Gulmarg Gondola----The highlight of Gulmarg.Activities at the point include skiing,sledging,biking.Skiing can be done with the skiing guide.View of LOC (Line Of Control). Coming down from the Gandola trip you can take a pony ride or walk to other nearby places like temple ,park etc.But deal with the horsemen as a package and not as individual trips.ATV's are also there which will cost a fortune for this purpose.Gandola rides needs to be prebooked days before otherwise its all about commission to your tour guide,hotel manager or whoever guides you here.
Photo of Gulmarg Gondola, Gulmarg by Bhargavi K
Photo of Gulmarg Gondola, Gulmarg by Bhargavi K
Photo of Gulmarg Gondola, Gulmarg by Bhargavi K
Snow capped mountains on all 4 sides.Melted snow flows like waterfalls at certain place.Pure delight to watch.Nature's beauty at its best. Here once if you reach the place you need to hire another vehicle and from there your Sonmarg itinerary will start.The local taxi people will say different set of itineraries including 0 point at Leh to choose from with different rates.But mind it all the ghat roads are narrow and by all probability traffic jam and cancelling might happen and you need to pay the entire trip charges that is what happened to us.And most importantly their itinerary itself will take around 6hrs without traffic.So make a wise decision here.So we where able to cover only Thajiwas glacier one of the coldest points of the trip.But Sonmarg in itself is a view point "beauty at its best ".Enjoy the drive to this place that will be more than satisfying.
Photo of Sonamarg by Bhargavi K
Photo of Sonamarg by Bhargavi K
Green meadows,greenery,greenery,greenery as far as the eyes can see.Water streams in between as you proceed inside the forest are the actual sight seeing points.Rare species of plants and flowers gives us a good retrospective of our Botany knowledge.Transportation within the forest area is only by horse so horse rides!!.
Photo of Yusmarg, Forest Block by Bhargavi K
Photo of Yusmarg, Forest Block by Bhargavi K
Nishant Bagh,Shalimar Bagh,Pari Mahal,Chashma Shahi,Achambal,Kokernag,Verinag.Beautiful parks with water bodies,plants and mughal architecture with the background of the Himalayan ranges.Quality time can be spent with your family or friends.The Local people bring gas stoves to the parks prepare fresh meals there and enjoy with their families. For the religious, there is Shankracharya temple, Hazrathbal Shrine,Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara.
Photo of Srinagar by Bhargavi K
Located appx.30 kms east of Srinagar in a place called Tulla Mulla. The sanctum sanctorum is constructed upon a sacred spring. The unique feature is that this spring changes colors which is believed to indicate auspicious and inauspicious present/future happenings.
Photo of Kheer Bhawani Temple by Bhargavi K