Picturesque Kashmir

18th Jun 2014
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 1/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 2/13 by P Sangwan
Shalimar Bagh
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 3/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 4/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 5/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 6/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 7/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 8/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 9/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 10/13 by P Sangwan
Dal Lake
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 11/13 by P Sangwan
Cable car ride at Gulmarg
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 12/13 by P Sangwan
Photo of Picturesque Kashmir 13/13 by P Sangwan

"Agar firdaws ba roy-i zamin ast, hamin ast-u hamin ast", meaning,"If there is Paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this."

I had the time of my life when i took a trip to Kashmir. Ever since that pristine experience, I have always wondered could there be another place on the planet as beautiful as this place. I wish this to be false.

I went to Kashmir in the month of June.I visited Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg.My trip was 7 days long and I really wish it had been longer. Do visit this place and have a really good time.I have fallen in love with this place,especially Gulmarg which holds a special place in my heart.Kashmir also offers ambrosial and scrumptious cuisine. It's also quite joyful to ride a pony once you get the hang of it. And most of the Kashmiris I met there were quite honest and helpful.

Do hone your bargaining skills. They are going to come handy in Kashmir. If you are paying more than 60% of the asking price of that pony ride, then you're doing it wrong. :)

Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.The aerial view itself of this city was mesmerizing. While we were being driven to our hotel it appeared to me the the city was built around the Dal lake.The Dal lake,whose name i had only heard of,was astonishingly gigantic.I hadn't and haven't seen a bigger lake in my life.The beautifully crafted houseboats lined up adjacent to one another within the lake.One of Shikaras gave us a tour of the whole lake.The Shikaras themselves are really beautiful.There's also a market in the Dal lake where the shops have been set up on houseboats,though technically they should be called as shopboats.I would highly recommend a night stay at any of the houseboats.It was a great experience for me.The next day we visited Shalimar bagh and Nishat bagh.These two gardens are similarly designed and have a great variety of flowers.Many of the flowers there prove to be a treat to the eyes.We also visited Chashme Shahi Temple which has a natural hot water spring.This place also offers great view of the city from the mountains.

Gulmarg has got to be my all time favourite place to visit.It is termed as "The Switzerland of India",but this term doesn't do justice to the fantastic beauty and jaw-dropping views this place has to provide.The main attraction of this place is the Gulmarg Gondola,Asia's highest and longest cable car project.But to me,it would be the serene beauty and picturesque landscape of Gulmarg along with its great weather.The pony ride there was also a first experience for me.Although scary at first,I got a hold to in a span of few minutes,thereby enjoying the rest of the ride. We had booked are tickets for the cable car in advance.But that too didn't help us in escaping the rush.Ultimately we decided to pay the local guides who helped arrange everything for us.A good investment,I would say.The cable car takes you to two points.The first point is Kungdoor.You won't find much snow at this place during the month of June but the cable car journey to this point is highly refreshing and rewarding.We then proceeded to the second point which is known as Aparwath enjoying the great view of mountains from the cable car.Now this second point gave us quite a snowy welcome.I had'nt seen so much snow anywhere in my life.Just holding the clear and soft snow in my hands was altogether a new and unforgettable experience.We also really enjoyed skiing there.I would definitely recommend doing that.Although they ask exorbitant fee,work your way through bargaining and paying only 50% to 60% of the asked price.I would recommend the same for the pony rides you take anywhere in Kashmir.Going back,we enjoyed a delicious meal at Kungdoor.Kashmiri Pulao is a delicious native dish.I enjoyed it sipping along with the famous Kahwa.

Pahalgam is a town located on the banks of Lidder river.The drive to this town is quite splendid.The town itself boasts of a number of tourist attractions in and around it.We started our excursion with the Lidder amusement park enjoying the flow of river from the bank.The flow of river makes you submerge in a lot of deep thoughts.The park offers scenic view of the Pahalgam valley.Many Kashmiri families had brought along small stoves and utensils which they used to prepare really tasty dishes and they were kind enough to offer to us.After the park we visited Baisaran valley.Surrounded by magnificent pine trees, Baisaran offers some stunning views of the adjoining areas.There were various amusing activities like zorbing.We tried zorbing and it was quite fun rolling down the valley. The next day we visited Betaab valley.The name comes from the 1983 movie "Betaab" which marked as a debut for Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh.I watched the movie again after I reached home to confirm whether it really was the same place where the movie has been shot.Betaab valley boasts of a really large well kept park along with a lake which was open for boating.After boating,we took stroll around the park and it really was large.We had to stop to two times to rest while uncovering the shadowed paths of the park.After that we visited Chandanwari.This place marks the start of the famous Amarnath Yatra and is covered in quite a colossal amount of snow,though much less than Aparwath.The snow wasn't soft,so it was really slippery to walk on.During the descent,I myself fell a number of times,ultimately giving up and covering the rest of the distance sliding.We marked the end of the day by visiting the Lidder amusement park once again and enjoying the company of each other on the banks of this majestic river.

Sonamarg is also known as "The gateway to Leh".By the time we arrived Sonamarg,it had started raining.We enjoyed the rain while eating the hot served "pakoras",sitting in our hotel room's balcony.Also,one thing i would like to point at,the clouds.I could practically touch them.I had never seen clouds at such a close distance from me. I consider myself lucky to have observed the scenic beauty of Sonamarg in such a mesmerising weather.The next day we left for Thajwas Glacier on ponies.Although the green pastures and the view of mighty snowcapped mountains were a treat to the eyes,the nose was in absolute trauma due to the excreta of ponies everywhere on the way.Moreover,my pony decided to take the path less travelled and starting running away from the designated way.After a few seconds,which appeared hours of pain and agony to me,the gentleman whose job was to control the pony,finally caught it and we were back on our way. So after the excruciating journey,we finally reached the Thajwas Glacier,or more appropriately,the valley just before the Glacier.On one side,the valley was surrounded by huge pine trees while on the other side by large snowcapped mountains with a stream flowing through the valley right in the middle of it.We had our time playing and sliding in the snow.After all of the merry making I braced myself for the long journey back to the hotel.

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