Dal LakeHave always heard about Kashmir’s Dal Lake – either, parents have always spoken about this one place or it has been made tremendously popular with the numerous movies & songs shot here. Truly scenic, Dal Lake could definitely do with some less crowd to preserve its natural beauty. Nevertheless, the lake surrounded by towering mountains on three sides is scattered with colourful & brightly painted shikaras all along it - the most unique feature of the lake being the floating market. There would be shikaras rowing all the way up to you giving you options of buying veggies & flowers, shawls & souvenirs or just wearing the already-worn-a-million-times traditional Kashmiri attire & pose for a snap. Don’t forget to grab some kulfi from a vendor sailing by!Mughal GardensShalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi & Pari Mahal, together form the touristy Mughal Gardens in and around the Dal Lake. All of them are pretty botanical gardens built during the Mughal times, blooming with roses, the hundred odd years old traditional Chinar trees, refreshing fountains & natural springs, making it a perfect picnic spot for a bright Sunday afternoon. Kashmir for foodies!How can you travel to Kashmir & not taste the rich & regal Kashmiri kahwa – light liquor tea drenched with dry fruits – clearly tea for the rich, what with one small ‘paper’ cup costing some 30 bucks.For dinner, we zeroed in on ‘Mughal Darbar’. Mughal Darbar is to Kashmir what Peter Cat is to Kolkata, Britannia to Mumbai & Kareem’s to Delhi – old, traditional, authentic, oozing with culture & lots of food! Being thorough carnivours, we ordered the Kashmiri Wazwan – a state of the art dish with various kinds of meat preparations served on a heap of rice. Guests sit together & share this meal, out of a large plate. Apparently the original Wazwan is supposed to have around 36 courses – after this, all I could say was...burrrp!
Nishat Mughal Gardens
If you have time and a car then travel to kashmir.Himachal pardesh lies in lower range of Himalayas (highest elevation point is above 6000m, but road after manali is risky) where as kashmir lies in zanskar range and greater himalayan range. Following are the points that makes it reasonable to travel to kashmir1) if you are going by road. You love driving ? This is the road for you. From jammu to srinagar it will take strainght 9 to 10 hrs. The road is in excellent condition NH1 (GT road) road becomes narrow after Banihal. Might get a little traffic jam in patni topStill thre road is not broken till batote village Where it gets little bumpy for 500 m .view will be mesmerizing might fall in love with it. Srinagar is valley surrounded by peaks ( from a point you can even see patni top) If you ask somebody "where should a tourist go"Answer will be - Pahalgam,gulmarg, sonemarg,Dal lake, these are some common tourist destinations.A) So if you are going to Pahalgam the road again is in very well condition ( a stream will be following the road !B) If you are going to gulmarg it is also very nice road ! Dont be in shock if see some autorikshaw going their. C) if you are going to sonemarg ! There road is nice but will face traffic jam consuming 2-3 hours (only if you travel in amarnath yatra's time). The road then becomes dangourous when you travel a bit more higher to zojila pass the road is quiet scary actually their is no road just pebbles you are driving on with heavy traffic and army convoys makes ot terrible.Nevertheless when you reach zojila pass you'll forget everything ! 2) places to hide away from stubborn crowd ! If you love peace and want to alone These are some places and advice A) Pahalgam- As soon as you enter Pahalgam pony wala's will be following you telling the most crowded destination. Advice- ignore them, book a hotel online (if travelling in peak season) for convince. Roam in the markets the day you reach. Dont just start trekking the same day. Wake up early in morning like 7 am. Go to any pony wala ! Ask them to take you to #tulian valley. If they try to manipulate your decision for tulian and say they'll take to baisaran dont ever say "ohky" ( baisaran or mini Switzerland is most crowded place in Pahalgam). Go to tulian no where else. (15km trek)( see my next blog to find more about pahlgam and place where peace prevails)B) if you are going to gulmarg -Gulmarg is place where every tourist will Definetly go. There is no hide away from crowd actually ! But if you are high on budget you can go to hotel Khyber in their restaurant! From where you can have a pleasant view of gulmarg's peaks ( a blog will be published about gulmarg soon ) C) if you are going to sone marg - sonemarg is can give you instant chills but it crowded there too ! Sonemarg is place where tourists prefer to go less than pahalgam and gulmarg as it is far from srinagar and is the only highway that connects srinagar to leh ! The traffic is main problem there. If you dont want to stuck there. Go even higher to zojila pass ! Where crowd is litle less ! The main thing about sonemarg is change terrains one hand you can see green mountains with vegetation and on the other hand the peaks straight sky touching greyish peaks that represent the ladakhi mountains ! ( a blog about region between srinagar and kargil will be published soon)3) dont go with MMT or others If you really want to enjoy this trip go solo Go with friends or family not in packages These packages will bound in time and the trip will become miserable ! - travelling to kashmir is far better than travelling to himachal pardesh as long as you are not planing to travel to leh ! Stay away from crowded places and overrated places in himchal pardesh !
Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal garden with Persian garden layout, with finely groomed tall Aspen trees planted at 2 feet apart from each other, with a backdrop of the vast monsoon Blue Mountains. Furthermore through the third arena are the beautifully picturesque Chinar trees with water fountains in the centre. Shalimar in Sanskrit means abode of love. Mountains merged with the bare blue sky at the horizon almost making the clouds and mountains seem one. Some of the other striking gardens of Kashmir are Chashme Shahi and Nishat Bagh.
4. ShoppingVisit the famous Lal Chowk for your winter shopping spree. Kashmiri Pashmina shawls and local dry fruits are the main items that you can buy for your family back at home. you can also buy other handicraft works like paper mache, wood carving work, etc. It is recommended that you bargain for prices to get the best deals.5. Experience local culture.
Surrounded by Pir Panjal ranges, Dal Lake has been globally known for its natural beauty, serenity, houseboats, Shikaras, floating markets, floating gardens and many more things. After Wular Lake, it is the second largest lake of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Being an integral part of state’s tourism sector, it is often called as ‘The Jewel on the Crown of Kashmir’. The 15.5 km long shorelines of the lake is encompassed by commercial and tourists places like Boulevard Road, Dal Gate, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Hazrat Bal and large numbers of houseboats and hotels. From the wooden balconies of the houseboats of Dal Lake, tourists can enjoy breathtaking views of snow capped mountain ranges of Himalaya, sunset, bird life, and cruising Shikaras and so on and so forth.
Nagin Lake is relatively quieter than Dal Lake, the lake better known for its tourist crowd and commercial activities. Houseboats in Nagin Lake are usually preferred by honeymooners and discerning tourists. Nagin Lake is considered to be a separate lake but it is actually a part of Dal Lake, which is connected through a small causeway. The lake is bounded by scenic hills like Takht-e-sulaiman, Hari Parbat and Zabarwan range and by no means less beautiful than Dal Lake. The dense lush wooded forest of Willow trees and Poplar trees flank the edges of the lake. Hospitality:Houseboat stay is the perfect way to enjoy unparalleled Kashmiri hospitality and experience rich Kashmiri culture and heritage. From traditional wooden furnishing to authentic Kashmiri Wazwan, all speak of affluent Kashmir tradition and its hospitality. In houseboats, tourists can take a sip of traditional Kehwa (a kind of green tea served with cinnamon, saffron and nuts) and relish their taste buds with authentic Kashmiri cuisines. Each houseboat has a pantry boat at the rear side of the boat where chefs prepare the dishes. Shikaras:One of the prime attractions of Srinagar is Shikara, which invites tourists from far flung areas to take a leisure ride on it. Often referred as ‘Kashmiri Gondola’, Shikara is a beautifully decorated wooden boat found in Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Jhelum River in Srinagar. Though Shikaras are used for multiple commercial activities, these boats are better known for ferrying tourists from the banks to houseboats and visiting sightseeing places. Tourists can hire Shikaras from boat stations all along the shorelines of Dal Lake and Nagin Lake.
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!!.
day one arrival at srinagar airport travel agent took us to hotel nishat the hotel has amazing moutain view very distant from the town we got fresh up quickly and went to watch age old moghal gardens Walking and watching the nature and sky high moutains of chashmashahi and nishat mughal gardens.. and eating street food nearby nishat gardens is gr8 fun .many flowers totally different feel at dal lake sikhara ride and back to hotel.
Shelter group of Houseboats in Srinagar | Kashmir Houseboats
Budget friendly, yet clean and luxurious, Shelter's houseboats are the best place to stay in Kashmir. the staff is warm and cordial, and always at your service. They are happy to accommodate requests from the guests and make them feel at home. The rooms are neat and clean, with lavish decors. They have heating options for cold nights and 24hrs hot water supply (which is a great and essential thing in Kashmir).
Next stop on this tour with the two girls was Jamia Masjid.For those looking for a silent spot to spend a great afternoon, this sacred shrine in the centre of the city can be a great hideout. Even for those who don't believe in God, the aura of Jamia Masjid evokes a certain calmness and it would find a place in your travel recollections for years to come.
Shah E Hamdan (R.H) Mosque
We began the city tour from Shah E Hamdan Mosque in Shamswari. On the bank of Jhelum, this shrine hidden amidst tall green chinar trees. First built in 1395AD, the shrine has been destroyed and rebuilt in the course of history multiple times and stands as a memorial for the advent of Islam in Kashmir.
Reach Srinagar by mid morning and settle into your beautiful villa, only walking distance from Dal Lake. The villa set amidst plush gardens is also a homestay, where you can experience true Kashmiri hospitality. For dinner, dig into a delicious home cooked Kashmiri thaali. Meals: Dinner Experience: Stay in a Kashmiri homestay with traditional food Stay: A traditional Kashmiri homestay
To end our day we went to Hazratbal Shrine (dargah)- a holy place. It contained the hair of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Being a girl I was not allowed to go from the front gate and I had to go from the back gate. I entered from the back gate and a policeman told me that I should cover my head. I took out my handkerchief and covered it. That man started a conversation with me- he was a polite, humble person. When I told him I was a lawyer he felt as if he had met one of his relatives. He shook my hand so tightly I almost got a jerk and he happily bade goodbye to me saying "phir aana (come again)".
Some things that mesmerised me about Srinagar were the Houseboats and back waters of Dal Lake. A shikara ride till one of the houseboats in the lake is an experience that is a must in a lifetime. As the Shikara passed through the various channels, we passed many houseboats which were managed by sincere dexterity by the locals. Kingfishers and other birds become a frequent sight once past the house boats into the backwaters. The kingfishers sit on the tops of houseboats nonchalantly almost within the touching distance of humans who seem to be equally unmindful of the birds. We moved further into the calm waters of Anchar Lake where we were in a totally different world, no crowd of boats, no motor boat engines to be heard and the mood was different altogether. It felt almost like we actually were in Venice, just with a lot of fauna instead of architectural structures.
Makhdoom Sahib Road
While walking towards Makhdoom Sahib, Tabassum and Summaiya shared with me the episodes of the tragic floods of 2014 when they took shelter in the Shrine of Makhdoom Sahib along with their entire family. Thousands of Kashmiris who lost their homes and businesses in the floods stayed in the shrine for months. A natural disaster that had till now sustained in my memory only as a headline on TV, now unfolded itself in it's full affect.
We were warned by innumerable blogs and also by the trek leader that today would be the toughest day of the trek. We would reach an elevation as high as 13800 ft, the highest point in the entire trek aka the Gadsar pass. He pointed us at the steep ascent which we were about to climb. For a minute I thought he was joking. It almost seemed that we would be reaching the tip of the huge snow-capped mountain. But when we started trekking in the same direction I started to get all nervous. The ascent was the steepest so far and tiring. I could not move further for more than ten good minutes. If one lost balance they would be welcomed by the boulders or by freezing cold water. Adding to the miseries was the fact I had acrophobia. I stood shivering in doubt if I could reach the top. But there was only one choice. To keep moving further. After a good one and half hour when I reached the top I realized I had overcome my fear of heights! It was a proud moment personally. One can view both the lakes from here and they look lovely. Today was probably the longest so far. I really did not know for how long we kept walking. Time had ceased to exist. All we knew was that we had to reach our destination – the campsite. We met army camps on our way. Interacting with the army was perhaps a humbling experience. To have lived under the same weather conditions the army does, a wave of respect and gratitude washed us all over. Gadsar campsite was the highest point (12000 ft) where we camped. It was an eerie night because there is pitch darkness all around you and you can only see the outline of the mountains. Maybe also owing to the fact we were away from the LOC by a mere 20 kms. But the sky mesmerized all of us and everything was forgotten. The night sky looked like a huge carpet of twinkling stars, constellations, satellites and what not. Not to mention the Milky way!! One can stare at the sky till eternity and not get bored. I now get it when Calvin says If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.
The lifeline of Srinagar-the picturesque never ending Dal Lake which stretches on and on. Dotted with innumerable houseboats and floating shops, the Dal is like balm to a roving traveler spirit. Highly recommended is staying in one of the houseboats, and savoring Kashmiri hospitality.
Some Information About Roza BalRoza Bal or Rauza Bal or Rauza Bol or Raza Bal, which means "Tomb of the Prophet".There are two tombs inside the Roza Bal (which is small wooden mausoleum) one tomb is of Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph or Yuz Asaph (or Asaf) and another grave is of Syed Nasir-u-Din (Islamic saint, a descendant of Imam Moosa Ali Raza, said to be a great devotee of Jesus, who buried here in 1451).As per some ancient records, that indicate that the grave of Youza Asouph or Yuz Asaph (or Asaf) is to be as far back as 112 CE.The Hebrew name of Jesus was Yuza, in Arabic or in the Koran his name was Hazrat Isa or Isa and Issa in Tibetan. Farhang-Asafia, which explains how Jesus healed some leper and then became Asaf (purified or healed) and the word Yuz mean "Leader". Yuz Asaph or Youza Asouph mean “Leader of the Healed" which pointed to Jesus Christ........................................To Read the Full Article and to See the Full AlbumPlease Visit www.BongBlogger.com