We had our breakfast and left for the long journey to Pahalgam of around 4 hours. On the way to Pahalgam we came across Saffron fields, famous Kashmir cricket bat factories and Apple gardens. Various shops of dry fruits and shawls also came on the way. We shopped some dry fruits and shawls for us. Also, we had green Apple juice and took some apples for our journey.
We reached Pahalgam and to go to different points we hired ponies as no vehicle can go there as the way go through jungles and mountains. The pony will cover basically 5 points. Out of the 5 points MINI SWITZERLAND is the best. Mini Switzerland is a name given to a point which is BAISARAN VALLEY. Big open ground with mountain background, activities like Zorbing and Zipline. This place filled romance in all the 3 couples I was travelling with. They all were getting their couple pictures clicked in different poses.
This pony ride isn't for a faint hearted person. The way is so trechourous that even a human being cannot walk properly. It was so dangerous, but adventurous indeed. It was amazing to see that these ponies know their way where we have to go and they walk on the edges of the mountains and one step goes wrong and you are down. But, they also love their life, so they will keep you safe too. As we were descending the pony riders told us 'AB AAPKA MU KHULAA REH JAAYEGA' and we were like 'ACHAA'. Seriously our mouths were wide open.
We reached at parking and took a deep breath. Then we went on to cover the points where car can go. The points that can be covered by car are ARU VALLEY, BETAAB VALLEY AND CHANDANWADI. But, here also you have to hire a car ran by the locals here.
Aru valley was damn pretty but the Betaab valley was the prettiest. It is the point where the shooting of the movie Betaab happened. It had river, mountains, bridges, garden, trees everything. It was the coldest of all places we visited in Kashmir, though it didn't had snow. Chandanwadi is the starting point of the Amaranth yatra. We could not cover this point due to some construction work going out there.
We came back soon after clicking some pictures and soon left for Srinagar where the Shikara ride and the houseboat were waiting for us. We gave a goodbye to the coldest place in Kashmir we visited.
We reached at the spot at the Dal lake from where our Shikara ride started. Damn, it was so pretty experience. 24 KM of Dal lake and our Shikara. After the ride we went on to our stay in the houseboat at night. It was so so so cold as we were on the lake. We had bonfire at the houseboat, had dinner, packed our bags and went to sleep as we had a morning flight the next day.
PLACES TO VISIT: Mini Switzerland, Aru valley, Betaab valley, Chandanwadi.
THINGS TO DO: 1)Pony ride 2)Zorbing in Baisaran valley 3)Zipline at Baisaran valley 4)Have Apple juice at the Apple valley.
TIPS: 1)Do full bargaining with the pony riders as they charge a lot 2)Hold on to the pony while riding as the way is trechourous 3) Don't shop at the shops on the way to Pahalgam except dry fruits as it will be expensive than Srinagar. 4)A night stay in a houseboat is must.