A rookie's photo trail of paradise on earth #kashmirinphotos #photoblog

Tripoto
28th Apr 2018
Photo of A rookie's photo trail of paradise on earth #kashmirinphotos #photoblog by Tanushree Jain

Universally referred as 'heaven on earth', Kashmir valley has got to be on the wish list of every traveler. It's not just the splendid beauty that will leave you enthralled, but the immense warmth of locals will make you want to come back.

Once a go-to place for capturing beautiful shots in almost all romantic bollywood songs, Kashmir valley has now become synonymous with turmoil and uncertainty affecting tourism to a large extent. We too were contemplating a visit to this gorgeous place since long, but kept procrastinating our plans. After much deliberation and discussion, we decided it was time to hatch our plan on one fine day and we are glad we did it.

On landing at Srinagar airport, anyone would be tempted to capture the serene views of Pir Panjal range draped in white on one side of the tarmac, but do keep in mind that photography is prohibited as it is a defense airport. After locating our cab driver/tour guide for the next eight days, we proceeded for our onward journey without knowing that it would eventually become ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of a trip for us.

Our broad itinerary:

• Day 1 – Transfer from the airport to Gulmarg (approx. 2-3 hours) and Gandola Ride & local sightseeing in Gulmarg

• Day 2 – Gulmarg to Sonamarg (approx. 3-4 hours) and visit to Thajiwas Glacier in Sonamarg

• Day 3 – Visit to Zero Point (officially located in Ladakh region) and travel back to Srinagar (approx. 2-3 hours) for a night stay in houseboat on famous Dal Lake (this can be skipped as the lake is not very clean)

• Day 4 – Transfer to Pahalgam (approx. 3-4 hours) and visit to Baisaran

• Day 5 – Local sightseeing in Pahalgam (Aru Valley, Chandanwari and Betab Valley – Aru Valley is the best sight)

• Day 6 – Transfer to Srinagar via Yusmarg. Yusmarg is an upcoming destination on similar lines of Gulmarg. (approx. 6-7 hours in total)

• Day 7 – Local sightseeing in Srinagar

• Day 8 – Departure Back Home

Pro tips to make your trip hassle free and unforgettable:

• Safety must be paramount for all tourists hence please listen to the tour operators/drivers and do not venture out to places that they may not be comfortable recommending.

• Be alert of your surrounding at all times.

• Be ready to modify your itinerary. We also had to make alterations on real-time basis even though we wanted to visit to certain places such as Martand, Achbal, Verinag and Awantipora ruins due to security reasons.

• Make bookings through trusted options only.

• Prepaid mobile connections from outside J&K do not work in the region.

• Internet networks can shut down at any moment, so please carry sufficient cash with you.

• Beware of tipping culture, bargains, and commercialization as the people are highly dependent on seasonal tourism.

• You will need to hire local transportation at each of the sight- (Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam) as union governance is pretty strong.

• Remember to carry valid Photo ID Cards of all travelling members.

• Plan to reach Airport well before your scheduled departure time as several levels of checks are carried for security reasons.

Although the place does carry an element of uncertainty, keeping the above points in mind will help you have a safe and an enjoyable time. I left the place believing that Kashmir is really blessed in terms of landscapes being utmost symmetrical and eye-pleasing. Rest as they say, ‘Visit it to believe it and get lost in it’.

Day 1

Scroll down to get a glimpse of our trip in pictures:

PS: no picture can do justice to what awaits you!

Somewhere in Gulmarg - all roads offer similar mesmerizing views

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

Main bowl surrounded by alpine ladden meadows clad with snow

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

Unparalleled views of Pir Panjal range

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

A scenic view on our journey to Gulmarg

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

Spectacular view from top of Afarwat (highest Gondola point)

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

View from level 1 Gondola point

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

One of the innumerable majestic views that greet you in Gulmarg

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain
Day 2

Thick alpine cover giving way to snow clad peaks - enroute Gulmarg to Tangmarg

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

A glorious view of river stream meandering through the beautiful landscape enroute Tangmarg

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

Isn't this is a view to die for?

Photo of Gulmarg by Tanushree Jain

Natural grazing ground in Sonamarg - right opposite our hotel

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Thajiwas glacier in the backdrop

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

View from the hotel

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Thajiwas glacier gained popularity with shooting of Bajrangi Bhaijaan's climax scene

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Soaking the beauty of this glacier

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Surreal views - thinking if this could be real

Photo of Thajiwas glacier, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain
Day 3

Living up to its reputation - a passage made after cutting snow upto the height of 15-20 feet

Photo of Zojila Pass, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

One of many views to greet us during our journey to Zojila pass and Zero Point

Photo of Sonamarg by Tanushree Jain

Zero point - a great place to enjoy skiing, snow biking, sledging

Photo of Sonamarg by Tanushree Jain

Bringing out the child within me

Photo of Sonamarg by Tanushree Jain

Another magnificent view

Photo of Sonamarg by Tanushree Jain

View of Baltal valley

Photo of Sonamarg by Tanushree Jain

Lifeline of Srinagar

Photo of Dal Lake, Srinagar by Tanushree Jain
Day 4

Time to soak it all in!

Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain
Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Called Mini Switzerland

Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

A picturesque view

Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

An ideal picnic spot

Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain
Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Enroute Baisran (Pahalgam)

Photo of Baisaran Road, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain
Day 5

Captivating views of Great Himalayan Range

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain

Rustic view that makes it real

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain
Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain
Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain

Another view to die for

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain

Swiss-esque beauty

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain

No amount of time is enough to admire the beauty of this place

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain

A postcard worthy view

Photo of Aru Valley, Pahalgam by Tanushree Jain
Day 6

New destination on the block - bad picture quality due to inclement weather

Photo of Yusmarg, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain

Vast expanse of meadows

Photo of Yusmarg, Forest Block by Tanushree Jain
Day 7

Pari Mahal - witness the views to city from the height of Pari Mahal

Photo of Pari Mahal, Srinagar by Tanushree Jain

Mughal Gardens in full bloom

Photo of Srinagar by Tanushree Jain

United colors of blossom in Mughal gardens

Photo of Shalimar Gardens, Shalimar, Srinagar by Tanushree Jain
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