Today was our "Travel to Gulmarg" day. Such a beautiful place I tell ya! We started off around 9 a.m and reached around 11:00 am. We had stopped for breakfast in Raja Dhaba on the way. Delicious Paranthas ❤️ You must definitely visit this eatery when you visit Kashmir. Plus, it's pretty cheap compared to other restaurants/cafes.
The views along the Gulmarg route were too good. Since it was July, the climate was very pleasant and the rice fields were lush green. "July is the only month when the climate is pleasant in Kashmir" - as quoted by a local. We also stopped by Apple orchards only to find green apples slowly turning red. As Gulmarg neared, I could spot these very pretty tiny white flowers on both the sides of the road. Their stem is soooo thin that it's almost invisible and you feel like the flowers are in the air! Prettiest of the views :) I felt like "Woah! This is why it's called Gulmarg - the road of flowers!" Haha. It actually makes sense, isn't it? Our driver said during winter, the roads are only accessible via chain-tyred vehicles because there's big heaps of snow everywhere. He also showed us pictures of how the roads looked like - so magical!
When we reached Gulmarg, we were told the vehicles weren't allowed further for sightseeing! We had to either use the horses for Sightseeing or walk (nobody mentioned this option though!) There were 2 options - explore Gulmarg or use the Gondola and go up the valley to see Snow in Apharwat peak. There was not much snow so we decided to explore Gulmarg via horses. We later got to know that we could have just walked around and explored the tiny valley, instead of spending a lot of money on horse ride. You can totally just walk around and explore the place. But yes, it's almost 8-10 kms walk, so be prepared. I would totally walk the next time I visit Gulmarg :)
We started off our horse ride journey and stopped near "View Point" where you can see entire Gulmarg. So beautiful! The views are breathtaking. I could imagine how pretty the place must look like when there's snow everywhere! Amazing views! A photographer's delight! We clicked some pictures and resumed our journey. We then went to Maharaja Hari Singh's Palace. It was so cold in here with all the ACs. You're not supposed to wear sandals/shoes inside. So wear socks when you visit this place. Trust me, it's very cold in here!! The palace is very normal. I can say this because I compare this place with Mysore Palace which is pretty huge and pretty. This was just a normal house for me :/ After some pictures and history talks, we resumed our journey. We then saw Gulmarg's golf course - highest green golf course in the world! Post this, we went to a plain land in the valley where some festival takes place every year. I couldn't get the name of it, probably Jashn-e-Baramulla. I'm not sure though. Let me know if it's called something else.
Post this, we went to Children's park where there was a very pretty tiny Lake which remains frozen during winters. We clicked some pictures, saw some locals having fun with their families and then resumed our journey back from another route. We saw a fish pond and then Strawberry farms. No strawberries in July! :-/ Anyways, we moved ahead, saw the place where the Gondola ride starts and also where you buy tickets for the ride and came back to our starting point. It was drizzling on the way and it was good. The entire experience was brilliant. The views, breathtaking! 💝 My heart was full :)
We then came back to Srinagar and on our way back, stopped by an apple orchard, purchased pure honey, walnuts, almond oil and cranberries. Apples were all green, so couldn't buy them. Not a fan of green apples! We reached our houseboat around 5 pm and relaxed. Around 8 pm was the golden hour in Srinagar. The sun sets really late here. The golden hour was so magical from our houseboat. Dal Lake just added to the already beautiful sunset. Pretty, prettier, prettiest!!! I love sunrises and sunsets the most. Simple things make me happy :) Post this, we took a Shikara for dinner, decided on visiting Sonamarg instead of Pahalgam the next day and came back to our houseboat. We were tired so called it a night after drinking tasty Kahwa :)
Stay tuned for the thrilling traffic jam situation we were stuck in the next day! Life threatening experience I tell ya! See you soon.