Kashmir, as rightly said is Paradise on Earth. For all of you going to kashmir in the winters, it will be the best thing ever! and here are some tricks, tips & suggestions from personal experience (which i wish someone had told me beforehand) to make it the most relaxing, adventurous, romantic or all of the above :)
Srinagar: Half Frozen Dal Lake, Leaf- Ridden Chinar's, Warm Kahwa on Shikara's and Breath taking views from the House Boat- This & a lot more, Everybody, is a Srinagar
1. Houseboat stay is a must! Even though you might feel a little cold on winter nights, this is an experience which should be done. I stayed on Young Morning Star Group of Houseboats and it was an one amazing, never-to-be-forgotten experience. The host of the Wood Carved boat (with these amazing chandeliers) welcomes you with a warm rich Kahwa and a Oh-so-lavish Kashmiri Spread which will make your taste buds dance.
2. Definitely carry winter clothes (jackets, caps, gloves) and believe in layering more than carrying heavy winter wear.
3. If visiting Kashmir in winters, give the Gardens a skip as they are all leaf-ridden and barren.
4. Try Nadru Monje (Lotus Stem Pakode) along with the lip- smacking onion and radish chutney from any Snack Shop. (They can be easily found and spotted through out the city as they have these big woks in front of their shops.
5. Believe me, there is nothing better than Shikhara Ride with a cup of warm fragrant kesari Kahwa.
1. We took a day trip to Sonmarg. There is a monopoly of Pony Riders which do not let you take your taxi upto the main points at Sonmarg and charge you a hefty Rs.1500-2000 per Pony. Clear this point with you driver upfront (our driver was extremely well versed with these people & helped us out) if you aren't interested in the pony ride because it is clearly an unwanted extra cost.
2. The place is beautiful and do keep your camera ready for some amazing shots.
Gulmarg: If people say Kashmir is heaven then Gulmarg is probably the capital. This place is spell bounding, a fairyland straight out of fairy-tail.
1. In Tanmarg, rent Gloves and Jackets at a rent of Rs. 150/- per pair per day and nothing more. They will try to fool you.
2. Ski in gulmarg, it is once in a lifetime experience. Have some hot corn and bhel, there is something amazing about having tit-bits at cold altitudes.
3. Go up to the top of gulmarg by the gondola and sledge 8385 Ft. all the way down. This is mind blowing and totally safe. They will charge you about 1500 per person but yes it is worth it & you can stop mid way and feel the untouched snow, click pictures and actually experience the snow. (rest my pictures will speak to you ^_^)
4. Go on a snow trek on the golf course. This is something no one will tell you about but we got it due to the perks of an amazing guide cum photographer.
5. Visit the market place and gorge on some delicious hot food. Nothing beats hot food on a winter-y day.
6. Spend atleast 3 nights here. Relax and unwind. I'ts nothing less than a vacation in Switzerland (believe me, i've been there too.)
1. There is not a lot to do here if u visit in winters as all the valleys are barren. Visit the lake and get some clicks
2. Lounge at the Cafe log inn with mouth watering english desserts and a warm cup of hot chocolate.
3. Eat dosa at Dana Pani. (Yes it is a must.)
4. i'd suggest you to avoid the pony ride as it is not worth it.