Taking time out of busy corporate life, my wife and I decided to plan a trip to Kashmir. This was my first visit to Kashmir.
After landing at Srinagar airport, we directly took the hotel cab for Gulmarg where we had planned two nights of stay at The Vintage hotel. I found Gulmarg by far the most beautiful place on this earth. Well built roads, tall trees, green meadows, colourfully constructed hotels and a small market welcome you to the heaven on earth. We spent the day leisurely, taking a walk on the outer circle which mesmerized us with the beauty of the place.
We went for the famous Gondola ride which takes you to Apharwat peak at around 14000 ft height. It is an experience in itself. We found snow as well at the peak. There are many money making tricks tried by vendors there for taking you to the top of the peak by sliders. I, instead, recommend to walk on snow and go to the top. It's a great experience. The evening walk at the outer circle, looking at meadows, visiting a small temple in the middle of meadows and a very tasty dinner at famous Bakshi Restaurant marked our 2nd day at Gulmarg.
We left Gulmarg for Srinagar and checked in at Chicago houseboat. The serene beauty of Dal lake is one of its kind. The slow and peaceful life at the lake surly challenges the metro style of living. It was our first experience of staying in a houseboat and let me tell you we miss it everyday. The day was passed at leisure, enjoying the beauty of lake and having shikara ride in the evening.
We left around 9 AM for Sonamarg, a heavenly destination. I could easily relate the architecture of hotels there to locations in many romantic Bollywood scenes. It is a perfect dream location of anyone. The pony and cab union is a little hiccup in the overall experience of visiting Sonamarg. One has to bargain hard for cost of Cab to Zero Point or pony ride of 2-3 km. We finally shared a cab with another couple and left for Zero Point which is 35 kms on Sonamarg-Leh road. It was hell of a ride. The driver was a skilled one and he drove like he's driving on a plain highway. We passed Zojila Pass which is termed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It was a thrilling experience. At Zero Point, it was a snowy mountain and a lot of tourists with a number of temporary tea and snacks shops. As we reached, it started raining and within few seconds, the cool breeze and rain turned around the weather. We had to take out our jackets. Hot tea and Maggi (Unofficial statement) made our visit to Zero Point. A few kilometers ahead, we visited Kargil war memorial and entered Ladakh district to put it on record. We returned to Srinagar late in the day.
We spent the day by doing local sight seeing. Visited some gardens and Shankracharya temple. The view from the temple is awesome. You can see whole Srinagar city from there. We bought some cashew nuts and fruits for back home. The evening we spent at houseboat enjoying the beautiful lake and shikaras.
With beautiful memories to cherish, we said goodbye to this paradise on earth and left for Delhi.
Kashmir - We will visit you again for sure!!!!!