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Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip!


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My Kashmir itinerary with suggestions and comments

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 1/17 by Bee The Musafir
If you are in Srinagar, make sure you go on a shikara ride at Dal Lake – its captivating beauty will never fade away from your memory.

I plan my trip day-by-day or say minute-by-minute. I am yet to embark upon an “unplanned trip” or a “leisure trip”. A well-planned trip saves a lot of money. A good planning needs micro research on the places that you have marked to travel, the people you will be meeting, weather conditions, transportation, cuisines, festivals, budgeting etc.

My eight days in Kashmir were full of activities. I was called to conduct a “Quiz Contest” for school students of Srinagar. The quiz contest was organized by the Directorate of School Education, Kashmir under the phenomenal directorship of the genius of our times, Dr. Shah Faesal, IAS. I explored the offbeat places, talked to locals, met Rauf dance artists, attended a wedding ceremony of a Kashmiri friend, and learned a few traditional dishes.

Here is a day-wise summary of my Kashmir tour along with commentary and suggestion as needed.

Day 1:

Took a Pune-Delhi afternoon flight.

Reached Delhi by sunset.

Had evening Uttar Sampark Kranti train from New Delhi to Katra [COMMENT: One can also take train to Jammu. Jammu to Katra is some 50 km. Bus ticket is Rs. 60]

Read A quick guide to Mata Vaishno Devi trek

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 2/17 by Bee The Musafir
I started for Mata Vaishno Devi trek in the evening and I was back from my hotel by 3 am. Trikuta Hills, the abode of Mata Vaishno Devi in the backdrop.

Day 2:

Reached Katra in the morning.

Took rest in the hotel to reenergise myself for the overnight tour.

Started trek for Mata Vaishno Devi in the evening.

After an overnight trek, reached back to hotel early morning.

Started for Jammu after breakfast.

Reached Jammu by lunch time. Rest.

Explored Jammu in the evening and met some artisans.

Dinner at a traditional Jammu restaurant.

Day 3:

Morning flight to Srinagar from Jammu [SUGGESTION: Opt for a flight from Jammu to Srinagar if air ticket rates aren’t soaring high. Road journey is long, tiresome and dicey]

Reached Srinagar.

Allotted room at Circuit House, Srinagar.

Roamed around the Dal Lake in the evening [COMMENT: Walk around Dal Lake is soul-pleasing!]

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 3/17 by Bee The Musafir
Winners of quiz contest along with staff.

Day 4:

Quiz contest by DSE, Kashmir.

Shikara ride at Dal Lake.

Evening with friends.

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 4/17 by Bee The Musafir
The matchless beauty of Dal Lake, Srinagar

Day 5:

To Chatpal, Martand Sun Temple, Achabal, Kokernag.

Overnight stay at Kokernag Botanical Garden guest house. [SUGGESTION: The JKTDC cottages at Kokernag are fantastic. One must stay at Kokernag]

READ:

Stopping by 'Chatpal' -my South Kashmir diary Part 1

Martand Sun Temple – the pride of Kashmir, now in ruins

Achabal, Kokernag, Verinag – my South Kashmir diary Part 2

An ode to the people of Kashmir

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 5/17 by Bee The Musafir
The majestic Sun Temple of Martand, district Anantnag.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 6/17 by Bee The Musafir
A friendly milky white river in Chatpal.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 7/17 by Bee The Musafir
Mughal era structure at Achabal Garden, Achabal.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 8/17 by Bee The Musafir
Spring at Kokernag Botanical Garden, Kokernag.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 9/17 by Bee The Musafir
Office of trout fishery centre, adjacent to Kokernag Garden.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 10/17 by Bee The Musafir
The origin of river Jhelum at Verinag.

Day 6:

Started for Verinag in the morning. [SUGGESTION: One must see this spot. It is the origin of river Jhelum]

Reached Srinagar in the noon.

Attended wedding ceremony of a friend in evening.

Stayed at the host family home.

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 11/17 by Bee The Musafir
Women singing traditional songs at the wedding. Spot me if you can!
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 12/17 by Bee The Musafir
Chocolates for cute little children at the wedding.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 13/17 by Bee The Musafir
Elaborate preparations for wazwan. Meat is used in large quantities.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 14/17 by Bee The Musafir
Ceremonial lunch at the wedding in Kashmiri style.

Day 7:

After breakfast, I went to Doodhpathri [SUGGESTION: The place is not far from Srinagar. Do visit.]

Back to wedding house by 3 pm

Had wazwan at wedding reception [SUGGESTION: If you are a non-vegetarian, do try wazwan]

Spent evening learning Kashmiri dishes

At the Doodhpathri meadows.

At Hazratbal Shrine before leaving for Srinagar Airport.

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 15/17 by Bee The Musafir
At the Doodhpathri meadows. One should visit this place.
Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 16/17 by Bee The Musafir
At Hazratbal Shrine before leaving for Srinagar airport.

Day 7:

Went to Hazratbal Shrine.

Off to Srinagar Airport [SUGGESTION: Report 2-3 hours before departure time. They have strict and multi-layer security check. Bags are to be identified; so keep some unique mark/color on your bag or tie a colored ribbon.]

Srinagar to Amritsar for Golden Temple [COMMENT: The distance from Amritsar airport is 13 km; traffic can play a spoil sport.]

Reached Amritsar airport [SUGGESTION: A free bus service from airport to Golden temple is available at the arrivals]

Went to Golden Temple [COMMENT: It can be heavily crowded at times.]

Back to Amritsar Airport by evening [COMMENT: This airport needs serious improvements]

Boarded Delhi flight.

Reached Delhi.

Spent night in Delhi [SUGGESTION: Budget accommodations are available at Mahipalpur, which is close to IGI Delhi Airport.]

Photos of Kashmir Roundup: How I made the most of my 8-day trip! 17/17 by Bee The Musafir
At Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Day 8:

Started for Delhi Airport.

Boarded flight to Pune.

Reached Pune.

These 8 days have become treasured chapters of my life!

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