This is one trip I owe to Instagram, Accuweather and American Express!
While Kashmir has been on the travel list for a very long time I wasn’t looking to plan a trip now. And then a school senior’s posts on Instagram – of beautiful landscapes, snow covered mountains & trees, snow fields and snowfall – made me crave to visit Kashmir. Things magically fell in place. Holi was a couple of weeks away, Accuweather predicted snowfall in Gulmarg on the Holi Weekend and I had enough reward points on Amex to fund my marginally expensive impromptu flight booking at such short notice!
We had three days at hand and planned a quick trip. Fly out of Delhi at 8:45 and reach Srinagar at 11 (it was a hopping flight via Jammu. There are plenty of direct flights also). Head directly to Gulmarg from the Airport. Break the journey at Tanmarg, rent boots and reach Gulmarg. Spend two days at Gulmarg, take a Gondola Ride. Checkout out on the third day in the morning, drive to Srinagar, take a Shikara ride in the Dal Lake. And then the first flight out next morning. A real quick one!
I wanted to stay at The Khyber in Gulmarg (it has views to die for) but was too expensive for I travel nearly every month. For anyone who can afford that luxury, please go for it! After some research, we finalized on Heevan Retreat (and it was a very wise decision!). We booked Jamal Resort at Srinagar.
The best and the most convenient way to travel from Srinagar to Gulmarg is by car. One can take a taxi from the Airport (there is a tourist taxi booth right outside) or you can book one in advance (your hotel can help). One way charge would be between 2200 and 2400. We had booked one in advance. One wouldn’t need a car locally in Gulmarg. Short distance taxis are easily available. You can ask the driver to come and pick you up for the return journey. In Srinagar, you may or may not keep a cab for the entire day. Autos and taxis are easily available till sunset. Do make arrangements for Airport drop in case of an early flight.
With two weeks between when we have booked and when we travelled, I anxiously checked weather prediction every day, hoping to see snow fall from the skies! It happened and how! It was the most amazing experience! I don’t think pictures and words can do it any justice but I would want to give it a try!
Our flight was a bumpy one and we were met with rains as we landed in Srinagar. We headed straight to Gumlarg. Just was we left the airport, the roads that were lined with trees on both sides, bare trees, made me fall in love with Kashmir! I didn’t know what else I would see and experience, but then and there, I lost my heart to the paradise.