Kashmir Tour Paradise Found.....

Tripoto

PARADISE FOUND..... Summer of 2014..after a visit to the holy shrine of Ma Vaishnodevi we embarked on a journey to the paradise that held many promises. After many discussions between us and our tour manager,we finally decided to drive from Jammu to Pahalgam and it turned out to be our longest drive so far!!! We were stuck in a monstrous traffic congestion and ended up waiting ,hoping for some miracle to happen and clear the traffic ,for next 24 hours. 

When we finally reached Pahalgam in the wee hours,we just keeled over, not sure when our tired backs would straighten up. To our surprise, however, we were up in time for breakfast and left the hotel as planned,behind the schedule only by a few hours!

Photo of Pahalgam by Nandakishore Yalamanchili

Our trip to Betab valley and Aru valley was a pleasant one, had enough time to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, putting the previous day's travails to bed. We left Pahalgam for Gulmarg after a few lazy and restful days. 

The sights of Afarwat peak and Pir Panjal range , views of Kongdoori valley from Gulmarg gondola (supposedly Asia's longest and highest cable car ride), took our breath away!

Photo of Betaab Valley, Hajan by Nandakishore Yalamanchili
Photo of Betaab Valley, Hajan by Nandakishore Yalamanchili

Our next destination, Sonamarg was as sensational as the rest of Kashmir! From it's lakes & rivers to the valleys , the stunning Zoji La pass, and jewel of Sonamarg - Thajiwas Glacier , we fell short of words that justify the glorious sights and superlative beauty that you get to witness in Sonmarg ! 

Spent some time watching the on going film shoot of Bhajrangi Bhaijan before we left for Srinagar. We reached Dal lake to stay in houseboats with no expectations after being blown away by the charm of Kashmir.

 It was a unique experience reaching our houseboat on shikara,watching the sun shine on those snow-capped mountains, far in the background.

 Those lackadaisical shikara rides in the evenings soothe you ,as you recline a nd watch the locals go about their daily routine or watch the ever enthusiastic sellers hawk other tourists and sweet talk them into buying just about anything

Photo of Sonamarg by Nandakishore Yalamanchili
Photo of Sonamarg by Nandakishore Yalamanchili
Photo of Sonamarg by Nandakishore Yalamanchili
Photo of Sonamarg by Nandakishore Yalamanchili

After a few more days and short trips to Shankaracharya hill, Moghul gardens and some shopping we were ready to leave the paradise. You can buy the world famous Kashmir willow, saffron,handicrafts, Pashmina shawls, Hand embroidered fabric ,so on and so forth. We spent our last day in Srinagar at Dachigam National Park and were fortunately introduced to two leopard cubs and a Himalayan Black bear, all the three so kindly posed for our cameras,making it a memorable day!

''AGAR FIRDAUS BAR ROO-E ZAMEEN AST, HAMEEN AST-O HAMEEN AST ''

(If there is a paradise on earth,it is this, it is this ) -Amir Khusro

This post was originally published on Didicoilens.

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