Panamik has a natural hot water spring. There is a bath and kitchen which has the facilities so that you can take bath in the natural hot water spring water or eat food cooked with the water. There are medicinal benefits of both. Point to be noted: Skip this.Read More
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312 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” This is how the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrow has described the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar is at the heart of the valley. Smack in the middle of the city is the mighty Dal Lake, its placid water reflecting the vivid kaleidoscope of innumerous houseboats, shikaras (taxi-boats), and the snow-capped Pir Panjal range: a sight that will make your heart skip a beat. The city is home to the state-of-the-art Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishant Bagh being the most famous of them. The gardens exhibit the Mughal taste of nature and the philosophy of disciplining nature rather than imitating it: fountain pools and canals, meticulously manicured hedges, and motley flowerbeds. Also known as the Kashmiri Venice, Srinagar is a place not to be missed by those seeking a tranquil refuge in the lap of the Himalayas.Read More
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” This is how the Sufi mystic Amir Khusrow has described the Kashmir Valley, and Srinagar is at the heart of the valley. Smack in the middle of the city is the mighty Dal Lake, its placid water reflecting the vivid kaleidoscope of innumerous houseboats, shikaras (taxi-boats), and the snow-capped Pir Panjal range: a sight that will make your heart skip a beat. The city is home to the state-of-the-art Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishant Bagh being the most famous of them. The gardens exhibit the Mughal taste of nature and the philosophy of disciplining nature rather than imitating it: fountain pools and canals, meticulously manicured hedges, and motley flowerbeds. Also known as the Kashmiri Venice, Srinagar is a place not to be missed by those seeking a tranquil refuge in the lap of the Himalayas.
Next Day we're go for Srinagar sightseeing. Before this we never come to Kashmir so didn't know anything. Taxi driver took us to Shankracharya Temple - a temple of Lord Shiv. There is too much stairs to reached the temple and nobody can't took mobile, cameras etc. to the temple premises. After darshan of Mahadev we're go back to our taxi and took some photos. After that we're go other temples, Pari Mahal, Chashmeshahi, ride in a Shikara in Dal Lake etc. and get back to hotel because next day we're leave for Baltal. But in the evening we go to market and bought purse, shikara, suit, jacket as a memorable thing of Kashmir and at last took the dinner.
We're reached Srinagar at 8 Pm on 30th June and that was our luck there was no traffic on the way anywhere because nobody knows where we could stuck in the traffic on national highway. Driver was also good person and help us everywhere. He took us to the hotel (Kohlee's Hotel) which was already booked for us. After that we're took some rest and go outside for dinner at nearby dhaba's. We're took dinner and walk around market for some time and get back to hotel for rest.
Looking for skiing destinations? Then Gulmarg is your dream winter sports destination. Located 56km south west of Srinagar, Gulmarg offers natural slopes, inclines and abundant snow to satisfy your skiing fetish. Due to Gulmarg’s geography and its extreme amounts of snowfall, it is often regarded as the best ski resort in the Himalayas and it's my guarantee that you’ll be hard-pressed to find better runs anywhere else in the world.Things to do in Gulmarg: Go sledging; Learn to ski; Take a ride on a Gulmarg Gondola; Spend a day at Alpather Lake; Explore Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve; Try the flavourful Qahwah tea.Suggested stay:
Day Eight, we hired a cab back to Srinagar as our return flight was from Srinagar and the cab costed us Rs.10000 and we reached Srinagar on 8th Day morning. Spent entire day in Srinagar on Day 9, we decided to stay on boat house. Boat house can be skipped as the food is not good on boat house and travel back to city is difficult as Shikara is not always around. We paid 300 per person for Dal Lake sightseeing and 2 trips to and fro to the the lake shore.Day 10, we flew back to Delhi at around 12pm.The scenic beauty of Leh was mesmerizing, nothing that I have seen before. If you ever wish to visit Leh, road trip is recommended.Cheers!!!
This morning, proceed to Gulmarg. The beautiful town of Gulmarg is bordered by picturesque villages, willow trees, fast flowing streams and lush green meadows. Gulmarg the 'Meadow of Flowers' is an apt term for this idyllic flower - laden spot, offering a spectacular view of towering snow capped peaks covered with dense forests of tall conifers, gigantic firs and pine trees.The rest of the day is at leisure. One can take leisurely strolls across the green meadows to one of the world's highest Golf Course. Or opt to take a fun-filled ride in Asia's highest and longest cable car, the Gulmarg Gondola (on direct payment basis). Overnight in Srinagar (B)You can stay at-
Today, drive to Srinagar, en route, making a brief visit to Awantipura Ruins, an 1100 year old temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. On arrival, check-in to your houseboat.
Today, post breakfast, drive to Srinagar. On arrival check-in to your hotel. In the afternoon, proceed on a sightseeing tour of Srinagar visiting places like the Shankaracharya Temple, Chashme Shahi gardens, Shalimar Gardens and Nishat Bagh.Request A Call Back
This morning, proceed to Gulmarg- the 'Meadow of Flowers' an apt term for this idyllic flower - laden spot, offering a spectacular view of towering snow capped peaks covered with dense forests of tall conifers, gigantic firs and pine trees. On arrival check in to your hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure. One can take a leisurely stroll across the green meadows to one of the world's highest Golf Course Or can opt for a fun-filled ride in the Gondola (on direct payment basis). Overnight in Gulmarg (B)You can stay at-
This morning, after breakfast drive to Srinagar. On arrival, check in to your houseboat. In the afternoon, proceed on a sightseeing tour of Srinagar visiting places like the Shankaracharya Temple, Chashme Shahi gardens, Shalimar Gardens and Nishat Bagh.
73 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - June to September
This beautiful town happens to be located in Jammu & Kashmir and is an abode for those who wish to pursue Buddhism. The place is surrounded by tall mountains, clear blue water, a white surrounding and many monasteries. The people here are warm and welcome tourists. Found midway between the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains, the beauty of Leh is beyond words, making it a hotspot with the tourists. Visiting the local markets here is a treat as one will get to browse through Tibetan jewelry, carpets, woolens and much more. Be sure to carry an extra bag to fit in all your purchases.Read More
This beautiful town happens to be located in Jammu & Kashmir and is an abode for those who wish to pursue Buddhism. The place is surrounded by tall mountains, clear blue water, a white surrounding and many monasteries. The people here are warm and welcome tourists. Found midway between the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains, the beauty of Leh is beyond words, making it a hotspot with the tourists. Visiting the local markets here is a treat as one will get to browse through Tibetan jewelry, carpets, woolens and much more. Be sure to carry an extra bag to fit in all your purchases.
Everyone has a dream destination; I have a long list of dream destinations. I am a dreamer, who believes in turning dreams into reality. I had a dream to visit Ladakh. I thought of it some 2 years back. I just wished. I honestly didn't make any plan. All I knew was I would love to visit this place, A part, which is the jewel in the crown of India. Here I am on 19th June 2016 writing this article at 4:12 pm just 13 hours away to fly to Leh. The excitement is so much that to pass this Sunday is a task.
Most people prefer to self-drive or self-ride to Ladakh by their own car or own bike and some also prefer to self-drive or self-ride to Ladakh by hiring a bike or car. In any case, hired car/bike or personal car/bike, idea is to live the passion of driving or riding through one of the toughest and adventurous terrains accessible in India. You can take your own or rented, car or bike to Ladakh but one must be careful while driving or riding through slushy roads, snow and water crossing or nallas. Also, it is always handy to learn little maintenance tasks of your vehicle prior to the start of this arduous journey in which you will be desolated majority of the time. For cars, although an SUV/MUV is good to have and a 4WD SUV will definitely help but I have seen hatchbacks (including Altos and Nano) and sedans doing good enough job on Manali - Leh Highway. However, with sedans / hatchbacks, one must drive with extra care and caution. Also, be ready for few scratches or sacrifice some parts on your sedans/hatchbacks underbelly due to the lack of enough ground clearance which may be required in some water crossings or landslides on Manali - Leh Highway. If you are trying to attempt in a hatchback or sedan, I will suggest planning the journey late in the season (August - September) when the roads are in good shape than early season. Whenever in doubt, always step out of your car, walk down the path, inspect with your foot and plan the path of exit before crossing a dangerous landslide or water crossing on your vehicle. You can also park aside and see how others are crossing the risky section to plan your route of escape. In deep water, crossings try to maintain the momentum without any half clutch measures and complete the entire stretch in one go only. Similarly, in slush stretches do not force the issue rather keep the smooth momentum with required speed to pass you through, without half clutch measures. Do keep an eye on the direction of the vehicle too. If you get stuck in slush then try to back and forth your vehicles to get out of the stuck position. It is always handy to ask your fellow co-travelers to get out of the car and push the vehicle from behind in case the car is struggling to pass through the slush or water crossing stretch. Basic toolkit, screwdriver set, small hammer, puncture repair kit, iron rod, two or three "2 LTR" empty bottles of Pepsi / coke / limca etc to carry extra petrol or diesel (jerry cans will leak, cold drink bottles do not leak), funnel, towing rope, spare tube (must for bikes), elfy or fevi quick (2-3 sachets), jump start cables/wires, M-seal to prevent leakage etc. were among the few things which I carried along on my trip to Ladakh. Also, do not forget to get your vehicle (car/bike) serviced about 2-3 weeks before the start of the Ladakh journey. This will ensure that you have proper time in advance to test your serviced vehicle and get fixed any hitches that may have been introduced in that service. Hiring a Private Taxi All taxis (except Ladakh registration number) having taxi number or tourist permits number plates are only allowed for a drop in Leh - Ladakh. They are not allowed to be driven in Leh - Ladakh and as per the taxi union rules, only taxis with Ladakh number are allowed to roam in the Ladakh region for sightseeing. If you want to travel within Leh - Ladakh in your private taxi hired from a place other than Ladakh then in that case you need to hire a taxi with private number plate only. However, in the latter case be ready for some queries by the local taxi drivers in Ladakh or police constables on your route. You need to ensure everyone interrogating with you that the vehicles are not hired. Whenever, you need to hire a taxi always try to hire it from Manali, as the drivers of Manali will always be more skilled and more accustomed to the route or current conditions of Manali - Leh Highway. Secondly, the locals always have a majority with an advantage of local support in any hurdle you might face on the way towards Leh. To hire a taxi, go directly to Manali taxi stand and bargain hard with the local drivers only, for a drop to Leh. Do not involve any tour operator or hotel staff at any stage. The local taxi drivers will charge about Rs 1000 extra for a planned night halt on the way to Leh. The charges are close to Rs 12000 to Rs 17000 for a drop to Leh from Manali, depending on your bargaining power, tourist rush and time when you are visiting the place. June being the highest paid and September - August being the least paid.
4. Ladakh: While talking of monsoon destinations in India, one name that cannot be missed is that of Ladakh, and ironically so as this region receives hardly any rainfall during this season. Home to majestic monasteries, sparkling lakes and bountiful mountains, Ladakh is indeed an ideal place to visit in the monsoon in India. Known as the Cold Desert, the picturesque landscapes of Ladakh are absolutely divine. The delicious cuisine of Ladakh is a sumptuous combination of Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and even Korean. In order to reach Ladakh, the most convenient mode of transportation would be by air. Daily flights to Leh are run by Indian and Jet Airways from Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu and elsewhere. With its virgin and pristine landscapes, Ladakh definitely is one of the best monsoon destinations in India.
Ladakh - Journey through the worlds most unforgettable landscapesLadakh or the ‘Land of High Passes’ is a barren yet beautiful region located in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sharing its east border with Tibet, Ladakh has Lahaul and Spiti to its south and the Kashmir valley to the west. Strategically placed on ancient trade routes, Ladakh lies between the Kunlun Mountains in the north and the Himalayas in the south. The region originally comprised the Baltistan valley, the Indus Valley, Zanskar, Lahaul, Spiti, Aksai Chin and Ngari.Colourful fluttering prayer flags share their spiritual messages metaphorically with the mountain breeze. Prayer wheels spun clockwise release more merit-making mantras. Gompa interiors are colourfully awash with the murals and statuary of countless bodhisattvas.Though threatened by a rapidly increasing number of visitors, Ladakh has much to teach the West regarding ecological awareness. Most Ladakhis are cash poor yet their traditional mudbrick homesteads are large and virtually self-sufficient in fuel and dairy products, organic vegetables, and barley used to make tsampa (roast barley flour) and chhang (barley beer).The walls of dramatic mountains that hem in Ladakh make for an unforgettable landscape, but be aware that road access requires crossing tortuous high passes, which close from around October to May (or longer when snows are heavy).I started this journey in the month of August when most of the snow has already melted and we drove (XUV 500 W6) all the way from Pune to Leh (2686 kms) in 4 days, overall it was a 16 day trip back to Pune, it was such a beautiful and mesmerising journey that it will stay with me in my mind till my last breath.I have complete details in case you planning a road trip in terms of hotel & food expenses, fuel, driving hours, kms per day and various other things. We during the trip have noted down each and every single thing that can help planning the trip again :) . Please reach out to me in comments section below ( or at http://xplorewithgaurav.blogspot.in/ ) with specific queries.Sharing some of the snaps, hope you will like them:
It has been almost a decade when I visited Ladakh for the first time, and I fell in love with this palce its beautiful lakes, snow-capped mountains, ochre colored lands, bright blue skies and rugged terrains are photographed in my brain cells . I have always dreamt to revisit this enchanted place and nothing could be best than to do it with your own self drive car. And this year the dream materialized. In excitement I asked few of my friends to join the trip, but none could join [ you know this and that problem, uhh ! ] , so after many delays I finally opened my two trump cards, my cousin brothers, Vicky and Anshu.
Day three, we covered local places in Leh. There are a lot of monasteries in and around Leh and all of them look more or less same. But the journey to those monasteries would be beautiful as Leh is all about scenic beauty so make the most of it. We hired a cab for entire day which covered 3-4 monasteries and other areas within Leh.
Trip: My first encounter with LadakhYear:2015September 2015 is a landmark year and month in my life calendar. It is the year I first visited Ladakh. I wanted to volunteer for Ladakh Marathon (World's Highest) which happens every year. I left solo from Delhi and thankfully my food and lodging was taken care by the organisers. It was not a trip for just few days but for an entire month. Post marathon I went exploring Ladakh (places like Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake, Nubra Valley).Trip Highlight:The best about travelling solo in Ladakh was that I could absorb it's culture in the best possible way. I stayed with the locals and eat the traditional food. I travelled with random people from different nationalities which was a crazy experience.I was encouraged to see people from around the world who came to run the World's Highest Marathon and were all so fit mentally and physically.Moral:If you are in your 20's, physically fit and hungry to learn, I urge you to travel as widely and as far as possible. Find out how other people live eat and cook. Learn from them wherever you go.
288 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - February,March,April,October
The land from where once an ancient trade route to China would be embarked on, Manali is an abode for modern creativity now as much as it for withdrawal and adventure in the majestic mountains. From offering hostels, hotels, co-working spaces to the cave where once Arjun, the Pandava king had supposedly meditated (Arjun Gufa), Manali is no less than a global village. The mighty Himalayas have inspired many foreign settlements here, giving rise to popular European and Israeli cafes, restaurants and hostels, providing one a consortium of around the world cultures. This town is a true haven for adventure junkies who can indulge in river rafting, paragliding, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, zorbing at Solang Valley and Aleo. Manali has an array of breathtaking treks and sights for its nature lovers, for instance the Patalsu Peak, the Deo Tibba basecamp, Jogini Falls and the Rahala Falls. For all the solo riders out there, cruise your way through the snowy alley of Rohtang Pass while those who wish to travel back in time, can indulge in the exquisite display of culture and heritage at the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. Restaurants and cafes such as the Khyber Pass, Johnson's Cafe, La Plage, Drifters' Inn, The Hangout attract foodies for their culinary justice to everything from Thai to European cuisines and even some live music. If all this is too over the top for you, then reconnect with simplicity at Naggar Village, which is home to waterfalls, a beautiful castle, an art gallery and locals which have many stories to share and a cultural heritage to take pride in. Read More
The land from where once an ancient trade route to China would be embarked on, Manali is an abode for modern creativity now as much as it for withdrawal and adventure in the majestic mountains. From offering hostels, hotels, co-working spaces to the cave where once Arjun, the Pandava king had supposedly meditated (Arjun Gufa), Manali is no less than a global village. The mighty Himalayas have inspired many foreign settlements here, giving rise to popular European and Israeli cafes, restaurants and hostels, providing one a consortium of around the world cultures. This town is a true haven for adventure junkies who can indulge in river rafting, paragliding, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, zorbing at Solang Valley and Aleo. Manali has an array of breathtaking treks and sights for its nature lovers, for instance the Patalsu Peak, the Deo Tibba basecamp, Jogini Falls and the Rahala Falls. For all the solo riders out there, cruise your way through the snowy alley of Rohtang Pass while those who wish to travel back in time, can indulge in the exquisite display of culture and heritage at the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. Restaurants and cafes such as the Khyber Pass, Johnson's Cafe, La Plage, Drifters' Inn, The Hangout attract foodies for their culinary justice to everything from Thai to European cuisines and even some live music. If all this is too over the top for you, then reconnect with simplicity at Naggar Village, which is home to waterfalls, a beautiful castle, an art gallery and locals which have many stories to share and a cultural heritage to take pride in.
As usual after breakfast we proceeded for Nagar castle sightseeing tour.We visited Nagar Castle, Art Gallery at Nagar and on en route Nagar we also visited Sadhya Gayatri temple and ancient Shiva temple at Jagatsukh.The Castle was converted into a rest house, a hundred year back and in 1978 this ancient building was handed over to HPTDC to run as a heritage hotel. This medieval Castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu around 1460 A.D. The hotel overlooks the Kullu Valley and apart from the spectacular view and superb location this has a flavour of authentic western Himalayan architecture. Here, a gallery houses the paintings of the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. Naggar also has three other old shrines. Hotel Castle is an unique medieval stone and wood mansion, once the home to the Raja of Kullu and now an HPTDC Heritage hotel.Nicholas Roerich art gallery - Nicholas Roerich (October 9, 1874 – December 13, 1947) – known also as Nikolai Konstantinovich was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, perceived by some in Russia as an enlightener, philosopher, and public figure, who in his youth was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the occult. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to the family of a well-to-do notary public, he lived in various places around the world until his death in Nagar. Roerich was a dedicated activist for the cause of preserving art and architecture during times of war. He earned several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
This day began with an usual breakfast at the hotel and we began travelling towards Manali.On the way we drove through Mandi Twon (Also known as Chota Kashi), Pandoh Dam and Kullu Town.Not to forget shopping at Kullu Women's association Shawl centre where you get woollen shawls, sweaters and coats at a reasonable cost.We reached Manali by evening and checked into our HotelHotel : Silvermoon, Manali Aleo Manali is a hill station nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla. The small town, is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin.
This option of completing the journey of Manali - Leh in a single day is mostly common among local people or people who are in a high rush and is least recommended if you want to enjoy your travel. Shared taxis are the preferred way to avail this option. Although, it could be the cheapest or time saving for you but this back breaking, cannonball run of 16-18 Hrs with least stoppages does put a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind of an average traveler. This long journey is extremely tiring and by traversing through the varied amount of altitudes ranging from 1900 Mtrs to over 5000 Mtrs in a single day, you are definitely running a risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or some severe headaches or disorientation en-route. This will certainly kill the joy of the journey. Keep in mind that you are most likely to hit with mountain sickness in this option. If you get away with it consider yourself extremely lucky otherwise keep in mind that any breakdown of the vehicle like puncture, engine heat down etc at some high altitude (Tanglang La, Nakee La, Lachulung La etc) with you suffering from mountain sickness may lead to very very ugly outcomes. Hence, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take the acclimatization factor lightly.
On Manali bus stand, the taxis that drop people coming from Ladakh are also available sometimes. Since the same local sightseeing rules are applied to Ladakh taxis as well in Manali, they are bound to return without any tourists from Manali side, officially. If you can catch any of those Ladakhi drivers, you might save yourself Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 for a drop to Leh from Manali. The Same rule is applicable from Leh to Manali side as well and hence, if you can get hold of some Himachali driver at Leh taxi stand, you will again save about Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 on your return drop to Manali. However, you need to be a bit careful from local drivers while fixing a deal with non-local drivers. So, it is always nice if you have some references to either place upfront and call them directly to fix the deal. Secondly, it might be hard that these taxis will agree for any night halt on the way but it depends on how you gel up in the negotiations and bargaining. Manali - Leh Bus Service, HPTDC Good for a solo traveler or a couple Perhaps if you are traveling alone or with one or two friends, you can buy or book tickets of Manali - Leh bus service of HPTDC. This semi-deluxe bus covers the 474 Km long Manali - Leh stretch with a night halt at HPTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong on coming from either side. The ticket costs Rs 2000 per person (as per the year 2010 price) which includes a stay at HPTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong and two meals i.e. dinner and breakfast at the same hotel. There was also an option to buy the ticket only without hotel stay and meals for Rs 1500 (not sure if it is still there). The prices mentioned here may change anytime, though. The overall comfort level of the bus is much better than other buses that ply on Manali - Leh Highway. The bus starts every odd day of the month i.e. 1,3,5 etc from Manali side and every even day of the month i.e. 2,4,6 etc from Leh side. (Schedule: At the time of writing this article) Hence, you need to plan your travel dates accordingly, if you go by this option. The tickets can be bought or booked at HPTDC office on mall road, Manali or you may like to contact at HPTDC Office in your local town (HPTDC Contact Details). Do not book the seats at the back and confirm before booking regarding the location of the seats. At the back seats, you may have trouble when the road gets bad especially on the second day i.e. Keylong to Leh. The bus departs at 11 AM from Manali on the first day and 5 AM from Keylong on the second day to reach Leh about 7 PM. You can also book the tickets for HPTDC Bus Service Online
So I hope your quest for finding the alternatives to Manali ends here. Have a good time in Naggar :) . Drop your feedback in the comments below, follow me on Facebook, Insta and enjoy the video.This post was originally published on The Punjabi Wanderer.
We planned to go to Rohtang pass in the morning and spoke to a local taxi guy and headed towards Rohtang pass..The whole journey was a magnificent one with mighty mountains and clouds and valleys..jus amazing..we can't even speak a word while looking around the view..Few of then have AMS..but better not to eat anything in the journey..finally got down on the top at 13,600ft..was disappointed coz we couldn't see snow around but the view was speechless..journey to Rohtang is a must lifetime experience one should have..Then headed back and went to Solang valley and jus enjoyed the place for some time then went back to the hotel..Enjoyed the evening with some smooth soups and chicken and had fun with games and slept off
ManaliTaking a bus from Majnu ka tila (New Delhi) is easy. You can book from red bus or makemytrip. Our bikes were kept in the lower compartment of the bus along with everyone's luggage. After a 15Hrs overnight journey, we reached Manali at around 11am.We picked up our stuff, and rode uphill towards our hotel, soon to realize that this is not going to be a child's play. We had our lunch and we rode to old manali in the evening to enjoy our night before we could start our journey the next day."Manali 1947" is a great place if you love live music and exotic European cuisines. Enjoying the night full of spirits we returned to our hotel and could hardly sleep in the midst of excitement waiting to be kissed by the first light of the morning rays.
Head back to Manali via Rohtang PassDrive through Battal – Chattru – Gramphu towards Rohtang Pass is out of the worldAbout 7 – 8 Hrs drive easily if you do not get messed up Rohtang PassOvernight at ManaliDay 10 | Manali – DelhiAbout 12-14 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between.Back Home
Today, after breakfast, visit the four and a half century old Hadimba Devi Temple, dedicated to the demon goddess Hadimba (an incarnation of Kali) and the Tibetan Monastery which houses several images of Lord Buddha and Tankha paintings. Later, visit the Solang Valley, a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. This valley offers breathtaking views of glaciers and snowcapped mountains, peaks and lush greenery of the dense forest. Later return to your hotel and relax. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Manali (B, D)Request A Call Back
This morning, you will proceed on a breathtaking drive to Manali, nestled on the banks of the River Beas amidst the Kullu Valley. On arrival, check-in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this beautiful town. Overnight in Manali (B, D)
359 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Gulmarg is synonymous with beauty so stunning that finding another place like it would be impossible. From its overwhelming ski-slopes, astounding meadows, numerous small streams to its hidden trekking trails, Gondola rides and Bollywood connection, Gulmarg is a must visit when you are visiting Kashmir. Gulmarg is visited by thousands of starstruck tourists every year and it's every bit worth the hype. Though at first glance it might seem like just another hilly resort, the serenity of the place will surprise you. Do try everything touristy here including the gondola and pony ride lest you miss out on a true Gulmarg experience. The route from Srinagar to Gulmarg is absolutely stunning and there are several places you can stop at including Baba Reshi Shrine and Tangmarg. There are quite a few resorts, cottages and hotels in Gulmarg so you'll be spoilt for choice though if you are visiting only for the day, the restaurants and dhabas here more than make up for a hearty meal. Do carry extra layers since it tends to get a little chilly here. Travelling here during winter is a little tricky so it's best to take a local taxi rather than driving yourself. And if you are lucky, you might just spot a snow leopard or two, though for that you'll need to go a little higher than Gulmarg. Another thing that stands out in Gulmarg is the effort to keep it clean, so if you happen to be there, do your bit.Read More
Gulmarg is synonymous with beauty so stunning that finding another place like it would be impossible. From its overwhelming ski-slopes, astounding meadows, numerous small streams to its hidden trekking trails, Gondola rides and Bollywood connection, Gulmarg is a must visit when you are visiting Kashmir. Gulmarg is visited by thousands of starstruck tourists every year and it's every bit worth the hype. Though at first glance it might seem like just another hilly resort, the serenity of the place will surprise you. Do try everything touristy here including the gondola and pony ride lest you miss out on a true Gulmarg experience. The route from Srinagar to Gulmarg is absolutely stunning and there are several places you can stop at including Baba Reshi Shrine and Tangmarg. There are quite a few resorts, cottages and hotels in Gulmarg so you'll be spoilt for choice though if you are visiting only for the day, the restaurants and dhabas here more than make up for a hearty meal. Do carry extra layers since it tends to get a little chilly here. Travelling here during winter is a little tricky so it's best to take a local taxi rather than driving yourself. And if you are lucky, you might just spot a snow leopard or two, though for that you'll need to go a little higher than Gulmarg. Another thing that stands out in Gulmarg is the effort to keep it clean, so if you happen to be there, do your bit.
This day we started off early and headed to Gulmarg. It was a day trip to Gulmarg and we went to Sonmarg for stay from there. Gulmarg was one beautiful place with lot of pine trees and valleys. Way to Gulmarg was fabulous.W e saw a valley flowing by road and stopped there for a while. After we reached Gulmarg , we had two options : Afarwat peak through gondola and khilanmarg through horse with several stops. We chose Khilanmarg as we experienced Gondola and snow a lot. And this was our best decision. We rented out jackets and we were on horses the next moment. In these places , the guide you get is as important as place. We got a very good guide here. The horses soon went into pine trees. We were seeing nature at its best. Our horse even crossed small water bodies and we felt like kings and queens. Then we were at a point where there were all snow capped mountains and the view was perfect. Next stop was view Reshi baba mandir/mosque from a mountain top. Then we headed to a childrens' park and this was magical. Park was green and there was water flowing through it with a small bridge across water. We were into water the next moment not even caring about how cold the water is. We spent a lot of time there. Then we headed to Khilanmarg. Khilanmarg had very murky ice. It was long time it snowed there as it was summer. We didnot do much there except for sledging in ice. Then we came down and started for Sonmarg. Our Sonmarg hotel was right in front of the mountain. We checked in to hotel, had dinner and relaxed for our next exciting day.
Around 56 km south west of Srinagar, the magical town of Gulmarg is home to some of the most stunning snow-clad slopes you can find in Kashmir. The town of Gulmarg is not just a centre for winter games but also boasts of a training centre that helps novices learn the nuances for many winter adventure sports, including skiing and snowboarding. Adhoc Sub Center Gulmarg is functional during winters every year and specialises in skiing courses.Read more: Ayandrali Dutta's trip to snow-covered Gulmarg.
The initial need that I had to reach the top had now being overtaken by the amusement of being on the track-path and sitting down at the cottages, having Nun chai (salt tea- Kashmiri tea). After a long journey up the mountain we finally reached. I could tell by the beams of sun that landed on my face, a reward for making it up so far. It was the most miraculous feeling I ever had, maybe it was the reason I was brought to India, to watch the blue skies kissing the mountain top, which was in the veils of white snow. I felt that I was on the peak of the world, and everything else is below my feet, and no one can reach me. I could see people climbing up below, like tiny dots. They would reach anytime soon. The feeling was so magical that I had not realized my palms turning red, with the unbearable cold that my body was exposed to for the first time in my life. Blood ran up to my top layer of paled skin to fight the strong breeze against me, but it was not powerful enough to kill the smile on my face out of the happiness. Surprisingly, Abid was not scolding me for not bringing proper winter clothes. Instead he was beaming, with a broad smile on his face that touched the corners of his ears as he watched me gradually picking my breath. He was equally happy as I was, to have been the pioneer to bring me to Kashmir, which till now has become a home than any other to me and will always be.
Gulmarg: February is an excellent time to get your gear on and go snow boarding and skiing in the the snow-clad meadows of Kashmir. Gulmarg not only becomes the hub of adventure activities in this season but also promises surreal landscapes and a clear night sky for those who want a peaceful vacation.The nearest airport is in Srinagar, 56 kms from Gulmarg. Taxis and buses are available from Srinagar to Gulmarg everyday at regular intervals.Read more: Snow-Covered Gulmarg In Photos by Ayandrali Dutta
God himself showers light upon this place. And the people there, they couldn't be any more generous in their attitude. Even in a state of curfew, they helped the tourists, the families to get to a safer place, and offered them all the help they could give selflessly.
This summer vacations, my family decided to land on the one place that hits every Indian Middle class family's vacation list, yes-Kashmir! It truly is the 'Heaven on Earth', with the green flowing all around,naturally growing flowers making it even more beautiful, those horses, the hills, and the clouds completing the image of a fairyland.
Gulmarg ("Meadow of Flowers") is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is within the Himalayas and is within miles of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. ccording to CNN, Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India." Gulmarg was being mooted as a possible host for the 2010 Commonwealth Winter Games. As such, Gulmarg has been rated by CNN International as Asia's seventh best ski destination. This resort is famous because of its "Gulmarg Gondola," one of the highest cable car in the world, reaching 3,979 metres. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from the gondola main station in Gulmarg to a shoulder of nearby Mt. Apharwat Summit (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and French firm Pomagalski.
295 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - N/A
This is as valley as well as a town in the Dustrict of Chamba. Situated on the banks of the Ravi River, Chamba is a beautiful place and a popular tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The town was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Verma, after he moved his capital from Bharmour till here. The temple of the Chamba valley are also famous for theire beautiful wood carvings. The main influence is of Hindus here unlike most of the other hill valleys of Himachal. The Raghuvira Temple is the most famous temple here. The blooming flowers all around is a blissful sight. The Chowgan Field is the place for the traditional Minjal Festival of Chamba Region.Read More
This is as valley as well as a town in the Dustrict of Chamba. Situated on the banks of the Ravi River, Chamba is a beautiful place and a popular tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh. The town was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Verma, after he moved his capital from Bharmour till here. The temple of the Chamba valley are also famous for theire beautiful wood carvings. The main influence is of Hindus here unlike most of the other hill valleys of Himachal. The Raghuvira Temple is the most famous temple here. The blooming flowers all around is a blissful sight. The Chowgan Field is the place for the traditional Minjal Festival of Chamba Region.
I got ready to leave to Chamba. This is the northwestern district of HP. Chamba is the only district in northern India to preserve a well-documented history from 500 AD. Its high mountain ranges have given it a sheltered position and helped in preserving its centuries-old relics and numerous inscriptions. The temples erected by Chamba Rulers, more than a thousand years ago continue to be under worship. Got into the Volvo bus, which is from Delhi to Chamba via Dalhousie. Had a comfortable journey. I reached Chamba & took a walk to Hotel Iravati (of HP tourism), the best place to stay there. Once, I made a list of places to see, I visited Lakshmi Narayan mandir, Bhuri Singh museum, Hari rai mandir, Rangal Mahal which are the old preserved monuments at Chamba. Thanks to lonely Planet, my lunch was at Desa Chicken Corner - a small eatery joint in the market, where they make Dahi chicken, Roti in front of your eyes and serve it hot. Delicious.
Famous for its trekking routes, 100-year-old bungalows and the Chamunda temple, Chamba is an ideal holiday option in January in India. It will be cold, yet comfortable to travel to various places around it. If travelling to Chamba, you can also pay a visit to Manimahesh Lake, Kala Top National Park or the Khajjiar Lake in Khajjiar, which is popularly called mini Switzerland.How To Reach: The nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is 120km away from Chamba. Chamba is well connected by roads, so you can take a taxi from the railway station to reach Chamba.
The trek from Dalhousie to Chamba takes you through the valleys of Kangra and Chamba. This route is a beautiful way to enter the Chamba Valley on foot, and is best enjoyed during winters. The camping sites on the way are on comfortable terrains, making them ideal for families.The starting point or the first basecamp of the trek is in Dalhousie. From there you trek for five hours to reach Kalatop, a picturesque mountain peak, and then camp again at Khajjiar the next night. You will spend more than a day exploring the Mangla Village, and then head back via the same route.
Early next morning we woke up and got ready for the long Journey awaiting us .We had to reach Gangotri which is 300 km from Haridwar, by night Since there aren’t any straight buses to Gangotri from Haridwar, we were to go to Uttarkashi first and then take another bus to Gangotri. So we took a bus to Uttarkashi via Rishikesh around 5.30 am. We reached Chamba around 9 am where the bus stopped for quick refreshment for the passengers and driver. From there we saw the snow covered tops of theHimalayan peaks from the distance for the first time in our journey. The tallest mountain ranges in the world, the natural barrier of our great nation was shining so bright in the sunlight. But disappointingly that was the last time we saw that magnificent view till we reached Gangotri. The driver of the bus rushed through the narrow road which snaked across the valley. Soon after crossing Chamba you will get a companion up to the destination, it is none other than the mighty 'Ganga'. But at that point its name is Bhagirathi, the river which came to the earth from the heavens because of the prayers of King Bhagirath! It becomes Ganga after joining with Alakanandha at Devprayag which is not quite far from Chamba. Bhagirathi looked like a lake in those areas because of the Tehri dam which is constructed across the river at New Tehri, I thought. But as we passed a few kilometers we could see the real face of Bhagirathi. She is very thin but flowing really fast, cutting the mountains into two parts. One of the things that astonished me was that there are countless numbers of small streams joining Bhagirathi from its source in Gaumukh but still I felt the water level of the river is the same as its beginning. May be it is because she flows very fast! There are huge rocks in the river that got there probably because of landslides.
I reached Chamba as I planned. I booked a room nearby bus stand to leave for Bairagarh the next morning. It's 130kms and HPTDC runs only 2 buses in the morning. I interacted with locals and roamed the streets. There wasn't much to do.
18. The stunning mountains of ChambaThe Chamba Valley in Himachal is a mysterious place dotted with a number of temples dedicated to Lord Narayan. Considered to be a paradise for those who love to connect with nature, Chamba provides one with an awesome view of all the mountains around the valley.
305 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Himachal is the throne of a number of 'mini-Switzerlands' and Dalhousie is widely known to be one of them. Named after the British Governor-General of India (1848), Lord Dalhousie, this place remains a popular summer retreat mainly for the charming walks it offers around the pine-sheathed valleys with views of distant mountains. There are a few British-era architectural sights here worth visiting. For instance, St. John's Church, or the Rang Mahal, an 18th century monument of British and Mughal style architecture with paintings dating back to the very same era with a souvenir shop. One can delve into Dalhousie's Deodar-enveloped natural habitat in the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many animal species such as the leopard, deer, bear, serow, barking goral and jackal and many streams flowing into the river Ravi. Nature and adventure enthusiasts should also try boating in the calm waters of Chamera lake or try the easy-level Dainkund trek. Tourists must visit the Tibetan Market to buy exquisite Himalayan handloom. Some popular restaurants for North Indian, Mughlai, Chinese and other multi-cuisine dishes are Moti Mahal, Kwality Restaurant and Hotel Mount View. Dalhousie is well connected by road and train, the nearest station being Pathankot, which is 80km away.Read More
Himachal is the throne of a number of 'mini-Switzerlands' and Dalhousie is widely known to be one of them. Named after the British Governor-General of India (1848), Lord Dalhousie, this place remains a popular summer retreat mainly for the charming walks it offers around the pine-sheathed valleys with views of distant mountains. There are a few British-era architectural sights here worth visiting. For instance, St. John's Church, or the Rang Mahal, an 18th century monument of British and Mughal style architecture with paintings dating back to the very same era with a souvenir shop. One can delve into Dalhousie's Deodar-enveloped natural habitat in the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many animal species such as the leopard, deer, bear, serow, barking goral and jackal and many streams flowing into the river Ravi. Nature and adventure enthusiasts should also try boating in the calm waters of Chamera lake or try the easy-level Dainkund trek. Tourists must visit the Tibetan Market to buy exquisite Himalayan handloom. Some popular restaurants for North Indian, Mughlai, Chinese and other multi-cuisine dishes are Moti Mahal, Kwality Restaurant and Hotel Mount View. Dalhousie is well connected by road and train, the nearest station being Pathankot, which is 80km away.
Here we opted for a half day excursion to KhajjiarKhajjiar is a hill station located approximately 24 km from Dalhousie. Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. The hill station is surrounded by green meadows and dense forests. It is about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas and snowy peaks can be seen in the distance. It is also well known as Mini Switzerland (Mini Swiss).After Half day tour of Khajjiar we started back to Chandigarh for our return journey and checked into Hotel Skylark on Zirakpur Highway
Dalhousie will transport you to another world. Located at Kalatope, the spread of cedar and pine paint a different picture. The magic of the forest coupled with the wide expanse of the grasslands will make you feel isolated from the world on this weekend getaway from Delhi within 200 km. You can skip the more touristy places in the area and instead, you can choose to stay at the forest rest house situated in Kalatope. You will find a golf course, a temple and a lake surrounding the area. What more can you hope for when you are in a mood for an escape?
It was cold at night. Apparently, temperature dropped down to - 2 in the night. I heard some bird activities outside my room & stepped out to see some good species. Dalhousie Club, is an old Britisher's Club & is currently part of it is under the control of Indian Army. The Club is right above the bus stand. I got ready to have a breakfast at a small joint in the bus station. Again, took a walk to Gandhi Chowk. On the way, I had to stop for some bird clicks. Missed my 100-400 lens.
After a good night sleep I wake up at 6 & step out to check for a Chai. City is sleeping & it was pretty cold. I quietly came back to bed to write this. I refreshed, had my bread omelette in a small restaurant opp to the nest. I left the nest 8.30 am, took a rick to bus station. I caught a bus to travel 4 hours to reach Pathankot. As I reach there, I immediately jumped into the bus to Dalhousie. Aarushi - the girl sitting next to me in the bus, was from Dalhousie & currently getting her coaching at Jalandhar, to join a law college. She gave some insights on Dalhousie, weather, momo joints etc. As the bus stopped in between for lunch, I had Roti, Daal in the Daabha. I reached a cold Dalhousie at 4 PM and check in Dalhousie Club. Jagdeesh - the care taker there, was very helpful. I refreshed and immediately step out for a walk to Subhash Chowk and Gandhi Chowk - the only two places in Dalhousie to walk around. Gandhi Chowk mall road is lovely and lively with so many thronging for momos, bread Omelette, hot Maggie etc. Eateries were so crowded that I paid Rs.50, for a Veg momo and wait for 20 mts to get it. Its 5.30 & it suddenly got very cold and dark. After a 4 km walk around the town, I quietly get back to my room and quietly settle down by 8 PM. EOD.
Dalhousie, perched at the end of a dusty backbreaking road through Himachal Pradesh, is perfect to disconnect from the world.
Road connectivity within Kangra Valley is very efficient and buses are easily available from Dharamsala to Dalhousie and take less than four hours.(If you want to head straight to Khajjiar take a direct bus.)You can start your journey in Dalhousie from Subhash Chowk and proceed to either of these three small hikes. Enroute Lakkad Mandi, the road diverges towards Kala Top Wildlife Park, Khajjiar and Dainkund Peak. So, before heading to Khajjiar, you can take easy hikes to both Kala Top and Dainkund. These peaks provide a great panoramic view of the Kangra Valley.
Dalhousie is palpably more colonial in flavour as compared to the strongly Buddhist feel at Dharamshala and Mcleod.The journey back to Dharamshala the next day was uneventful. After a hearty breakfast at the hotel we did not even need to stop for lunch but one member of our party who was sick on the way from Delhi decided to skip the bus jorney and fly back. We said our goodbyes at the Dharamshala airport and then made our way back to the very same cottage we had occupied a night ago as the caretaker had very kindly agreed to rest there for an hour or two before we caught our bus back to Delhi.The return journey to Delhi was much smoother than the onward one, not least because the hairpin bends and ghat roads were over by 10p.m. and after that it was just any other normal bus journey. I wanted to record the dinner stop on this route. The bus pulled into an imposing driveway and in front of us stood a palatial building called Haveli built in sandstone. It was eerie and weird...exactly the sort of setting for a low-budget horror flick where a bus-full of passengers disembark in the middle of a lonely highway and one by one inevitably they die. As we walked up the 50 or so steps into the grand main hall and had our dinner the feeling of eeriness and unease never left us for a second. As I kept teasing my friend, it seemed as though many skeletons were literally buried in the closets of this house. We felt infinitely better when we were back on the road.The bus reached Delhi at around 4:30a.m. and dropped us off at ISBT Kashmiri Gate. This was the end of our trip and we headed homewards. The memories, however, will stay with each one of us.
Next morning we set off for Dalhousie in an upbeat mood. First stop was the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium which is the highest stadium in the country. Beautifully kept and fringed by mountains, it provided numerous photo-ops for tourists.On the mountains every hairpin bend, every curve, throws up a different dimension of the view. The scene keeps shifting so there's never a dull moment. The movie business churns out hundreds of songs each year but all the hill-stations in the Himalayan region of India are caught in a time-warp of 1990's Bollywood cheesy romantic numbers. Unfailingly, if the taxi/car you hire has a stereo, the driver will play these almost-forgotten songs. One such ditty stuck in our heads like chewing gum would not come off till we recorded a dub-smash duet rendition of it. A bit of crazy on the trip!
Amritsar to Dalhousie (Punjab to Himachal)We started at 7am in morning from Amritsar to Dalhousie through batala, Gurdaspur, Pathankot. We reached at about 1pm so we decided to move to Khajjiar. It was really a beautiful place for mountain lovers. We return back to Dalhousie in evening, it was started raining and guess what it was an ice rain. Beautiful rainbow comes up in sky. We took rooms for 1000 bucks. And it was a hell of scenery from the balcony of room. You can see mountains range.
157 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August
This beautiful district in Ladakh has been part of many significant moments in India. Its close proximity to Pakistan makes Kargil an integral part of India's geographical dominance and its awe-inspiring beauty makes it a must visit for travellers. If you are making your way from Sringar to Leh, Kargil is a definitely stopover. The Sani monastery here is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and is home to a 20 feet tall Stupa and a Buddhist shrine. Other notable monasteries here are Mulkbeh Monastery, home to a laughing Buddha sculpture; Phugthal Monastery, Zongkhul Monastery, Stongday Monastery and Karsha Monastery. If you are here for a day or two, do walk around the villages to experience life in one of India's coldest regions. The people are warm and welcoming with myriad intriguing stories to share.Read More
This beautiful district in Ladakh has been part of many significant moments in India. Its close proximity to Pakistan makes Kargil an integral part of India's geographical dominance and its awe-inspiring beauty makes it a must visit for travellers. If you are making your way from Sringar to Leh, Kargil is a definitely stopover. The Sani monastery here is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and is home to a 20 feet tall Stupa and a Buddhist shrine. Other notable monasteries here are Mulkbeh Monastery, home to a laughing Buddha sculpture; Phugthal Monastery, Zongkhul Monastery, Stongday Monastery and Karsha Monastery. If you are here for a day or two, do walk around the villages to experience life in one of India's coldest regions. The people are warm and welcoming with myriad intriguing stories to share.
Kargil is frequently visited by lot of travelers who take the Srinagar Leh highway. However, even though people stick around here for a day or two to acclimatize for the long road ahead, Kargil is in itself a delightful town. With its bazaar always busy with the newest fashion items that come from Srinagar, it is just like a hill town in Himachal Pradesh with its own stories and tales. Kargil remains an area of strategic importance due to its close proximity to the LoC. Before you reach Kargil you must cross Drass, which is the world’s second coldest place in the world after Antarctica. Even though the terrain seeming inhospitable and ruthless, life goes on in the villages and people have found a way to survive the worst. Drass has extreme climatic conditions but also is a personal favorite if I ever chose to wander!
The excitement was real, we were off to Leh, the most famous place in Ladakh. Having done my homework, I was well aware off the excellent roads we would travel on (apart from the small patch near Mulbekh), unlike most others in the Himalayas. This made me feel that, that tad bit of adventure was cut down, but that was to be a welcome respite from the terrible roads that we had, and would encounter. We were to take the more common route through Lamayuru, since we did not have the permits for the Batalik route, which can be procured in Leh, and maybe Kargil! Our list included a whole lot of things to see, two passes, a few monasteries, a gurudwara and much more. Early breakfast meant that we were on the roads by 7 AM. Initially the roads were a little rough, up until Mulbekh after which no one could have any complaints.
2. Kargil to Srinagar via Drass
Leaving Mulbekh, we directly drove to Kargil. We were startled to witness how the barren desert-like mountains slowly transformed to greenish ones and how Buddhism gave way to Islam. Kargil is a district and is the second largest town of Ladakh division after Leh and is situated along the banks of the Suru River (Indus). The town lies near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan to its north.
We reached Kargil shortly and first visited Kargil memorial. My husband was wearing a shawl and behaving like he worked in army. It was Kargil diwas few days later and all preparations were going on. We were happy to see whole army preparing for the event. We saw Vijay path, we were shown tiger hill where attack took place. Then a shop for souvenirs where we picked two. There was a museum which displayed all things used in war and all paper cuttings after victory. Then we came to our hotel.
Kargil & the story of warThe Kargil memorial built in the memory of all those who lost their lives during the 1999 war, is a vast space in front of the Tololing range. Vijaypath, a long walk way, leads up to the lit up torch, under an Indian flag. A wall with the names of the Shaheed from various gentries stands right behind. In the vicinity, you will notice an MiG that was extensively used during the war, captured Pakistani bunkers & possibly a 100 grave stones of the buried soldiers.There is a small museum built exhibiting details of the war, including photographs of the soldiers, scenes from the war, weapons used, a salutation poem by Harivansh Rai Bachhan & a wall for people to leave messages onMore than the museum, it were the stories from local people that kept us mesmerized for hours when we halted for the night at a hotel in Kargil, overlooking the valley with the Batalik range around it and the LOC just 20kms from it. Clearly, the locals took pride in the fact that it was because of them that the war was won...”koi Madrasi army mein pahaad kabhi chadh payega?”Kargil is a story of valour & heroism. One fine summer morning, a shepherd while walking his sheep, noticed some strange looking faces – ‘alag’ as the locals called them, comfortably staying in the bunkers up on Tololing Range. When he reported this suspicious activity to the army, little did he know that this information would be the start of a war that will go down in history as one of the first conventional warfare between 2 nuclear nations at a high altitude in mountainous terrain?The Pakistan army had infiltrated into the LOC & had occupied the Indian bunkers in the peak of winters, when the Indian army had receded back to the base camp owing to severely cold conditions. What ensued was Operation Vijay, which lasted almost 3 months - surely leading to some wins - recapture of 4 mountain peaks, but many losses – of lives.While there were these heroic tales at one end, on the other, the locals gave us their version of the story of war. Lots of locals had volunteered to help during the war – some carried ammunition & food for the army as they could climb mountains easily, some worked for them in the kitchens & bunkers, some even agreed to fight against the army risking their lives – all in the hope that once the war was over, the government or army would appreciate their effort & provide them an opportunity to serve in the army, ensuring a sustained profession. However, it was disheartening to hear, how none of them were even recognized leave alone any kind of appreciation or a permanent job! This left some bitterness among the locals who therefore weren’t ever as over-awed as us, by the great effort that the army put in for our tomorrow.What if the shepherd hadn’t noticed anything suspicious, what if the Pakistani army had moved closer, what if they had bombed & captured NH 1D, oh what if there was no partition at all – would we have saved thousands of lives, would we have had more harmony, would the Indian map have changed completely & would we have ever been able to travel to Ladakh today – with a million questions cropping in our minds, we silently sat in the car, staring outside the window as the landscape changed gradually – the lush green valleys of Kashmir, giving way to the barren, rugged, desolate, yet colourful rocky mountains of Ladakh.
Not too many people are aware that Ladakh forms the third region of J&K after Jammu & Kashmir – wonder why the state isn’t called J, K & L? Despite, Ladakh being over-shadowed by its more popular cousin Kashmir, it’s still been in the to-do list of travellers from all over the world. Indians however, began to throng this place, only after it was made famous by the Kargil war in 1999 & of course Aamir Khan’s ‘3 Idiots’.
Day 3 - The next day was perhaps the most crucial days of the trip, as we couldn't afford to miss out on the highway timings for upward traffic due to the closure of Rohtang Pass. We left Srinagar at around 9 am with an aim to reach Kargil by the evening, which is approximately 213 kms on the NH1D. Once we reached Sonmarg, which is approximately 80 kms from Srinagar, we took a preordained halt for an early lunch because of the upcoming Zoji La Pass, which is considered one of the most dangerous passes in the world, with roads covered with slush, mud etc from the melting of snow of the Himalayas. As we left Sonmarg at around 11.30 am, with Kargil just around 120 kms, the situation went out of hands when we saw a traffic jam at-least 10-15 kms, starting from upper Baltal till the end of Zoji La Pass. The road was filled with trucks carrying good and supplies to Leh and beyond. With hardly any movement for 2 hours, the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) came to our rescue and helped our traveller move ahead instead of the trucks (which apparently were officially stopped because of high load intolerance of the Zoji La Pass). The ITBP contingent kept on moving ahead slowly but surely and along with them our traveller and all the other tourist vehicles. It was almost 5 in the evening that we were able to cross the Zoji La Pass and that's when we decided not to move ahead to Kargil and instead bunk for the night in Drass, which is approximately 60 kms before Kargil.
Due to the ongoing riots in srinagar I decided to make my trip back to delhi via manali itself.Hence i decided to travel to kargil. Kargil is 240 km from leh so I started early so as to reach kargil before dusk.I started my journey by seeking blessings at Gurudwaara Sri Pathar Sahib.Situated 23 kms from leh,this place is a gem of a place to be at.This place is completely maintained by our own Indian Army.Three cheers for them for such great hospitality and warm welcome there.I was fortunate enough to enjoy that delicious langar there.After some great food i had some interacting session with the armymen over there and then i asked them to tie a sikh turban for me as well.I was a bit anxious as i didn’t want to offend them but they were so generous that they instantly agreed to my request and Mr. Sarmukh Singh ji turned me into a sardaar..:)Now was the time to start my journey further after a few kilometres came the famous magnetic hill. This place is said to defy the properties of gravity but the fact is that it’s an optical illusion. I tried some off-roading there and then went on to carry on my journey towards kargil.The road is excellently maintained by BRO. Kudos to them for executing such a great effort at such height. I reached kargil by 5 in the evening and took halt for the night.
255 Kms from Panamik
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August,September,October
Fondly called the 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Jhelum in Kashmir. A spellbinding valley 80 km from Srinagar, en-route to Ladakh, it is on every traveller's list for its colourful views, serenity and charm. Much has been said about the beauty of Kashmir and one may wonder what the hullabaloo is about. But a visit to Sonamarg is all you need to understand the ways of nature! From Sonamarg, you can trek towards Krishnasar Lake and Vishnasar Lake, amongst others. A perfect place to camp and also to enjoy leisurely afternoon picnics, it would be best if you have a local showing you around. Though there are no well-defined touristy spots within Sonamarg, there are umpteen spots around it. Depending on what you'd like to explore, do gather information and then plan your day here. Read More
Fondly called the 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Jhelum in Kashmir. A spellbinding valley 80 km from Srinagar, en-route to Ladakh, it is on every traveller's list for its colourful views, serenity and charm. Much has been said about the beauty of Kashmir and one may wonder what the hullabaloo is about. But a visit to Sonamarg is all you need to understand the ways of nature! From Sonamarg, you can trek towards Krishnasar Lake and Vishnasar Lake, amongst others. A perfect place to camp and also to enjoy leisurely afternoon picnics, it would be best if you have a local showing you around. Though there are no well-defined touristy spots within Sonamarg, there are umpteen spots around it. Depending on what you'd like to explore, do gather information and then plan your day here.
Today, embark on a full day excursion tour to Sonmarg; admirably known as the 'meadow of gold'. Sonmarg, an alpine valley is situated at the bank of Nallah Sindh River. Sindh River indulges you in an activity of fishing especially during summers. This river bed is a popular breeding ground for trout and mahseer fishes. The rest of the evening is at leisure Or one can opt for an optional ride on a pony (on direct payment basis). Overnight in Srinagar. (B)You can stay at-
Today, embark on a full day excursion tour to Sonmarg; admirably known as the 'meadow of gold'. Sonmarg, an alpine valley is situated at the bank of Nallah Sindh River. Sindh River indulges you in an activity of fishing especially during summers. This river bed is a popular breeding ground for trout and mahseer fishes. An optional ride on a pony (on direct payment basis) is sure to delight you as you are carried around the snow. Return to your hotel in Srinagar. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight in Srinagar (B)Request A Call Back
The next morning after packing our sweaters and mufflers in a small bag and having a heavy breakfast we set off for the mountains of Sonmarg which are 81 kms from Srinagar taking 3 hrs to reach. Umar Bhai gave us some instructions before entering Sonmarg. He informed us that at a particular point, he would have to drop us and we would have to either take a local cab or a pony ride. We preferred hiring a cab. We did as we were told and haggled for the price. At last the local cab driver agreed at a price of Rs. 2500 and an extra Rs 100 each for a coat and gum boots which are necessary for walking in the snowy terrain. As he drove higher and higher through the mountains we asked him where were the Meadows Of Gold. He informed us that the Sonmarg valley itself was known as Meadows of Gold. The river Sind meanders through Sonmarg and the location offers exotic shots of waterfalls. The next stop was the Satte pe Satta Point which was a plain land covered with snow and surrounded by lofty snow capped mountains. Here we were pestered by the locals to hire a sledge to take us to higher points. I did hire one after a lot of bargaining and he took us to a point name Bajrangi Point, where the shooting of the Hindi film "Bajrangi Bhaijan" had taken place. Here we strongly felt that the people running this place should be properly organized as it seemed chaotic. He then pointed at the Thajiwas glacier which was at a small distance from our cab. Thajiwas glacier is at an altitude of 9,186 feet and is awe inspiring silvery scene set against lush green meadows. Thajiwas is supposed to be the most accessible glacier but we could not go near it, as it was snowing and were advised against it. Later we visited the Table Top point where the Sind river flows down into rivulets and Someshwar temple from where the Amarnath Yatra commences.
This day , we took a horse ride to Thajiwas glacier in Sonamarg. Almost everything in Sonamarg will be closed for 6 months because of snow. As I said guide is important for us to enjoy, this time we were not at all lucky. We got a very cranky horse which I first sat on, got panicked and made my husband sit on it. Scenery was perfect but because of our horses and guide we were not enjoying anything. We asked guide why the horse was cranky and the answer we got was these two horses donot get along well. We were ascending a mountain. Route was very scary too! And at a point there was only one way for horses and other way horses were standing beside a huge valley. My horse almost slipped its leg into valley and my head was spinning with fear. We reached Glacier and it was murky ice too and didnot seem like a glacier. And yeah it was a bit irritating seeing guides following us. This happened because our guide was not good else you will truly enjoy. While return , we got down of horse after sometime and started walking and that was when we started enjoying the beauty of Sonamarg. We were so tired after all this and were sleeping the next moment.
SonemargNext morning, we were introduced to Sonam (a ‘Ladakhi’ as Mushtaq bhai called him) to drive us to Leh. We passed by lush green valleys, rippling streams, lines of conifer trees & finally reached the picturesque Sonemarg. Glacier laden mountains, green fields, fascinating ponies made for a perfect backdrop of a Yash Chopra song – only the chiffon saree was missing!
Day19:-Leh to sonamargWas really very happy to hear the news that the roads of srinagar were open. I wanted to create a loop of the route by entering through Manali and exiting from srinagar and in no way I wanted to return by the same roads to Manali. The actual plan was to visit tso moriri and tso kar but I was already short of days because it took additional days to reach Leh . Skipping tso moriri and tso kar was a toughest decision but had to take it. Travelling through Srinagar was a risky thing as for the last 50 days Srinagar was under curfew and around 100 people were killed because of their conflict with army. I left with a thinking that I will meet some other bikers on the route so that I can travel with them till we cross Srinagar. Finally I was leaving Leh . But there are few places to see enroute. Initially planned to reach Kargil and next day cover Srinagar but changed my stopover from Kargil to drass the worlds second coldest inhabited place as it will be easy to cross Srinagar the next day. Few kilometres from Leh reached magnetic hill where the stationary vehicles moves uphill defying gravity. So I turned the engine off to try it. It really worked so I tried again just to confirm and it worked again. Small fear was there in my mind as I was still alone. Next I stopped by sangham which is the confluence of zanskar river and Indus River after which it flows through Pakistan before reaching the Arabian Sea. After sometime came across a group of riders who were traveling all the way from Kerala to Leh and back. Initially when I saw them they were having their breakfast I didn't stop there and moved ahead thinking we will meet ahead. On the way I crossed fotu la pass and reached a place called moonland, the place was good and scenic the surface of that place resembles a moon surface. On the way I met on of the biker from the Kerala group and had a word with him and asked where are they headed today for which he said by night they are planning to cross Srinagar,so at first I was planning to reach drass by evening and halt. Now decided to travel with them. I went ahead of them and reached Kargil and started looking for the Kargil war memorial. Upon asking found that it is located in drass and not Kargil. Had my lunch and reached drass in few hours. Spent some time in the war memorial looking at the sacrifice made by our soldiers during the Kargil war. I waited there for the Kerala guys to reach as I wanted to travel with them till we cross Srinagar. After a wait of around 45 minutes they reached. Finally we all left and planned to cross Srinagar at night, thinking that it would be safe to cross at that time. Though the situations were not good in Srinagar. By the time we left drass it was already near 7 pm and it was getting dark and we had to cross zojila pass. And by the time we reached there it was pitch dark with hardly any soul around. As we proceeded the road were rough and it started raining. We were driving on no roads and due to rain it was covered with slush and under darkness for several kilometres by 11pm we reached sonamarg. The army stopped us at the checkpoint and said they will allow us only by 5am. So we had our dinner for which we got only dal and rice , after requesting he made some omelettes. Then found some accommodation nearby the checkpoint and decided to ride early in the morning.
I had never seen snow, the very first glimpse of the snow laden heaven in Sonmarg brought twinkles to my eyes! Many tourist were gathered to ski in Tazivas glacier which made the highway jam. We were surrounded with snow. It was up, below and around us. There was a beauteous brown landscape when we climbed towards the most vicious and precipitous ‘ZojiiLa’ Pass’. I wonder, I crossed it and still alive. The narrow road (let’s call it road) had hardly any space to cross even one car. And just when I thought it could not get more adventurous than the 6km truck jam happened and we had to cross those trucks side by side, it took nearly 3 hours to cross that road.
If Gulmarg and Sonamarg makes you feel warm and fuzzy, Sonamarg is exactly the opposite. Don’t take me wrong, the beauty of Sonamarg is indeed breath-taking, but the grandiosity of the snow mountains make you feel like a Lilliput, someone without any power.The changing weather further adds to the mystery of ‘what’s next?’ The Sindh River cutting across the Sindh valley brings glamour to this hill station. Sonamarg is a contrasting beauty; green meadows on the banks of the Sindh River and the cold rustic mountains leading to Kargil.Instead of following the crowd to a snow field, I would advise you to rent a guide and ask him to take you some place which is less commercial. Yes, I particularly stress on hiring a guide because snow is dangerous (partly because there are melting glaciers). If you fall and cut yourself, you can bleed to death before any help arrives. There is also a trekking route that you can take that reaches the Pahalgam Valley. The trek is strenuous and the weather conditions determine whether you can trek that route.I would suggest an overnight stay at Sonamarg valley. Once the one day tourists leave, the place becomes quiet and it reveals true beauty to its night audience. The Sonamarg market is about 1 km. long. Most of the places serve fabulous food and like I always say, always order what the locals eat!
Nothing much, last point where you can stand and view the mountains and the road that lead to the highest battle field on earth- The Siachin Glacier. You can visit natural hot spring here and have few roadside restau. While returing you will find a small group of cliff to your right after passing Trisha village. Between those cliff has a beautiful Yarub TSO least exploited. I was there alone for 1 hour totally cut off from the out side world. Calm peace... You have to cross a dry river bed to get into this.