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174 Kms from Rangdum
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 h...
One day in Srinagar when strangers opened their homes and hearts to me.30 May, 2016I reached Srinagar without booking a hotel. I call this method of travelling 'no-method-travelling'. That's how I ended up at a neighbourhood near Khanqah-e-Moula where the caretaker of a hotel lived with his family. The night before, I met Mr. Amin at Lal Chowk and he invited me to spend the night with his family. Something about the man made me trust him. I went with my gut feeling and spent the night watching the IPL with his six daughters.The morning started with some Noon Chai (Salt Tea) and Kashmiri local bread. Amin uncle told two of his eldest daughters, Tabassum and Summaiya, to take me around the city. The kids were more than happy to bunk school; this was their exciting day out too.That day we visited Shah-e-hamdan mosque in the morning and I spent the morning relishing the quietness and the absolutely timelessness of the architecture of the mosque. The space exuded a kind of serenity that's not found in cities. During the course of the day we went to Jama Masjid Mosque, Badamwari and Polo Ground.While walking towards Makhdoom Sahib, Tabassum and Summaiya shared with me the episodes of the tragic floods of 2014 when they took shelter in the Shrine of Makhdoom Sahib along with their entire family. Thousands of Kashmiris who lost their homes and businesses in the floods stayed in the shrine for months. A natural disaster that had till now sustained in my memory only as a headline on TV, now unfolded itself in it's full affect.The day ended at Hazratbal, a place I consider to be one of the most stunning sites I've ever witnessed : the marble-white mosque by the Dal lake with the surreal backdrop of the snow-covered Pir Panjal Range. I can travel the distance just for that one view again. If only everyday in life left us so overwhelmed by the end of it.
1) Gulmarg : Srinagar to Gulmarg is a 2 hours journey and so it is usually a full day trip to Gulmarg. Gulmarg boats of being a beautiful town surrounded by snow covered mountains,lush green meadows. Gulmarg is my personal favorite,as even in March this place was covered with snow,enough snow for me to build my own snowman. When visiting Gulmarg you must definitely try the famous gondala ride. Gulmarg Gondola is world's highest operating cable car. The price of the ticket is Rs. 740 for phase-1 ( Gulmarg to Kungdoor) and Rs.950 for Phase-2 (Kungdoor from Aparwath). The view from the Gondola is absolutely breathtaking,from that height it appears as if someone has painted the entire valley with white paint.
Relaxing in my houseboat in Srinagar I said to Ghulam the houseboat owner, “I am satisfied with Srinagar. I would like to experience some village life. Where shall I head next?”He replied promptly, “Sonmarg, Gulmarg, or Yusufmarg”.“Umm too touristy. Any place quieter?”“Naranag”.I took the last sip of the sugary kahwa and packed my stuff. I took the city bus from Dal Lake to Srinagar Bus Station. You can also arrange for a private car to take you to Naranag for a day trip or overnight stay. Ghulam (+919697384417) can arrange transportation and homestay in Naranag. Since I was traveling solo, I chose to go by bus. Naranag is 50 km from Srinagar on the road to Kargil. The bus drops you at Kangan, the town at the base of the hill some 14 km from Naranag. From there, you take a shared car to Naranag. There are frequent buses between Srinagar and Kangan but they tend to leave only after they are semi-full and they stop frequently. So, not the fastest way to reach Naranag. The last shared car from Kangan to Naranag leaves at 4 pm.Deep into the little known valley
LEH – LADAKH || 12 Days, 12 People, Travel to be cherished throughout the lifeLEH, Name always glittered in the soul.A trip we were contemplating since last year, however we got late. And finally thanks to Mr. NaMo- the PM.! We booked our tickets during the biggest monetary lockdown in India – Demonetization 2016.Khusbhu, one of our friend booked tickets for 13 of us. We also had to ask for leave in our respective offices as it was a long trip. Couple of months passed and we all started the planning.Understanding the routes, weather and climate, culture was also equally important. We also took guidance from Manish sir of Kutchi Trekkers. As days passed, the levelof excitement kept on increasing. 2 of them backed out and one was added to it. So finally, count of 12 was good to fly. So, the Month of July started & we started tocount the days.18th Jul, 18 days left.About a week prior to our journey, there was an attack in & around Srinagar where we were planning to start our journey from. This was an attack on CRPF from thelocals which killed the officials.2 weeks ago there was an attack on pilgrims going for Amaranth yatra. Bus was attacked by terrorist groups and 56 people were injured and 6 killed. Many of ourrelatives & friends advised to cancel the trip, but we had to go.Karna hai, toh karna hai, toh karna hai.On Sunday, the day we had to leave, there were heavy rains all across Mumbai. Our flight got postponed and the connecting was getting missed out. This created a hugehassle about 12 hours ago for us. There were lot of hiccups in the pre-journey stage. We did lot of ways to get the flight issue sorted. Finally, l fight to Delhi waspreponed from 9 am to 6 am. We spend whole night at the airport. We spent sleepless night due to the anxiety and excitement.The Day 1 – 18-07-2017 Mumbai -> Delhi -> SrinagarOn Monday midnight, we did our check-in and boarded the flight and reached Delhi. Took a brief overview of the Delhi Terminal 3.Fledd off for Srinagar at 1:45 PM.Our traveller car was booked for the day by the hotel Nishat – our roof in Srinagar. Yogyata’s bro is the Commanding officer, Head of the force at Srinagar. He came tomeet us at the hotel. Did brief talks with him.Left from hotel in the evening went to resto Krishna dhaba had amazing veg food – dhaaba style. Post FullTummy, we reached Mughal gardens and on the other side of theroad is the world famous DAL lake. Witnessed the beauty of DAL lake while the sun was settling down. funtimes clicked. We couldn’t go ahead for the shikara ride as it was already quite dark outside.Returned to Hotel, had snacks, played cards, slept and then woke up early in the morning.
Head back home from Srinagar.
→ Gulmarg:If you are tired of the conventional places like Manali or Shimla; Gulmarg, Kashmir is perfect. The tranquil settings, the skiing slopes, the pine forests of Gulmarg make for the perfect place to holiday! The top skiing destination in India, Gulmarg surely offers a lot for the adventure enthusiasts! Kashmir offers an experience & scenic setting that remains etched in the memory of tourists for a very long time.
288 Kms from Rangdum
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
A kingdom that has risen above disasters like the 2010 cloudburst and is still able to magnetise a plethora of tourists ...
Arrive in LehArrive in Leh, enjoy the sight of magnificent mountains greeting you and check in to your homestay. The beauty of the place will really astound you, but don't rush it! You will have ample time to explore this snow-laden heaven. Take it slow, as it is necessary to acclimatise yourself to the high altitude, freezing climate and gusty winds. Enjoy a warm bowl of thukpa and interact with locals.
2. For majestic landscapes, head to Ladakh
One of the longest drive in the whole 15 days. The excitement to reach The Moon Land was too high yet a slight fear lingered in the mind as we had to cross 3 passes in one day. Will we be able to keep up with nature or not was a question. Starting from Zingzing Bar then Barlacha-La pass considered to be one of the dangerous pass on the way. Close to the pass is Suraj tal (lake). It falls before Sarchu. The panoramic view what starts at Jispa stays with one till Leh. Once you take a break at Sarchu to digest the view and the climatic change for your body.Next two high passes awaits Namkila and Lachalang -La pass. After this one reaches Pang. A tea time halt. Then the last pass one needs to pass through is Tanglang-La pass to reach Leh. The highest pass and second motor able in the world on the way. In Leh, we were put up in #Zaltak Homestay. Where we could relish on the farm food. Strategically placed, close to Leh market 10 mins walk. The cost is Rs 1200 per room. For booking please contact Mr Atul Jaiswal -9855085962
No matter where I go, Leh will be close to me and I would take it along with me everywhere craving for a experience similar. There was so much I missed to write. If you really call yourself a traveler, do visit Leh and your for Nature and Traveling will go stronger.
335kms …but it took 11 hours to reach leh because it’s the toughest road in the world! Or one can say not road…as no tar road is there…we left Jispa at 8 am out tempo traveller got some serious issue at 9 am so we had to change the car …2 hours got wasted there And we reached 10pm…almost all were not feeling well !Day 5,6,7- leh local sightseeing
Beautiful scenery is augmented by…Childhood dreams. Those locations that you have always admired as a young soul should be visited. Nothing feels better than heading to a place that is beautiful, and that reminds you of your past serenity. Next destination was something I always wanted in my life since my young days. That would that's gorgeous, adventurous thrilling Leh Ladakh. The trip unfolded so many amazing landscapes. I got to see sand dunes, rivers, forest, and high mountains at the same place. It was glorious and heavenly. We rode to the top of the world, having the highest motorable Road, Khardungla Pass and getting there isn't easy. However, #Travloncards made it possible for all of us, many thanks to the team!
Leh city has become a bit more commercialized than I'd have liked it to be, but hey that comes with the popularity I guess. It's a quaint little place situated amidst snow clad mountains and winding roads, straight out of a movie. Shanti Stupa, Thikse monastery and Leh market are the places to go to. Shanti Stupa is a white dome shaped monastery atop a small hill. The soothing sound of the drums coupled with the chiming of the bells and the view from the monastery grounds, provides unparalleled peace. The white stupa shines brilliantly at night, across the black horizon dotted with a million twinkling stars. Thikse monastery has a lot of drum shaped structures lined up along the stairs leading to the meaning prayer hall above. Buddhist culture involves rotating those drums in a particular direction for inner peace. There is a two floor big Buddha statue inside. The peace and tranquility that these places offer is what I love about this culture. Leh market is like any tourist market, nothing special. There is one place in particular that I love, Gizmo, it is a cute multi cuisine restaurant in the center of the market. The food there is mouth watering, especially the mint flavored mock tails, yak cheese sandwich and the chocolate cake. Yummm!!
220 Kms from Rangdum
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 ...
The drive to the first campsite, Jobra, lasts just over an hour taking you up the valley, with numerous hairpin bends (some really steep) with some occasionally sightings of apple orchards, right on the road.The campsite at Jobra is a short hike through a thick pine forest. As the trees cast their shadow over the trails, the weather remains pleasant even in bright sunshine. With the thundering Rani river right on your trail, it seems just the perfect setting.
The trek goes a full circle, starting from the green locales of Manali, to the cold barren Spiti and back to square one.
Manali is another ultimate destination for the adventure enthusiasts. The magnificent snow covered peaks and the pine fringed trails along with the endless orchards and pleasing views of Manali has always attracted tourists and adventure seekers. The terrains of Deo Tibba, Chanderkhani Pass, Hanuman Tibba and Rohtang Pass are the best places for heli-skiing at Manali. With the slopes as high as 6000 m, you will definitely be thrilled and have the adventure of your lifetime while heli-skiing at Manali.Auli is a beautiful place with virgin locales and breathtaking views. Auli is also getting noticed as a skiing destination. You will definitely gain the pleasure of heli-skiing at Auli as you fly upto 3000 m and then ski down the pleasant slopes of Auli.
Then, we took a taxi from Barsheni till Manali via Manikaran. We reached Manali at around 11 PM. Next day we covered few of the tourist spots of Manali like Hidimba temple, Vashishta temple etc. The best thing we discovered about Manali was that the city was alive till 2 AM. On ‘Maal Road’ we could see families and children having fun at such an hour while we were discussing our lives and future with a cup of icecream in our hands. That was our last night of that trip and we wanted to enjoy it the most so we were awake for the whole night until we got on board at the last bus and came back into reality from that dreamy place. That adventure will always be missed that time will always be cherished.
So here my journey to Gulaba Base Camp started from Manali. Manali has become overcrowded place these days. It took 2.5 hrs for us to reach Gulaba were one should take hardly 30 mins. So from here we are supposed to reach our first base camp which was 20 mins trail...hold on not the normal trail. We were supposed to climb a 70-degree steep mountain. And during that trail I realised why it is important to do warm up and to work out before going any of the trek. For 20 mins trail we took an hour. What is the difference in India hikes and YHA from my perspective? I did 4 Himalayan treks through YHA and there we used to warm up for 3 days in base camp so that our body gets acclimated for the higher treks. On the other hand, India hikes will directly take you to higher camps as they expect you to be completely fit for the treks. You are supposed to walk daily and send them screenshots on daily basis which is good idea. So finally we reached our Day 1 location at Gulaba (10,370 ft.). We had our refreshments ,then introduction and later on we were told about Medication, Go green Campaign and Overall trek info. Fortunately, we had very good trek leaders with us. We proceeded for dinner then to our tent. The tents were little small and we were told to keep our bags outside the tent still under coverage of tent but not really inside as there were two coverings of the tent. Around 2 at night it started raining heavily, I just popped out of the tent quickly kept our shoes under coverage and then slipped inside my sleeping bag. So here our day one ends ... Our Group at Gulaba Camp Day 2:
3. 'Jab We Met': I love mountains!!!
The weather of the valley didnt allow us to go, as the rain was approaching and we had to climb steep up to the mountain for 4 kms. We were upset but accepted the situation and made a plan to move old Manali. I was visiting Manali after long 3 years, There are many places to visit in Manali. The Hadimba temple, Vashisth hot springs, The mall road, Solang valley and many more. We hunted some good cafes there at the mall road it was snowing there. The sad part was my both the battery of the camera got discharged and was not able to click good picture. After the day out we checked into the beautiful Pinakine cottage, near Nehru kund bridge, Shanag Village. I recommend all the readers who are planning to visit Manali, book their stay in this cottage it has marvelous view and is situated in a very good location the services are best in a very minimal cost. And if you are in a big group and want some discounts then let me know . The next morning i had to catch the bus and was the time to go back to the pavilion .it was a perfect meet with my friend and was nice spent new year . and Time to say good bye to the mountains with a promise to see you soon .
Manali-DelhiToday was a free day in Manali and we had a bus booked for Delhi in the evening. We went to explore places like Hidimba Temple, and some cafés in Old Manali. Old Manali is a beautiful place with a lot of cafes and figure licking taste. We went to Café Bella Vista and Café 1947 both are superb cafés and food and atmosphere is overwhelming. We reached Manali Private bus stand at 6pm and said goodbye to the beautiful Himachal.It is always the same with mountains, once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. THERE IS NO ESCAPE.
Manali-Solang- Gulaba PassToday we decided to take a bullet for a drive on Manali roads. We rented bikes at Rs 1200 each and left for Solang valley. There are two options for snow points near Manali 1.) Rohtang Pass 2.) Solang Valley. Due to heavy snowfall few days back road to Rohtang was closed. We went to solang and it was full of people. People mostly come there to enjoy adventure activities like Paragliding, snow skiing, rope way etc. We didnt enjoy anything due to traffic and we left Solang in search of a better place. We drove on the road which leads to Rohtang/Leh in search of a place where we can enjoy the snow. In search of it we came across Gulaba pass which is the highest point which is operational during winters. Gulaba pass was on hell of a experience we enjoyed playing in snow, making snowman , snow slides and what not. We left gulaba pass and reached back to manali at night.
200 Kms from Rangdum
Best time to visit - February,March,April,May,June,October,November
Located in Himachal Pradesh, what most people refer to as Dharamsala is actually Lower Dharamsala. This is where the bus...
McLeodganj is a small suburb in the city of Dharamshala. It is also the headquarters of the Tbetan - Government in exile and has plenty of monasteries if one wants to visit. Monks are a common sight in this small suburb. The peaceful McLeodganj is ideal as a last stop or destination as it provides the perfect atmosphere for calming the senses. McLeodganj is also called the 'Little Lhasa' or 'Dhasa' by the locals who reside over there. Various charitable organizations operate from McLeodganj for the Tibetan cause.
From Chandigarh, I had a full day of riding (on the roughest paved road I’ve ever seen) to get to Mcleodganj. What’s in Mcleodganj? The Dalai Lama and Mountains. I didn’t see the Dalai Lama, but I did go through the temple. Right before I had to give up my camera, they had this huge banner honoring Tibetans that had self-immolated…grim. Of course, I had to do a little hiking in the mountains. Back home, friends and I would often joke about how it’d be great to have a beer/food/etc. waiting at the end of a big hike or climb. To my surprise, this dream finally came true. At the top of this ridge line, there was a little shop where I warmed up with a nice cup of coffee.
The home of the Dalai Lama is a perfect place to relax and unwind. Lush green mountains, monasteries, western cafes. The place has a lot to offer. Weekends are packed, given its proximity to states of Punjab and Haryana, while weekdays are more calm and relaxed. We spent 2 days in the city, lazing around, exploring local cuisine and visiting the nearby monastries.
226 Kms from Rangdum
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Jammu is one of the fastest developing cities in northern India. Its Vaishno Devi Temple, which is one of the holiest pl...
Indian Himalayas is full of epic and memorable road routes. From the world’s highest motorable roads for adventure junkies to some of the most serene — there’s something for everyone. Where some routes — particularly the Manali-Leh and the Buddha Circuit in Spiti Valley — have seen a dramatic increase in the number of tourists in the previous years, some are still pretty untapped. They are, in fact, so untapped and offbeat in their nature that hardly any tourist visit them throughout the year, despite having all the facilities a tourist may need — from Google defined roads to enough accommodation options on route. And one such route in the Jammu region in J&K lies in and around the Bhaderwah Valley.During my recent motorbiking trip in Himalayas with Jammu and Kashmir tourism, earlier in September, under the campaign of ‘Exploration of unseen places’ in J&K region, we did a 7 day road trip from Jammu to Killar, and back. The trail took us to some of the highlighted (yet unfrequented) valleys and the many unspoken towns.From passes over 10,000 feet above sea level and roads otherwise known as the world’s deadliest, this is the routemap for Jammu to Killar road-trip in J&K:
I have heard a lot of legendary stories about Full moon party from my friends, and I have been looking to go there and break free from a long time, till I made a plan with two of my best buddies. We have been planning it for a while but nothing was coming in place. So one day we were sitting over a coffee and started discussing about it on a conference call and bang that was the beginning of a fantastic trip. I am from Jammu and my other friends live in Delhi and Bangalore respectively. The best option for all of us was to meet in Kolkata as the flights were very cheap from Kolkata to Bangkok.
Our Journey Started from Jammu and our destination for day one was Basholi, a small quaint town situated in the middle of hills of Shiwaliks. The major attraction of this town are the famous Basholi Paintings, Basholi bridge that connects JnK with Himachal and the beautiful Ranjit Sagar Dam lake. Though I didnt know about the paintings, I googled about Basholi when I came back :P that's why it is always advised to do proper RnD before you go anywhere. The road from Jammu to Basholi is still under construction with good and bad patches. The best place to stay is a Gov. Guest House which has a nice view of lake and the Basholi bridge with access to the lake as well.
We reached Jammu and then from there we book a Innova for Pahalgam it’s around 280km from Jammu but its very long journey (around 9hrs)You can visit :
Day-11: Pahalgam- Anantnag – JammuOvernight at Jammu
Next morning we start sightseeing for Jammu for full day. After finish the sightseeing we get back to hotel and took our lugguage and go to railway station & board the train for Delhi. I want to tell you here that God sent some persons for helping us and that was the persons who help us alot. God bless them.So, thats my unforgettable journey to the heaven on earth. ;) :) Please tell me how much you like it?
Today, bid farewell to your 'Kashmir - Paradise on Earth - Summer' tour as you are transferred to the airport / railway station in Jammu for your onward journey.
Welcome to your 'Kashmir- Paradise on Earth - Summer' tour! On arrival at the airport / railway station in Jammu you will be met and transferred to Pahalgam where you will check- into your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight in Pahalgam. None (Meals on your own).Request A Call Back
Never forget the spiritual aspects of travellingNext short road trip was to a Holy place, a 14Km trek to the Temple of Vaishnodevi in Jammu. This was the final destination for my recovery journey, and I made sure that the higher power was involved in my ordeal for a healthier life. It seemed like a fitting “rite of passage”. There, I worshipped and thanked God for giving me a new life. I was grateful for a new reason to live in happiness, after being through some hardships.
222 Kms from Rangdum
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 overwhelm...
Gulmarg, the quintessential winter sports destination of India is no doubt a prime place for heli-skiing. The Mount Apharwat is the best place for the heli-skiers with its perfect slopes and snow. Apart from that the marvellous beauty of Gulmarg with its silvery peak and the line of fir and pine trees makes this place a delectable destination for heli-skiing.
Gulmarg: One word come “Gondola Ride” there are 2 phase in gondola ride.1st Phase: It’s normal so anybody go there oxygen level is good and there you will enjoy some good food, Bike ride to the snow, there you also enjoy sledging.2nd Phase : The view around you is like heaven on earth because of low oxygen level infants are not allowed on top. There you will enjoy skiing and sledging and reach on the top.Over all gondola ride is most amazing experience. Its height 1400ft (2nd Phase) I recommend to stay in Gulmarg at least one night. I enjoyed rain there and that was awesome if you are lucky then might be you will also enjoy and feel the rain.
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.
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.
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.
The Kashmir valley in particular offers a range of travel opportunities. Gulmarg, a couple of hours out of Srinigar, is home to the highest green golf course in the world (2650m) and downhill skiing that delivers 1400m vertical and 13m of snow per season at an elevation of 4,200m. And in true Indian “cheap and best” fashion these luxury sports can be had at a fraction of the cost in Europe or North America. Or for those wanting to rough it up the state is full of all kinds of trekking, mountaineering, rafting and kayaking possibilities.
Leaving the sound of Azan in Kargil, driving slowly on a poorly conditioned yet a memorable road, you will get the first sight of some Buddhist flags after about 100 kms and that’s when you will know you are close to Rangdum. You will be surprised when you will see Rangdum for the first time. Imagine a huge field of 10km diameter with may be around 25-30 houses and surrounded by the gigantic peaks and glaciers. Rangdum at 3,657 m (11,998 ft) above the sea level makes it all the more special.
The past 3 days in Ladakh region of India were treacherous in both a good way and a bad way. The landscapes and people were way more beautiful than what we had expected and the journey was way more difficult than what we had imagined. The previous night in Rangdum was extremely cold, the tents were able to do little in keeping us warm. Thankfully the camp site could provide us with hot water in the morning. We tried to wash away the chills and headaches with it. We soon left Rangdum for another adventurous journey to Padum, the largest town of Zanskar. We soon reached the mountain pass called as Penzila Pass (also called Pensi La) on the way. Penzila pass is the highest motorable point of this area at 14000 feet.
We reached Rangdum late in the afternoon and charged ourselves with one of the best Dal-Chawal servings at the only restaurant located in the vast plains of the area of Rangdum. The poor road condition has preserved the virgin beauty of this place as not many tourists care or rather dare to visit Rangdum. We reached our place of stay for the night which was a lovely campsite located amidst the barren mountains on all the sides. Some of us were still very energetic after a long day travel to visit Rangdum monastery nearby while others were dead tired after an extremely bumpy ride. In the night, we were served a sumptuous dinner which was to our surprise very delicious and fulfilling.
As I sat in a dhaba in Rangdum, a village in the middle of nowhere, drinking Cognac with a bunch of strangers, talking about nothing in particluar, happy and at peace with myself, I couldn’t help thank God for bringing me to Zanskar. Ever since our trip to Ladakh last year, we had every intention to return to the land of high passes. The beauty of the vast Changthang plateau haunted us, and we’d planned to visit it again this year. However, as this year’s trip came closer, a doubt crept into our minds - although there was no questioning our love for Changthang, visiting it again this year might make our trip too similar to the last one. Chanthang was not going anywhere, and we could always go back to it later. We decided that this year we would explore another part of Ladakh - the wild wild west. The plan was to restrict ourselves to everything west of Leh - explore under-construction roads, trekking routes with motorable/ jeepable tracks, and most importantly, the remote Zanskar. The travellers: Aarti & HarshThe machine: Our very own wild ass - Tata Safari 4x4 - affectionately called KiyangTotal distance covered: 3850 kms. A taste of things to come:Day 1 (9th July): Delhi - Manali (580 kms, 12 hrs)Day 2 (10th July): Manali - Jam - 10m ahead - Jam - 10m ahead - Rohtang - Jispa (140 kms, 14 hrs)Day 3 (11th July): Jispa - Darcha - Detour - Darcha - Sarchu - Moreh Plains - Panginagu (260 kms, 13 hrs)Day 4 (12th July): Panginagu - Tso Kar basin - Debring - Leh (220 kms, 9 hrs)Day 5 (13th July): Leh, friends, dinners & permits. (20 kms)Day 6 (14th July): Leh, hospital, medicines, rest (50 kms)Day 7 (15th July): Leh - Nimmu - Chilling - Nimmu - Sham Valley - Part 1 of 2Day 8 (16th July): Lamayuru - Fotu La - Khangral - Chitkan - Dha - Batalik - Hamboting La - Kargil (150 kms, 6 hrs)Day 9 (17th July): Kargil - Rangdum Gompa - Juldo (150 kms, 10 hrs)Day 10 (18th July): Juldo - Padum - Karsha Gompa - Padum (140 kms, 8 hrs)Day 11 (19th July): Around Padum - End of Road-Zangla and Stongde (130 kms, 7 hours)Day 12 (20th July): Around Padum - Dzonkhul, End of road beyond Reru (135 kms)Day 13 (21st July): Padum - Kargil (230 kms, 11 hrs)Day 14 (22nd July): Kargil - Srinagar (230 kms, 10 hrs)Day 15: Around Srinagar - Wular lake & GulmargDay 16 (24th July): Srinagar - Jalandhar (475 kms)Day 17 (25th July): Jalandhar - Delhi (400 kms)