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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kashmir!

Planning for an adventure:
Where do I start off, We were 8 Friends. We had planned that after Eid would go somewhere we never have been before. We were thinking and I thought why not Kashmir! It has been said that it is definitely a heaven on earth. So we started talking with our parents and were getting itinerary to calculate how much it would cost us. We were probably students back in August 2012, and it was difficult thing to convince everyone s parents also. Finally 8 of us calculated the route and we chose to travel by train.
                 Finally we decided to get to Delhi first, and then go to Kashmir. So we were all set to pack our bags and go. Never travelled that far with friends, so it was an excitement, thrill and adventure waiting.
Journey begins! Excited! :p


Day 1 Delhi:

It was a long journey, Reached Delhi we could hardly find two wheeler s there, and it was really clean after all it was the capital of India. We stayed in a Hotel and then traveled in metro, first time we were travelling in it. We had arrived to Chandni Chowk and there had road side momos which were really good, and then went to jama masjid to try food in a well-known restaurant called Al Jawahar. Had chicken tikka, tandoori roti & butter chicken for dinner. It was delicious.

Day 2 Delhi:
The second day we went to Indira Gandhi museum- Qutub Minar - Red Fort – Lotus temple & India Gate. All the places had a rich history.
Indira Gandhi Museum


Qutub Minar

Red Fort



India Gate
Then in the night we left from anand vihar station to Jammu.  
















Day 1@ Kashmir:

On the way from Jammu-Srinagar
From Jammu our package was starting, Nazir bhai was our trip in charge and guided us. A tempo had come to pick us up, the driver named Majeed Bhai had been humorous with us and enjoyed our company throughout the journey, and we 8 had settled down.


It took us around 5-6 hours to reach Srinagar; we could see a lot of military personnel around, to protect tourists from difficult circumstances. We could see the beautiful hills and the breeze was just amazing. It was a scenic beauty. Our jaws had dropped and we did the right thing travelling by road from Jammu to Srinagar.
Finally we reached Srinagar. Our stay was at Nazir bhai s place who welcomed us in his Shalimar Bungalow.


Shalimar Bungalow
He gave us three bedrooms.  There were electrical blankets also available which are used during winters. The rooms were brilliant with Kashmiri shawls and curtains gave an authentic touch. We also included food in the package and it was homely food just felt like we were eating at home. Phew! Tired we slept.

Our room

Day 2@ Kashmir:
Had breakfast at Nazir bhai s place, Left for Shalimar Garden, It was a garden which I had never seen before. These gardens were enormous and huge and they were built by the Mughals during their period. Shalimar garden is the biggest in Kashmir. It was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619.
Kashmiri look ;)
  We had lunch at Nishat garden, and we left to Zabarvan Park where there was a helium balloon which took 4 people at a time in a basket, when it takes off the bucket shakes it is little scary at that point of time, but then we realize the beauty of Kashmir, we can see the Dal lake the gardens and the peaks of mountains just an amazing sight. We were almost 150 meters above ground and we there for a couple of minutes. It was just amazing.
Helium Balloon
Then we left off to Lal Chowk it was the market for retail, clothes, dry fruits, and other Kashmiri bags and clothes were sold here. Then we had left off to Chasme Shahi which was another garden but with flowing stream of water coming up from the mountains. We had gone to the top to drink it and really the taste was just brilliant.
View from above balloon
 Day 3@ Kashmir:
We had got up early in the morning, today our destination was Sonamarg, and we had to travel around 80 km to reach the destination. Finally we reached, but further to see the spot we got horses for ourselves and were excited to go, we went near a frozen glacier. Usually at the time of December it’s completely covered up with ice. But we were in the month of August so it was clear and pleasant climate.

Sonamarg
Then we head back to our bungalow pack up and shift to house boat on Dal Lake. We were excited to stay in a house boat. The boats are called shikara and we finally reached our house boat which was named DUKE OF WINSOR. We had a hall to watch TV, we had a dining hall to eat, and there were 3 rooms given with TV and attached toilets. So we were very much happy about the stay. We then had a visitor, he had come with various hand bags and Kashmiri dresses for sale.  

Our House Boat

          We then head to the house boat market to see it, there were all sorts of things sold, Saffron (Kesar) which is very much famous, we should buy it carefully because there is adulteration in some of it also. There were many shops in the house boat area were we visited. Leather jackets, sandals, Kashmiri shawls, Kashmiri handbags, dry fruits and curtains were majorly sold.


Day 4@ Kashmir:
Today we were going to Aharbal waterfalls which were around 30-40kms, on the way we stopped and saw the flowing water and were astonished by the color and chillness of water. Then we stopped nearby had lunch and went to a garden full of apple trees. We ate those delicious apples and head back home.

Aharbal Falls

Day 5@ Kashmir:

It was Gulmarg traveled around 50 km, and it is cold up there in the mountains we were told to get the jackets and be prepared. Gondola ride is the best part of it; there are two phases of it. We had gone to the second phase and then climbed up the mountain. We had gone a long way up and the cold was severe. 

Gulmarg Gondola ride

There we saw a board that trespassers will be prosecuted, so we did not go further.



 There we played with ice, it was fun. It was 13000 feet high and we had maggi which was delicious.  
Maggi-man ;)

Day 6@ Kashmir:
Today our destination was Yusmarg travelled around 50km, this was the one spectacular place that I loved the most. We were riding on horses in the middle of forest and all of sudden it started drizzling it got cold. Cold winds blew around making scary sounds in the forests. We then came down to a flowing water stream which is called the DOOD GANGA and sat there for a while. The scenery I still have it pictured it was the most beautiful place I had ever been. Riding on the horses in the forests I felt for a while we were in a stone age and felt relaxed because the peace and silence, birds chattering, it’s priceless. Definitely this place was brilliant and must to go.

Dood Ganga
Day 7@ Kashmir:
We had packed up and now we were heading over to Pahalgam which was around 90km. We then reached Pahalgam and then we got ready to see a spot which was called Baisaran(Mini Switzerland). We definitely had a good time there and again horse ride to reach the spots. Almost every spot we had travelled by horses.  

Horse ride

We could find a stream flowing nearby and as kids we started playing there in the water and found that it was freezing cold.

Day 8@ Kashmir:
We were ready, today we had planned to see the deer park and do river rafting. As we were travelling we could see there was a lot of crowd in the park waiting for someone. We found out that it was Shahrukh Khan who had come for shooting Jab Tak Hai Jaan with Anushka Sharma.
                After seeing the park we had gone to the spot where river rafting was done. Got ready with life jacket on. It was an awesome experience.   

River rafting!
The end:
It was hard to leave such a beautiful place, but it was time to go home. We returned back after 15 days.The best 15 days of my life. Those moments spent with close friends are just worth it. In case if you are confused of going somewhere in India your first priority should be Kashmir. Next on my exploration list is Ladakh to explore. Sponsors please call. LOL!