“We could either go to Mt. Abu or Kashmir” said Dad. The choice seemed like I could either have chicken tikka or an assorted kebab platter. I mean who would want to see a flower if you can experience the garden itself. No offence to Mt. Abu lovers, I would love to visit it too some time soon. It is this moment that gave me 9 days in heaven.
We generally plan our trips well in advance, visiting Kashmir was like a dream come true. These 3 months felt like ages before we finally left for “The Kashmir”
We left Mumbai on 14th June 2013 and reached Jammu on 15th Afternoon. We had amazing lunch at @Punjabi Haveli approximately an hour away from Jammu station.
Jammu to Srinagar is approximately 300 Km (10 hour) and hence we decided to spend our night at Patnitop which is approximately 113 Km (3-4 hours). Jammu to Patnitop isn’t that fascinating route, however route from Patnitop to Srinagar is spectacular.
We witnessed the famous green tunnel somewhere near Anantnag.
We visited Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag district which was built during the 8th century CE. Martand is another Sanskrit name for the Hindu Sun-god.
We reached Srinagar at around 5.30 Pm (16th June 2013). We stayed at Afreen Guest House which was around 7 minute walk from Dal Lake.
We couldn’t keep ourselves away from the lake of heaven and went for a shikara ride same evening.
The lake is amazingly beautiful. Floating market was an amazing experience. This is not just a lake, but a source of life for the locals.
Next day at our guesthouse we learnt how Noon chai(aka Kashmiri tea / pink tea / Gulabi chai / Sheer Chai) is prepared. ‘Noon’ stands for salt and it goes unsaid that the tea is salty. Noon chai is traditionally prepared in a samovar.
We also had the little angel accompanying us on this trip to heaven.
Next day with headed to Sonmarg, it is undoubtedly one of the best places in “The Kashmir”.
However the snow wasn’t very clean here and made us a little upset, but wait…our driver + guide + an awesome kashmiri (who was by now a good friend) promised that he would make up for this bad snow before we leave back for Mumbai.
After Sonmarg now it was time to experience the famous gondola of Gulmarg. When we reached there I was mesmerized with the beauty of this place which was far more beautiful compared to the gondola ride itself, don’t trust me see it for yourself 😉
and finally the gondola ride too
View of Srinagar from top of Pari Mahal is lovely too, I loved the golf course with Dal lake in backdrop.
Srinagar is a beautiful place, buzzing with people mostly tourists and amazing locals that serve us night and day we found one such amazing restaurant next to our stay ‘Afreen Guest House’ in Srinagar, ‘Day Night Dhaba’ looks like a small shady place but believe me they cook delicious food, especially non-veg, do try when in srinagar
Day Night Dhaba – 9797123480, 8803699544, 9796560347
We left Srinagar to visit Pahalgam, however couldn’t get it out of our head, the lake and the mountains in the backdrop is what you see throughout your travel in Srinagar.
In Pahalgam we peeked more into how locals stay and cook and also awarded ourselves with a delicious barbeque 🙂
It is in Pahalgam where we met the Avian Elvis.
We saw tribal establishments on horse tour to the valley
Pahalgam is a beautiful place with river and falls running as its veins.
Do you remember the bad snow that upset us in Sonmarg? It was now time to make up for it so Farheed took us to Sinthan top. Sinthan top is a less known tourist destination located in South Kashmir’s Breng Valley (Sub-District Kokernag). It connects Kashmir valley with Jammu Province through Kishtwar.
It is 12,500 feet (3,800 m) above sea level and is snow-capped for most of the year.
The place was beautiful with snow all around, we climbed up a snowy hill but take care you might fall ill. Make sure you have enough woolen cover should you plan to visit Sinthan Top. The place is on high altitude so senior people might have a little breathing issues, also the place has cold breeze running around so make sure you have your ears covered. That’s enough, now lets enjoy the place…
and we left the top to visit Verinag spring which is believed to be the chief origin for river Jhelum. Its an octagonal shape structure created by Mughal emperor Jehangir. The water is so surreal and clear that you could see the fishes in it.
In Verinag we stayed in a home stay and had a wonderful experience and got to know kashmir little closer after all the real beauty of Kashmir is the Kashmiris 🙂
From Verinag we headed back to Jammu and spotted some wildlife on the way. This was end of our heavenly trip.
Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you ever happen to visit Kashmir do plan to peek into real Kashmir by staying at home stays.
We started our journey from Srinagar visiting Sonmarg and Gulmarg, we than moved to Pahalgam and enjoyed river, valley and waterfalls in the town. We also covered less known tourist destination Sinthan Top where we scaled the snow covered peaks. One of the most memorable experience of our trip was staying with a local family in Verinag district where we visited the mysterious Verinag spring which is believed to be chief source of river Jhelum.