THE HEAVEN ON EARTH: KASHMIR

June 4, 2018

 

 

Best time to visit Kashmir -spring (March-early May), summers (early May-late August) and autumn (September-November). Pahalgam is popular from April to November for activities like rafting and horse riding. If Golf is your sport, then April to November months are the best time for you but my favourite is the Winters during January.

 

When you are a seeker of beauty peace tranquillity and not to forget FOOD, KASHMIR is a must visit. Yes, it took me a good amount of time to decide “to go or not to go” for the never ending ever existent Political Turmoil in the valley and the fear of the worse.

 

Alas, I made up my mind, booked myself on a flight to Srinagar guided by the  infamous Delhi attitude “ Jo hoga dekha Jaayega- Let’s see what happens”. That unknown fear is only until you land in this Heaven named Srinagar and the Weather 7 Degrees in January seduces you so heavily that you are mesmerised watching it.

 

You check into HOTEL AHDOOS in LAL CHOWK and the warmth and decor of the hotel is glorifying. The hotel serves one of the best Kashmiri Wazwan and authentic Kashmiri cuisines. The Nadroo Yakhni (Lotus Stem curd gravy preparation) and Kashmiri Aloo Dum is at its tastiest best.

 

 

After a Days rest the next day you proceed to Pahalgam after having a bellyful of Ahdoos’s  signature style Poori Bhaji which is approximately an Hour from Srinagar.

 

You reach Pahalgam after crossing the KESAR plantations which is only in 1.5 acres of land and then you see the willow wood showrooms filled with cricket bats . Once you are in pahalgam you will find the Pony Vendors waiting to take you to exact tourist spot where you can find the real fresh snow. BUT BE CAUTIOUS- FIX THE PONY RIDE PRICE AND THEN COMMENCE ON THE TOUR.

 

The journey is beautiful and so is the destination ..

The snow covered trees and the snow covered lawns makes you feel blessed. Even beautiful is the return journey amongst the snow and regular halts for photographs.

Back to Ahdoos in the evening when your electrically heated beds await you and the Hot Kahwa.

 

The next day you head towards the scintillating GULMARG which is around 2 hrs from Srinagar. Heaven is definitely here!! Gulmarg is the place for extreme Snow Sports and unlimited fun but there are vendors that spoil the fun so try in your own way to ignore the things that you don’t want.

 

NO GUIDE REQUIRED ANYWHERE!

 

Take the Ropeway Gondola that costs around 750 INR. Don’t miss it. The 3rd day can be dedicated to the mystic Dal Lake and the tour of the Lal Chowk till the end.

 

 

The world famous Shikara takes you in a different world full of calm and serenity. Good local shopping can be done of local hand made clothes.

The Lal Chowk offers a variety of shopping options from clothes food spices dry fruits etc. Must visit. The Halwa Parantha in Lal Chowk will definitely take you back in time to the childhood.

 

Kashmiris definitely love their food and proudly protect their recipe secret.

I left this most beautiful and magnificent part of my nation mesmerised and glorified. Truly said - “Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here.

 

Many thanks for the patience read

 

Your Traveller in time!

 

Saurabh Kapoor

Instagaram@thetravelopportunist

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