Shared by Subhra on 13 November 2023
Which place is on the bucket list of all tourists? It is KASHMIR. We have dreamt of visiting this heaven on earth for many years. We were planning a short and exciting vacation last summer and decided to visit Kashmir. It was a small trip but we tried to cover all the major tourist spots. We took a connected flight through Delhi to reach Srinagar.
Our hearts leapt with joy and excitement when we saw the mountains looming below us from the window of the aircraft. A clear blue sky and crisp air welcomed us. It felt so good to be in this beautiful land and we were eager to see our houseboat. Soon, we reached Dal Lake and a Shikara took us to our houseboat. The boat ride reminded me of the iconic Shammi Kapoor song but to my disappointment, the scenario was quite different.
Anyway, as we entered the houseboat the rich wooden décor filled our heart with warmth. Our room was a big one, all complete with wooden furniture and carpets. After resting for a while, we went out to visit the famous gardens of Srinagar. We covered three gardens – Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Cheshma Shahi. The gardens were very beautiful and each has its own unique charm.
Manicured meadows, colourful floral beds, the fountains running through the gardens and the mountains in the backdrop created the perfect frames for the most scenic photographs. The gardens were landscaped to give us magnificent views of the mountains and the Dal Lake. The most delightful thing in the gardens were the Chinar trees. The huge trees with their leafy canopy are a sight to behold. While we were roaming inside Cheshma Shahi suddenly the sky got covered with dark grey clouds.
Within no time it started to rain and we ran for shelter. That was the first time we got a taste of the unpredictable mountain weather. For the rest of our vacation rain played truant with us. Next day was another big day as we went to Sonmarg. It was an arduous journey through mountains and rocky terrain. We also had to get into a sturdy jeep to reach Zero Point, which is at a height of 11000 feet above sea level.
A valley covered with thick snow awaited us. It was such an unforgettable moment for all us to see that valley and walk on it. For the next one hour we played with snow, made snow balls, rode snow bike, and played to our heart’s content. We didn’t want to leave the place but had to. On the third day we went to Pahalgam. This was another enchanting journey as the Lidder river created beautiful landscapes along the road. Our first stop was Betaab valley, a beautiful place with gardens, fountains, lakes, and beautiful mountain views.
We also went to Chandanwari to witness another snow-capped glacier. On the fourth day we went to Doodhpatri. It is a magnificent place with river Shaliganga creating amazing landscapes passing through a Rocky valley. We spent hours exploring the valley, walking through woody paths, and taking photos of the river as it jumped and skipped over boulders. In the evening we did Shikara ride in Dal Lake and visited the famous Meena Bazar, a floating market in the middle of the Dal lake.
The last day of our vacation was reserved for adventure. We went to Gulmarg to ride the gondolas. Unfortunately, the second phase was closed that day. The gondola ride was only 10 minutes, but it was very exciting. The valleys of Gulmarg with the snowcapped mountains fringing them were glorious. The weather was perfect that day. The entire scene looked ideal for shooting Instagram reels. At night we went to Mughal Darbar, an iconic restaurant which is famous for Wazwan.
The Wazwan is a multi-course meal that is considered an art and a point of pride in Kashmiri culture. It was another overwhelming experience to taste such delicacies for the first time ever. Next morning, we bid farewell to our houseboat and Shikara and left the heavenly land. This short but exciting vacation is one of the most memorable holidays of our life.
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