After spending thirty minutes in flight from Chandigarh, we landed in Srinagar in the noon of comparatively warmer march of 2016. While leaving the airport we were a little paranoid to see all the armed forces on duty, but we were also eager to begin our journey of exploring the paradise that is Kashmir.
Our choice to visit Kashmir off season was to get to know the place and its people better. The first person we met at the beginning of our journey was Khan chaha, our cab driver who was going to be our companion till Gulmarg. A humble man with a sense of humour, he drove us to Dal lake within half hour to show us the boat house where we were to spend the night. We talked the entire time and he made us feel more comfortable.
Golden hours at Dal lake
With suggestion from a local friend, we decided to stay the night at a boathouse. We reached Dal lake in half an hour and travelled from the shore to boat house in shikara(boat) and returned back to the shore after keeping our luggage in the nice cozy room. Even though we visited the mughal and shalimar garden, we did not see many flowers. So our major inclination was to visit Hazratbal shrine and Hariparbat Killa. Coming back to the boathouse, we had local Kashmiri cuisine for dinner and a beautiful view to accompany it.
The next day we left for Gulmarg with Khan chacha, this two our long journey was one of the most memorable time I have had on road, with Kashmere music playing in the car and visible snow on the road. We passed by many army trucks on our way too. Even though I suffered from motion sickness a little but this scenic beauty in front of our eyes was worth it.
We reached our hotel, where we had rooms with Ropeway facing view. The white snow covered Landscape was just majestic and we ended up walking through Gulmarg for rest of the day. Trying to absorb the beauty of the place, we also met a couple of approachable husky dogs. There were so many beautiful cottages in the woods. For someone who had never experienced snow, it was exciting to finally see it, touch and play with it. It felt as if the time had stopped.
The next day we decided to go to Aparwath for the view of the snow caped mountains. The world’s highest cable car Gandola has rides in two phases, Phase one being from Gulmarg to Kungdoor and phase two from Kungdoor to Aparwath. We paid a total of 1600 per person, 700 for phase one and 900 for phase two. We had our lunch at Kungdoor and walked around a little. Luckily with delicious biryani it started to snow heavily. Locals said that it was the heaviest snow fall of current season. For me it was like cherry on the cake.
After sometime we took the cable car for the second leg of the journey. Finally reaching the highest point at 4262m, Aparwath gave us the view of the tranquil white blanket of fresh snow. Due to the army checkpost we were not allowed to go any further. We sat there for few hours and enjoyed the landscape.
Snowing Heavily at Kungdoor
Highest Point At Aparwath
Gandola Cable car
Our journey for three days in Kashmir was one of our travel journeys that shall make its mark in our memories forever, with beautiful scenic landscapes and its humble and beautiful people. Truly a paradise on earth.