Kashmir – we’ve heard about it. We’ve read about it. Seen countless movie songs shot there. But how many of us have really experienced the wonder that is Kashmir?
People ask: What is there to see in Kashmir? Is it even safe to go there? I don’t know Kashmiri? What if I don’t like the food?
There always a million reasons to not go to a place, but a bazillion more as to why you should go there. There is a reason why Kashmir is known as ‘Paradise on Earth’ and ‘Switzerland of India’ and the only way you will understand why is by experiencing it. Beautiful mountains and valleys surround Kashmir, and it truly is a sight! Whether you want a relaxing getaway to immerse yourself in nature or get your heart pumping in adventure activities – the place has something to offer for everyone.
We spent a total of 8 days in Kashmir including travel and we covered 3 places Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam.
Srinagar – Our first stop and more like a quick pit stop before heading to the next location; But we still managed to squeeze in a few places to see.
- Enjoy the traditional Kashmiri Kahwa which is saffron tea flavored with spices and served with finely chopped almonds.
- Ride on Shikara on the never-ending Dal Lake. Beautiful, serene, peaceful and everything you need to relax and feel calm.
- Feast like kings at Krishna Vaishno Dhaba. Their food is a culinary delight and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket either. Don’t forget to try their Rajma Chawal – it is definitely the best in the world.
Gulmarg – Our second stop and we could see why this is a favourite among many.
Take a ride on the famous Gulmarg Gondola, which reaches a height of 13,000 feet. The Gondola has 2 stages and if you are lucky and the weather Gods are in your favor you will be able to see K2 from the 2nd stage. For those of you who wish to Ski / learn to ski, you can do that at stage 1 of the Gondola. While we did give it a try, it wasn’t that great of an experience. For those of you who are really keen on skiing, I would suggest to take a week or 2-week package and learn, rather than do it the way we did where we spent Rs. 1000 per head for an hour but really did nothing.
The Hotel – Where you stay in Gulmarg is equally important. We stayed at a Highlands Park which has one central building surrounded by 8 cottages. Each cottage has 4-5 rooms with 2 caretakers. If you want to experience a more rustic vacation this is the route to go with. The rooms are equipped with traditional wood fire room heaters called Bukhari and have a nice cozy home-like feel. From the cottages, you can view the mountains on one side and a stunning world famous 18-hole Golf course on the other. Since we had been there at the end of winter the entire place was covered in a blanket of snow and it looked more beautiful than words can describe.
Pahalgam – The city of valleys. And even if you visit every single valley you wouldn’t get bored of the sight. Beetab Valley, Aru Valley, different viewpoints – while they are similar, they are different in their own way. Get a guide who will show you around the place while sharing little interesting stories.
Head to Kashmir for your next vacation and you will understand why it is called ‘Paradise on Earth‘!
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