I had heard a lot of stories about Kashmir while growing up both in terms of how beautiful it is and the history of trouble. Its been called as the paradise on earth, riddled with problems and tensions. I had two close friends while growing up who had come from Kashmir to live in Delhi and with their stories my fascination for Kashmir had just grown.
Finally for my first wedding anniversary I decided to go to kashmir, it was a short five day trip but atleast some break from the cubicle routine. I truly believe even a one day travel refreshes your mind and soul from the boring tasks of everyday, and every travel opportunity is a learning opportunity.
So here was my 5 day trip iterinary, we flew to Delhi first and from there we took a flight to Srinagar.
Day 1: From Srinagar to Sonamarg: Distance 80Km
After landing at Srinagar we directly took a cab to go to Sonamarg, the plan was to see and experience the snow, since we stay in Bangalore which is great weather but not cold and definitely not snow. Also my husband really wanted to see snow, hence sonamarg was a big part of the travel plan. It took us about 3 hours to reach sonamarg because of numerous delays and the condition of road. On reaching there we looked for our booked place, which we had decided after reading numerous reviews on trip advisor but once we reached there it was just in shambles and we decided to let go of the booking and quickly find another accommodation. Although it was high tourist season but we got a decent room at one of the hotels which we booked for two nights.
The views were just unmissable, beautiful and serene. I think the pictures will describe them much better than the words. The first day we decided to just explore the place around, climb a few small hills and just soak in the scenery.
The next day early morning we decided to trek to the nearby glacier- Thajawas. I am a big animal lover and don’t believe that we should ride them for pleasure or for that matter anything, so against the flow of tourists who all were going on the horses we decided to walk to the glacier and it was a great and easy trek which we completed in 45 minutes. The glacier is beautiful but there is just too much garbage around the river that flows. We climbed up in the snow and just played around and then walked back.
After that we took a jeep to go to zero point, which goes through one of the most dangerous roads in the world and it was a great drive wish we had done it ourselves. Zero point was just beautiful and then suddenly it started snowing as well, it was just beautiful. We came back in the same jeep and it was a long day and we just crashed and slept. Next day morning we left for Gulmarg, leaving behind the golden valleys of Sonamarg.
Day 3: Gulmarg
Day 3 started with us traveling to Gulmarg which translates to “Valley of flowers”, gulmarg is a tourist destination which is packed in summers and this was our anniversary day and we had booked a special hotel. The entire way from sonamarh to glummer it rained and the sights were just beautiful, truly there is no parallel to Kashmir’s beauty only if there could be peace.
We reached Gulmarg by 2PM after a 4 hour journey covering 130Km, and had a great lunch at the hotel itself. A lot of tourists go for the Gandola ride but we didn’t want to do all of that and we decided to just roam around and see the town and just sit down under trees and read. After breathing in the fresh air and beautiful scenery till evening we came back to rest.
Day 4: Gulmarg
Next day with a local guide we went for a 3 hour trek around the strawberry valley which took us through forests, streams and just the beauty of Gulmarg. Tired after the trek we quickly ate lunch and left for Srinagar. Srinagar is only about one and half hours from Gulmarg and we reached quite easily, the scenery starts to fade away as the bustling capital city comes closer.
We spent rest of the day in Srinagar, we did the Shikara ride but with Dal waters being so polluted it wasn’t a great experience and then roamed around the market. By evening we left for our homestay which was near the Srinagar Airport.
Day 5: Back to Bangalore
Day 5 we took the flight back to bangalore after 4 breathtaking and exhausting days.
It is one of my most memorable trips, a short trip but one where I saw some of the most beautiful scenery ever. Kashmir truly is beautiful, with golden valleys and shining mountains and I would definitely come back to go on a long trekking holiday!!