Ashish Dhir talks about his 6 day trip to Kashmir with his family. He elaborates on the mind blowing experience that he had over there. He booked his land package from TravelTriangle for four people and it included hissightseeing, hotels, and transfers, all for a cost of INR 31,700. Witness magnificence and magic as you go through his travel account.
I am someone who likes to explore new places and Kashmir was one of them. I wanted us to experience snowfall and winters and being settled in Mumbai, this was a little difficult since life here is very busy. So when we found time to visit the beautiful state, my family and I both were ecstatic with joy and anticipation.
After searching extensively on the net for the best package to Kashmir, I finally chose TravelTriangle, an online portal that connects the travelers to local agents of the destination for a customizable and authentic experience. I received multiple quotes and itineraries from many agents and finally chose the one from Holiday Travel Zone since they met my requirements perfectly.
We booked the tickets, packed our bags and were off to Kashmir.
Day 1: Arriving in Srinagar – Spirited and strong
We arrived in Srinagar and to our utter dismay found out that the airport authorities had left our baggage behind in Delhi. Initially miffed, I decided to not create a fuss and instead focus on improving the situation. So I asked the airport authorities to transfer my luggage to Gulmarg, the next day when it arrives. The driver and the cab were already waiting for us and we decided to start the journey with zeal and enthusiasm.
On our way to the Srinagar city, we stopped at a restaurant called Sunshine and the food there was excellent. Later, we went shopping in Srinagar for clothes and the necessities, since there were no supplies with us at that time.
We reached Nagin Lake and enjoyed the Shikara ride on our way to the Moonshine houseboat. It was an amazing serene experience that cannot be described. The houseboat, unlike public perception, was extremely clean, hygienic, well-kept, and cosy.
It was a good day and no matter how much the situation demanded, we did not dampen our spirits.
Day 2: Srinagar to Gulmarg – The winter wonderland
After having the breakfast in the houseboat, we checked out and left for Gulmarg. This was a beautiful drive and we saw a lot of apple trees all around.
Our luggage had still not arrived therefore we directly went to Gondola for the cable car ride. The first destination from the cable car ride was Phase 1 and it was mind blowing. I had not expected so much snow in November, but it was there and my family and I were ecstatic. The locals of the place told me that the temperature there was -6 degrees.
Next was the Phase 2, which was even more beautiful and snowy. We stayed there for half an hour and then left. Later, we returned to our hotel and breathed a sigh of relief when we found out that our luggage from Delhi had arrived.
In my personal opinion, Gulmarg was mesmerising. My family and I enjoyed every moment spent there. The snow scooter, skiing, and the snow fight. Everything was worth it.
Day 3: Srinagar to Pahalgam – The valleys of heaven
Next morning after breakfast we left for Pahalgam and saw the Kesar Fields on our way. These fields were beautiful and blissfully fragrant.
We also visited the Apple meadows and the host there was very cordial. He allowed us to pluck our own apples and later packed them beautifully so that we could take them along to Mumbai.
The hotel in Pahalgam was cozy and nice. Made entirely from wood, we were given interconnected rooms that had a slanting roof. It was the first time that I was staying at a wooden room that was also fully carpeted. At about 2:30 PM, we left for the Pahalgam valley where we roamed around on horses. It was both a scary and an exciting experience since the roads were a bit rocky.
My children also enjoyed the balloon ride and it was delightful to see them floating over and enjoying so much. The local children over there had rabbits as pets and my children played with them too! It had started to rain by the time we left, but the valley was enchanting.
Day 4: Pahalgam – More valleys, more beauty
Next day, we visited the Betaab Valley, famous for the movie Betaab, that was shot there. This valley was surrounded by beautiful mountains and had the Lidder river running through it.
Next was Chandanwari, the place from where the Amarnath Yatra starts. I was excited for this destination since I had named my son Shivam, after Lord Shiva. We were taken to the highest point possible, and it is there that I realised how difficult it must be for all the pilgrims who undertake the journey.
The Aru Valley that we saw next was equally enchanting and also had the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary.
We were in the lap of nature and loving every moment of it.
We returned to the hotel and stayed there overnight, due for Srinagar the next day.
Day 5: Pahalgam to Srinagar – Experiencing rich heritage
The next day we visited the Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar and also went to Chashme Shahi Garden, which incidentally is also the source for water in the Dal Lake. The water here is considered to be holy and we took a few sips of it. There was Mughal Garden followed by the Tulip Garden. The weather during all of our visits was awesome and it felt great to experience these places under the open sky.
The Shikara ride in Dal Lake was wonderful and it was the first time that we saw a floating market. We purchased some gifts items and memoirs from here and it overall it was a heavenly experience.
Day 6: Good things come to an end
Our flight had been preponed and we had to leave early morning the next day. We left at 9 AM and because of an early checkout, had to cancel our visit to Doodhpathri, a beautiful hill station known for its beauty and scenic views.
My trip to Kashmir was a wonderful vibrant experience. I am glad that I took my family there for they were able to witness the grandeur of nature. The valleys, lakes, mountains, snow and everything else will always remain close to the heart.
High Points –
- Snow in Gulmarg, skiing, snow scooter, Gondola cable car, valleys in Pahalgam, Shikara ride in Nagin lake and Dal Lake, houseboat, Gardens, Shankaracharya Temple.
- The airport mismanaged our luggage and it was really annoying from a traveler’s perspective since it was cold and we were without woolens.
- There was no buffet in Pahalgam Hotel and the food served to us had small proportions.
Tips to travelers –
- Always carry your essential and warm clothes in the hand baggage.
- Best time to witness snow is in the winters.
Witness the alluring magnificence of the ‘Heaven on Earth’ by planning a trip to Kashmir right away!
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