I have been lucky to visit Kashmir three times and I find it incredibly beautiful. As the season moves to summer vacation time you might be looking for a trip to Kashmir. I have out forth a list to things to do in Kashmir. I hope you will enjoy it. And I sincerely hope that another flood doesn’t materialize in Karshmir.
It is an amazing experience to stay in a house boat in Srinagar. There are many house boats both at Dal Lake and Nagin Lake across various budget ranges. For me the most beautiful aspect of staying a house boat was to wake up in the middle of the lake and see it come alive in the morning with shikaras selling breakfast, flowers and souvenirs.
Walking around Dal Lake in the evening is a thing of beauty. The setting sun makes the surface of the lake glow. I would stop at the road side tea shop and have chai as well when I was tired of walking.
There is a local floating vegetable market on Dal Lake which sells wholesale vegetables. It has become a tourist attraction too. One has to wake up early to go there as the market disperses by 7.30 am or so.
Paragliding is available at Srinagar from Astanmarg area. I could not do it personally as our bookings didn’t work out but I did see the site and it was a beauty.
Pari Mahal is a garden in Srinagar. The garden itself is beautiful but the view of the city from the garden is breathtakingly beautiful.
The gondola ride at Gulmarg is very popular and rightly so. The ride is dependent on weather. On some days it is not possible to go the level two due to the weather, on some days the ride may just not happen at all. But if possible do try going to both the levels. In the skiing season it is fun to skiers zipping around on the slopes.
St. Mary’s Church is situated on a vast meadow and the location itself makes it so beautiful. A mass is said in the church every Sunday and the priest comes in from Srinagar!
Gulmarg gets snow, a lot of snow. When I was there in March it had five feet of snow. And snow is so much fun. There is a skiing institute in Gulmarg too, so if you are planning to learn skiing, Gulmarg is one of the options.
There is rafting available on the River Lidder in Pahalgam. It was open for a small stretch when I was there and the water was oh so cold! But it was a lot of fun as well. Pahalgam is picture postcard beautiful even otherwise.
If you like tea you have to try kahwa the Kashmiri tea. It is a tea made without milk and everyone does it a little differently. I am otherwise a big fan of Chai but kahwa comes quite close. When in Kashmir, I drink only Kahwa. You have to give it a try, chances are you will get addicted like me!
I visited The Khyber at Gulmarg in March. And even though I have been to Ladakh is Jammu and Kashmir this was my first visit to Kashmir region. Gulmarg is the only place in Kashmir that I was able to explore. I visited the place at their invitation and what a grand place it was! Gulmarg has many hotels but The Khyber is a brand new one and it is aimed at the luxury end. The hotel has no bar though.
My Room at the Khyber, Gulmarg
This was my room at the Khyber Gulmarg and it was gorgeous. The bathroom was equally lavish with a sunken bathtub as well. What did I like about my room most? The view from the room. Actually The Khyber has been featured in the CN Traveller under the ‘Room with a View’ category and I completely agree with their estimate. The rooms and the entire hotel is centrally heated and I needed it for sure. It was cold and snowing mildly even in March.
As the Dusk Falls, Gulmarg
My room had a lovely balcony and the mountains opposite it would catch the light at sunset. So this picture was taken right from my own balcony. Apart from my balcony, the Chaikash was my most frequented area where I had numerous cups of Kahwa.
The Mountain in my Room, The Khyber, Gulmarg
Another aspect that completely fascinated me was the mountains in my room! The room had huge mirrors all around and the one next to the bed reflected the mountains! I usually like to read a book when I am in my room but at The Khyber I would be quite distracted my these mountains inside my room and I hardly read anything! So in the picture above what you actually see is the mountains in my room mirror and not outside.
High Tea, The Khyber Gulmarg
The food in general is good at the place but I specially enjoyed two things, the high tea and the Kashmiri lunch. The high tea has assorted chat items and is a riot. And the staff believes in Indian hospitality that means they will stuff you till you can really truly eat no more!
The Wazwan (Kashmiri) menu was exotic as well. It has Galauti Kebab (Veg n Non Veg), Methi chaman- paneer ( Indian cottage cheese) dish with fenugreek leaves and spinach gravy along with Haaq Saag (Collard greens) followed by Dum Aloo and Rista (Non-Veg) fine minced meat balls in red gravy. It also had Nadru Yakhni which Lotus roots cooked with mild aromatic spices and yogurt. I ate only the veg options and I have never tasted such Kebab in my life they literally melt in the mouth! We ate in a Tarami- a traditional hand carved Kashmiri thali sitting on the cushions on the floor. This was a truly memorable experience.
Snow at Gulmarg
If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Gulmarg you are definitely going to enjoy your stay at The Khyber. I will add only one word of caution. Sometimes the road from Srinagar to Gulmarg is tense and you need to figure that out before you start to have a peaceful travel. In almost all instances your hotel will know the road conditions and advice you accordingly. Do listen to them,
For today’s sky watch I present the skies from Gulmarg. I was staying at The Khyber there. And this was the view from my balcony one evening. I would love to go back one day.
The Khyber, Gulmarg
This post is part of Sky Watch Friday, do check them out.
I first visited the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering building (Gulmarg) at night and I could not make out its features at all. Also the concentration was on not falling down while walking on the snow. Then I caught a glimpse of the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering at Gulmarg from a moving vehicle the next day. It was such a lovely sight. I knew I had to ask the driver to stop so that we could click pictures!
Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg
I met the principle of the institute and I could see how much he enjoyed his work. He could talk about the institute for hours on end. He suggested that I could actually do a course with my daughter if I can manage two weeks of leave! Now that is a very tempting proposition for me but not sure how my 5 year old will react to it!
When I told Chhavi about snow and skiing she shouted, “I will make a lot of snowmen!” I think I will just take her to a place where she make snowmen and leave skiing and all to when she has grown up more or when I can easily manage two weeks of leave! On this trip we were supposed to do a short ski stint but due to some reason it didn’t happen. I can’t decide if I was happy or sad. I think I was happy because I didn’t fall while trying it. I am sure I would have taken a fall every time I tried to ski!
And the skies tell you a story too, it snowed at night at Gulmarg on the day I took this picture.
This post is part of Sky Watch Friday. It is great fun, do check it out.