I was so excited when I got a call from the PR team handling J&K Tourism. I immediately agreed to go on the trip, I took three days leave as well. For me leaves are really truly precious because I work full time. Anyway, talking about leaves is not too engaging, so back to the Kashmir trip.
We stayed at a house boat at the Dal Lake in Srinagar for the first night. It was a unique experience. The name of the houseboat was Acropolis. It was clean though the bathroom was far from ideal. It was clean but had an antiquated and non-functional tub and to take bath you had to climb in. Other than this minor gripe the experience was quite memorable.
We visited the floating vegetable market at the Dal Lake early in the morning. Originally the market might have been only for the vegetable but now with tourists around flower seller also join in. It was such a pleasure to wake up at the other side of the lake and watch the birds and life generally around the lake. Srinagar is full of Mughal gardens but on this trip I could visit only one.
Pari Mahal is a seven terraced garden built by king Dara Shikoh somewhere in 1600s. It is a beautiful garden but more than that it has stunning view of the city. It is a bit outside the city, with narrow roads leading to it. I could have sat there for the whole day and looked at the view.
No, before you say you envy me, let me tell you I could not take a ride. Kashmir is trying to develop adventure tourism. Paragliding is one of the activities. It is happening on a hillock at the Asthan Marg. For us it was difficult to locate the place. As of now one has to trek 1.5 kilometers to reach the spot. It was fun for me but it would have been even more fun it I could have taken the flight! Anyway, there is always a next time! What a view we got even from the hillock.
What I could do was rafting on the Lidder River at Pahalgam. It was a short stretch of 2KM but that was enough for me. The water was so, so cold that I would yell and scream (no, really I did that) every time I got drenched. I can only shudder when I think what would have happened if I got thrown-in. Thankfully it never happened.
Finally, it is time to talk a bit about food. You are better off if you are a non-vegetarian as there are many local dishes you can try. I can only talk about this excellent lemon cake and coffee at Cafe Log Inn. Read it carefully, it is not login and password, it log as in wood Inn! More on these snapshots in later posts.