Kashmir Chronicles

Happy New Year to everyone πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚
I visited Srinagar with family on Christmas, it was a three nights and four days trip. It was a nice and new experience and I have got a lot to share πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ (especially the photos :P)20141226_155012


 

Chapter-1: The Flight

So we had to board the jet airways flight, scheduled at 10:45 AM on 25th-Dec, Christmas morning. We reached the airport well in time (before 9:15 AM), or at-least we thought it was well in time because we got everything (entering, getting boarding pass, check-in) done just in time.

Then the flight journey, it was amazing. The food was nice (they gave us chocolate brownie and cupcake too πŸ˜€ ). The window seat view was so epic (I took a hell lot of pictures).

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Also, we had this celebrity dude in the same flight, my sister recognized him from Kya Mast hai Life and Best of Luck Nikki, Shaheer SheikhΒ πŸ˜€


 

Chapter-2: In Srinagar

Cool, isn’t it, just like 1.5 hrs ago you were in a completely different place, and now you are somewhere else. Or maybe I don’t get this feeling often enough, so I got super excited just so easily. πŸ˜›

We had the hotel guy send a cab for us to pick us from the airport, so there was someone standing right at the gate of the airport waiting for us with a sign board. Cool. It was a warm welcome. The temperature was 4 degrees but sun was shining bright, so even a few degrees cooler than Delhi didn’t seem to be any problem.

Now, some general observations I made during the car ride from airport to hotel. It was enough time to get hold of the new city, you know like the first impression, the mood setting. πŸ™‚

Also, just as much I was excited, my observation level was high as well. (Which generally isn’t btw, I sometimes am very neglecting of my surroundings, in my own world). It was like I was trying to record everything through the eyes of my heart.

  • The Houses: Now this is very interesting, you know I realized I have been drawing Srinagar in all my drawings since I was a kid. You know the hut style and the mountain view, all of that we draw when we initially learn to draw, that is quite evident in Srinagar. πŸ˜› Now logically the houses have to be hut style so as to protect them from the hold of the snowfall but then I have been to other hill stations as well but too many huts were just more evident here. (Also seen beautifully when the plane was landing, so the view just got stuck in head.)
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The Hut Shape Houses

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The Hut Shape Houses

  • The Trees:Β There were too many trees, with no leaves. It was because of the season, but it was an interesting view of the trees, or better say “the branches”.
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Trees with no leaves

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Trees with no leaves

  • Policemen Standing here and there: Its not a usual site to see armed policemen standing on roads in Delhi where there are so many people everywhere, but here, people were less and I could see armed policemen standing somewhere on the roads (BSF and CRPF men) that come into notice.
  • Clothing:Β I could see the long shawl type jacket that almost everyone wore there (I guess it’s called Pheran), although the person who had come to pick us wasn’t. He kind of reminded me of a fellow friend from college, like 10 years down the line, which was quite funny.
  • Urdu Boards: Yeah, everywhere! Also the locals used to talk in the Kashmiri language, which is quite difficult to interpret.
  • Recovery Mode:Β Floods hit Srinagar, in September, for the first time. Although, now everything was fine there, like no more threat of floods and all, but there was evidence of a general mishap and everything being in the recovery mode sort of.

General Tips :-

  • Only post paid connection work in Srinagar.
  • You you have booked a hotel through an agent (especially an online agent) do remember to get in touch with the hotel directly to confirm booking or else you may get a surprise.
  • Check with the hotel if they have a wifi (although I had an interesting experience while not having access to the internet for a few days), like confirm and don’t just assume if it’s written on their website.

 

Chapter-3: Hotel Experience

We stayed in Hotel Mirage. I always check and compare hotels through Tripadvisor or HolidayIQ. After having a look, reading reviews , etc they can be booked from any of the online travel sites who have them listed. (We did bookings from Travelguru this time, but it wasn’t the best experience).

It was a nice hotel.

  • Conditioned Rooms
  • Heated Bathroom Floor
  • Great Television (Tata Sky+ HD)
  • Good Food
  • Nice Hospitality

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You can check this hotel on Tripadvisor here, I will be writing a detailed review there too. Some equally good hotels in my opinion were: this & this, check out more here.


 

Chapter-4 Sight Seeing in Srinagar (Places Visited):

 

Day-1Β 

Shankracharya Temple: It is an ancient temple, that is being preserved by the government and comes under some heavily named preserving property acts. For the same reason mobiles, cameras and such things are not allowed there. The view from the top is one good thing to observe. πŸ™‚

Mughal Gardens: Well, this wasn’t the best time to visit the gardens as there weren’t much flowers there, but still, branches πŸ˜›

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Nishant Gardens: All gardens are same πŸ˜›

 

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Dal Lake: The sunset, eating Maggi on the shikara in the middle of the lake πŸ˜€ and the market set up within the lake, other shikaras coming to sell stuff. It was all cool πŸ˜€

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Day-2

Trip to Gulmarg [Tripadvisor JK-Tourism]

Let the photos say it all: Photo Story

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Day-3

Local Market + Two Awesome Restaurants + A Nice Dinner

AdhoosΒ (Amazing Punjabi food)Β and Amigos (Amazing Italian and Continental)

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Day-4

Airport ( spend about 4 hours in Srinagar Airport) before getting back to Delhi. πŸ˜›


 

Some Tips on the expenses:-

  • It would cost about Rs 1800 for local visits in a car. (Temple, gardens and Lake) (Half or Full Day)
  • It would cost about Rs 2200 for day trip to Gulmarg, Sonmarg or Pahalgam. (Full Day Visits)
  • The Pickup and Drop to Airport from Hotel (most are near Dal Lake) would cost around Rs 600-800 each.
  • The hotel people arrange cabs easily. Taking a package from them which give free Pick up and/or Drop to airport.
  • Rs 10 entry to all the gardens and Rs 20 Parking charges at each stop.
  • Rs 50 for the car to go to Shankracharya Temple and Gulmarg.
  • Rs 500 for Shikara ride for 1 hour, other possible options for rates and time are mentioned on the government authorized price board there.
  • Around Rs 100-200 and Rs 150-250 each for boots and jackets required in snow of Gulmarg.
  • Rs 600 ticket of Gandola trolley ride to level 1 and Rs 1400 ticket of Gandola trolley ride to level-1 & 2.
  • Around Rs 250-300 for the short sledge ride in Gulmarg.

Some useful planning cards (composed during pre-research for the trip from the sources mentioned in the end):

Please feel free to ask, discuss anything about Srinagar. I would love to help πŸ™‚


Useful Links:

Tripadvisor(Check Hotels and Attractions)Β  Β Skyscanner(Compare-Flights)

JK_TourismΒ  Β Go2KashmirΒ  Β HolidayIQ Β Β LifeOfSrish

HelpfulMap

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16 thoughts on “Kashmir Chronicles

  1. very well researched, I love the Gulmarg picture where there is snow around and few huts in between. so you skipped both Pehelgam and Sonmarg? i guess other people wanted to enjoy local Srinagar as well? πŸ˜€ i so want to eat at Amigos & Adhoos. πŸ˜€ By the way, did you notice how lovely are the people?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks πŸ˜€
      Yeah DSLR and I was too excited to be in a photographer’s shoes, so pics came well πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚
      Yup, had to skip both Sonmarg and Pahalgam, coz Gulmarg got tiring (not for me :P)
      Yeah, local was nice, the two places we ate at were so amazing πŸ™‚ (Y)
      People, yeah mixed reviews to be honest, Gulmarg me thoda kharab experience raha, ghode walas and guides, wo log peeche hi pad gaye, very irritating, baki all was nice πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. haa, I also heard about Mughal Darbar, but we couldn’t eat there (we were so full after trying out 2 restraunts :P) and yeah, the pics in Cards are the work of professionals of JK-Tourism website πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

    Like

  3. Awesome snaps. Seems u have enjoyed a lot. I have been to the entire kashmir trip from Jammu to Kargil in the year 2001 and it was a 25 days trip. Enjoyed a lot. There are so many memories that turned up again after going through your blog. Thank u so much for the share. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015.

    Liked by 1 person

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