We reached Gulmarg by noon. Our
was located at the best possible location. It was located in the middle of the snow. Beautiful scenery outside our hotel. Again the hotel was not situated in the city, hence, best location. The next thing which we did was to walk down to take a Gandola ride, which was just a walking distance from our hotel.
We hired some boots & overcoat as walking in the snow needs special kind of shoes.
Play time at Gulmarg
Our guide took us to Gandola. There were two levels. At level one- all the activities like skiing was done for amateur tourists & first timers. At second level- just enjoy the beauty of nature & you could also take a glimpse of LOC from here.
Not many people opt for second level during winters, as snow is available on level 1 itself. During summers going to level 2 is must if you want to see snow.
Also, we did not have stand in queue for waiting for our turn in gondolas, otherwise, it takes couple of hrs for your turn for the ride with lot of hoch-potch around. We were the lucky ones as we went to level 2 first, ohhhhh…..it was so chilling at that level. But it could have been no better.
Earlier we were thinking of skipping level 2, but thank god we did not skip. It was beautiful up there. We walked on the snow, played….And then we came down to level 1, where we tried our hands on skiing, we had hot maggi there. It was magical. Entire day was spent on snow only to come back to hotel in the evening. We were so exhausted & realized this when we came back to our room but playing in snow was so much exciting.We had our dinner & went to sleep.
Next morning, after having our breakfast & few photographs, we started our journey to Pahalgam, most beautiful valley. It was chilling on the way to this location as well.
We started with sightseeing instead of checking-in hotel. We hired popular ‘pony-ride’ and visited valleys like – Aru valley, Chandan valley, Baisaran & Betaab Valley. It seemed easier to ride on horses, but actually it was very very difficult. I always liked to sit on horses. but that day, it was very scary, I just couldnt’ understand how these horses trekked on those hills. Even one single wrong step by these creatures & we would directly reach real heaven.
But then I just kept the fear away, and stopped looking down. Instead I looked up & enjoyed the entire view, which I was missing due to scare.
Horse riding on snow was a real fun. Alongside we visited shoot location of Shahrukh Khan’s – jab tak hai jaan whish was shot here couple of months back. It was quite thrilling to see Betab Valley which is known as “mini Switzerland’. Very true & as it refreshed my memories of my Switzerland trip. It was very beautiful. You are walking on snow, standing and watching Himalayas all covered with snow. difficult to put this experience in words. Post sunset we came back to our hotel & then we rested our day.
View from Pahalgaon – Known as mini Switzerland
All in all it was a mix of both relaxation & activities with lot of fun.
Day 4 – last day of our trip. post breakfast, we went for some shopping (saffron, apricots..etc), as we had some time, before heading to airport.
One thing I really liked is that there is lot of security in Kashmir which is required. One should take 4 hours in hand while reaching airport so that during security checks you have enough time in your hand.
Again, just to reiterate, we went in off season, then also, it took lot of time to get security clearance. But during peak season, it will take hell lot of time to reach Airport.
No wonder- our not so famous neighboring nation- is envious of this place. It is so beautiful.
Another thing I liked about the place is- it is not commercialized yet & has preserved it pristine beauty & culture for years. One must travel here before it falls in the hand of commercialization.
And of course, I would like to visit again in Kashmir in Summers, when it is covered with greenery. and that time , we would like to visit Sonmarg – another popular landmark with golden meadows.
This part of this maddening world is so beautiful & unexplored…. I haven’t seen heaven but after visiting this place I feel like been there to have a experience of lifetime…which I am going to cherish for long time…