Guest Blog, India, Opulent Destinations — Jun 12, 2014 12:30 AM

Guest Post: A journey to Kashmir in Summer, India by Tanveer Badyari

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Summers are hot and hated  in India, but in Kashmir it is a season much awaited by it’s people. The moderate temperature and sunny days make it a fantastic season to witness the green mountains with their symmetrical  peaks. 

As hordes of tourists go to hills to get a relief for some days, since the long years Kashmir has been a famous and widely known summer retreat for the people across world. Kashmir not only is a leisure traveler’s cocoon, it provides a various adventurous opportunities like river rafting, trout fishing, trekking and golfing experiences in the finest golf courses. A journey counts when it is enjoyed the best and Kashmir, which is adorned with natural beauty of mountains, valleys and rose gardens doesn’t disappoint anyone with blossoming fruit orchards, snow capped peaks and streams flowing  down with cold water. The beauty is always soothing to the eyes and the green carpet of nature always refreshing and brightly glowing in sunlight.

dallake

A traveler should divide his stay among the hotels and houseboats, while in Srinagar,  even a lazy day at the houseboat will provide very rewarding scenery, beautiful shankracharya temple is perched on top of the hill overlooking the clear sparkling lake from the  front side and the twisting river jehlum on the back side. Staying around the dallake is a surreal experience to watch the people see live by the lake. Local craftsmen rowing past the houseboats selling their pieces of art,  vegetable man, cloth merchant and flower seller. Children going to school in brightly colored uniforms paddling a boat with their young strong arms.  kashmiri people are strong as their main food is rice. My worker at the house boat is called “batta mohnu” which mans rice man.  A houseboat consists of  a three bedrooms with en-suite bathroom, dinning room a pantry and a deck, a donga boat with kitchen is moored on the back side of houseboat. These houseboats are a living heritage of Kashmir they are the true identity of hanji community of people living in Dallake.

kashmir spring

valley in pahalgam

Apart from a short stay in srinagar, a day trip to gulmarg can be a lot of fun with a gondola ride. It is a transparent cabin which will take you up through the clouds to affarwat mountain. Majestic views of certain peaks can be relished over there.  Most of the year it remains shrouded with snow. A walk in the gulmarg golf course can be very refreshing & scintillating with the aroma & color of wild flowers which grow there abundantly. Breathtaking views of mountains around will keep your heart lurching and you wouldn’t like to leave that place.

As you will make  srinagar your base for few days and then you can go ahead and explore the mountains in pahalgam also known shepherds valley. it is located 98 kms from the city center. Approx.  three hours ride from srinagar  will take you along the rustic village roads and apple orchards to pahalgam.  As the rains start lashing early from march to spring season ripens the blossoms and grooves of almonds. The farmers spend their days in the rice fields and shepherds loose their sheep in the wild pastures. Pahalgam is much bigger than gulmarg and hence it requires some days to explore. Further pony rides and sharing jeeps can be taken to aru, chandanwari and baisarn. There are many hotels in pahalgam besides that a horse riding can be a good experience there.

on the way to sonmarg

Sonmarg, which falls on srinagar- leh highway is a spectacular place with some outstanding views of lofty peaks and river streams and pines forests furrowed with the hoofs of mountain goats and horses. it’s wide  green Pasteur are mostly open and many animals can be seen grazing there including sheep, mules, the river lends a gurgling sound which mixes with  tune of the shepherd’s flute, making it very melancholy and nostalgic at the same time. The thajwas glacier atop entertains the domestic tourists with the snow which remains there all year round.

Many people come to kashmir maximum for a week’s time, but to see whole of valley it requires a lot of time and patience, once a traveler completes this trip he really wants to return back again and enjoy the kind hospitality of hearty kashmiri people.

 

Text and photography Tanveer Badyari.

 

About the author: Tanveer Badyari, grew up in the most beautiful parts of Kashmir, He is a avid traveller in Himalayas and organizes trekking expeditions and jeep safari’s in Kashmir and Ladakh.  He tweets @KASHMIR_LADAKH and can be visited at www.kashmir-ladakh-tourism.com