Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kashmir 9 days trip - Enjoyment Report Day 7 - Pahalgam

Day 7


A very famed place of Tourist interest about 96 km from Srinagar. It is one place where I would recommend at least one night stay because there is so much to see and do.

In our case. with the Bandh going on due to various reasons we were advised to leave for pahalgam as early as possible. We would have loved to be on the house boat till lunch time and enjoy Dal lake and the surroundings but we stuck by Mr Firdous's advice. We thus got up at 0530 hrs and left at 0600 for pahalgam.

Dal Lake Early Morning

Another View

Hilly River - Lider

Pahalgam -

With traffic being light on the road we reached Pahalgam by 0900. Luckily our hotel, Hotel Mount View, had rooms available though official check in was at 1200. We settled down in the hotel had a cup of tea and then went to a restaurant next to our hotel and a very famous one called Dana Pani. a pure veg establishment run by a Sikh gentleman.

After having good breakfast and gathering information from him we knew that we have to take those Ponies whose keepers agree to follow the main road and not some short cuts (Very important, some of the short cuts are dangerous).

The children (grown up) decided to walk up to Baisaran also known as Mini Switzrland. We took horses for 4 point trip (there is a 3 point trip available but as soon as you say that you will go only by main road, it perforce is 4 point trip) covering Pahalgam Point, Kashmir Valley, Dabian  and Baisaran.

Way to Baisaran

Youngistan on the Move

Snow clad range

Casuarina Forest 

It could a bare road too

Relax Time for Horses

Pahalgam Point

Shephard basking in the sun

My mom at the horseback (at 80 years age)

This is how shortcuts would be

This was first time that four of our group including me sat on a pony back. It was not comfortable initially but after some time when we got used to it we started enjoying the ride. The points mentioned above fall sequentially with last one being Baisaran. Now I would put photos also in that sequence.
Five Horsemen

Another View

Yeh, We did it


Return Leg

We left at 1030 hrs and came back by about 1400 hrs. Since we had time, after having good lunch at (yet again) Dana Pani we decided to do the car trip to Aru Valley, Betab Valley and Chandanbadi. We could have done it next day morning if our departure was fixed at noon but the condition on the road and at Srinagar being fluid we did not know about our departure  which could be at 0600 or may be later. Hence we had no option but to finish a quick trip.

Local taxies can be hired  through the hotel where one is staying or directly as the rates are fixed starting with Maruti Ecco at Rs 1600 for this trip and Innova at top end with Rs 2200 for the trip.

The taxis (two of them as we were 10 people) took us to Aru valley. There were the usual Pony men but we were not keen on going to the meadows as most were tired and the children decided to walk up to the meadows (as usual).

Lider River

Way to Aru


From Aru Valley we went to Chandan Wadi, the start point of Amarnath Yatra. There was a glacier nearby which was star attraction of people. As for us, having been to Sonamarg and Gulmarg, this place did not attract us. After a short stay we move off from here.

Glacier at Chandan Wadi
Next was Betaab Valley (made famous because movie Betaab was shot here), less of a valley but a meadow at much lower elevation.Beautiful place (from where we could see it) but there is a entry fees to get in and we choose not to go inside (though went up to entrance).

River flowing through Betaab Valley

Bliss Time

Finally we returned to our Hotel (Mount View). After some freshening up and rest we went out for Dinner, where else but to Dana Pani (well there are other options including Nathu's and Cafe Log Inn of Pahalgam Hotel to name a few) as all of us liked this place.

Hotel Mount View

Post dinner it was sleep time.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kashmir 9 days Trip - Enjoyment report for Day 6

 Day 6

Local Half day & House Boat

It was local Half day sight seeing  at old Srinagar which was to include Sha hamadan mosque,jama masjid...Nigeen Lake,,,Hazratbal in the morning followed by shifting to Houseboat. But there was a problem. There was another bandh call at Srinagar and our visit was doubtful.

Getting up leisurely we left the hotel at about 1000 hrs after a good breakfast. Mr Firdous became our guide for the half day. We went to a bridge which is on the Jhelum river (and did not cross it) and walked on its banks on The Bund Road toward a famous Hanuman Temple (somewhere near Amira Kadal bridge) in down town Srinagar. It was a pleasant walk in Balmy sun. From Amir kadal bridge we walked to Lal Chouck (The famous place which is always in the news for separatist's protests) through Residency Road. The place was closed. The street was empty. we were worried as the name of Lal Chouck in itself gives scare to people. Heavy police presence was visible.

It was also fun to walk with the Residency road (generally a packed place) to our self, all of it. The clock tower (called  Ghanta Ghar) was a nice structure and we were happy to be there. See the Map below:-

Here are some Photos

Wire Stay Bridge on Jehlum (Only Pedestrians)

One more view

Chinar Leaves

On the Bund Road

Lal Chouck a empty

Vegetable Seller with Lots of veg 

Ghantaghar @ Lal Chouck

Ghantaghar - Close Up
After this trip we got in to our vehicles and moved to a showroom of Kashmiri cloths and handicrafts (as there was no other place we could go due to bandh). We spent about two hours and considerable money there and then went to Mughal Darbar on Residency Road for Lunch. The Vegetarians ordered their usual fare and we ordered famous Wazwan ( Kashmiri mega Thali of all kind of meats, generally eaten by three / four people) but a compact version of it (more about Wazwan in my daughter's blog at and we  four people could really not finish the compact version of it. In the Sweet Dish we ordered Shahi Tukda which came with a different twist.


Wazwan including Mutton Rogan Josh and Goshtaba

Shahi Tukada with a twist

After lunch it was back to hotel to pack bags for one night stay at House boat and one night stay at Pahalgam.

Our Houseboat Golden Apple / Minivet (Generally most houseboats are a pair of two houseboats with a deck between them) were moored at Nehru Island (not opposite Boulevard Road) which to us appeared a little disappointment but Mr Firdous was sure we won't be disappointed. at about 1500 we reached Ghat (can't remember the number but all boarding / alighting points on Boulevard road are numbered) where a big boat was sent by the houseboat to pick the 10 of us.
Heading for House Boat

We took the boat and through a boat based market having Kashmiri handicraft, Tea shops, restaurants, etc we reached Minivet and wow, we were impressed. It was a beautiful houseboat made of Cedar wood, so are all the houseboats) with beautifully carved walls and roof. It has three bedrooms, one two bed, one three bed and one four bed.

After a good cup of tea we all embarked on  Dal lake Shikara ride. Let the Photographs do the balance talking.

View from a Ghat

A Shikara on Placid water of Dal

Shikaras Waiting on Ghats to take People to Houseboat / Lake trip

Shikara Ride

Woman Power on the Move, a lady peddling a boat

We carry the Whole World with us (including Hukkah)

Going Through the Market

One More View

Golden Apple & Minivet

Drawing Room of Golden Apple

Closer Look - Drawing Room

Passage to Rooms

View of the Room

View from Sit Out at the entrance

Shikara Ride

 Perfect Relection

Two Are a Company

Floating Flower and Flower Seeds Shop

Floating Gardens, The Vegetable Basket of Srinagar

They too were there

Water Chestnut / Lotus Farming

Sunset Snap taken from Shikara

Civilisation on Dal Lake Waters