Off-beat destinations to explore in Kashmir!
Hey, cupcakes, What is up? I hope you are enjoying the weekend of the year, am I right?
So as promised, I am back with the final blog on Kashmir. So shall we start? By the way, the last blog was about my mischievous and fun journey to Sonamarg and Gulmarg. To read it click herehttps://wanderuffles.com/2018/12/things-to-do-in-kashmir-kashmir-tourism/
Itinerary 7- *Shankaracharya temple
8-* Mughal gardens
Mom woke me and my brother while saying”wake up you sleepy asses”, today is the last day here, we gotta explore many more places, wake up now!
Last day of the trip 🙁
I woke up rubbing my eyes and suddenly I felt very gloomy because I didn’t want this trip to end.
But anyway we got freshen up and I remember we ordered chicken soup as it was very cold so I wanted to sip in something hot and soupy.
After that our Shikara dropped us to the entrance of Dal lake and we were elevated for our last day’s itinerary which included Mughal gardens, Shankaracharya temple, and Aharbal waterfalls.
My mom and dad are quite religious so they wanted to do Bhagavan k darshan(to pay devotion to Goa) in the first place. So we headed to Shankaracharya temple which is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Oldest Hindu temple in Kashmir-
The temple is 11km from Srinagar and it is situated at a hilltop at a height of 1100ft.
The driver said that this unique temple was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 BC, then the temple was named as Gopadri, but after the great scholar and philosopher Shankaracharya visited Kashmir to begin his meditation for solitude, so the temple got his name now.
The temple has 25o rock steps, and I remember my mom couldn’t climb up as the stairs were quite broad in height, but she took lord’s name and she climbed up somehow. And this shows if you have faith in God, nothing is possible!
The steps were inscribed some valuable writings. I am guessing it would be something related to spirituality in Persian.
Do you have faith in God?
As we reached the top, there a huge circular cell from where the city looks really magnificent and a big banyan tree sheltering hundreds of pilgrims will leave you devotional.
Then when you climb a few more steps to reach the main temple, the inner hall of the temple houses an enormous linga statue of Lord Shiva around which people were doing the parikrama and pouring milk and other sacred things.
I am not into temples and all(but hey!I have faith in God though) But the moment i entered the hall I felt so tranquil and peaceful despite chaos in the temple. My mom and dad were super happy to see one of the ancient and popular temples in Kashmir.
We had to explore the Mughal gardens next, so we took a leave from the temple.
Next, we headed to Shalimar Bagh, which is 13 km from Srinagar located on the banks of Dal lake and 15 km from Shankaracharya temple.
The temple being my mom’s wish mainly, now Gardens especially because my dad wanted to visit as he is the biggest flower lover I have ever known. I was excited too. Afterall who doesn’t love gardens?
As you enter the garden with a ticket priced at 10rs for everyone, you will be taken aback seeing the perspective view of the whole garden.
Did you know Emperor Jahangir build this garden, in the memory of his wife?
This garden is the most incredible Mughal garden in Kashmir.
The garden was built by Jahangir in the memory of his beloved wife Noor Jahan, maybe that is why it is also called the Garden of Love.
There are several rows of channels of water running throughout the garden and center channel is called Shah Nhar followed by the different species of flowers and chinar trees on both sides.
And the backdrop is a phenomenal view of might mountains. The garden happens to organize light and sound show in every interval which is extraordinary. My dad introspected a few species and bought some seeds from there. It was blissful encompassed with love, flowers, and fresh air all around.
We ended up clicking many pictures with the flowers and mountains in our backgrounds.
Nishat Bagh was our next destination which is just 10 mins from Shalimar Bagh.
This garden is almost the same as Shalimar garden with four radiating arms channeling water from a square shaped channel throughout the garden. This garden also displays numerous varieties of flora and fauna along with Chinar and Cyprus trees.
Nishat garden – built out of jealousy by Emperor Shahjahan?
But this Garden has an interesting story which you should definitely give your ears to this.
The Nishat Bagh was built by the brother of Noor Jahan that is Asif Khan, but when Emperor Shah Jahan saw this, he got jealous and wanted to own that garden so he stopped the water supply to the garden that was coming from Shalimar garden. A few days later, when the garden became draught a servant of Asif khan turned on and supplied the water to the garden despite knowing the consequences that Shah Jahn could condemn him. But what happened was an eye-opener because Shah Jahan got impressed of that servant for serving his part of loyalty to his king and the garden and announced full restoration of the supply of water to the garden forever.
Also, you can visit Pari Mahal which is just 15 mins from Nishat Bagh and 13km from Srinagar.
Pari Mahal is an ancient Mughal monument where fairies are believed to live there. We skipped it to have lunch in a nearby restaurant.
Shopping in Srinagar- Head to Lal Chowk to pamper the shopaholic in you to shop from the best shops of Srinagar. You can buy Pashmina shawl, Kashida shawls, Kashmiri tea and many more to take them along you.
After having lunch we headed to the most exciting thing of the day, finally! Aharbal waterfalls. Waterfalls have always fascinated me since childhood and I was super elevated to overlook this one.
Off-beat destination in Kashmir?-The Aharbal waterfalls!
Aharbal waterfall is 70 km from Srinagar and the drive was 2 hours and 30 mins.
Though it is an offbeat destination and only a few make it up to Aharbal but trust me the 3-hour drive is totally worth it.
As we got near the falls, I was like wwooooaahhhhh!! I felt I was in a movie hall watching this massive fall in 70 mm screen or you would feel you are on the sets of Lord of the rings..it was a grandeur! It was pristine! It was larger than life guys!
Did I see Niagra falls in Kashmir? Or was it the set of Lord of the rings?
This powerful and roaring waterfall would tingle in your eardrums, and you cannot hear anything else.
No doubt why it is called “Niagra falls of Kashmir“.
The water falling from a height of 30 meters makes it an extravagant affair to look at.
Not only the height actually, it the amount of water making the fall is enough to generate 100 milliwatts of electricity. :0
My dad, me and brother went a little down in order to explore the fall and get its perfect shot.
Or else you can simply observe this natural and divine fall from the distance which will surely leave your heart imperturbable and placid.
But be careful while the expedition, do not cross the fence as it could lead to fatal.
If you are looking for some offbeat places in Kashmir, then you definitely include Aharbal waterfalls in your itinerary.
There are few more offbeat destinations where you can set yourselves far flung from everywhere,Those are-
*Kokernag(90 km from Srinagar)
*Sinthan top(137 km from Srinagar)
*Doodhpatri(1-hour drive from Srinagar)
It was one of the best moments of my life on which I will be short of words, whenever I will think of Aharbal waterfalls which left no stone unturned to impress me for the rest of my life!
We came back with our mind so poised and calm, that evening after coming back to the houseboat, we took pictures with the owner of the boat and other happy people around.
Getting emotional while summing it up-
We ate dinner and the whole night I was on the rewinding the tape in my mind trying to recollect all that happened from day 1 as I did not want to leave. Kashmir was truly a heaven to stay in, bliss to feel and majestic to watch.
At 4 am we had our flight to Hyderabad and from then to now, not a single memory of Kashmir has ever left my mind. I am actually getting emotional while winding it up.. 🙁
So that was it for the Kashmir blog, hope you liked it, do let me know which is your dream destination in the comments below?