Things to do in Kashmir-Kashmir tourism!
Let’s see what Day 2 holds for us. To read the tales from Day 1 check out here.
We woke up at 6 am and were very enthusiastic, because what’s better than finding yourself waking up next to the most charismatic view ever. Right? Got out of the room with a blanket wrapped on me to see the houseboat owner dusting his boat, a Shikara selling bouquets, birds in a flock chirping and all of that good stuff to sooth the eyes.
It was so fresh and that vibe just casted a spell on me. I felt energetic.
We quickly got freshen up, had a succulent breakfast and were all set to hit Sonamarg-The Meadow oF Gold!.
It is one of the most loved destinations in Kashmir. Our driver told us that you can do skiing and trekking in Sonamarg so I and my bro could not hold our excitement.
Things to do in Sonamarg-
We reached Thajiwas Glacier in Sonamarg at 12 pm and were amazed to see the glacier dangling from the peak of the mountains.
*Sonamarg-The adventure park of Kashmir!
No doubt why it is called the Meadow of Gold, because of its backdrop which is surrounded by snow-covered mighty and sunkissed mountains. It looked like a Gold layer has been set on the peaks of mountains.
I personally love hills stations in Summer, because that’s the motive right?To get some chill after you escape from city’s schorching heat. Isn’t it magical when mild sun rays mixed with some cold and refreshing breeze touches you?
Highly priced packages at Sonamarg? Use their tactics on them!
But as soon as you reach Sonamarg, locals will come and coax you and butter you up in order to use their services because to reach Thajiwas Glacier you need to trek from 2.3 km Sonamarg,although pony rides are also available.
Their price quote for pony rides and other adventure activities will start at a high price at first.
But they will end up persuading if you are very soft hearted. like such when I and my brother wanted to do the sledging activity, they came running behind us but my dad bargained it at half a price, and after few tries, they finally agreed to us.
The only way to save your money here is bargaining while being polite to them. Otherwise, the locals in a fleet could attack you.
Thajiwas Glacier is a home to trekking, hiking, skiing, and sledging. Trek will be preferable, but don’t worry all the huffing and puffing will seem worth it as you reach the top.
Love trekking and other snow activities? Head to Sonamarg.
We did sledging and I loved when the snow splashed on me as i sledged along. I felt I was in an amusement park. It was super fun and thrilling at the same time.
For that, first, you will have to trek to the Glacier a little. The locals will guide you and from there they will push you for sledging. I would definitely recommend it if you are an adventure seeker and want to play with snow.
Zoji-la pass-One of the most dangerous roads in the world?
Next, we headed to Zoji-la-pass,23 km from Sonamarg which is said to be the highest mountain pass in India. It is located between the national highways 1 between Leh and Srinagar.
The driver warned us that the Zoji-la-pass is one of the most dangerous and narrow roads.
While on our way to Zoji-la-pass, our driver showed us Baltal valley which is the 2nd home to the pilgrims of Amarnath. The cascading camouflaged waterfalls through the peaks were a treat to the eyes.
We paused at Baltal valley to satisfy our taste buds. So our driver took us to a restaurant called ‘Tourist cafeteria’ which served yummy snacks and food plus the food was inexpensive which is win-win sitaution for us.
Go for the white water rafting to sooth the rush of adventure in your viens!
Also, Sonamarg promises to quench your third if you are an adventure junkie just like me as it offers White river rafting from Baltal to Shutkari bridge in Sonamarg. Rolling and rafting against nerve chilling water is something you will surely remember for long.
We reached Zoji-la-pass and did not even realize that the roads were getting narrower and narrower and it left us wide-mouthed at one point of time when there was a short of a place for two cars to pass simultaneously. we saw a truck coming from the front and we were bewildered how we both gonna cross at the same time.
Experienced a deadly moment in Zoji-La-Pass? 🙁 :O
We had to move our car to the boundary-less boundary to let the truck pass. And only when I thought, we are done. I saw the ditch deep down the valley from the car’s window. I literally got an inch goosebumps! And we stumbled. But our brave driver took control of our car and we were back on track.
Thank god! Narrowly escaped!
It was really scary. The journey itself is very thrilling but be careful on this road. After this nerve-wracking moment, we got ourselves to normal and headed to Gadsar lake.
We reached the Gadsar lake which is 40 km from Zoji-la-pass.
*Gadsar lake-Sonamrag sightseeing will not be completed without this lake.
Gadsar lake also called as Yemsar lake is situated at an altitude of 3600 meters.
Love catching fish? head to Gadsar lake for an amazing fishing experience!
This lake is very beautiful with clear water and it is said that this lake is famous for trout fishes and often seen people doing fishing in it. This tiny lake is also known as the valley of alpine flowers. you will be astounded to see the distinct variety of flowers this valley has on the meadows of the mountains.
Hotels in Sonamarg-
If one day is not enough for you to quench your love for Sonamarg. You can surely stay in these reasonable and cute lodges .check it out here https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotels-g1156060-c3-zff17-Sonmarg_Ganderbal_District_Kashmir_Jammu_and_Kashmir-Hotels.html or if you want to stay in luxury, then you should definitely check out these great stays on AIRBNB https://www.airbnb.co.in/s/Sonamarg/homes?refinement_paths%5B%5D=%2Fhomes&allow_override%5B%5D=&s_tag=xTnNf9TK
You can also stargaze at night with your loved ones or can opt for astrophotography which will make your trip worth it.
It was getting dark and we left to Srinagar. As usual, you get tired roaming to so many places in a day right?
But that one feeling of what the trip has next for you, keeps you going…As we reached Srinagar, the city was dazzling and it looked so aesthetically exquisite.
Our Shikara arrived and took us to the houseboat. I don’t know why but it was so pleasing to see the houseboats and the floating markets around with twinkling lights in the night…
We slept after having dinner and looking around some of the Shikaras from our balcony.
Note-A Shikara is given complimentary for those who have booked for the houseboats.
Shikara ride in Dal lake= Spa Massage in Bangkok?
If you arrive early by 5 o clock in the evening and have an ample time. Then go for a Shikara ride for the ultimate calmness of your soul in the serene Dal lake, and trust me it will be as soothing as a massage in Bankok.
Itinerary-5*Shikara ride in Dal lake(Things to do in Kashmir)
My mom woke us (me and brother) at 5 am and asked us to get freshen up as we were going for a Shikara ride followed by Gulmarg which was going to be very exciting.
We got ready and as we stepped out of our rooms, Our beautifully decorated Shikara was waiting for us to take a ride in it.
Shikara boat rides starts at 5 am in the morning, so get up early and take a Shikara ride and i promise you wont regret, it will leave you ecstatic, there will no crowd and you can intake the goodness of fresh air and nature all together into your body.
Explore the best of Dal lake in just 400 RS! That to in a Shikara all to you.
One hour ride will cost you 400 rs.
We got into the Shikara, and made ourselves comfortable, we saw other Shikaras coming our way selling vegetables, flower bouquets and seeds, spices, shawls, and other items.
Did you know Kashmir is also called the Saffron land of India?
You will definitely get tempt seeing the Keshar(Saffron) as they know all the techniques to fool you and persuade you to buy their products by buttering you up.
Beware of those vendors on Shikaras because my mom got deceived and ended up by buying the faux Keshar(basically, it was golden corn’s hair-that to we got to know when asked to another tourist). like seriously?
Also, many Shikaras will be seen coming your way to get photographed wearing their traditional dress which included a colored Pheran and few pieces of jewelry.
You are going to be super fascinated by this vendor. Even I got enchanted seeing those colorful costumes and ended up convincing my parents to let me wear those. Also persuaded my not so interested brother to accompany me. Finally, he had to!
Then Shikara took us to Floating markets where we bought some Kashmiri shawls and some dry fruits, then he took us to the floating garden where the locals have grown different types of vegetables.
Aso the boatman narrated us stories from the history of Dal lake and said if you plough this lake, you are sure to find ornaments and jewels of the Mughal kings and queens.
All in all the Shikara ride was an exceptional thing we did which kind of pacified our soul I would say.
Itinerary-6*Gulmarg(Things to do in Kashmir)
The boat escorted us to the entrance of Dal lake, where our Taxi was ready to take us to Gulmarg. I was super pumped up for Gulmarg after that amazing Shikara ride. Gulmarg is 51 km from Srinagar.
Now everyone knows what Gulmarg is famous for right?
Gulmarg also known as a meadow of flowers, welcomes thousands of tourists every year because of the main attraction i.e the gondola ride and snow adventure sports.
Gandola cable car offers two phases, the first phase which goes to an altitude of 8530 ft is from Gulmarg to Kongdoori which is a 10 mins ride and costs you around 750 and the second phase goes to an altitude 12993 ft is from Kongdoori to Apharwat which is a 21 min ride and costs you around 950.
It gives the mesmerizing and panoramic view of Pir Panjal range, LOC and Khilanmarg valley from a bird’s eye view.
Gondola ride surely topped my list. It is the most fascinating thing i have done yet. You can get little panic when the gondola shakes. But the 21 min ride will surely leave you bewitched and spellbind as the cable car makes its way through the snow-capped mountains and valleys. I will definitely recommend everyone to take a gondola ride.
Make sure to halt in a way and have lip-smacking refreshments or breakfast. There are a few restaurants in Gulmarg. But my favorite has to be Alpine lounge near Kongdoori. It served delicious breakfast and their service was good too.
Gulmarg- The best skiing destination in India?
Also, Gulmarg has to offer snowboarding and skiing on the white sheet of snow to the adventure lovers.
You can ski in the Apharwat peaks in winters, and in summers those valleys become an ideal destination for horse riding under azure skies.
While you ski down the valley, you will reach to the local shrines like *Maharani temple,* Baba Reshi mandir, and a *church.
But as it was summer, we did pony rides over Apharwat peak, but you know what I fell off the pony because I am too good at balancing:P and my brother was too amused and laughed till an hour.
There are other few places to visit in Gulmarg which included Gulmarg *biosphere reserve and *strawberry valley. If you are staying at Gulmarg which is amazing, make sure you cover these places too.
Hotels in Gulmarg to surround you with picturesque landscapes-
If you want to stay amidst the beautiful and pearly white meadows of Gulmarg the check these lodges in AIRBNB at affordable prices.https://www.airbnb.co.in/s/Gulmarg/homes?checkin=2018-12-16&checkout=2018-12-21&adults=1&children=0&infants=0&place_id=ChIJd9mNMJGv4TgR9x2wj1zGXHo&query=Gulmarg&click_referer=t%3ASEE_ALL%7Csid%3A09902a85-0849-47d8-a7b1-10881d3f6809%7Cst%3ALANDING_PAGE_MARQUEE&title_type=NONE&refinement_paths%5B%5D=%2Fhomes&allow_override%5B%5D=&s_tag=KDykvc8-
Also check out these curated hotels at throwaway prices https://www.goibibo.com/hotels/hotels-in-gulmarg/
We were so tired by then,and were on the verge of passing out,so we went back to our houseboat and evertime i come back to our room in houseboat,the feeling was out of the world. We had some rice with chiken gravy on it,watched some clear star constellations from our balcony ,discussed the itinerary among ourselves and slipped into our beds saying goodnight to each other.
So that was it for Day 3 ,lets see what Kashmir has for us on the last day and lets unfold the story in the next and final blog.