A Photo Journey to the gems of Kashmir by Ujjwal Saxena - Dal Lake, Pari Mahal, Gulmarg , Sonamarg, Pahalgam & Srinagar

If there is paradise on earth, it is said that it is in Kashmir .  Kashmir is overwhelmed by the natural beauty , history , culture and civilization. Shankaracharya Temple and purity of Hazratbal , Pari Mahal, Nagin Lake , the shimmering beauty of the Dal Lake , Mughal gardens are so mesmerizing and  inviting that it is not possible for anyone to refuse visiting so picturesque valley. 

I am an Engineering student but photography is my hobby-cum-passion. I love to click landscapes and nature in my camera so I  visit many places and capture them in my camera. Last year, during the summer we decided to go to Srinagar. We had made reservations a month ago. Srinagar is not difficult to reach . There are direct flights from many cities like Delhi and Chandigarh and even by road it is connected to the major cities of the country . We reached Jammu by train and boarded the taxi and drove off . Taxi crossed Banihal Pass and Patni Top and at last reached the approx.. 2.1km long  Jawahar Tunnel. This tunnel is unsurpassed . Suddenly the taxi on the way seemed like lost in the dark pitch. We were heading to Srinagar . After a while , we suddenly saw a ray of light and Taxi now reached Srinagar . The journey from Jammu to Srinagar is very long and tiring as well, we were all exhausted so we decided to rest for the day

The next morning, we woke up early in the morning and decided that Shalimar and Nishat Bagh were first to be seen in srinagar . The path to Shalimar bagh passes from the edge of the Dal Lake . At first glance, the houseboat sailing in dal lake and blue- gray haze looked so picturesque that I could not resist myself from clicking photos from my camera. The Shalimar Bagh has a lot of attracting flowers and  Green vines. Shalimar Bagh is built in typical Mughal style terraced steps . The beauty is greatly increased due to the mountains in the background . Then We reached Nishat Bagh . It was like everything similar to Shalimar Bagh but only here the difference was there were no mountains behind . Then we turned to  Cshm-e-shahi . It is said that the Jawaharlal Nehru used to drink water of this fountain . Afterwards we proceeded to The Pari mahal (fairy castle) which is  slightly forward to cshm-e-shahi . It is also one of The Mughal-style garden. After visiting almost all famous places we decided to spend the evening at Dal lake. 
The biggest attraction is the Dal Lake in Srinagar . There is always the atmosphere of excitement  from dawn to dusk . Apparently Dal lake itself is like a floating city . The houseboat floating hotels , floating markets and floating vegetable gardens are a highlight .

Many people living in Dal Lake houseboat or floating homes come here to enjoy this unique experience . In the lake you can see rotating shawls , saffron , jewelery , flower shop , etc. adorned with sellers come sailing close to you . Moreover , one can pose in Kashmere dress for the floating photo studio in the lake. On a small island in the middle of the lake is Nehru Park . The lake comes alive even in the evening . The orange color of the sky at sunset, lake takes its color , then after sunset lake houseboat reflection of the beauty of twinkling lights doubles . In the evenings it seems bigger crowds . Tourists can stay in a houseboat on the Jhelum River stand to enjoy the serene atmosphere of the lake.

Pari Mahal- The Fairies' Abode is a seven terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range over-looking city of Srinagar on south-west of Dal-Lake, close drive from Cheshmashahi . The area is well maintained with manicured gardens. However, one gets a panoramic & stunning view of the city and dal lake from here. It gives a different feel of the place rather than the usual gardens. It is said that this place was previously for pariyas ( Angels), now it has become tourist cum picnic place. It comes in Srinagar city only but top hill. Almost all the view of Srinagar city is visible from this place. If you want to enjoy the view from top, apart from shankracharya temple, this is only place which is accessible for people who want to click pictures as photgraphy is prohibited in shankracharya temple. In terms of scenic beauty it is a must visit as here you would like to spend quality time to sit quietly and watch best view of the city and take photographs.

Gulmarg , Sonamarg and Pahalgam
The next day we decided to go in Gulmarg . Gulmarg  is 55 km away from srinagar.  The Golf course and the  Church are the main attractions here . It is said that many films had been shooted here. Really it is very beautiful place.  Anantnag, Pahalgam is one or one and a half hours away . There are many picnic spots around it , the best known - is Chandnbadhi familiar place .

It is also considered one of the most romantic places . Gondolas of  Gulmarg is Asia 's highest and longest cable - car project . The Gondolas takes Six hundred people every hour at 12293 feet high mountain ,Kongduri Afrwat which is right next to the top . From mid-December to early May is the season of skiing . One can visit gulmarg in one day and can return back to srinagar the same day.


Beautiful photographs Ujjwal !

Thanks for sharing these beautiful moments from Kashmir. Look forward to see other places through your camera.
Kashmir is no wonder as beautiful as described by one and all. These are commendable pics and loved the blog post too.

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