Kashmir || No Better Place to Experience the Haunting Beauty of Mountains (by Rida Irfan Ahmed)




“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.”  “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here."   This was rightly remarked by the Sufi poet, Amir Khusrow.   Before I start writing about my experience I would like to  emphasize on the fact that please be prepared to be mesmerized by the beauty of Kashmir.    What is the absolute first question that reaches our thought when we think about Kashmir?

“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.”
“If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here." 
This was rightly remarked by the Sufi poet, Amir Khusrow. 
Before I start writing about my experience I would like to  emphasize on the fact that please be prepared to be mesmerized by the beauty of Kashmir.

What is the absolute first question that reaches our thought when we think about Kashmir? 

 'Is it safe?'  Yes, It is. I understand how safety is a concern for many people, however, Kashmir is slowly and steadily leaving it's past and blooming in numerous fields. Unfortunately, the Kashmir region is still known to be treacherous in many ways.    As for travelling to Kashmir or any other place in the world, I recommend you to be attentive and cautious of your surroundings. You will always be warmly welcomed here, so there is nothing much to worry about.

'Is it safe?'
Yes, It is. I understand how safety is a concern for many people, however, Kashmir is slowly and steadily leaving it's past and blooming in numerous fields. Unfortunately, the Kashmir region is still known to be treacherous in many ways.

As for travelling to Kashmir or any other place in the world, I recommend you to be attentive and cautious of your surroundings. You will always be warmly welcomed here, so there is nothing much to worry about.


I hope I have cleared up any doubt that you must be having and now, we can move on.    I was born in a small town of Kashmir called Awantipora and have spent a couple of years of my life there, so I am not really new to the abounding beauty of Kashmir.    My original iterinary encompassed Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam as these are the divine and most visited places by tourists.



I hope I have cleared up any doubt that you must be having and now, we can move on.

I was born in a small town of Kashmir called Awantipora and have spent a couple of years of my life there, so I am not really new to the abounding beauty of Kashmir.

My original iterinary encompassed Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam as these are the divine and most visited places by tourists.

*Srinagar* :  On my drive from the airport to Dal Lake, I witnessed a lot of security everywhere. My advice would be, please don't be intimidated by the policeman and soldiers that you see at every nook and corner. It is to help keep the tourists and civilians secure.     I enjoyed every bit of my drive as the place isn't very crowded and so scenic.After a rather nice ride, we finally arrived at the pulse of the city, Dal Lake and we hopped onto the Shikara and were taken to our houseboat,which was going to be our accommodation for a lovely twelve days.    The main and must visit places are the three Mughal Gardens namely - Chashmeshahi ,Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. These gardens are known for their dainty fountains, signature canals and blossoming flowerbeds. One can't help but get lost in its beauty.

*Srinagar* :
On my drive from the airport to Dal Lake, I witnessed a lot of security everywhere. My advice would be, please don't be intimidated by the policeman and soldiers that you see at every nook and corner. It is to help keep the tourists and civilians secure. 

I enjoyed every bit of my drive as the place isn't very crowded and so scenic.After a rather nice ride, we finally arrived at the pulse of the city, Dal Lake and we hopped onto the Shikara and were taken to our houseboat,which was going to be our accommodation for a lovely twelve days.

The main and must visit places are the three Mughal Gardens namely - Chashmeshahi ,Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. These gardens are known for their dainty fountains, signature canals and blossoming flowerbeds. One can't help but get lost in its beauty.

Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple, Hazrat Bal and Hari Parbat Fort should be added to the list if you have a little more time and want a stunning view of the city from a few meters high.    Additionally, you can also get to witness the imperial Char Chinaar Bagh,whilst on a Shikara which is situated in between Dal Lake. It is known for the fact that it has four ginormous maple trees. It also provides a beautiful view of Srinagar city.     There are a variety of shops and it is heaven for the ladies who love to shop. From Pashmina Shawls to Sarees, you can find everything you wish for and more. Whilst being there, do try out the Kashmir tea also known as Kehwa which is a tea made of dry fruits, honey and saffron and is known as an anti-oxidant and also make one feel warm, cure fevers and colds.     Also, not forgetting the wonderful Boulevard Road that wraps around the Dal Lake where all the shops, eating joints,hotels can be found.The road is always filled with the hustle- bustle of the vendors,tourists and honking of the vehicles.

Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple, Hazrat Bal and Hari Parbat Fort should be added to the list if you have a little more time and want a stunning view of the city from a few meters high.

Additionally, you can also get to witness the imperial Char Chinaar Bagh,whilst on a Shikara which is situated in between Dal Lake. It is known for the fact that it has four ginormous maple trees. It also provides a beautiful view of Srinagar city. 

There are a variety of shops and it is heaven for the ladies who love to shop. From Pashmina Shawls to Sarees, you can find everything you wish for and more. Whilst being there, do try out the Kashmir tea also known as Kehwa which is a tea made of dry fruits, honey and saffron and is known as an anti-oxidant and also make one feel warm, cure fevers and colds. 

Also, not forgetting the wonderful Boulevard Road that wraps around the Dal Lake where all the shops, eating joints,hotels can be found.The road is always filled with the hustle- bustle of the vendors,tourists and honking of the vehicles. 

*Gulmarg* :  Owing to the bad weather conditions, it had already rained continuously for three consecutive days. It was freezing. However, Gulmarg being about 55 kilometers away from Srinagar, we decided to drive down. The drive in itself is so magnificent because of the high snow glazed mountains and lush greenery.    Gulmarg also known as the 'meadow of flowers' is enveloped with the peaks of the Pir Panjal range and was thronged with tourists from near and far. I joined all the tourists by taking a horse ride.I highly recommend taking the Gondola Cable Car Ride for a bird's-eye view.  Our guide also showed us the points where many famous Bollywood songs like "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar", "Dil ka Rishta" and films namely "Bobby" were shot.    Before I start stating about my next destination, I would like to add that we had originally planned to visit Pahalgam, but we ultimately chose to visit Yousmarg instead.  And you might ask "Why?" Pahalgam is known for its majestic vistas and when all the tourists want to visit Pahalgam, then why did we change our plan?It was a last minute decision or should I call it a surprise.



*Gulmarg* :
Owing to the bad weather conditions, it had already rained continuously for three consecutive days. It was freezing. However, Gulmarg being about 55 kilometers away from Srinagar, we decided to drive down. The drive in itself is so magnificent because of the high snow glazed mountains and lush greenery.

Gulmarg also known as the 'meadow of flowers' is enveloped with the peaks of the Pir Panjal range and was thronged with tourists from near and far. I joined all the tourists by taking a horse ride.I highly recommend taking the Gondola Cable Car Ride for a bird's-eye view.
Our guide also showed us the points where many famous Bollywood songs like "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar", "Dil ka Rishta" and films namely "Bobby" were shot.

Before I start stating about my next destination, I would like to add that we had originally planned to visit Pahalgam, but we ultimately chose to visit Yousmarg instead.
And you might ask "Why?" Pahalgam is known for its majestic vistas and when all the tourists want to visit Pahalgam, then why did we change our plan?It was a last minute decision or should I call it a surprise.

*Yousmarg* :  Yousmarg being 47 kilometers from the heart of Srinagar,is a very small town which unlike Gulmarg or Pahalgam is not inhabited by tourists. All you behold when you reach there is the local men riding their horses,little kids drinking water from streams and women doing their daily chores. Just when I thought that Yousmarg would be another Gulmarg or Pahalgam, it totally astonished me by being such a calm and fascinating place. After all the travelling that we had done,Yousmarg felt like a place of relaxation. There were no honking vehicles, crowded areas or even shops, just a place full of fresh cool breezes and peaceful vibes.

*Yousmarg* :
Yousmarg being 47 kilometers from the heart of Srinagar,is a very small town which unlike Gulmarg or Pahalgam is not inhabited by tourists. All you behold when you reach there is the local men riding their horses,little kids drinking water from streams and women doing their daily chores. Just when I thought that Yousmarg would be another Gulmarg or Pahalgam, it totally astonished me by being such a calm and fascinating place. After all the travelling that we had done,Yousmarg felt like a place of relaxation. There were no honking vehicles, crowded areas or even shops, just a place full of fresh cool breezes and peaceful vibes.

All I did there was take a long pony ride, drink water from the streams and eat food with locals. It's always great to have a plan beforehand but sometimes it's nicer if you completely ditch the plan and decide to take a plunge and explore something new. Yousmarg is our very own 'Mini Switzerland' and if you can't make it to the Switzerland for some reason or the other,now you know where to go.    Concluding, Kashmir isn't just a place. It's  a magical place. I am sure, once you come here, you won't leave the same. Something inside you changes. That's the magic of Kashmir. After spending our last night in Srinagar, we bid adieu to the lovely place and headed to the airport with amazing memories of our trip.



All I did there was take a long pony ride, drink water from the streams and eat food with locals. It's always great to have a plan beforehand but sometimes it's nicer if you completely ditch the plan and decide to take a plunge and explore something new. Yousmarg is our very own 'Mini Switzerland' and if you can't make it to the Switzerland for some reason or the other,now you know where to go.

Concluding, Kashmir isn't just a place. It's  a magical place. I am sure, once you come here, you won't leave the same. Something inside you changes. That's the magic of Kashmir. After spending our last night in Srinagar, we bid adieu to the lovely place and headed to the airport with amazing memories of our trip.
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -


  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

Comments

kashmir is not only beautiful place its heaven
rupam sarma said…
So beautiful. Amazing Kashmir.
Loved the post.
Thanks Rida for such a beautiful post and Lavanya for editing it.

I haven't been to Yousmarg and your post makes me think about planning a trip. Thanks again & keep sharing your travel experiences to inspire others.

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