Friday, 12 September 2014

Alluring Kashmir.....Part1

My heart skipped a beat as I switched on the television set. Kashmir, the Switzerland of India, was hit by unprecedented floods. I felt extremely helpless seeing that the place which gave me an experience of a lifetime was struggling hard to survive. Almost 400 villages in the Kashmir valley were submerged in water.

Today, as I write this post Indian Army has managed rescuing 1,34,000 people so far. Relief material is being passed on to every village in need. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to the army men.

My brain flash backs; Exactly to the time when I was smitten by the beauty and mesmerizing aura of Kashmir. Kashmir exhaled love, warmth and peace in its every particle. Every minute I had spent there got etched in my memory. Every nook and corner of Kashmir is like a canvas beautifully painted by GOD.

The most common tourist places in Kashmir are Srinagar, Pahalgham, Gulmarg & Sonmarg. Each one equally vibrant, aesthetic and mesmerizing. Srinagar is the center point of the four.

I travelled to Kashmir this year, in the month of May on an all women group tour. Generally it doesn't rain in May but this time it did. Well, I wouldn't lie, it did became a spoiler. But overall the trip was just close to perfect

Srinagar, the summer capital of JnK is known for its Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens like Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh,Cheshmashahi and Pari Mahal. One would need atleast 2 days to enjoy Srinagar. Adi Shankracharya Temple is one of the ancient temples of India situated on the mountain top. Delight your eyes to the breath taking view of Dal Lake from the Temple. Pari Mahal meaning fairy's abode is a beautifully build garden on the ruins of a Budhist monastery. It is a 7 terraced garden overlooking the Srinagar city and some parts of Dal Lake.
 

Nishat Bagh





Pari Mahal


Living on a House Boat is a lavish and must not miss experience.  The House boats are finely designed with Deoder wood which doesn't decompose in water. There are close to 4000 house boats on the Dal Lake. The House boats are anchored in the water. They might tilt a little here and there but it's altogether a different experience to live on water. Each house boat has 3-4 rooms along with a common room having a dining area.

Dal Lake, Srinagar
 
House Boats


The house boat owners have their boats just behind the tourist houseboats. They are very warm and welcoming people. On the house boat  we were served home cooked hygienic but extremely delicious food. The food was a mix of Kashmiri and Punjabi Dishes. They use a small boat called as Shikara to commute in water. You could shop for amazing paper mache articles and jewellery on the floating market while enjoying the Shikara ride.  However, for authentic Pashmina Shawls and Kashmiri embroidered suits you should go to some government recognized shop.
 
Old Man selling vegetables on his Shikara


There is an uncanny thing I came to know about the people of Srinagar while I was chatting with the house boat owner. The kashmiri's like the house boat owners and staff , who stay on water are the water community and the one's from the land are the land community. The water people don't marry the land people and similarly the land people don't marry anyone from the water community. The water community spends almost their entire life on water. Their weddings as well happen on a Shikara. They shop, live and do business on Water. Ain't is amazing!

Women rowing on the Dal Lake


Coming to my favourite part of travelling, Local Food!

Ahdoos

When in Srinagar don't miss to savour your taste buds with Kashmiri food in Ahdoos. Adhoos is one of the oldest and finest restaurants serving authentic Kashmiri Wazwan. If you are a vegetarian like me don't be disheartened. There are some amazing dishes you could try like Kashmiri Dum Aaloo and Kamal Kakdi. Kamal Kakdi is a vegetable prepared using lotus stem in curd curry. In desserts try out the Kashmiri Phirni. Its is basically a rice pudding. I just couldn't resist having another bowl of it! It had the perfect sweetness and right flavouring of kesar and cardamom.


Kashmiri Phirni

You have a lot to see in Srinagar. But I would say, hold on , capture the beauty of Dal Lake as much as you can. I indeed lost my heart to its calmness. :)

Sunset @Dal Lake

Me ..@Dal Lake

19 comments:

  1. Lovely captures.
    Hope Kashmir springs back to its normal days again.

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  2. A very well written post dedicated to the most beautiful place in India.
    Hope things get back on track sometime soon and that too without much casualty or less losses.

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  3. Nice write-up. Indeed Kashmir is beautiful & u captured it beautiful.

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  4. great pics Neha! The sunset is awesome!!

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  5. Great pics and hope to see Kashmir back as above.

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  6. agar firdaus bar rooe zameen ast...hameen asto hameen asto hameen ast...:)

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    Replies
    1. I agree Sandeep!

      I'd translate your comments for the readers
      ' If ever there is Paradise on Earth/It is here! It is here! It is here!'

      Delete
  7. Lovely pics and this post is a great tribute to the the Switzerland of India. Hope the beautiful place will be back to normal soon!

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  8. I am disheartened too !! :(
    Lovely captures though :) :)

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  9. Very well written....my favorite restaurant in Srinagar is Shamyana at boulevard road.
    Addo's hotel is one of the oldest hotel of Srinagar.

    Keep traveling , keep sharing.

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  10. Lovely write-up combined with some beautiful pictures. Srinagar, a place which truly symbolizes beauty and romance is worth visiting. And with numerous hotels in Srinagar, one gets to experience warm hospitality of the town.
    Keep travelling :)

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