First of all I want to thank Mr.Asish Kr Das for his valuable information, suggestion, guidance and presenting us a wonderful TR. Also my heartiest thank to Prakant,eddy,sgupta,CK,tmagna and other IMer’s for their extended help to make our trip a grand success. My trip was to cover Delhi,Kashmir and Amritsar from 19th to 26th Oct. Before start our journey, I have contacted Mr.Rakesh Dubey(Ref:Mr Asish Kr Das).He given me a NonAC Indica @1700/-(for 7 days 11,900/-)inclusive of Toll tax, driver food, parking charge.I have paid 1000/- in advance and rest paid in installment. 19th Oct: Once we reached at Jammu station by Rajdhani @6.50, it was dark.I had to go to Trikuta complex where I met our Driver Pawan Dubey.Auto fare from Jammu station to Trikuta complex was 150/- but it is negotiable. Our driver was not willing to pick up from Jammu station as auto drivers do not let them to go. On the way to Srinagar,I met Rakesh and paid another 4000/- as advance.Rest to be paid to our driver Pawan. As there was no prior hotel booking, I told our driver to take us in a budget hotel. It took 12 hrs to reach Srinagar and check-in our “Hotel Arfat” which is in link road surrounded by military check post. I got a good deal 500/- per day three bed room(though we were two). Our driver told us there was some terrorist attack in hotel near lalchowk area on the same day 19th oct so we got scared.
20th Oct: I got wake up early in the morning and walk up to Dal lake which was 15mins from our hotel. Dal lake in morning can’t be expressed in word.If you really love and enjoy nature you should come at Dal lake and take a walk for few mins in morning.Today, our destination is Sonmarg.So after roaming in dal lake, I returned our hotel make prepare ourselves for Sonmarg.On the way to Sonmarg from Srinagr is really scenic. Enroute visit hazratbal shrine and nagin lake.We took breakfast at road side dhaba.We reached Sonmarg @11am and our driver told us to take a pony from there and he has contact of ponnywallah.But I refused and started walking. After some time I found that we are surrounded by ponywallah. Initially I denied but at last I agreed with a ponywallah @400/- per pony till Thajiwas glacier and Snow point. Our pony driver was good and took us to the destination safely. Snow point was 5km from Sonmarg and played with snow at snow point. Note: Don’t take pony from where your vehicle stops because rate was high there as pony driver has to pay their union.So, walk 5 mins uphill and you will find pony in low rate. I have covered Manasbal lake and Khirbhawani temple on my return journey. 21th Oct:Today our destination is Gulmarg. I have prebooked online Gondola ticket for phase1 and phase2.Once I reach to Gulmarg then again we were surrounded by ponnywallah to take their pony and guide.Though I repeatedly told I don't require any pony but they keep saying we will not find the path of Gondola and even snow without their guidance. I replied that we are not here for snow and Gondola and only to enjoy the nature.But their behavior like a terrorist. Atlast I found the correct path of Gondola and reach Gondola station within 15mins without any guidance. The path is straight to Gondola and there will be no confusion to getting the correct path. Once I reach to Gondola online counter there were at least 10psersons queue before me and were waiting for half an hour.Some tout s were coming from backside and jam the queue so the whole process of getting boarding pass take longer time. There was an announcement that phase 2 got cancelled due to bad weather. So, I get disappointed after knowing this news.Once I reach to Phase1 Koongdoor, first time in my life I found snow all around.Initailly I had a impression that I’ll not find any snow in Oct but we got snow all the places in Koongdoor. We had taken lot of photographs and played with snow. At that time there was another announcement that phase 2 ticket boarding pass only issue who pertaining the prebook tickets. No new ticket will be issued for Phase2.Phase2 boarding pass only available in Gulmarg counter not in phase1 counter. So, I had to reach Gulmarg counter and collect phase2 boarding pass but once I reach to Gondola station a Gondola staff told us to buy another ticket Rs.300.I have tried to convince that I came here only to collect our phase2 ticket after the announcement and tried to explain all the thing but he stick to his words. After half an hour he allow me to ride Gondola till phase2 but I have to pay some money to him.Initially I agreed as any how I need to complete phase2. Phase2 is awesome and we got fresh white snow all arourd we took lots of snaps and enjoyed the day thoroughly. After one hour, I have returned back to Gulmarg and I found the person was waiting for me and once reach to Gondola he was asking for tips.I didn’t talk to him straight get away from the Gondola place to Gulmarg taxi stand. This was the most memorable day in Kashmir valley.
1.Jammu station. 2.Dal Lake view in Morning. 3.Houseboat view from Dal lake 4.Pony ride at Sonmarg 5.Snow point at Thajiwas Glacier 6.Sonmarg taxi stand. 7.Way to gondola 8.Gondola Ticket counter 9.Koongdoor phase1 10.Koongdoor
What a pleasant news! Welcome back. You are lucky, got snow everywhere, it is a bonus really! The pictures are really awesome!
It seems Rakesh has given you a good driver. He seems to be helpful. I told my driver to take us to Khirbhabani temple on our way back from Sonemarg, but he avoided me. In your case, the driver acted very good. I'm very happy for you.
By the way, who is the lucky mascot for you, your wife? ha ha ha..
@Asish Das Without you I wont be able to complete my trip in this way.Yes, I have requested Rakesh to give a good driver and not the driver which given to you.Driver pawan is really helpful.Before our journey, I told my driver that I need budget hotel every where and I got budget hotel at Srinagar(500/-),pahalgam(500/-) and Patnitop(600). I had to pay car parking fees in four mghal garden(Rs.80/-).I have given a copy to rakesh about our itenenary and all the mail communication so that there will be no confusion among us. But Jammu to Srinagar road is really scary. I have seen three accidents one is near to Udhampur rest of two in Ramban. Yes my lucky mascot is my wife :D. I'll post all other pics very soon.
22nd Oct:-Srinagar Sightseeing We had a plan for sightseeing in Srinagar in two phases. First part was shikara ride(7-11am) and second part(1pm-5pm) was all the Mughal gardens and temples. We woke up early in morning and walk upto Dal lake upto ghat number 3 where I found a shikara guy waiting for tourist. After little bit bargaining, he agreed with Rs.400/- for 3 hrs which includes Neheru garden,charchinar,kabutor khana,market etc. We took lot of snaps while riding in shikara.It was really a wonderful experience for us.We completely lost in beauty of Dal lake.We have completed all the points and returned back to our hotel for second phase. We took our breakfast at “Mumtaz Darbar”. The food was really delicious though it took lot of time to serve. Our driver Pavan was waiting for us for Srinagar sightseeing. It includes Chasmasahi,Botanical garden,Nishat bag,Shalimar bag,sankarcharya hotel. Price of the ticket 10/-(Adult) for every Mughal garden and car parking fees was 20/-. First we visit Chasmasahi and Botanical Garden and next Shalimar Bag,Nishat Bag,Shankarcharya temple. The view of Srinagar from Sankarharya temple was really awesome but security not allow tourist to take snaps there. I had to deposit my camera,mobile to my driver. I got a taste of “Kashmiri Faluda” near Nishat bag which was OK type. We found a good Bengali restaurant “Asha” where food was really good. Non Veg-Egg Thali-90/-,Fish Thali-110/-,Chicken-130/- If you come from Ghat number 1 towards right you will get this restaurant. You can find a sign board direction of”Hotel Sahara’ (Where Asish Da was staying) before reaching this restaurant. I asked our driver to drop us in Dal lake so that we can explore Dal as much as possible.