Kashmir - Paradise on Earth

#1 Nov 28th, 2017, 18:28
Sukumar Manna (Chala jata hun kisi ki dhun mein)
Join Date:
Feb 2014
  • travelmanna is offline
It was an old wish to visit Kashmir – The paradise on earth and the wish came true. Our tour was a packaged one and we booked it through a Srinagar based tour operator.

Day 1 (19/04/2013): We started our journey from Kolkata & reached Delhi by 09:30 AM. Connecting flight to Srinagar was at 12:15 PM. and reached Srinagar at around 01:30 PM. We witnessed excellent views of snow capped mountain ranges from the flight. As we came out of the airport, cool breeze welcomed us. Temperature may be in the order of 15°C. Outside of the airport gate, a person was waiting for us holding a placard in his hand mentioning my name. We got inside the vehicle which he brought and proceed for houseboat in Dal Lake. The distance of houseboat from the airport was 15 km apprx. & it took almost 40 minutes to reach there. On the way, we saw many army men were standing at different places in small bunkers with their LMG, Kalashnikov. We never had experienced such kind of scene; I felt goosebumps in my arm and diverted my mind in seeing the distant snow capped mountain peaks. After sometime, we got down from the vehicle. Few minutes later, we saw one Shikara (wooden boat) was approaching towards us. We boarded into the Shikara and reached our houseboat within 5 – 10 minutes. It was a beautiful houseboat, decorated nicely. By that time, it was almost 03:00 PM. After a little bit freshen up, we had our lunch. After lunch, we met with our tour operator manager Mr. Amin Kolu, collected a local SIM from him. Then, we decided to go for a Shikara ride in the Dal lake. It was a big & beautiful lake with clear water having numerous house boats but saw some chips packet, other food packets were floating on water; may be thrown by some mindless tourists. Extremely bad. There were many mobile boat shopkeepers selling fresh flowers, handicraft items, food items like vegetables, tea, coffee, saffron etc. in their boats. It was like a floating market. Beware of the saffron sellers, it may not be genuine. The boatman took us to a Kashmiri shawl shop in the lake itself. Items were heavily priced. We bought some small items like caps, hand gloves etc. We didn’t buy many things from here because we had a plan to purchase shawls and other woolen items from Pahalgam. All of us enjoyed the Shikara ride very much. After the Shikara ride, we went to the local market in Boulevard road just opposite of the Dal Lake and purchased some wooden make Shikara, other decorative items. By the time, it was 08:00 PM and we had dinner in the nearby restaurant. Dal lake was looking awesome in the night. Cold wind was blowing & we put jackets, caps, mufflers on. We hire one Shikara & returned to our house boat.

Day 2 (20/04/2013): It was very cold at night in the house boat. Morning mystic view from the house boat was just amazing. We had breakfast and proceed for visiting famous gardens of Srinagar. Weather was cloudy and raining lightly. We were 10 persons so, Mr. Amin Kolu arranged a Tempo Traveler for us. It was a comfortable one with lots of space for 10 persons. First, we went to Nishat Bagh. Nishat Bagh is located very close to the Dal lake. It was designed and built in 1633 by Asif Khan, the elder brother of Nur Jehan. The garden is set at the backdrop of the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range and it offers a great sunset view of the Dal Lake. A beautiful water channel flows right in the middle of the garden, lush green grass carpets the garden floor which is embellished with flowers of all conceivable colours and trees such as chinar, Cyprus and almond makes the lake absolutely amazing. We hired traditional Kashmiri attire with authentic accessories and clicked some photos. After this, we proceed to Tulip Garden. It is the largest tulip garden of Asia spread over vast area. It is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range. The moment we entered into the garden and saw the multi coloured tulips in the background of the mountain, we forgot everything. What a view!!!!!! Marvelous!!!!This is the paradise!!!! This is heaven!!!!! Never saw a garden like this. The garden was looking like a huge floral carpet. The garden is well maintained. Tulip lasted for 3 to 4 weeks only. Generally, the garden opens on 1st of April, every year. So, if you want to see tulip in full bloom, plan wisely. After visiting the tulip garden, we went to another garden Chashme Shahi which is located at a nearby distance from Tulip garden. It is a beautiful and well landscaped garden built in 1632 AD around a spring by Ali Mardan Khan, a governor of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as per the orders of the Emperor, as a gift for his elder son Prince Dara Shikoh. This one is famous mainly because of Spring water channel which they say it is the purest water in Srinagar and has mineral content. One story is that this water is collected and sent to Pt. Nehru for his consumption though I didn’t drink or collect. Songs of famous movie “Aandhi” shoot here. After this, we proceed to Pahalgam. Distance is almost 90 km. On the way, we took lunch and saw saffron field. Road towards Pahalgam was very scenic, there was half a kilometer long green tunnel, trees covered the road from both sides made a tunnel like shape, lots of apple garden (without apples), chinar, almond & walnut trees, snow capped mountains almost throughout the road. It was almost 07:00 pm when we reached Pahalgam. As per the schedule, we checked into hotel Park Plaza located in Chandanwadi road. Our hotel was small, rooms were of medium size but neat and clean, also it is very near to Lidder river and from the room, we can see and hear the sound of flowing river water. It was very cold in Pahalgam. After sometime, we ordered our dinner, had and fell asleep.

Day 3 (21/04/2013): Morning, we woke up, it was raining. There was a magnificent view of mountains and rivers from our balcony. Had our breakfast. It was raining continuously. We asked the hotel manager when the rain will stop. He replied the weather of Pahalgam is very unpredictable, now it is raining but after half an hour, there may be sunshine. So, we all decided to go the nearby market for purchasing. We brought umbrellas for adults and raincoats for children and went to a nearby shop & did the purchasing. Price of woolen items was quite reasonable and also much cheaper than that of Srinagar. All of us specially children and ladies were very happy. We returned back to hotel, it was raining but lightly. Anyway, we started for Chandanwadi, Betab valley and Aru valley. Suddenly, rain stopped but no sunshine. Our plan was Chandanwadi then to Betab valley after that Aru valley and then return back to hotel. Pahalgam to Chandanwadi road was very scenic, clouds were playing over the mountain peaks, Lidder river was flowing through the valleys. Chandanwadi is a place from where the trekking for holy Amarnath Yatra starts. We were not very far from Chandanwadi and suddenly saw that other tourist’s vehicles were standing in a queue. None of the vehicle was moving. Our driver got down from the vehicle and went to collect information. After few minutes, he informed that the road leading to Chandanwadi have been closed due to the heavy snowfall. We saw many vehicles were returning from Chandanwadi with at least one inch snow on the roof of their vehicles. We all were very much sad. But what can we do? It is an act of mother nature. We have to understand that we are the part of mother nature; nature is not the part of us. So, no need to waste time. We reversed our vehicle and moved towards Betab valley. We reached there within 15 minutes. The valley got its name from the Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh hit film “BETAAB”. We entered through the gate and what a view!!!! Breathtaking combination of picturesque surroundings that is encircled by snow capped mountains full of tall deodar trees and pine forests, with the Lidder River dancing and flowing right through it. We spent almost an hour and proceed for Aru valley. Within forty five minutes, we reached there. We hired ponies because the entrance was full of mud due to rain and horse manure which made the way almost impossible to walk. Aru village is a base camp for trekkers to the Kolahoi Glacier, the Tarsar-Marsar lakes and the Katrinag valley. It is also a base for the treks to Lidderwat, the Vishansar-Kishansar lakes and Kangan. The Kolahoi is the largest glacier in the Kashmir Valley, and is located near Mt. Kolahoi (5425m), the highest peak in the Valley. We started to roam through the valley. It was a breathtaking view. The snow covered mountains, and lush greens views are breathtaking, with swirling mist and clouds creating an ever changing landscape. It was an eye soothing view and we enjoyed it very much. After this, we returned back to the hotel, had our delayed lunch and proceed towards Srinagar. Reached Srinagar and checked into Al Amin guest house. We were allotted 4 double bedded rooms as per our terms and conditions. Rooms were good for the price we paid. The guest house owner stays in the same premises. We requested him to prepare dinner for us. He agreed and it was ready within one and half hour. It was an awesome dinner tastes beautifully.

Day 4 (22/04/2013): Today, our programme was for local site seeing. First, we visited Shankaracharya temple. This temple is on the top of the Shankaracharya hill at a height of 1000 feet and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is very old. There are 250 steps leading up to the temple area. The temple is guarded by army personnel. Cameras, mobiles are not allowed here. It offers scenic view of the Srinagar city. After this, we came down and went to the Dal lake for Shikara riding. We hired two Shikaras. It was a very pleasing and soothing experience and we enjoyed a lot. After Shikara ride, we moved to Pari Mahal. It is a seven terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range over-looking the city of Srinagar built by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh who was the elder son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1650 AD. This was originally used as a library and later as an observatory. The arches and steps in this seven storied Mahal are still intact. The steps are bit steep and the path ways are coarsely laid. It is a beautifully decorated garden having varieties of plants and eye catching flowers with mountain backdrop and offers a stunning view of the Dal lake, golf course and Srinagar city from its upper floor. After spending about an hour, we headed for Shalimar bagh. At the outside of Shalimar bagh, there are lots of food shops. We had our lunch there. After that, we purchased the entry ticket and went inside. It was was built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan, around 400 years back. The lush green and well-maintained Garden of Srinagar designed with terrace lawns, fountain pools and flower beds combined with mighty chinar trees and pavilions. The garden in beautifully maintained and a pleasure to visit. We all were very much exhausted and returned back to guest house.

Day 5 (23/04/2013): So, today, our programme was to visit Gulmarg. Gulmarg is almost at a distance of 55 km from Srinagar. It is surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush green meadows, deep ravines, evergreen forested hills and valleys and also the very famous Gondola (ropeway) ride. Gondola ride is the first and foremost thing to do in Gulmarg if you are not a skier. There are two phases for this Gondola ride the tickets to which can be bought online. First phase (Kungdoor) takes you to around 8500 ft above sea level and the second phase (Aparwath) takes you to 12500 ft above sea level. We started a little bit late from guest house & reached there within two hour at around 12:30 PM. Before reaching Gulmarg, our driver stopped vehicle for renting jackets, gumboots, hand gloves etc. Again, we started and reached Gulmarg within twenty minutes. From there, we walked down almost half a kilometer to reach the ticket counter for Gondola ride. There, we saw a huge queue already formed. There was no discipline; we didn’t know where the starting point is and where is the ending point of the queue. Fellow tourists were fighting for Gondola tickets and surprisingly, no security personnel were there to control all these things. It was impossible to collect tickets from the counter. So, we hired one person to purchase tickets from the counter. We paid some money to him and within 30 minutes, he collected tickets up to Kungdoor (Phase 1) for us. Weather was not good, clouds were playing hide and seek. He told that if we want, we can purchase the tickets for Aparwath (Phase 2) after reaching Kungdoor. Again, there was a long queue and huge rush was there for Gondola ride. After some time, our turn came and we stepped in to the Gondola. It took almost 15 minutes to reach Kungdoor. It was a thrilling experience and we all witnessed astonishing scenic beauty of the snow capped mountains and forests from the Gondola and it worth every penny, hard work we did in standing in a long queues.
Special precaution: Start early to avoid rush in peak seasons. If possible, book tickets in advance for Gondola ride. Don’t take a pony or guide. If you take, then bargain hard.
After reaching Kungdoor (Phase 1), we all became mad!!! There was so much of ice to enjoy. We all were running, throwing ice to each other. My daughter started to make snow balls. We did a sledge ride. We were there for one and half hour and planning to purchase tickets for phase 2 (Aparwath) and go there. In the ticket counter, they told weather condition has gone bad there so tickets will not be issued. We came back and took the Gondola ride to return back. All, it was a unique experience. We came to the parking lot & returned back to Srinagar.

Day 6 (24/04/2013): Today, we had return flight to Kolkata via Delhi. During return time, our flight was preponed which was a direct flight to New Delhi. Authorities told they tried to call but could not able to connect. They sent SMS also. My prepaid SIM was not working in Kashmir, that’s why I didn’t get any information. They have adjusted us in other flight which was via Jammu. Due to all these, we reached late and had very less time in New Delhi. Practically, we were running in the airport. In between, we were called for luggage identification. So, it was all there. Anyway, we boarded the flight for Kolkata and reached safely.

Click the link below for photographs


Informations regarding our tour operator:

Name: Mohammad Amin Kolu
Kolu palace Group Of Houseboats
Dal Lake, Srinagar Kashmir India
Mobile: 09906735779, 09419009780
E-Mail: info@koluhouseboats.com, support@koluhouseboats.com
Tele Fax.0194-2501701

Inclusion in tour package (Budget tour)
At all destination 04 rooms
Group:10 person
At Srinagar, 01 night stay in houseboat
At Pahalgam, 01 night stay in Hotel
At Srinagar, 03 night stay in Al Amin Guest House or similar
Shikara ride and crossing
Sight seen and pickup Drop by Tempo Traveler
Inclusive all tax

The Total amount for 10 person Rs.46,000/- No food (04 Rooms) – Year 2013 rate
Pickup From Jammu transfer to Srinagar Rs.4,500/- Extra Charge By Qualis/Sumo – Year 2013 rate
#2 Nov 29th, 2017, 13:58
Join Date:
Nov 2013
  • umeshparikh is offline
Good Old Memories...
Short Yet Sweet Trip Report...

According to me, April is the best time to visit KASHMIR not only because of TULIP GARDEN, but also the climate is bearable compared to harsh Winter yet you find plentiful of Snow at Gulmarg, Chandanwari (Pahalgam) & Sonamarg. I think you missed Sonamarg & also Pony ride to Baisaran (Pahalgam). Maybe for the next time.


#3 Nov 29th, 2017, 14:11
Sukumar Manna (Chala jata hun kisi ki dhun mein)
Join Date:
Feb 2014
  • travelmanna is offline
Originally Posted by umeshparikh View Post Good Old Memories...
Short Yet Sweet Trip Report...

According to me, April is the best time to visit KASHMIR not only because of TULIP GARDEN, but also the climate is bearable compared to harsh Winter yet you find plentiful of Snow at Gulmarg, Chandanwari (Pahalgam) & Sonamarg. I think you missed Sonamarg & also Pony ride to Baisaran (Pahalgam). Maybe for the next time.


Yes Umesh, April is the best time to explore Kashmir. The only thing we can miss is the Apples. We missed Sonamarg because of time limitation.

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Kashmir - sojourn to the paradise on earth in October 2012 Mar 12th, 2013 14:00 34 5433 Jammu & Kashmir
kashmir paradise on earth Aug 15th, 2009 23:29 5 2239 Jammu & Kashmir

Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success