Kashmir - The Paradise Lost and Found

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#1 Nov 10th, 2012, 23:07
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#1








Coming Soon ...............
#2 Nov 10th, 2012, 23:52
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the first and last photos are beautiful aditiban ...
#3 Nov 11th, 2012, 00:53
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@aditiban

The posters(photos) are superhit.......waiting for the film(TR) to release
#4 Nov 11th, 2012, 14:06
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My dreams of visiting the paradise on earth reached its realisation point finally when i boarded the flight for Delhi from kolkata connecting us next day morning for a delhi-srinagar flight.

Durga Puja has always been the opportunity for me and my family to plan for visiting a new destination in our travel calendar.

It was always a challenging task for us to decide on the place to visit when names like Bhutan , Arunachal Pradesh , kashmir were competing with each other. Finally the Paradise won , hands down

This time our travel companions are my Parents and my brother , one of the reason why Kashmir was selected at this time of the year .....

As it always happens IM and its members like ashisda, kshil da (referring to Sunnypaji ) and others were the point of information in planning the trip .

Day 0 (20th oct) :


Initially the plan was to start on 21st and on the same day reach Srinagar . But due to some sudden changes by Indigo authorities we had to take the previous day flight. For this we booked Hotel Dhawan Guest house (Mahipalpur) near to IGI airport for a night.

"Mahasoshti" - It was the day when the Goddess reaches her parental house and the family starts its four day extravaganza....

Challenge of the day was to attend office , complete the last minute works inspite of the fact that my heart , soul and mind were in a different place altogether.

Finally the gong struck 2 pm and i said to myself " I AM DONE " .Stepped out from field (office) took a cab , reached home and i said to myself "MY BAGS ARE PACKED AND I AM READY TO GO " .

When we reached airport my parents had already reached , with the boarding passes done , we went through the security check in to reach the lounge area.... Possibly the travel adrenaline was running so high that all five of us put our hands on the eats and bits.....

Boarded the flight of indigo at 7:30 pm and it lived upto its expectations and reached IGI dot time.

We took a prepaid cab which charged 100 rupees extra for an extra person and reached Dhawan Guest House.

It was quite late at night we took our dinner in hotel itself and hit the bed to get our batteries charged for the next 7 days of absolute ecstasy.......


Day 1 (21st oct) :

Finished our morning breakfast and took a cab for IGI airport . We five had only one concern how to get five window seats we did not want to miss a single glimpse of the arial beauty ....the flight gives you while approaching srinagar..... With lot of sugar coating the booking staff was convinced enough to give us 3 window seats..........

Dhawan Guest House



The reception



Our room



Waiting at IGI Airport








The flight was on 1:10 pm from Delhi , and again bang on time.....

Approaching towards Srinagar



Arial View



At Sinagar Airport







The Rate Chart



I thought to book the gondola tickets from the airport but the server was slow so moved out .... Arshit was waiting for us with his new Xylo .... He was a great guy i must say ......

Moving towards the Boulevard road ....













We were hungry .... took our lunch at a vegeterian dhaba ....the food was good ...



And proceeded towards the hotel....

John , of New green view was calling over phone several times and sent the shikara on time....Moving towards hotel New Green View in a shikara......

John had made quite a good impression , service was good , food was good but expensive ,toilets were clean, all rooms did not have geyser (our parents' room had) though hot water was available in the morning in all rooms but for the whole day one has to depend on buckets of hot water being provided (but extremely quick service )....... though i did not like a small incident at the last day we checked out which i will talk about later....










The first view of the majestic houseboats.....




Our hotel and rooms....










Evening ride in a shikara







Evening Stroll.....





The evening wewe did not do much activities.... We went to Jammu & Kashmir Arts Emporium (floating) to buy carpet for our new flat.... ...and then went to boulevard road for an evening stroll..... It was cold and after a cup of tea and "tar lawar" (a biscuit ) we came back to hotel ... took dinner there itself .... Tomorrow we will visit GULMARG ....Excited ........
#5 Nov 11th, 2012, 14:35
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Amazing.. Your photos are self explanatory about your foot steps
#6 Nov 11th, 2012, 14:47
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Thanks Vaibhav_arora, wanderlast and raatul.............
#7 Nov 11th, 2012, 15:17
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At last...Aditi! Great going. Pour more ... with minutest details!!
#8 Nov 11th, 2012, 15:29
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Aditi

I normally do not say this but I think you have an eye for taking good captures. The shot of the auto going near the dal lake is an excellent perspective shot and the lighting in the houseboat shot is divine!

Very well done. I look forward to more.

-Vaibhav
#9 Nov 11th, 2012, 15:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Aditi

I normally do not say this but I think you have an eye for taking good captures. The shot of the auto going near the dal lake is an excellent perspective shot and the lighting in the houseboat shot is divine!

Very well done. I look forward to more.

-Vaibhav
Thanks dear.... Its totally the credit of my Hubby ....
#10 Nov 11th, 2012, 15:44
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Originally Posted by asishdas View Post At last...Aditi! Great going. Pour more ... with minutest details!!
thanks sir i will try as much as i can.....
#11 Nov 11th, 2012, 23:35
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Day 2 (22nd Oct).....


After a chilling night the morning was fresh as the dew drops....Today's destination - Gulmarg and the gondola ride . Arshitbhai was waiting for us at boulevard road ... after munching our breakfast with omlette and butter toast and loading our cameras we took the water taxi (shikara) to drop us at the Ghat . It was around 55 km and would take around 2 hours. We started at around 9 am .

The Fresh Morning in Dal Lake....







And the flowers in the hotel....











Towards the Ghat .....








Arshitbhai waiting with his Xylo.....

[IMG][/IMG]

Today we had to pay the full amount for the car .... we were a bit sceptical but finally ahjazbhai (through him we got the car) told nothing to worry and pay the full amount. Actually my hubby has a friend who is major and was posted in kashmir....he gave us the number of Ahjazbhai and we were treated as special guest of him .... Truly speaking Arshit bhai, our driver, took care of every small things ..... I never had an idea that they were so soft ..so well behaved... really i was impressed.....

On the way to Gulmarg there were apple gardens and one can see the fruits at 5 rupees per head entry fee . We never expected to see apples at this time ... we had an idea that the harvesting time is already over..... But on the way as we saw the apple orchard with red apples i just screamed out of excitement.....







We did not buy any apples here as we did not like the ones which were sold....

The route full of beauty .....














Finally the valley was left behind and we took some blind curves , bends and reached Gulmarg.... No doubt Gulmarg is beautiful.

The car left us at a point from where we had to walk around half a kilometer to the gondola ride ticket counter .

The moment we got out of the car the ponny wallahs started flocking around and telling us that one cannot reach the place walking and all other cocks and bull stories. We gently refused to take any ponny and this is something that they did not like . They started uttering bad words about tourists and specially tourists coming from Bengali as they understood we are bengali .
When we were walking towards the ticket counter few ponnywallahs crossed their limit so much that they were literally riding their ponnies pushing us down from the road.

Finally we reached the Gondola ride ticket counter and MY GOD ! Another hell out their. The counter windows (2 for male and 1 for females) for the males was blocked by the touts who were trying to gather as much tickets as possible so that the tourist have no other option but to hire them as "guides". Then my husband suggested to stand at the ladies line and he along with couple of other tourists took guard on both sides of counter window to ensure that no tout can get in . Let me tell you inspite of all these few were trying to push money in the counter windows which were run by the Govt. ticket clerks who i guess get percentages from these touts . Then after lot of shouting and getting to see such huge number of tourist uniting somehow they backed out . Strange thing is now they were approaching the ladies to get tickets for them who were near to the counter. At one point of time we were about to lose hope for the gondola ride . However my husband and few other tourists took up the role which Govt . officials should have taken up to ensure a smooth ticket collection.

Finally when we managed our tickets for both the stages at around 2 pm, we went to the queue for gondola and after around half an hour of wait 5 of us were running over the rope .

Here also these touts were trying to push their customers into the gondolas out of turn (breaking the queue).

Just a small point to add here that their is no need to hire the heavy woollens during this time.

Queue to the Gondola with the dresses making uncomfortable for those who see even !! God knows what people felt when they wore those heavy dressses





The gondola.......










The Nanga Parbat...




Me and my mother did not go to affarwat as we are scared of the steep gondola climb . My hubby, brother and father (senior citizen) went till affarwat . But my father returned quickly as the weather was too cloudy and it was too cold for him ... he also felt a bit of breathlessness in the second phase . I would suggest senior citizens can opt for 1st phase easily but should not try for the second phase . As he came to 1st phase we gave him hot corn and coffee ... I had inhaler with me but he did not need that . We sat leisurely in the sun enjoying the beauty of the place... the other side was the nanga parbat visible (?? i guess i am correct , it is visible from there ) .

My Hubby and brother returned after around 40 mins . According to them the ride was scary specially while descending . To make things worse there were power cuts which left the gondolas hanging precariously . However as they stated if the weather would had been clear it would had made a lifetime experience .Tourists can also opt to visit LOC by sledge from Affarwat which they did not opt for .



It was an extremely tiring day .... After a sip in hot Kawah we started for Srinagar .



Ovearall Gulmarg is extremely good barring the system and people . My suggestion for every tourist visiting Gulmarg is keep your heads cool , there is no need for hiring any touts or ponnywallahs .

After having a delicious Chicken curry and chapati my perception of poor quality food served in New Green View Hotel (read somewhere in the Net ) changed . Good Night for Day 2.
#12 Nov 12th, 2012, 00:51
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@Aditi
awesome photos..There are lot of common incident wich happened with me also.Touts of Gulmarg are terrible..They always try to jam the Gondola counter so tourist can ask for help from them..Some snaps you have taken from Gondola..seems the glass of Gondola was good. ..In my case Gondola glass was broken so not able to get the clear picture while riding Gondola..
#13 Nov 12th, 2012, 01:30
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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@ Aditi'di,

Its a masterpiece of you............what a vivid description and cool clicks ........ will wait for more
.


Totaly confused how to explore the beautiful earth when one life is too short to complete my great India


Photo-Story: HARI-SILA or HARSIL Deoriatal-Chopta,
#14 Nov 12th, 2012, 08:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bappa01 View Post @Aditi
awesome photos..There are lot of common incident wich happened with me also.Touts of Gulmarg are terrible..They always try to jam the Gondola counter so tourist can ask for help from them..Some snaps you have taken from Gondola..seems the glass of Gondola was good. ..In my case Gondola glass was broken so not able to get the clear picture while riding Gondola..
Yes .. it is terrible ... once you refuse to take a ponny they will be just after your life... there were many bengali families there at that time and we (jokingly) discussed that we kolkatans would ban Gulmarg for their non- sense activities.


Quote:
Its a masterpiece of you............what a vivid description and cool clicks ........ will wait for more
Thank you so much .....will post as quick as i can
#15 Nov 12th, 2012, 12:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bappa01 View Post @Aditi
awesome photos..There are lot of common incident wich happened with me also.Touts of Gulmarg are terrible..They always try to jam the Gondola counter so tourist can ask for help from them..Some snaps you have taken from Gondola..seems the glass of Gondola was good. ..In my case Gondola glass was broken so not able to get the clear picture while riding Gondola..
Awesome it is! By the way, who is the photographer? Whoever it is, hats off to him/her!

I think almost all the travelers (almost all, not all) have similar bitter experiences, not only in Gulmarg, in Sonemarg also. I have seen another feature in this kind of attitude ( harassment, foul words being hurled etc.). My observation is that specially the budget category of tourists are targeted for this kind of shabby treatment.

Aditi, great job, specially I like your pics. And on seeing these pics, I now realize what I had missed during our trip! Oh, one thing I forgot to mention that the long Q and associated harassment could have been avoided if Gondola tickets were bought on line beforehand. I would suggest future travelers would do well to keep this in mind
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