Completed Kashmir Road Trip

#1 Jun 22nd, 2016, 09:50
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#1
Completed kashmir road trip ex Delhi.
Left on Sunday (13/06/16) and came back on Saturday (18/06/16). Covered Pahalagham, Srinagar and Gulmarg. Night halts at Patnitop (onward journey) and Phagwara (return journey).
Hyundai Accent (2008) petrol with 4 adults and 1 child (7 yrs) on board.

If I can help anybody, please feel free.
SP
#2 Jun 22nd, 2016, 11:49
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#2
Please HELP us with a TR with emphasis on preparation of road journey, route taken, road condition, stay and cost etc. Besides, post a few pics, if possible. Thanks.
#3 Jun 22nd, 2016, 23:24
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#3
Ok i am in the process of jotting down my TR.
#4 Jun 22nd, 2016, 23:59
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#4

An unplanned Kashmir trip

This trip was totally unplanned. Earlier my plan was for Gangotri but due to landslides and rough weather I opted for Kashmir. It was on Thursday we decided to go. So didn't got the time to check any hotels, routes or sight-seeing places. As we both have taken a 1 week leave from our respective offices so we have to hit somewhere. Some places were popping up like Tirthan valley, Dalhousie, Chamba but nothing seemed to be a week long destination. So final destination Kashmir was finalized.

Travelers : 5 (Me, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law and daughter)
Vehicle : Hyundai Accent 2008 petrol model (earlier experience with this vehicle was Badrinath and Kinnaur). Solo driver i.e. me only.
Plan :

12-6-16: leave indirapuram by 4 am and reach Patnitop by 5 pm (for night halt only).
13-6-16: leave Patnitop and reach Pahalgham by lunch.
14-6-16: Drive to aru and betaab valley.
15-6-16: leave Pahalgham and reach Srinagar by noon.
16-6-16: gulmarg up/down
17-6-16: leave srinagar and will try to reach pathankot (night halt).
18-6-16: reach home.

Actual:

12-6-16 - Woke up at 2 am and prepared tea for everyone. By 4 am we were ready to leave.
Route taken : Delhi->Karnal->Ludhiana->Jalandhar->Pathankot->Lakhanpur->Katau->Samba->right turn towards Mansar Lake->Udhampur->Patnitop
No challenges en-route flat road till Samba. After you take the right turn roads are in bad shape upto Mansar lake and after that good roads are back.
Reached 18:00 and checked-in at hotel Greenland. Worst hotel. Charged 4000/- for 2 rooms. Cleaniness, Food, service everything they did was below all standards.

13-6-16 - Checked out by 9 am next morning and went for sight-seeing of Patnitop before hitting NH. By 10:30 started the journey in NH-1A. Had breakfast at Ramban in a road side dhaba. Once you cross Batote you will be welcomed by Indian Army's presence everywhere and they will remain with you till you leave Kashmir valley. Crossed man-made marvel "Jawahar tunnel" which is almost 3 km long and after that valley opens for you. Massive jam on the way especially Anantnag intersection was packed and traffic was almost stand still. From Anantnag it is smooth sail to Pahalgham. Excellent road and less crowded. Reached at 5 pm and after little survey checked-in at Hotel Taj (opposite petrol pump). Excellent hotel and got 1 suite for 4000/- which includes 2 rooms separated by a partition with 2 bathrooms. Food was not that good though service and hospitality was praiseworthy.
Evening strolling in the banks of river Lidder when came to know about some other attractive destinations like mini-switzerland, waterfall, dabiayan, tuliyan lake etc. As per the govt rate list the six places (except Tuliyan lake which is full day trip) for a person may cost you 3000/- approx. As i haven't done any homework for this trip so tried my best to bargain as much as possible. Rate fixed was 5500/- for 5 people (5 ponies).
Also came to know that private vehicles cannot be taken to Aru/Betaab valley and you have hire the local taxi. The fare was written clearly outside the taxi stand with different combination of places. Waiting time is 1 hour and after 1 hour 350/- extra will be charged.

...........
Attached Images
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Last edited by AdrenalineRush; Jun 23rd, 2016 at 08:50..
#5 Jun 24th, 2016, 13:39
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#5
@ AdrenalineRush,

Wonderful writeup with nice clicks.
Waiting for the next update with more photos.

Regards,

Umesh
#6 Jun 24th, 2016, 13:56
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#6
I am reaching Katra on 29th June for Vaishnodevi Darshan(Helicopter). After Darshan I will be back in Katra at 4PM and planning to leave to Pahalgam.

Is it safe to travel at night from Katra to Pahalgam or bettter to stay at Patnitop and leave in the monring?

How long will it take to reach Pahalgam/Srinagar from PatniTop?

Thanks
#7 Jun 24th, 2016, 13:56
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#7
Great ! Thanks for the excellent Snaps and TR. Waiting for more pics.
#8 Jun 25th, 2016, 16:43
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#8
Hello dvrhana,
If you are commuting in a private bus then it is OK as the NH-1A highway as it is quite busy at night also. The hotel i stayed is on the highway i can see trucks and cars running even though its complete dark out there. In case you are driving /commuting with some one who is not a regular mountain driver then i will not encourage you.
Leave as early as possible in morning and you can reach Pahalgham 4-5 hours from Patnitop. I remember some MLA/MP (kind of) was travelling on that day and traffic was halted for his convoy to pass. I started at almost 10:30 and reached 17:00 with numerous photo breaks (especially after Jawahar tunnel).
For srinagar it may be 5-6 hrs as it is more busy then Pahalgham.
#9 Jun 25th, 2016, 18:12
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#9
14-6-16 - Next morning saw the pony wala was standing outside the hotel complex from 8 am. Got ready and reached the taxi stand at 10 am where the ponies were ready. My father-in-law is close to 70 (though fit in plains) and my mother-in-law around 60 (not fit but thin). Have no idea what is in the store ahead. Intially my daughter was not comfortable in ponies and she was throwing tantrums but after a lot of efforts we were able to pacify her. My personal ride in a pony was almost 10 years back in Kufri. 2 kashimiris accompanied us and one was all the time with my daughter and the other one was tackling the remaining 4 ponies. It is undoubtedly a tough journey but must be undertaken by all. The 2 kashmiri's were good and soft spoken. At one water crossing the pony had to jump upwards. My wife lost control and she fell off from the pony. Her head was about to hit the rock when the pony wala (who was taking care of us) grabbed her and saved her from a major disaster. We were sitting like a lame ducks in our respective ponies while my wife took the fall very lightly, only we know, had he not grabbed her we had to abandon this trip entirely.
We reached the promised points out of which I liked waterfall, view of pahalgham and mini-switzerland (entry fee 15/- p.p.). Everywhere you will go, kashmiri villagers are ready with their shawl/stole/other kashmiri outfits or with lamb/rabbit for photo. The onward/return both journey is harrowing but will certainly go down in your memory lanes. By 2pm we were back to the taxi stand and i paid him 5250/-. Additionaly i gave 250/- each (as tip) to both the kashmiris.
We all were totally exhausted and decided to leave at 4 pm for Aru/Betaab. But we were late and at 17:30 we took a Tavera for Aru and Betaab. First we went to Aru valley which we reached by 6pm. Excellent views of the valley and worth visiting. We stopped for less than an hour as i wanted to cover betaab before sunset. By 7pm we reached Betaab. Entry fee 100/ per person. The driver offered a bird's eye view from the road going towards Chandanwadi. So instead of investing 500/- we went a little upward and checked the whole area from the top. Though it seemed beautiful from top but because of shortage of time we didn't entered the valley. We decided to return as we felt that the driver was supposedly break his ROZA by 7:45. Paid 1450/- for the taxi. The day ended with shopping of dry fruits (specially Walnuts). We purchased walnut kismis and other dry fruits from Delhi Kisan shop in pahalgham market. Reasonable price and good quality
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#10 Jun 25th, 2016, 20:25
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#10
Wonderful photos at ever beautiful Baisaran

Regards,

Umesh
#11 Jun 25th, 2016, 20:58
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvrhana View Post I am reaching Katra on 29th June for Vaishnodevi Darshan(Helicopter). After Darshan I will be back in Katra at 4PM and planning to leave to Pahalgam.

Is it safe to travel at night from Katra to Pahalgam or bettter to stay at Patnitop and leave in the monring?
I will suggest you to break your journey at Patnitop and start next morning.
#12 Jun 26th, 2016, 13:03
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15-6-16 - Morning was lazy and by 10 am left the hotel for Srinagar. The route was same up to Anantnag and from Anantnag go straight for Srinagar. The route is absolutely flat and smooth but crowded. We reached Dal lake by 14:00 and after a lot of survey, checked-in at Hotel Kabir. Excellent hotel with good service and food.Charges 3000/- for 2 room. It is inside a narrow street opposite Gate no. 15. Starting range of hotels with a view of Dal lake were above 4000/- while houseboat was 2500/-.
In the evening went to Nishant Bagh and then Shikara ride in Dal Lake. Weather turned awesome in evening as Srinagar is quite hot compared to Pahalagham. Missed Chashme Shahi because of time constraint.

16-6-16 - Morning was overcast and we left hotel by 7 am for Gulmarg. Drive was smooth and crossed the town swiftly. It was drizzling since morning. Reached a check point where a kashmiri guy pursued us for woolen clothes and boots. I went to his shop and took only shoes as we were already carrying woolen clothes. He was threatening us with dangerous consequence if we don't take woolen clothes but despite his threats i took 5 pairs of shoes for 50/- each and 1 jacket for my daughter for 100/-. Reached the parking area and pony walas do not waste a single minute and started pursuing for pony ride to reach gondola point. i turned down all their offer which started with whopping 6000/- for a 2 km road and we 5 started walking. It took almost an hour or so to reach the point because we didn't know the road. There are 2 ways to reach Gondola. If you want to walk to reach Gondola then take the left hand side road which is little more than 1 km. We took the right hand side and it was long. Anyhow, we didn't have tickets and therefore i stand up in the queue. Some touts were luring me to get the tickets instantly for extra 100/- each but i took from the counter and it took 1/2 hr to get. The 2nd phase was closed due to bad weather. Also came to know that tickets for 2nd phase is issued online only. Some online ticketers took refund while some deferred next day. It's a long queue before you reach the cable car. Gondola ride was my daughter's dream as she liked the cable car ride in Auli too. Gulmarg 1st phase is itself a heaven and walking is somehow not that strenuous. We 3 walked here and there (lot of empty space) while parent sat down and drank Kawa (tea). Food is damn costly up there. We were around 2.5 hrs up there and came back at 16:00. Drove back to Srinagar and this time it took 2 hrs to reach the hotel. Took rest and evening sidewalk in Dal lake. Don't take out your car in Dal Lake road in the evening unless required. Tremendously crowded, better to walk and take auto to return. After dinner i cleared by bill at night as we planned to leave by 5 am tomorrow.

17-6-16 - Today we have long way to go, so got up early and started the engine at 5:30 am. Surprisingly there were mist everywhere and 20 km odd driving was in misty condition. Previous day there were some disturbance in Jammu which we didn't know (some religious clashes). Heavy army presence everywhere and internet off till you been kicked out of Jammu. No major challenge on the road. Catch the Dhar road which is Jammu bypass and missed Mansar lake road. Took the road which is going towards Dhyal Chowk en-route Ramkot. Initial road was bad but was better than the Mansar Lake road. We stopped at Hotel Ashish right on NH-1 at Phagwara which we reached at 19:00. Took 2 deluxe rooms for 5000/-. Not much serviced used but rooms were very spacious and comfortable. Next day we left at 7 am and reached indirapuram by 14:00.
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#13 Jun 27th, 2016, 12:42
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#13
Wonderful Narration & Superb Photos...

Regards,

Umesh

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