Kashmir is a land of myriad seasons and it changes the hues of landscape with the seasons. Burgeoning with magnificent scenery, unique experience in Houseboat staying, Shikara riding, Mughal Gardens, floating vegetable Gardens and host of adventure activities, this enchanting valley is always lavishly beautiful and a favored destination for tourists from all walks of life. Incredible beauty of nature, innate appeal, blissful ambiance and misty cool air of Kashmir satiate inner soul of every traveler and persuade them to visit this land again and again.
Once a humble shepherd’s village with breathtaking views, Pahalgam is now Kashmir’s premier resort, cool even during the height of summer season. Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra.
Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, is the first stop for most travellers to Kashmir; and with its great lake and meandering river, its exquisite pleasure gardens and romantic shikara rides, the old-world charm of its houseboats and the ageless grace of its architecture, the city is a fitting introduction to the many enchantments of the valley.
Is a city in Kashmir and is noted for having one of the worlds highest Gondola (cable car Taxi from the Airport to Gulmarg or Srinagar to Gulmarg should be 1,200 – 1,500 Rs. Prepaid taxis from the airport cost 1,350 Rs (December 2010) but if the roads are icy, you will proabaly only be able to catch the taxi to Tanmarg (950Rs), at which point you will need to hire a four wheel drive for 500-700 Rs. The journey takes around 2-2.5 hours. For those travelling from Srinagar, shared taxis (Sumos) are available from Buttmal to Tanmarg for Rs. 200 per person (Feb 2017). From there, you can catch a onward shared sumo to Gulmarg for Rs. 120 (Feb 2017). The whole journey takes 2 to 3 hrs.
Best way to drive in Kashmir is to Rent a Car
Arrive Srinagar, where you will be met upon arrival and transferred to your Houseboat. This afternoon enjoy a shikara ride on Dal Lake visiting floating vegetable gardens etc. Evening is free for leisure activities. Overnight stay at the Houseboat in Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Srinagar – Pahalgam (94 Kms / approx. 03 hrs)
Today after an early breakfast leave for Pahalgam, the Valley of Shepherds via Srinagar. Drive through saffron fields; visit Awantipura ruins of an 1100 yr old temple of Lord Vishnu. Drive through the pine forest and along the Lidder River. Arrive Pahalgam and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel in Pahalgam.
Today after breakfast, depart for excursion trip to Chandanwadi, Starting point of Amarnath Yatra & Betab valley, Located on the way to Chandanwari, the valley was named Betaab after the bollywood movie by the same name! Earlier known as Hajan Valley, after the release of the movie, it was renamed as major part of the movie was shot here.
Post lunch proceed for trip to Aru Valley – Aru Valley is a tourist spot 11 km from Pahalgam noted for its scenic meadows, and mountains, it is a base camp for trekking to the Kolhoi Glacier and Tarsar Lake. The village lies of the left bank of the Aru river, which is a tributary of the Lidder river. Overnight at the hotel in Pahalgam.
Pahalgam – Gulmarg (140 Kms / approx. 04 hrs)
Today after breakfast enjoy a picturesque drive to Gulmarg, the Meadow of Flowers, 2730 mts above sea level Gulmarg offers spectacular views of snow capped mountain peaks, conifer forests and green meadows; it is home to the highest 18 hole golf course of the world. Arrive Gulmarg and transfer to hotel. Enjoy a Gondola ride (On Direct Payment) Thereafter time is free for activities on your own. You may enjoy an optional sledge ride on the snow covered slopes (on direct payment basis). Overnight at the hotel.
Gulmarg – Srinagar (55Kms / approx. 02 Hrs)
After breakfast, proceed for Srinagar. On arrival check into your hotel. Later proceed for half day Srinagar sightseeing covering the famous Mughal Gardens Nishat Bagh, Abode of Pleasure on the shore of the Dal lake, Shalimar Abode of Love built by Jehangir for his wife Empress Noor Jehan. Also visit Shankracharya Temple (243 steps). Rest of the day free for shopping on your own. Overnight at the hotel.
Excursion – Sonmarg (83 Kms / approx. 02 hrs).
Today after Breakfast, proceed for a day excursion to Sonmarg (Golden Meadow). Sonmarg lies in Sind Valley streamed with flowers and surrounded by mountains. Sonmarg is also the base for some interesting treks to the high altitude of Himalayan Lakes. Enjoy horse riding upto Thajiwas glacier and sledge riding on snow (on direct payment). While returning back to Srinagar visit Manasbal Lake (Yet another mesmerizing Lake of the Valley) and Kheer Bhawani Temple, the most important temple for the followers of Historical Vedic Religion in Kashmir, known as the Kashmiri Pandits. Overnight stay at hotel in Srinagar.
Departure from Srinagar
Today after breakfast, transfer to Srinagar airport to board the return flight with Happy Memories!
The California houseboat is a 4 Star luxury deluxe Houseboat in the beautiful environs of Srinagar. The Houseboat offers comfortable accommodation with modern amenities to its guests. The California houseboat is located at Srinagar. The Houseboat offers a range of facilities to its guests like, wake up calls coffee/tea maker, Mini Bar, Separate shower, doctor on call, in house laundry and dry cleaning and a Internet facilities. The Houseboat also offered Luxury Swiss Tents for camping and organized treks outside the Houseboat in Srinagar.
At an altitude of over 7500 feet, is a different world altogether. Located at an exceptionally panoramic site along mountain view this beautiful resort commands a 360 degree spectacular view of the majestic snow peaks, layered mountain ranges and lush green Pahalgam valley, amidst acres of apple orchards and deodar groves. An ideal base to rejuvenate your body and soul, in pure & pristine nature away from the city chores. Hotel Midway Pahalgam has been conceived with a view to provide high standards of satisfaction, comfort, change in the living environment and a relaxed lifestyle to the visitors and guests to this Resort. Impressive international standard guest facilities
Things to do in Kashmir :
– Visit the Shankarachraya Hill Top, which has a splendid view of Srinagar city
– Visit the famous health resort Sonmarg. During the drive, enjoy the breathtaking landscape, alpine forest range and rapidly flowing Indus river.
– Later proceed on horse back to visit the famous Thajiwass glaciers
– You can take the world’s highest cable-car to the mountain top and enjoy the picturesque scenery of Pir-panchal
– Enjoy a horse ride via Baba Reshi
– Dal Lake Shikara Ride is a Must
Tips before you travel Kashmir :
1. Rent the boots and warmers @ Tangmarg (on the way to gulmarg)
2. Hire a guide at the same place and fix a price ( There is nothing to show, still you need a guide to capture your moments in ice … more like a photographer)
3. Gulmarg taxi stand to Gulmarg Gondola is again a Km far, Ponywala start to push for the ride, Which is completely worthless i wasted 2000/- … You can simply walkdown.
– If you wish to enjoy the ponyride … I suggest you to enjoy in pahalgam on the way to baisaran , which is a real adventure … and complete worthy option ..
4. Online booking gondola ride to second staze . (winter seems to offseason you can even try at the counter all depends on your luck)
5. Once you reach stage 2, local people start to push you for skiing (not a real skiing) or sledging hiring to go little further (around 500m) by charging us around 1500/- .. Not Worth
– We can have understanding with the guide that he has to walk us down there.
6. If you wish to do Skiing on your own, Which i have not done. Please talk to the guide to get skiing equipment . You can even book the skiing equipment online aswell.
Backpack Checklist (Travel Kashmir) :
• Light weight travel pants
• Short sleeve shirts
• Shorts / capris
• Long sleeve shirts
• Fleece jacket
• Comfortable shoes
• Teva sandals or similar Basic Essentials
• Insect repellent
• Antibacterial wipes/lotion
• Skin moisturing cream
• Money belt
• Small wallet for daily money
• First aid kit
• Sun screen
• Travel size Tide
• Foot cleaning scrub brush
• Energy bars/ snacks
• Needed toiletries
• Travel towel
• Diamox – For altitude Photography Equipment The following is a list of suggested photography gear. You will be doing portraiture, objects, documenting daily life, architectural and landscape photography.
• Camera body and back up – Favorite travel lenses: 16-35; 24-105; 70-300
• Rocket air blower – Lens cleaning tissue and fluid – Battery recharging unit and batteries
• Card reader – Laptop and power chord – Plug adapters
• Extra memory cards – Tripod-Small/lightweight