Why should you visit Kashmir sooner?

"If there is paradise on Earth, this is it"

And paradise it was . Early winter is the perfect time to plan for a visit to Kashmir. We will suggest to keep your itinerary  short . And enjoy the best trip of your life. 

   My Visit Month : Mid November 2015

As we were flying close to Srinagar, about 20 minutes before landing , all of a sudden , every passenger in the aircraft was on his toes craning theirs necks over the tiny window to catch a glimpse of the above. A fleet of Snow Giants.

   Visit Meena Bazaar in Dal Lake

Market on water...Only on Dal lake
  You will find a floating village with houses , shops, and hotels on all kinds of boats.

    A night on a House Boat

5 star houseboat ..Royal Dandoo group of hotel..Jigar Palace

Houseboats stacked in Dal Lake Srinagar

Take a Shikara ride.Watch the super clear reflection of the mountain. Spot fishes and water birds.

Dal Lake shikara ride

Take a 2 day stay in Pahalgam. Visit Mini Switzerland first day on a horse ride.

Visit Sonemarg. Enjoy the snow.

On your way to Pahalgam, visit apple orchids . Taste all kind of apples. The golden ones are supposed to be the best.

The dark ominous mountains  look like some forbidden place. I, was simply amazed.

Aru valley is the most beautiful sight among all the points in Pahalgam. Visit this on your second day in Pahalgam.Set out early.

 Every journey you make will mesmerize you . The melting snow. The blue river. Take breaks. Keep your camera busy.

In Sonemarg , visit 3 major points by jeep

Put your high boots and thick fur coats on, and enjoy some sledging, and snow ball fights. Its playtime.

 What we learned :

From this trip , we gained a lot of experience, had to churn out lots of tricks to tackle prices and deals right from landing to return back home. They might save you a lot of money.

Here's our suggestion for a honeymooning couple or family

  • Day 1: Srinagar  - Local sight seeing (3 gardens) and house boat stay
  • Day 2: Sonemarg and back to Srinagar
  • Day 3: Pahalgam (Horse ride to Mini Switzerland)
  • On the way to Pahalgam, visit Apple orchards and Saffron fields
  • Day 4: Pahalgam (Car tour to Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, and Chandanwari), then back to Srinagar
  • Day 5: Gulmarg, and back. Shop in Srinagar till shops close down (Around 8 PM)
  • Day 6: Shikara ride of the Dal Lake. Then catch the afternoon flight after 2 PM .

    Food you should try

 Wazwani cuisine is famous for its wide variety of dishes. Satiate your culinary desires .

  • Veg lovers: Sorry not too much to offer. Try the Kashmiri Pulav and Kashmiri Alu Dum
  • Non-veg lovers : The Wazwani Thali, Chicken Irani and Chicken Kanti

Where to book your package

  • Book from a local tour arranger. Preferably government run agency . I am providing details of the one we used. 
Web: www.srinagartourism.com | www.kashmir-tourism.com |
Email: kashmirtourism@hotmail.com  
  • Buy tickets for flight/train yourself. Pay them only after reaching their office.

How to deal with local guides

This is the most important piece of advise we want to give you, so you do not get cheated.

         At Sonemarg:

  •  Deal offered by guides - 7500Rs for couple. 3 spots in Jeep . 12 points on sledge (which is nothing but may be a few feet of snow track). Snow clothes and boots for both.
  • What you should pay : Max 3000rs . (In summer, pay 500rs per head max)
  • Why: Out of 3 spots, 2 are in the same place. You don't need snow clothes if already are protected well.

         At Pahalgam:

  •  Deal : For mini Switzerland (plus 2 spots on the way) , deal offered by guides – 1800rs per head.
  • What you should pay:  Max 1500rs per head.
  • Why: 2 spots are nothing but views of Pahalgam village...and some water tank with a story. The open plateau (mini Switzerland) is although worth visiting.

        At Gulmarg:

  • Don't hire a horse if you want to visit the Gondola alone. Just walk the mile.
  • Don't rent any winter clothes. No matter how cold it is, you are going to sweat when you reach the top. Your normal winter clothes you already brought along will be sufficient.
  • Hire a guide . Pay 300-400rs , and no more. He will get you the tickets for Gondola (to avoid getting in ticket line and join the actual queue to Gondola ride)


    Shopping Tips

What to buy?

  • Shawls - Bargain very well...they start from 300rs to unlimited..
  • Carpets - We got a good deal of 9K on a 5X7 inch carpet...It's awesome
  • Bed covers - Single ones 2000 max, doubles 3500rs max.
  • Food items like Saffron, Walnuts, Apricots (Khubani) , Almonds, Kidney Beans, Kashmiri Mirch . Buy these on your way to Pahalgam near Pampur village.
         Note : If you are getting your purchases couriered by the shopkeeper, please do not pay the      
         whole  amount . And note down more than one contact's phone number.

Where to buy?: 

Everything is available in Srinagar in and around. Shop while returning from Gulmarg on the highway. Buy all items from one shop to get a good bargain....And bargain very large...Never agree to prices that are asked at first..Trust us...We brought down prices to their knees...Max 60% of the asking price.

Most importantly, enjoy being there...It's just beautiful and peaceful to be there..I felt privileged to get an opportunity to visit Kashmir...Now I can die in peace...Best of luck fellow travellers.

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