Kashmir Heaven on Earth – Part 2

The Second Part of this series covers DAY 2, DAT3 and DAY 4 of my Kashmir travel experience.

DAY 2 we went to Pahalgam which has beautiful meadows and place is buzzing with tourists all the time.

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We took 2 horses ( please see trips and tricks section to learn few haggling tricks ) and went to the main spot Betab Valley ( named after an old Bollywood movie ) which is famous for a lot of Bollywood movies. The food stalls serve you nice and delicious Maggie ( Noodles ). The valley has lots of Fun activities to chill around.

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On the way a, must stop is Avantipur ruins a small town between Srinagar and Pahalgam. named after the King Awantivarman. You can Hire a local guide – he charged only 50 bucks and gave a good dose of history

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TIPS AND TRICKS for PAHALGAM:

  • First and most important rule – doesn’t matter if you are Indian or Foreigner  – bargain minimum to 50% of what anyone asks you  especially guide of horse owners.
  • To reach at the top either you need to hire a horse ride. The guys will show you  a rate card mentioning number of spots and associated rates – Just ask them to take you to last spot ( The other spots will in any case come in between and are not worth paying 300-500 bucks etc )
  • On the way there are local kids – please buy some chocolates/chips for them – it gives a good feeling
  • The Shawl sellers and other handicrafts are good, but only if you bargain hard  and get them at goo price points

Third Day was Trip to Sonmarg – ‘Sonmarg’, is derived from ‘sona’ meaning gold and ‘marg’ meaning meadow- hence meadow of gold- Sonmarg unlike Pahalgam boasts of hills and mountains with Pine trees.

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One needs to hire a Horse or a Jeep to reach the peak spot and Batal valley.At the top of the mountain there was a little snow which a treat for kids  – The pictures talk about the beauty of Sonmarg.

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TIPS AND TRICKS for SONMARG:

  • First rule as mentioned earlier – bargain minimum to 50% .
  • To reach at the top either you hire a Jeep or Horse
  • Jeep takes you quick and fast and makes sense if you have kids or aged – Try to talk to other tourists to see if 2 families can be clubbed in one Jeep
  • DO NOT HIRE a Sledge pusher – it’s a waste
  • The Horse ride is interesting – but as the area is rugged you need to watch if you are a back pain patient
  • On the way there are local kids – please buy some chocolates/chips for them – it gives a good feeling
  • The journey is more interesting than the destination

The fourth Day was dedicated to Gulmarg which is another piece of GEM in Kashmir Valley –It is called the  Meadow of Flowers.

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In summers the valley is flocked with locals from Srinagar and tourists from across the world, the winter season sees ski and snowboard enthusiasts make way towards Gulmarg .Most of the times its snow covered in winters and the most famous for it is GONDOLA RIDE which is a CABLE ROPE CAR with 2 stops.

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Unfortunately, at my time, the weather changed drastically with rain and thunderstorm so I couldn’t go to the peak spot, but the first spot was also very interesting .. its famous for India’s premier Ski resort -the Apharwat Peak A MUST see if you visit Gulmarg.

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TIPS AND TRICKS for  GULMARG:

  • The first rule as mentioned earlier applies always  – bargain minimum to 50% with anyone J.
  • To reach the top either you need not hire any Horse etc . it’s a nice walk  
  • At one of the check points near Gondola, you will be asked to take a Guide .. they will pretend as if it is mandatory
  • DO NOT HIRE a Guide– it’s a waste.. rather tell them you have been here and will not need one
  • Next before Gondola parking, you will be asked to rent a coat and snow shoes – rent them, but bargain hard. I met a couple at Gondola who rented 2 sets for Rs 2000 whereas I did 3for Rs 500 from exact same shop.

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