I have been wanting to blog on my travel experiences since long. Travel, undertaken for whatever reason, is always fruitful. It provides a much-needed break from the routine
In the present day world where people develop fixed mindset due to social media, travel can be the biggest gamechanger. ‘One look on the ground’ can completely change the opinion formed over years based on books and hearsay because it helps in better understanding of different people and their culture.
Travel on vacations help in building better and stronger bonds between family members because of the time spent together.. It is unfortunate that a vast majority of Indians do not go on family vacations. In fact, a large number of people do not take vacations. Most of those who take vacations stay at home and some end up spending large part of it in doing office work.
A clean break from the routine is the best rejuvenator for mind and body. A refreshed and happy person performs better at office. Good performance is what brings promotions. This is more the reason people, especially the salaried class, should travel.
After the mindset the second perceived hurdle between people and vacation is managing the finances. Both of these can be removed by changing the mindset and a bit of planning.
I had put on hold my travel plans this year because of the pandemic condfitions. Though I had been taking short trips and weekend outings however, a long break was what I desired. Finally, an opportunity knocked this month at my door and I just grabbed it both my hands.
Kashmir has been my favourite travel destination since long. I have been there many times but ‘Yeh dil hai ki manta nahin, maange more’ (I love going back there again and again). Kashmir has been rightly referred to as ‘A heaven on Earth’ by the famous poet Amir Khusro. Kashmir is beautiful in all seasons. One can plan a visit anytime anywhere in Kashmir. Each location is as fabulous as the other. So, Kashmir was our chosen destination for a family break this year.
One can just travel by air and land at the capital, Srinagar and from there every location is within a couple of hours drive. One can plan to visit Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pehelgam to name a few locations. Just do not be in a hurry; Kashmir is to be enjoyed at leisure. Sonamarg is the gateway to the amazing Ladakh if one wishes to travel by road. The roads are lovely and one can pick and choose any place to stay as per budget and convenience online. You will be amazed by the Kashmiri hospitality anywhere you go.
I planned to drive down from Jammu and hit Gulmarg located approx. 300 km, the first night. The journey appears to be pretty long but is doable. The drive is beautiful barring few patches where road repair work is on. But, beyond the famous Jawahar tunnel, across the Pir Panjal ranges the travel experience is just ‘stupendo fantabulous’. After a three nights halt at Gulmarg, we headed for Sonamarg located three hours to the east. The stay at Sonamarg included a quick road trip to Drass in Ladakh. After spending three lovely days at Sonamarg we drove back to Srinagar.
Gulmarg – A heaven on Earth…
Gulmarg meaning meadows of flowers is nestled in the Pir Panjal in the western Himalayas. Tourists from all across the globe travel to Gulmarg all year round and enjoy the beauty. In winters the bowl gets buried under snow and ski lovers from across the world converge here. In summers and spring, the valley gets covered with variety of wild flowers and is a treat to the eye.
Few places from Ahprawat provide beautiful birds eye view of the entire valley. One can enjoy a long leisurely walk in the bright sun in spring, ski and other snow related sports in the winter. Ride in the Gondola (Cable car) takes one to the top of Ahprawat which provides beautiful view of the snow-covered valley or the pine flanked green meadows depending on the season. The place is best suited for rejuvenating the mind and body because of its environment. Do not be in a hurry, just enjoy at leisure.
We were fortunate to enjoy the first snowfall of the season the day we arrived in Gulmarg.
Read the literature available online in details to avoid being fleeced by guides and pony/ taxi owners. We had catered for plenty of time hence did not need to hire the services of pony or taxi owners. A good walk in a pollution free environment does whole lot of good to the body. Enjoy, this short video to get an idea of the beautiful place.
We departed from Gulmarg to Sonamarg after spending a fruitful, fun filled three days. The memories of the beautiful time spent in the valley will remain etched in the mind forever.