Monday, September 16, 2013

Kashmir: From Srinagar to Gulmarg

Kashmir is often called Heaven on Earth. Indeed, the four days we spent in Kashmir was Heaven owing to its pleasant weather, spectacular scenery and colorful heritage and culture.

Jet Airways Delhi Srinagar flight
Jet Airways Delhi Srinagar flight
Day 1 in Kashmir, India: Just as soon as we arrived in Dehli, we were again at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to catch our Jet Airways flight to Srinagar in Kashmir. It was a short local flight but we were still served savory sandwiches (vegetarian or spicy chicken) on board. As soon as we arrived in Srinagar Airport, we drove to Gulmarg, a hill station and resort town two hours from Srinagar.

Tangmarg Kashmir India
A mosque in Tangmarg
Gulmarg, which literally means Meadow of Flowers, is a popular skiing destination during winter. On the way, we saw one charming mountain village after another. Our late lunch stop (by now we were really hungry since the Philippines is ahead by 2 hours and 30 minutes) was at Tangmarg, one hour in between Srinagar and Gulmarg.

Tangmarg Kashmir India
While waiting for our meal to be served, I walked around town and saw a quaint mosque (mosque architecture is very different in Kashmir) and a village down the valley.

Seekh Kebab Kashmir India
Seekh Kebab
Gushtaba Kashmir India
Our lunch was a bevy of Kashmiri dishes which included Seekh Kebab (minced meat grilled on skewers in a tandoor) and Gushtaba (minced mutton balls in tangy yogurt gravy). It took us another hour to reach Gulmarg. But not before enjoying the picturesque views along the way!

Gulmarg Kashmir India Strawberry Valley
At Strawberry Valley, locals play a game of cricket, a popular sport in India
Gulmarg Kashmir India Strawberry Valley
As soon as we arrived in Gulmarg, we checked-in at the luxurious Khyber Himalayan Spa and Resort which is not even a year old! Too bad we only stayed there for a night. After dropping our stuff, we explored Gulmarg, particularly a place called Strawberry Valley, which is quite popular with hikers.

Gulmarg Kashmir India Strawberry Valley
Locals picnic by the roadside in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is a favorite family getaway for locals in India. So you'd often see groups picnicking by the roadside or enjoying the children's park by the lake. Pony rides are also popular in Gulmarg. But we decided to do the activity in Sonamarg where the views are even more spectacular. Before sunset, we dropped by the downtown area. More on Gulmarg in my next post. Photos on my India trip here.

Jet Airways flies daily to Srinagar!
Jet Airways has twice daily flights from Delhi (DEL) to Srinagar (SXR). Jet Airways also connects to Delhi from Manila via Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong at least twice daily!

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