Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast ||
hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast ||
“If there is ever a heaven on earth, its here, it’s here, it’s here”
My love for Kashmir started when I was in school. During 9th class, there was a chapter on Pahalgam portraying the beauty of the place in vivid details. That day I decided that I will visit the most picturesque land on earth one day.
For years, I wanted to visit my favorite place on the earth – Kashmir. However, never got a chance due to many reasons. After many changed plans, I finally decided to fly solo. And I am happy for my decision.
There are a lot of things to do and places to visit here. Well to tell you, I have stayed in a house boat, took a traditional shikara boat ride, traveled in a gondola to nearly 10 thousand feet, and most of all experienced snowfall first time in my life.
I visited Kashmir during the end of the winter season. The temperature was in minus degrees and it was raining as well. I stayed a couple of nights in a houseboat. Houseboats are a novel type of accommodation available in Kashmir and primary attraction. The beautiful view of Dal Lake and surrounding mountain ranges from your houseboat during the day (especially in the mornings) is not an experience to miss.
I visited Gulmarg next – the place famous for its round the year snow covered hills. Gulmarg is a white town with a very less population. A gondola ride is the specialty of Gulmarg along with skiing. The gondola takes you to nearly a height of 10,000 feet. Get ready to be awestruck once you reach the mountain top.
En route to Sonmarg, I visited Awantipora – ruins of temples built by an ancient Hindu king and Sangam village – famous for its Kashmir Willow Cricket bat factories. The whole roads running through Sangam village are lined with cricket bats – a very fascinating view indeed.
Next, I visited Pahalgam and Betaab Valley (named after the 1983 Bollywood movie). This beautiful valley is straight out of a fairytale book. You can’t thank the lord almighty enough for the beauty of nature.
Pahalgam was my last destination and it was time to head back home. While returning, I promised myself that I will visit Kashmir again during summer to feel the warm breeze in my hair, smell the sweet scent of tulips and visit apple orchards. This is once in a lifetime experience that I would never forget.
Kashmir is indeed a heaven on earth. I suggest everyone visit it once to experience the nature’s beauty at its best.
Thanks for reading!