Kashmir – Paradise on Earth;
Truly this place is a paradise on Earth as you would be wonder stuck when you see lakes, streams, valleys, gondola (cable cars in similar fashion of Switzerland !!!), apple orchids and land of Gold (Sonamarg). Come and experience this paradise to maximize the pleasure.
Kashmir is home to plenty of birds, natural wonders and different culture blending together and rightly called as “Paradise”. Enjoy shikara ride on Dal Lake, followed by Gondola ride at Gulmarg, enchanting Pahalgam and Sonamarg which will make your mind serene and blissful. This is one paradise which you should never miss seeing, be it Mughal Gardens at Srinagar and other fascinating gardens developed on backdrop of Himalayan mountains, you would never find like this anywhere on Earth.
A jewel of a destination, Kashmir is one of the most amazing holiday destinations in India. Srinagar, the state’s winter capital, is the first stop for most travellers to Kashmir; and with its great lake and meandering river, its exquisite pleasure gardens and romantic shikara rides, the old-world charm of its houseboats and the ageless grace of its architecture, the city is a fitting introduction to the many enchantments of the valley. The vast Dal lake is, of course, Srinagar’s emblematic feature, and its deep waters carry the most popular of Srinagar’s attractions: houseboats and shikaras. Many visitors are content to spend a great part of their holiday aboard these waterborne hotels, watching the lake’s traffic float by from cushioned balconies, venturing into the houseboat’s walnut-wood interiors for delicious, fragrant Kashmiri cuisine. If at all one can bring oneself to leave the boat, it is to step into another – the dainty, canopied shikaras. Fitted with generously cushioned seats and footrests, these elongated little boats constitute one of the great luxuries of the world, and have long been the very epitome of romance.
On the shores of the Dal are the great Mughal Gardens, glimpses into an earthly heaven of many-hued flowers, carpets of grass and playful fountains. On the two great hills that overlook the city and the lake – Hari Parbat (Kohi-e-Maran) and Shankracharaya (Takht-e-Sulaiman) are reminders of the city’s eclectic past: graced with ancient temples and medieval mosques, imposing fortress walls and simple, quiet shrines. The sacred is equally pervasive in the old city, lined along both sides of the Jhelum river. Here are the wooden Islamic shrines with pagoda-like roofs that are so distinctive of Kashmir, and here too are the spires of old temples built amidst winding lanes of wooden houses with their delicately carved balconies, centuries’ old bridges and bustling markets.
The markets of Srinagar offer a vast variety of the most refined crafts – from pashmina shawls, as light and soft as the breeze that blows across the Dal, to intricately handwoven carpets, delicately carved woodwork and glittering copperware. Epicureans will delight in the rich Kashmir cuisine: from melt-in-the-mouth gushtabas to irresistible walnut tarts, or even a handful of warm, roasted chestnuts cracked open in the sun. For those who wish to squeeze a little more of Kashmir into their stay, Srinagar is within comfortable driving distance of several popular sites. Horse-riding though the meadows of Gulmarg, angling in the cold waters of the Lidder river at Pahalgam, the spellbinding beauty of Sonamarg and the architectural treasures of Pandrethan and Parihaspura, these can all be experienced as day-trips from Srinagar.
Whether you spend your time in Srinagar exploring its many facets or simply unwinding by the lake, you will find yourself carrying home memories of a gentle, refined beauty that braces the senses and unclutters the mind.
Gulmarg’s legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of Asia’s premier hill resorts. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, Gulmarg was discovered in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. It was also a favourite resort of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Today, Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty but also the country’s premier ski resort in winter when it is covered in snow and takes on the appearance of a picture postcard.
Skiing & Winter Sports
Gulmarg was first established as a ski resort by the British who had set up the Ski Club of India here in 1927. Skiing at Gulmarg had become very popular during the pre-independence years. The resort used to host two major skiing events, one each during Christmas and Easter. In 1938-39, about 500 skiers are said to have participated in Christmas and Easter ski races. Gulmarg’s atmosphere was identified with European ski resorts of the 1940’s and 50’s – the ‘Alps of good old days’. It has good sunshine as well as good snow.
The skiing season usually commences just before Christmas (mid December) and continues till early April. During 1998, Gulmarg hosted the first National Winter Games of India, for which the facilities were enormously improved and upgraded. Modern equipment like Kasse Bohrer Snow Beating Machines (for preparing skiing slopes) and snowmobiles were imported, as also the first phase of the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car was commissioned. The resort facilities were further improved and upgraded for the 4th National Winter Games, which were also held here during 2003-2004.
Gulmarg is well suited for learning skiing. It has some of the best slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers, all serviced by ski lifts and chair lifts. Most of the skiing activities are centred on these slopes, which have ski runs ranging from 200 to 900 mts. Good quality equipment including skis, boots, sticks, gloves and goggles, are all available on hire from the Government-run ski shop. Trained instructors are at hand for guiding amateur skiers.
However, not all tourists who visit Gulmarg in winter come for skiing – some are simply there to watch the skiing or to enjoy a holiday in the snow. Many of them infected with the excitement of the skiers don their first pair of skis within a short while of their arrival.
Among the numerous slopes are some which are not serviced by ski lifts. These are quieter than those immensely popular with average skiers. Trained skiers take to these slopes and even trek in the snow for several hours to the top of the Apharwat range, to make a descent lasting no more than 30 minutes. And now with the setting up of the Gondola Cable Car, Gulmarg has become the highest lift-served ski resort in the world providing a downhill ski run of 5.2 km from a height of 14,000 ft in the Apharwat range. It is also the longest gondola served ski-lift in Asia.
Gulmarg also offers a host of other snow sports at this time of the year. The most popular among the tourists is riding a sledge and being pulled along the snow covered roads or gentler slopes. Tobogganing also does not require any skill – a flat wooden board is taken up the hill and then allowed to slide downhill. Snowboarding, another exciting winter sport is also being introduced and promoted here. Making a snowman and holding camp fires around it amidst music and feasting is another popular activity indulged by the tourists. But the most enjoyable aspect of a winter sojourn in Gulmarg is the friendly atmosphere. It is like being in a family where everybody knows everyone else.
Heli-skiing was introduced in Gulmarg, for the first time in India during the mid 1980s in collaboration with the world renowned French skier, Sylvain Saudan of Himalaya Heli-Ski Club of France. For this highly exciting sport, skiers are taken to the top of mountain ridges by helicopters from where they ski down the immense Himalayan slopes. Initially, the programme was started at Apharwat in Gulmarg. Subsequently, other sites in the Kashmir Himalayas were also used for the purpose. The programme was suspended during the 1990s, but now it is has been revived again.
Many foreign skiers visit Gulmarg and stay there for extended periods. For managing mountain operations, every year the Tourism Department engages a Ski Patrol Team, headed by accredited foreign experts.
Sonamarg or Sonmarg, located at a hefty altitude of 2,740 m above sea level, literally means ‘Meadow of Gold’. The picturesque natural beauty of the region brought this name to Sonamarg. Sonamarg, a town surrounded by breathtaking glaciers and serene lakes, is a snow covered beautiful flower-laden meadow in the majestic Himalayan mountain region. Sonamarg in the Kashmir valley is the gateway to Ladakh and situated just before the Zojii La pass.
Located at 87 km from Srinagar, the place is renowned for trekking and hiking trails. The snow clad peaks in the Himalaya and the undulated hilly mountainous regions are perfectly suitable for all types of trekking expeditions. Sonamarg is the base camp for many trekking expeditions.
The major treks passing through various mountain lakes such as Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Kishansar has its base at Sonamarg. The trekking routes offer all types of challenges, from mild to most hard. The pleasant climate with mild summer and cold winter make this place an ideal location for trekkers to explore the natural beauty and challenging treks.
Pahalgam – The Valley of Shepherds.
Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd’s village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir’s premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 deg C.
Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and the most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. “Betaab Valley”, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes. Aru, 12 kms from Pahalgam, is a picturesque meadow and base point for trekking to Kolhai glacier, Katar Nag, Lidder Watt and Trasar & Marsar Lakes.
Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year.
(Source : http://www.jktourism.org)
Day 01: Srinagar
Arrival at Srinagar Airport. Transfer to Houseboat. Evening leave for Shikara ride for visit to Dal lake.local sight seeing Back to Houseboat. O/N Srinagar Houseboat.
Day 02: Srinagar – Gulmarg –_Srinagar (4 Hrs return journey)
Morning after Breakfast leave Gulmarg – The word gul means flowers, and thus the name Gulmarg stands for a Meadow of Flowers. One of the Best Hill Station in the world, Highest Golf Ground in the World. Rest day at Leisure., and back to house boat. O/N Houseboat.
Day 03 Srinagar – Pahalgam –Srinagar(6 Hrs return journey)
Morning After breakfast leave for Pahalgam. Pahalgam – Land of Shepherds. Situated on the Banks of lidder River. Enroute Visit to Famous Avantipura Ruins & Marthan Hindu temple. and back to house boat O/N House boat.
Day 04: Srinagar – Kargil 204 Kms / 6-7 hrs
Morning After breakfast leave for Kargil, by visiting Sonamarg (Known As Meadow of Gold), cross famous Zodjila pass, Drass Village (2nd Coldest Inhabitant place in the World), Enroute have a magnificent view of Kargil war Famous Peaks (Tiger, Tololing) from Vijay war memorial hall site, reach Kargil by evening. O/N Kargil.
Day 05: Kargil- Srinagar
After breakfast return back to Srinagar on the same route as we took on 4th day and checkin to hotel / house boat at Srinagar
Day06: Start to airport and bid adieu to Kashmir.
|4 pax- INR 27,500 per pax6 pax- INR 24,600 per pax8 pax- INR 27,500 per pax12 pax- INR 24,600 per pax||4 pax- INR 23,400 per pax6 pax- INR 20,500 per pax8 pax- INR 23,400 per pax12 pax- INR 20,500 per pax||4 pax- INR 22,400 per pax6 pax- INR 18,500 per pax8 pax- INR 22,400 per pax12 pax- INR 18,500 per pax|
|Hotels:Srinagar- Deluxe house boatKargil- Siachen Hotel||HotelsSrinagar- Grand Habib hotelKargil- Greenland Hotel||HotelsSrinagar- Hotel center pointKargil- Greenland Semi deluxe|
Costs Includes :
Accommodation on twin sharing Basis as per Package Selected.
All Meals (Bed Tea, Breakfast, Hot / Pack Lunch, Dinner)
To & Fro Airport Transfers.
Transportation by Non A/C Innova or Xylo
Innerline Permit all all locations.
Complimentary Reach Ladakh Guide Book and memento on Arrival in Leh.
Cost Excludes :
Any Kind of Personal Expenses or Optional Tours / Extra Meals Ordered
Monument Entrances, Rafting & Camel Safari Charges.
Any thing not specifically mentioned under the head “Prices included”.
Tips, Insurance, Laundry, Phone Calls.
Any Kind of Drinks (Alcoholic, Mineral, Aerated)
Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control.
GST will be applicable on total amount.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
We strives for cost effectiveness by having a maximum 6 guests and hence initial amount collected is based upon that. It might so happen that the number of people might become smaller than expected. Himalayan Fantasy representative will get in touch with guests within 15 days of the departure date on the final group size.Thus, the differential amount need be paid by guests due to this change.
Booking must be confirmed 20 days prior to date of departure by paying the full amount – It takes lot of effort, time and money in planning the tours in remote locations due to terrain and logistics involved. You would appreciate that it causes lot of inconvenience to people staying there due to cancellation as they would have reserved the hotel/lodges for us.
All expenses accruing from change in schedule due to weather conditions or health issues are to be borne by the guests. Himalayan Fantasy would not be responsible for the weather changes or personal health issues. We shall take adequate precaution and always check the weather condition in advance, but cannot say.
Cancellation policy – While we strive to plan everything for you well in advance, enabling your trip to be hassle-free and fun filled. Implication is that fees, permits, accommodation expenses need to be paid in advance at those locations and in most cases they would not refund to us. Any cancellation would be inconvenient and loss to all those who were involved in making your journey memorable. Considering the cascading effect you would appreciate that it is fair that the cost has to be borne by you. However, our policy on cancellation would be as under:
- Cancellation prior to 20 days from date of departure : Full Refund
- Cancellation between 19 days to 15 days prior to date of departure: 50% Refund
- Cancellation between 14 days prior to date of departure and departure date: No Refund
- No Show : No Refund
What kind of clothing is required?
Kashmir climate varies across the country. One can be in shorts and Tee shirts andw within a few hours of travel, might require woolen wear. Normally, there is always fluctuation in temperature all the time even in the same location. Depending upon the month you select, the temperature varies. Generally, in Kashmir you see different temperate zones as we travel from Srinagar to Leh and back. In summers, the weather would be pleasant 25 C and in winters like in Drass or Nubra, can go to -40 C.
What kind of hotels are we going to be put up? Would they be neat for the price being charged?
The hotels would be standard category. Standard here refers to a well furnished, clean and hygenic and food is of good quality. We don’t compromise on boarding and lodging and ensure that the hotels meet the set criteria.
Can we use mobile phones at these locations?
You will find mobile towers across Bhutan. But at higher elevation, the network might not be good. You would require Bhutan SIM card or International roaming facility to use mobile in Bhutan.
Can we charge mobile phones?
While staying in hotels at all locations, we could charge the mobile phones.
How would be the quality of the roads at these locations?
Kashmir roads are very good at most of the places but not that good in few places. However, at times, due to landslides which is a common feature in these locations, the roads might not be in good conditions. The local administration does everything to restore, but then might not be adequate. Thus you might experience bumpy rides at certain places. The guide would keep you informed about road condition.
What if the road is cut off or blocked? What should we do?
There is nothing to panic. We shall provide you with information on how the condition of road is on the day of travel to these high altitude places. If the road is blocked, we shall work out a different itinerary to ensure that you enjoy the holidays stress free and without hassles.
Can we get children on board?
Children above 6-8 years are certainly welcome and they would certainly enjoy the nature.
What kind of food is available in these high altitude places for eating?
Most of these places, the religion is Buddhist and follow Tibetan culture. In Leh and Ladkah, you get Rice, Roti, Sabz, Daal at all towns and then would be a good idea to try Tibetan food like momo and noodles.
Will be updating soon…
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