I am extremely sorry to keep you waiting. This blog took a lot of time to come out. Honestly, I got distracted by a book idea and couldn’t hold myself back from writing it.
This happens for all my books. Something clicks in my mind, and then I can’t help but put it on paper before the thoughts vanish.
Well, I’ll give you this book’s details very soon. Now, let’s start with my Kashmir series’s last blog. The 4th and 5th days were the best days of our Kashmir tour.
Day 4 – The Gondola Ride In Gulmarg
Our Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. group soon became popular amongst the entire Honeymoon special Kashmir tour and the hotel where we were staying. People named us the “the laughter gang”. It was fascinating to be called by names at this age. I was taken back to my college days when back-benchers were the topic of the class.
Our wake-up call for the gondola ride in Gulmarg was at 5 am. We were instructed not to bathe because the temperatures at Gulmarg were much lower than that of Srinagar. We were finally excited to use our warm wear just like we did at Pahalgam.
The bus left for Gulmarg at 6, and we were given packed breakfasts as having it at the hotel meant a delay in reaching our destination. Veena World took care of all our meals like a mother. We never went empty stomach.
The journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg was magnificent. The mountains were covered with a carpet of little adorable white flowers. These flowers were found at Betaab valley and Aaru Valley as well, and I collected many to stick in my art journal. Gulmarg is known as the “Meadow of flowers”; no doubt, it is the crowning glory of Kashmir.
As we approached Gulmarg, which was a 1.5 hours trip, we had our thermals on. The gondola ride was a kilometre walk from where our bus was parked. Our group decided to walk, which meant lots of chit-chatting along the way. Others preferred a horse ride or shared cabs.
The gondola ride in Gulmarg operates in three phases, but we were taken till the second. Phase 1 is Gulmarg to Kongdoori, and phase 2 is Kongdoori to Apharwat point, each at the height of 8500 feet and 14000 feet, respectively.
When we were in the second phase, the oxygen level dropped considerably, and a few had difficulty breathing. But we were advised by our tour guides (beforehand) to sip water at regular intervals as water contains oxygen. (School main padha that H2O, sale ne apply kar diya).
We were happy to have experienced the longest and highest cable car ride in Asia. If you visit Kashmir, the Gondola ride in Gulmarg should be on your list and don’t forget to go up till phase 2.
By evening we were back at our hotel. We spent the rest of the evening chilling and fooling around with our newly formed group. We had deep conversations and also shared some humorous stories about our spouses.
We did not realize it was midnight until the hotel guy called out to us while we were having a blast on the lawn outside. He had to close the main door of the building, and that dragged us to our respective rooms.
Day 5 – The Mughal gardens & temple
On the fifth day, thankfully, we had a slightly late wake-up call. We visited the two Mughal gardens – Nishaad garden and Shalimar garden. Both were at a short distance from our hotel.
We spent an hour at each garden and took at least a hundred pictures and several short videos (to create reels later) of these gardens bustling with a ton of variety of flowers. Nishaad garden was the best among the two. We inhaled the amazing fragrance of the flowers that were spread all over the garden. The roses were huge and present in various colours. I loved the red ones; they were dark and the most attractive.
In the evening, we visited the Shankaracharya temple which was built in the 1600 century. The temple is located opposite Dal lake. We reached the temple by climbing the 250 steps panting. The steps are difficult, but one can manage.
We saw a 360-degree view of Srinagar city from the top. What a beautiful view it was! Climbing the steps was worth it!
By 7 pm, we were back at our hotel. It was our last day in Kashmir, and we wanted to make the most of it. So, after dinner, we all decided to sit back as long as the hotel guy allowed us to.
On the sixth day, we left for Mumbai with a heavy heart. We didn’t imagine it would be difficult to say bye to our guides. As they explained to us the procedure that needed to be followed at Srinagar (as it comes under military force) airport, it took some time to sync in that they would not be there to escort us, to help us with the timings, etc.
When the bus left for the airport, the guides waved at us until we were away from their sight. I couldn’t stop my tears and looked away far outside the windows hiding my tears as my husband hates them.
Though it was a six-day and five-night trip, we decided not to count the sixth day as we didn’t do anything in Kashmir. Yes, but we did plan for our future travels with our beloved group while we waited at the airport.
Here are a couple of group pictures for you. If you want more fun pictures, visit my Instagram handle @shraddharane23.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blogs and would plan your next trip to heaven on earth.
Also, will be writing to you soon about my upcoming book. Till then, keep guessing.
See you. Take care!
P.S. One reason I’d love to travel again with Veena World is because of the humble, smart, and experienced tour guides.