Exploring Heaven!!

Summer vacations have just started. Everyone is busy planning their vacation to one or the other destination, one thing that ought to be common among all destinations; beat the heat there! Don’t think more, there is nothing in comparison to PARADISE ON EARTH, Kashmir. The only place where you have wide open choice of locations for various emotions, be it romance, religious, historical or casual. Many  options, One Choice.

Kashmir is a valley in the northwestern Indian subcontinent with its beauty just being beyond the scope of mere words. “Love at first sight” holds very well in this case. One cannot stop himself from falling in intense love with the serene and peaceful place. Situated at an altitude of 1730 m, it is just like God’s abode, heaven in literal sense. With your every experience, you will find yourself connected to the place. Famous hill resorts, innumerable lakes, magnificent gardens, shopping antiquities, sport adventures, etc are few reasons that entice you to be there this summer.

I got a chance to visit this place last summer when I was on my way with the Amarnath yatra. Throughout, I just felt being caressed by some mysterious forces, in arms so secured, that it seemed too natural for me to fall in love with the place. While you are in Srinagar, you can enjoy the ride of shikaraas (boats) in Dal lake which spreads across the whole city. As you move along the lake, you would reach Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh and Chashmashahi Bagh. Each garden has splendid beauty in its own unique way. The water running out of lion’s mouth at Chasmashahi bagh is so freezing that your organs become numb. At picturesque natural beauty, the Kashmir pilgrimages are very famous such as Shankaracharya temple, Hazratbal mosque, Charar-e-Sharif ,Kheer Bhavani temple, Amarnath Shrine, etc. Planning for Amarnath shrine is yet another courageous task. If your stay in Kashmir is little prolonged, you can always plan for your life lasting experiences of the mini-excursions to places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg (The Golden Meadow) ; the places that are still so untouched by human activities that you can enjoy the nature in its purest forms.

Gulmarg being famous for Asia’s highest cable car ride, housing the highest golf course in the world and Bollywood shooting destination. Unspoilt by the ravages of progress, Pahalgaam is the best place to visit, enticing all sense organs with its awe-striking beauty. You can pay a visit to the famous “Betaab valley” and sport river rafting in Liddar nala. Nothing can be more breath taking experience than this.

If you go to Srinagar and don’t shop the antiquities there, it’s not done. Kashmir is famous for its Paper Machie work, Kashmiri shawls and woolen, handmade carpets, silks and tweeds and exquisite wood work are the niche of the traditional craftsmen there. Shopping there is a delightful and an overwhelming experience altogether. Bargaining a little is  safe bet unless you are visiting a government emporium.

Kashmir is also famous for its mouth-watering delicacies. From Kashmiri kaiwah (with saffron) to the non-veg dishes, all tempts you for a finger licking experiences. Dum-Aloo (potatoes deep fried, dipped in rich gravy with dry-fruit garnishing) is one such famous dish. Walking along the boulevard road, if you happen to visit some tea-stall, don’t miss the namkeen chai (tea), it’s a different experience giving you relief from all the tiredness after roaming all day long and is considered good for health.

When you roam around here and there enjoying the bounty of nature bestowed upon the place, don’t miss to chat with the locales who are very friendly and exhibit exuberant hospitality. A tete-a tete with a Kashmiri would definitely be a mix of bad and good but is bound to bring you close to the place and remove all the pre conceived notions about it. With summers cool and comfortable and winters over-chilling, you will find most of the people wearing firans (overcoats). Tall handsome lads and beautiful soft spoken lasses are a very common view there.

So all set to go there for this vacation? Don’t forget to put a cardigan in your bag. And if your trip is for a good number of days, plan it via road rather than by air. The overall experience of travelling to Kashmir by road is thrilling and awe-inspiring with deep gorges, water flowing with you through out, high mountains shadowing your path, vernaculars, local cultures, etc. This trip will be one of the best experiences of your life. And surely your eyes will be wet at the time you bid good bye to the place and people there.

Karanvir Gupta

Image Source: [http://www.indialine.com/travel/images/kashmir-valley.jpg]