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CREATIVE TRAVEL

Kashmir - A valley of bliss...

November 2013


Wrapped around the aura of clouds, the beautiful valley of Kashmir lies among the great Himalayas to the north of India. Its natural beauty and purity has remained awe inspiring and is aptly described as the 'Switzerland of the East'. The Mughal emperors of India called it the 'Paradise on Earth' and established the many and famous Mughal gardens of Kashmir. Srinagar is the summer capital of the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits.

 

Suggested Itinerary:  Five nights, six days
Delhi - Srinagar - Gulmarg - Srinagar - Delhi

Day 1 – Delhi to Srinagar (by flight)
Day 2 – In Srinagar
Day 3 – Drive from Srinagar to Gulmarg
Day 4 – In Gulmarg
Day 5 – Drive back to Srinagar
Day 6 – Depart Srinagar to Delhi (by flight)

Why Go?

The beautiful valley of Kashmir is truly a paradise on earth. The first sight of the valley makes you fall in love with it, the sheer fascination and grandeur of Kashmir are beyond the scope of mere words. It is famous for its picturesque natural beauty and among other things is known for its Dal Lake that reflects the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks. There are also the Mogul Gardens, the floating vegetable and flower markets and the unique experience of staying on a houseboat. The valley is also known for its fresh apples and its intricate embroidery.

Prime Attraction?

We'll visit the city of Srinagar, the summer capital of the state set around famous Dal Lake, with its floating houseboats. There are golf courses, the famous shrines, the temples and the Mughal Gardens.Drive out to Gulmarg, a city known as “Meadows of flowers” and noted for having one of the highest gondolas (cable car) and a paradise for ski lovers.

Where to stay:

Vivanta by Taj Dal View Srinagar
http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Dal-View-Srinagar/Overview.html
The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg
http://khyberhotels.com/the-resort/overview/

Best months to visit:

April - May: Season for cherry, almond and apricot blossoms. The fields are full of mustard flowers.
June - July: Beautiful weather for all activities.
Sep - Oct (fall time): Harvesting of crops like rice, apple and all other fruits and is also a beautiful time to visit.
June, July and September are the best months for trekking activities.

Did You Know?

Kashmir and its people have always been enigmatic. This is because it is traditionally believed that the valley was a big lake in which lived a huge monstrous snake lived. The snake was slayed by a holy man & made an outlet for the water to flow so that land appeared for habitation. It is claimed that in Kashmir lies the tomb of Jesus Christ and that King Solomon visited the valley and taught its people.

 

Attractions in Kashmir

Gulab Bhawan: This palace in Srinagar is a former residence of the Maharaja (King) of Jammu and Kashmir from the Dogra Dynasty. The palace lies in the eastern part of the city and overlooks the Dal Lake. The palace was built in 1910 by Maharaja Pratap Singh and has been further decorated by his successor, Maharaja Hari Singh.

Shikara ride: On Dal Lake, soaking in the sun overlooking the majestic Himalayas. The Shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, and bakers - you'll see them all in wooden shops on the lake, near veggie gardens and acres of lotus gardens.

Floating market: A huge attraction in Srinagar takes place every morning at sunrise and is where all fresh produce in the city is sold. All the local fruit and vegetable producers come to sell while all the hotels and fresh produce shops come to buy. The only thing fixed about this market is its location and start time. Apart from that all business happens while the Shikaras float on a small area of Dal Lake. As you can imagine, it is quite a colorful scene with fresh cauliflower, onion, carrots, lotus root, and flowers for sale, to name just a few. In addition, the colorful characters buying and selling as well as all the tourists and their cameras make for an amazing and photogenic scene.

Gulmarg: Situated at an altitude of 2730 meters and at distance of about two hours drive from the city of Srinagar,Gulmarg is known as `Meadow of Flowers'. The valley of Gulmarg is a broad bowl of sloping meadows fringed by gigantic fir and pine forests. The air is crisp and cool. From here one gets magnificent views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges with Nanga Parbat visible to the north, Haramukh to the south and the Apharwat ridge and Sunset Peak to the east.
Gulmarg boasts one of the highest natural golf courses in the world and is also a winter sports resort with some of the finest ski slopes in the country. You can walk up a few kilometers to Khilanmarg, an upland meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the spring, which offers a memorable and unrivalled spectacle of snow-capped peaks and the shimmering waters of Wular and other lakes in the Kashmir valley. This is also the site of Gulmarg’s winter ski runs.

Chasma Shahi: The famous Mughal Gardens of Kashmir or the "Royal Spring" is the smallest of the gardens. The freshwater spring which supplies the fountains and falls in a fine cascade to the lower terrace is reputed to have medicinal properties. The garden, planned by Jehangir and completed by Shah Jehan in 1632, is situated in the slope of the circling hills.

Kashmiri Wazwan Dinner: A multi-course meal in the Kashmiri tradition, its preparation is considered to be an art. Almost all the dishes are meat-based (lamb, chicken, fish), but beef is never prepared. The preparation is traditionally done by a vastawaza, or head chef, with the assistance of a court of wazas, or chefs. Wazwan is regarded by the Kashmiri Muslims as a core element of their culture and identity. The culinary art is learned through heredity and is rarely passed on to outside blood relations.

 

For more information, please contact Mr Rajeev Kohli at india@euromic.com

Kashmir - Valley of Bliss

Srrinagar

Mughal Gardens

Dal Lake Srinagar

Gulab Bhawan

Shikara Ride

Floating market

Gulmarg

Chasma Shahi

Kashmiri Wazwan Dinner