Kashmir Diaries

If you fall in the following categories of people: 

– I talk to on a weekly basis; 
-who has ever accompanied me on my walks for more than 5 times; 
-with whom I crack inappropriate jokes; 
 
Then you will know about my pathetic luck when it comes to going on a vacation to Kashmir. 
If you don’t belong to any of the above mentioned class then I will let you know: 
The number of times that my family has planned a trip to Kashmir (which eventually ended up getting cancelled)  is higher than the number of times I have watched Breaking Bad.
 
Either my family does an insane amount of planning or I have too much of lack in my life, I will leave it for you to decide. 
 
But all the jinxed luck was thrown out of the window when I finally managed to go to Kashmir in a desperate attempt to escape the boredom of the city. An impromptu plan is what works the best. So, without further ado, here is a lame effort to write a travelogue (well, it is more of a picture journal, or just a way to show off the pictures because uploading holiday pics on facebook is too mainstream) 
 

The first stop was Gulmarg, which is a small town about 50 kms from Srinagar. This place is famous for its high skiing point and Gondola (cable car rides). Luckily, it snowed a day before we arrived, so it was all white when we arrived. FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (4)

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The views from the hotel.

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This picture was taken from the cable car, the glass window of which was..not clean. Also, did the number of pine trees make me feel weird? Yes.

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This tiny town has no residential area and only has hotels. Knowing me, I went on an evening walk with my sissy of a brother who tumbled down the slippery road, but he will kill me if I upload a pic of his fall. Yes, I clicked a pic when he fell. Don’t judge my life decisions.

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Here is a picture of my brother falling while skiing. I am an evil sister.
Now, if you ever plan to go to Kashmir, brace yourself for unplanned and spontaneous curfews. On the night before the day we were supposed to leave Gulmarg for Pahalgam, we were informed that a curfew has been declared because of an unrest the courtesy of which should be given to Modi Ji (he had visited Srinagar the day before).  Anyway, we left for Pahalgam at 4am, before the curfew started.

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This view greeted us. The Pahalgam Valley.
To my utter disappointment, there was no snow in this area, but the view was no less. This town is allowed to take pride in the fact that it possibly is one of the most beautiful place in the entire country (not that I have been to all the towns and cities in the country, but yeah)IMG_3257IMG_3255

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See, what I am talking about?

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The willow trees.

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Betaab valley (fun fact: it is named after an old movie named Betaab which was shot here)
Moving on, the last 3 days of the trip were spent in the city of Srinagar. This is where I get serious. The city, as beautiful as it is, lacks something very important. Development. The city still lives in its’ days of sheer underdevelopment. Why is it lacking behind with no investment or prospects of a better life when compared to other states of India?There exists something called Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. According to this article, except for defense, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir. Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.

Hence, with no means for an outsider to invest in the vast potential of the land, it is in a sorry state.

Getting out of my serious zone, this city has 3 famous Mughal gardens and a wildlife sanctuary to attract tourists. 

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Garden #1- Shalimar Bagh

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Garden #2- Nishat Bagh

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Garden #3- Chashmashahi (literally translates to, ‘The grand fountain’)

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A pretty view at the Sanctuary.
Can a trip to Srinager be complete without a Shikara ride on the Dal lake?KASHMIR2 266

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The house boats.
Remember the time when I said that you should be prepared for a curfew whenever in Kashmir? Well, the last day of the trip ended up in a lock down because of the death of a 22 year old engineering student who was killed by the shell of the tear gas that was allegedly thrown on him by the CRPF.(http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jk-one-killed-many-injured-in-protests-after-pm-modi-leaves/)

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So what do you do when stuck in a hotel? You end up reading an entire book (Clifton Chronicles is the best, so is Archer, don’t ever try to convince me otherwise)
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To the land of gorgeous views.

To the land of amazing food.

To the land of pure air.

To the land with the most beautiful people walking on its soil.

To the land I wish to visit over and over again.

To Kashmir.

 

 

Ps. I suggest that you never go to this place if you are in an exclusive or committed relationship because you will fall in love way too many times.

🙂

 

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