Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Kashmir visit

Recently I had been to Kashmir for a holiday trip along wity my son's family.It is really breathtaking.and wonderful.In the last week of March We made a trip to J &K state. On enquiry we found that no train ticket is available which running max wait list. At last we found there in one premium train is there ( Name sake). We booked our tickets on this train. They were charging one class above fare and the train can be treated and valued as passenger train. Govt became mercantine type and no relief to users. The train supposed to reach Jammu tawi by 7.00 Am reached at Jammu by 9.00 am . what a premier train it is?  The toilet is just like street toilet in AC coach and it is sinking. The curtains are name sake. No information on train location. This all happened in Capital Newdelhi  Station.All dramabazi.

            We reached Jammu on next day 9.00 am as told earliar. The situation in J&K is 4 days before there was heavy snowfall and the Jammu to Srinagar highway was closed for about 4 days due to land sliding and as situation improved the authorities has opened one traffic either side on alternative dates. From Jammu to go up limited till 9.00am from early morning. A  s per our programme we had to go to PATNI TOP which is about 100 KM from Jammu on Jammu-Srinagar highway. We were ignorant of schedule of Jammu- Srinagar highway rule. We proceeded on the highway. There are checkpost on every 5 KM due to border state. We were stopped at the Checkpost. we pleaded that our hotel room is booked for the day. The checkpost officials told allright but rule is rule. No permission. we turned around and went other side connecting Main road In that chekpost also same story and same rejection. we were in dilemma

      One thing I forget to inform is we hired one 10 seater car for the entire Kashmir trip. With the help of local people quidance we bypassed 3 checkpost by going inside bylanes and we travelled around 35 KM and there we were stopped in the checkpost. He politely refused us to proceed. We were waiting and waiting. When there were about 20 to 30 vehicles he contacted his higher officials and apprais   the situation. The officer has instructed to allow the staranded vehicle upand he himself came and assess the position. We were allowed to proceed in one go only. As the road is narrowed due to landslide we proceed with caution and reached Udampur. As there is one more checkpost at Udampur the driver has without any stoppage he was rushing to reach Udampur along with the group of vehicles who have crossed the checkpost to avoid isolation.
        We deboarded train at 9.00 am and fortunately we had tea only Our calculation was the distance bet Jammu and Patnitop is 100 Km as it is Ghat road at average speed we hope reach by noon He we decided with tea extra we can manage and save our hefty lunch at Patnitop Man proposes and God in this case Army disposes. We were fasting , fortunately we found Shops selling biscuits ,fruit juices, water, bread etc which benifited us to save us from fasting

     The auto drivers in Jammu station are group oriented. As our hired vehicle is srinagar regd he was not to come to station for picking us in station,so we want to hire a 3 wheeler  to go place where the taxi is waiting for us.  The driver demanded coolly 600 Rs. The distance is about 3 Km. We contacted our Taxi driver.  and say 300 is sufficient. we agreed for 2 autos as we are 5 members.

     On the way we are able to witness the snow filled top mountain. we reached Patni top at 2.30 PM and had our brunch at 3.00 PM. As this is our first day adventure which we never dreamt has drained our physical strength we took rest for the day and took complete rest. The first day experience has shown what will be other days

     Day II
      The hired Taxi driver was Experienced and we used to get his expertise often.He told us to get ourself ready for 4.30 Am Upward journey. Accordingly we departed Patnitop saying BYE we our 2nd day journey commenced by 4.30 Am . It was Dark and slowly daybreak occurs. as we started  early the first checkpost
was passed easily and we reached Ramban place by 6.30 AM and we had been stopped at Checkpost. This checkpost is controlled by Forest dept as that day was downward journey date we have been stopped for one hour as the road was damaged due to recent heavy snowfall as well as rain
 It has been noticed some of names refers to ramayana period. There were about 20 vehicles. We had some tea and snacks . Kashmiris prefer Tea with salt say Namkeen tea. At 7.30 Am we had been allowed to proceed. The another 38 Km stretch was severe land slide portion and the drivers of the opinion very difficult stretch. One canal they named as " Kooney Canal" . The large stones used fall from top to over highway often.Thats why one steel barricade is has hanging in such way no boulders can fall on highway.. In one place Rock cantilever was ther. One nalla is called as "Saittan Canal". We were stopped at 10.30 Am at one checkpost. It is the entrance of Jawahar Tunnel and it is the demarcation point for Jammu - Srinagar  area. We were stopped for Half an hour and we were letoff.
    The Jawahar Tunnel is2.5 KM long and it is singleway one for up one for down way. Once we crossed the tunnel the entire weather was transformmed. In Jammu region we witnessed snow in top of hill here the snow was on the road itself. We reached Anantanag by 12.00 Noon.Our driver was relaxed.
  At anantanag we had a hefty breakfast. Here I tasted Kasmir special drink made of Dry fruit and Kesar. It prepared like tea boiling all the dry fruit and litle bit kesar added. Very nice to drink. Afterwards we proceeded our journey and reached Pahalgam and check in in a hotel by 1.30 PM. After having snacks we hired horses for go around Pahalgam. The horse man showed us some film spot and some impotant places in Pahalgam and we reached vast ground place . The entire Pahalgam was covered with 15 feet  ice. Here in this place we had gliding etc and after spending 2 hrs we returned to hotel by 6 PM . Ofcourse we were in the middle of ice mountain having temp of around zero degree. You can imagine yourself. The bed are heated thro electricity.
  By 8PM we had our dinner and took rest
   From Pahalgam  for the Amarnath  ICE lingam shiva temple pilgrimage is starting every year by May.It is around 40 KM long journey by foot/ horse/ etc not by transport means.The Road tunnel is 2.5 KM and where as the rail tunnel which connects Anantanag  is 22Km long . The train route which  connect Jammu  to Katra passes thro Anantanag  and going upto Katra. Nowadays all weather Road has being under  construction and it is expected to complete within 2years period

III rd  at Kashmir
    Today we started just relaxly by 10 AM . After having slight round around Pahalgam only ice mounds we proceeded to our next destination .Our Next destination was GULMARG.. our way is thro Anant Nag . We refresh our memory upto Ananta Nag and after wards it is diverted towards Srinagar route.At about 2hrs journey we crossed village called Sangam where two rivers meet. In Sangam village one part of village is dedicated to Charas and one part the village is prospering with the small scale industry of manufacturing cricket bats the wood is of badam tree,and somany brands of cricket bats are manufactured here itself. The other part of village is for dry fruits cultivation and manufactures opened shops for sale also here. A very healthy village.Kashmiris preferring the hot drink made up of dry fruits and it is very tasty. After having our lunch on the way we proceeded to Gulmarg . At the starting of town there are shops for hot clothes ice boots etc . We hired the required clothes and boots as told by our driver who was our guide also.and we proceeded further for about one hour journey to Gulmarg.

 We reached the place at 5 PM. It was raining Heavily that means heavy Snowfall. The road was covered around 10 feet ice. The approach path to hotel is blocked for traffic and we have go by walk around 1/2 km distance.After alighting from Car we have approached by the guide incharge we negotiated deal. We have walk in the ice.Walking on the ice is not easy thing to plain area people It requires balance act. The ice is slippery and the foot must have grip to go further steps. Although we are having Gumboots ,the boot being gone wear and tear for years the grip of the boots are not much. We proceeded slowly and one point I lost my balance and I try to hold side rails which also Ice has made my hand freezing and with help of guide I manage to reach hotel entrance and sat before heater for sometime to regain the body heat and adjustment of atmosphere temperature

 IV th day at Kashmir,

      It was bright sunny day in the morning and I hoped a good day for roaming. We took our breakfast by 9AM and as per regulation we have vacate by 12 Noon otherwise another day will be charged. We vacated our rooms and kept our things in hotel cloak room. The cable car will open by 10AM. As per previus arrangement the agent purchased the cable car tickets. As the previous day slipping was in my mind a sledge vehicle was arranged. It is wooden sitting with no wheel to be dragged manually. I reached the cable car station. and we went up to 8000 altitude about 1000 ft up from Ground level.The entire area was covered around 15-20 feet snow. In that height there are place for sliding, skiing, roaming,eating places. All kinds foods available including coffee and tea etc.we Spend nearabout 2-3 hrs there.People /couples became roamantic recollecting the film scenes and enacted there .

   we left Gulmarg by 12 noon and on the way we had our lunch . while coming down we handed over our rented materials at the store where we took for rent.We reached Srinagar the final destination  of our tour by 4.00 PM. The driver took us around Srinagar and we saw one fort on top of one hill ,it was constructed by AKBAR.  one family which which has constructed both father and started constructing the compound wall in opposite side met after 23 years at the time of connecting the wall. The driver took us to Badam Park. It is big park. After this we went to handloom houses and at last we went boat house in DAL Lake.After entering into Boat house except TV and bed for any other thing you have to hire a boat to go land. Ofcourse foods are provided inside the boat.

Day 5

   The day started  with morning tea at 8 AM. after having breakfast etc we decided to shift to mainland hotel and after occupation of room we started Srinagar town site seeing. Srinagar is having   5 Parks. As this year
snowfall is continuing even this time the parks have not bloossemed and even we had frequent rains we could not able to witness full beauty of Srinagar. After having lunch we went for boating in the Dal Lake. Immediately after boarding the hired boat at frequent intervals we are accosted with traders of different articles like handlooms, jewellary, and we have stopped at food bazar , market ,minipark where Nehru spent his childhood . We had 3hrs boating and came back to hotel with much tiredness and we had our dinner.

Day 6
 Our flight to Delhi was 12 noon. We started by 9 am . We have to undergo through checking at 1 Km from airport and usual checking at airport and lastly baggage identification and we boarded Flight and reached Delhi


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