Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sky Watch.......Bandhavgarh


For hours I can keep gazing at the sky. Wondering what is it, so intriguing and mystical about it! When the sun transcends it's light, on to the clouds, the sky changes it's color dramatically. As if God is painting the sky crimson using the various colors from his palette.

 I captured  these pictures while enjoying an evening village walk in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh.



 




Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly.

 ~~~ Van Morrison ~~~

 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Alluring Kashmir.......Part2


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers


Read the previous part here: Alluring Kashmir-Part1

Well , in this part, I would let the pictures do most of the talking. Some jaw dropping scenic places of Kashmir coming up in this post.

 Pahalgham

Pahalgham the shepherd's valley is approximately 77kms from Srinagar. On the way you could see the Saffron fields and visit the Awantipura Temple. You could also treat yourselves to the Kashmiri Kahwa by stopping over at a dhabha. Kahwa is basically a tea prepared by boiling green tea leaves with Saffron strands , Cinnamon bark and Cardamom in water. This aromatic drink leaves you completely refreshed.

Awantipura Ruins




Pahalgham, one of the picturesque towns in Kashmir, is the favourite place for shooting of bollywood movies. There are various spots here like the Chandanwari, Baisaran, Aaru and Beetab Valley.  If you have less time you should atleast visit the Baisaran valley which is also called Mini Switzerland. You could hire a pony to take you there or trekk enjoying the pine trees and snowclad mountains around.

On the way to Baisaran, you would meet locals willing to let you pose with their white rabbits and sheep in return for some money. I got myself a picture clicked with a cute rabbit.



Gulmarg

Gulmarg is the Skiing destination of India having a two stage Gondala ride. As the Gondola (cable chair) moves up, you leave behind the greener pastures and get closer to the whiter, snow covered regions of Himalayas. Everywhere your eyes go, there is just snow, snow and only snow. As if vanilla ice cream was spread unevenly over chocolate brownie! :P

Stage 1 of Gondola is very crowded. There are various activities for tourists like skiing, snowboarding, sledging etc. Amidst this crowd and hurry to try out all activities, you might forget enjoying the view. If at all you manage sneaking some time to look around you would realize the place is so beautiful that for a moment you forget you are in India. I couldn't do the 2nd stage but I have read it offers a breath taking view and is relatively less crowded than the stage 1.




Sonmarg 

Sonmarg meaning the 'Meadow of Gold' is a hill station at distance of 87kms from Srinagar. I stayed in Hotel Snowland which was surrounded by huge magnificent mountains on all sides and  Nallah Sindh flowing in its backyard.





In Sonmarg there is an exciting trekk to Thajiwas Glacier... However, I gave it a miss. I didn't want to end my trip with another over crowded tourist spot. Instead I started walking towards the adjacent hills. Attempting to let the beauty of Kashmir sink in. As the sun prepared to set, I trekked to the nearby hills enjoying some blissful moments alone.

The dried trees still add to the beauty of the place.


Horses grazing on hill top, Sonmarg
  





The back side view from Hotel Snowland, Sonmarg

There are myriad things that will again draw me to Kashmir. But undoubtedly the peaceful, serene & untouched beauty of Sonmarg has won over my heart. :)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Alluring Kashmir.....Part1

My heart skipped a beat as I switched on the television set. Kashmir, the Switzerland of India, was hit by unprecedented floods. I felt extremely helpless seeing that the place which gave me an experience of a lifetime was struggling hard to survive. Almost 400 villages in the Kashmir valley were submerged in water.

Today, as I write this post Indian Army has managed rescuing 1,34,000 people so far. Relief material is being passed on to every village in need. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to the army men.

My brain flash backs; Exactly to the time when I was smitten by the beauty and mesmerizing aura of Kashmir. Kashmir exhaled love, warmth and peace in its every particle. Every minute I had spent there got etched in my memory. Every nook and corner of Kashmir is like a canvas beautifully painted by GOD.

The most common tourist places in Kashmir are Srinagar, Pahalgham, Gulmarg & Sonmarg. Each one equally vibrant, aesthetic and mesmerizing. Srinagar is the center point of the four.

I travelled to Kashmir this year, in the month of May on an all women group tour. Generally it doesn't rain in May but this time it did. Well, I wouldn't lie, it did became a spoiler. But overall the trip was just close to perfect

Srinagar, the summer capital of JnK is known for its Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens like Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh,Cheshmashahi and Pari Mahal. One would need atleast 2 days to enjoy Srinagar. Adi Shankracharya Temple is one of the ancient temples of India situated on the mountain top. Delight your eyes to the breath taking view of Dal Lake from the Temple. Pari Mahal meaning fairy's abode is a beautifully build garden on the ruins of a Budhist monastery. It is a 7 terraced garden overlooking the Srinagar city and some parts of Dal Lake.
 

Nishat Bagh





Pari Mahal


Living on a House Boat is a lavish and must not miss experience.  The House boats are finely designed with Deoder wood which doesn't decompose in water. There are close to 4000 house boats on the Dal Lake. The House boats are anchored in the water. They might tilt a little here and there but it's altogether a different experience to live on water. Each house boat has 3-4 rooms along with a common room having a dining area.

Dal Lake, Srinagar
 
House Boats


The house boat owners have their boats just behind the tourist houseboats. They are very warm and welcoming people. On the house boat  we were served home cooked hygienic but extremely delicious food. The food was a mix of Kashmiri and Punjabi Dishes. They use a small boat called as Shikara to commute in water. You could shop for amazing paper mache articles and jewellery on the floating market while enjoying the Shikara ride.  However, for authentic Pashmina Shawls and Kashmiri embroidered suits you should go to some government recognized shop.
 
Old Man selling vegetables on his Shikara


There is an uncanny thing I came to know about the people of Srinagar while I was chatting with the house boat owner. The kashmiri's like the house boat owners and staff , who stay on water are the water community and the one's from the land are the land community. The water people don't marry the land people and similarly the land people don't marry anyone from the water community. The water community spends almost their entire life on water. Their weddings as well happen on a Shikara. They shop, live and do business on Water. Ain't is amazing!

Women rowing on the Dal Lake


Coming to my favourite part of travelling, Local Food!

Ahdoos

When in Srinagar don't miss to savour your taste buds with Kashmiri food in Ahdoos. Adhoos is one of the oldest and finest restaurants serving authentic Kashmiri Wazwan. If you are a vegetarian like me don't be disheartened. There are some amazing dishes you could try like Kashmiri Dum Aaloo and Kamal Kakdi. Kamal Kakdi is a vegetable prepared using lotus stem in curd curry. In desserts try out the Kashmiri Phirni. Its is basically a rice pudding. I just couldn't resist having another bowl of it! It had the perfect sweetness and right flavouring of kesar and cardamom.


Kashmiri Phirni

You have a lot to see in Srinagar. But I would say, hold on , capture the beauty of Dal Lake as much as you can. I indeed lost my heart to its calmness. :)

Sunset @Dal Lake

Me ..@Dal Lake
There was an error in this gadget

BlogUpp!