|Shikara ride on Dal lake|
Kashmir is one of them . Ever since I was a kid always thought of visiting this 'paradise on earth ' . For the political unrest , alternate options always crept in .
These were equally good though .I traveled across almost the whole of India . But this time for my annual summer break I was keen to visit Kashmir and more importantly ; Gulmarg , Yusmarg , Pahalgam , Sonmarg and Srinagar as the key ones.
Since every other day you get to see and read about flash sales and with a little planning and playing smart you can get yourself a good deal and earn some 'miles' as well . I used a mix-n-match of Jet and Indigo and it costed me under INR 4000 one side from Delhi to Srinagar.
I have a bias at staying at places which are beautiful and more importantly have excellent service levels. Sringar was The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar which was the earlier palace of the Maharaja of Kashmir . You can get a good deal if you are a regular at the Lalit and book minimum 5 months in advance .
For Gulmarg and Pahalgam you don't have much options. The preferred places are Hotel Grand Mumtaz ( Gulmarg ) and Hotel MountView ( Pahalgam ) .
If you are a vegetarian , food may not taste the way you are used to so have rice and local produce . If you are a non-vegetarian you are in for a delight and a treat.
Must Do :
Srinagar- Visit the ancient 'Shankarachraya Temple ' , A ride on the 'shikara'at the Dal Lake and the Hazratbal Mosque and the famous Mughal gardens .
Pahalgam - I am in love with this place. Aru Valley , Betaab Valley ( the debut place of Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh ) , Chandanwari and Sheshnaag Lake. The real hero though is the 'Lidder river' where you can spend hours just seeing it flow.
Gulmarg - The only thing to do in Gulmarg Gondola ride. You need to book the tickets for both Round 1 and Round 2 in advance online . The ride is worth it .