Remember the most famous line used to describe Kashmir?
Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast,
hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.
(If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here)~ Mughal Emperor, Jehangir
When I planned for my first trip to Kashmir, I was thinking not to use this quote. I was of the view that, this is an overused line which appears in almost every second blog. However now that I am back from trip, I couldn’t resist . Reason being the spellbound beauty of Kashmir. And I am not the first one, nor will be the last one to say it, that Kashmir is indeed a captivating beauty.
My tour itinerary was prepared by a nice operator called Bonafide Holidays, Srinagar. My friend Akif recommended them to me, and they arranged it well. I covered following cities :
Srinagar → Pahalgam → Kokernag and
Daksum * → Srinagar → Sonmarg → Drass Sector → Kargil → Leh (via Fotu – La/Pass)→ Nubra Valley (via Khardung la/pass) → Hunder → Turkut → Panamic → Pangong Tso.
* Skipped Daksum as it was raining and Panamic because kids wanted to spent more time at Hunder.
In past, I have seen Himalayas in Nepal and Uttarakhand. However Kashmir and Leh brings totally different landscape. Peaks here are more majestic than that of Uttarakhand, and I felt they are less prone to land slides. Kashmiris and Ladakhis, they are such a nice host that you end up falling in love with the place and people.
A short google story of the same trip, where I tried to bring together, some memories from the trip is in the end. But before that some of my personal notes to anyone planning a trip.
- If you are travelling with kids, make sure you carry medicine for their motion sickness, specially on the Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso/lake route.
- Pangong Tso mainly got famous because of movie 3-idiots. However there is a more beautiful lake, Tso Moriri. I would recommend to visit that too.
- To and back from Pangong can take a whole day with limited washrooms (specially for females) en route. So don’t miss those limited ones.
- Hunder is a small village where the Shyok River meets Nubra River. Hunder lies on the ancient silk rout. Hunder is most popular for the camel rides. Enjoy Camel Safari on the shabby double-humped Bactrian camels, which in olden days were the main mode of transport on the Ladakh-Yarkhand (Turkmanistan) trade. The Safari goes along the soft white sandy deserts with rolling sand dunes. It is a fun ride for kids.
- Turtuk tour is known not only for its scenic beauty but also for the reason that it shares a border with Pakistan. Considered the northernmost point of India, it’s the only border area in Ladakh accessible for the tourists. The village has an interesting history. Turtuk, along with its three villages Tyakshi, Chalunkha and Dhothang, was once a part of Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. However, in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, Turtuk was brought under India.
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