It’s been two weeks since we got back from Kashmir and I still haven’t stopped talking about it. This post is actually a continuation of the last post (I noticed it was too long only after I began typing it in!)
Day 3 : We woke up that morning in a mad rush to be ready by 7.30. The vehicle we’d booked would be coming to take us to Gulmarg. Up until we got there I didn’t know much about Gulmarg, apart from its name. I soon found out that it’s a famous skiing place and, of course, another favourite Bollywood haunt.
We hired a guide so we were able to get tickets sooner than the others waiting in line. Tickets for what? The cable car to the top, of course! The view from the top of the mountains in Gulmarg is supposed to be absolutely breathtaking as it overlooks the Srinagar valley. It baffled me, though, that the cable cars were called Gondolas. But never mind that. The important thing was that we got tickets to both Phase 1 and Phase 2, something that was rather rare that day.
With the weather turning dismal, the only reason we managed to get tickets to Phase 2 was that we were one of the first in line that morning. Although it was foggy and soon began raining, our spirits were far from dampened. It was especially adventurous when there was a sudden power cut and we were suspended some 3000 metres above ground. We were asked to be very still and all was well in 20 minutes. The guide informed us, rather proudly I must say, that he had experienced power cuts mid air for up to an hour! A little difficult to envy that.
We were somewhat amused to find tourists bundled in heavy winter wear at the top of the mountain. We made do with light sweaters and stoles – and later had to thaw with lemon tea and french fries. But in spite of our numb fingers and frozen faces we still had a lovely time at Gulmarg.
Pretty flowers in pink, purple, white, and some yellow covered the mountain side. There were also quite a few interestingly shaped boulders that caught our attention. Even the grass was noteworthy with baby cabbages and succulent little leafy plants. I even saw a couple of mushrooms! Our journey to the top was perfect until the guide informed us that had it not been for the fog we’d have been treated to an enthralling view of absolute scenic beauty! Unfortunately, the fog was too thick and we weren’t able to see the Srinagar valley.
Although we’d spent just three days in Kashmir it felt like we’d been away longer. The quiet old world charm that Kashmir is still steeped in, made this trip different from any other (It helped that we went in September and not during the tourist peak season). Both luxuriously relaxing and blissfully rejuvenating, Kashmir was the perfect mini vacation away from the hustle and bustle of routine. But what made it the perfect escape from reality was knowing that it was only a little more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from home!