Srinagar, the paradise on earth, is rightly called so. Even in the midst of all the turmoil, tourists just can’t resist visiting this place and admiring it’s beauty. Dal Lake is known for it’s Shikaras which you can rent for a ride in the lake to the ‘Chaar Chinars’ and the house boats which have all the amenities you need for a comfortable overnight stay.
Our drive from Pahalgam to Srinagar, close to 3 hours, was not just scenic but also full of apple orchards and farms. We stopped by a couple of them and tasted the most juicy and tasty apples ever. First time I had real apple juice which was not from concentrate or flavours, but squeezed right out of the apples in front of me.
Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park. Only electric golf carts are allowed which you can rent along with a chauffeur at the main gate. He guided us inside the park and was a great company too.
A good 20 mins ride inside the park and we went on a short 15 minute trail to one of the watch towers. The grass was probably taller than us, but once we reached the watch tower, the view was amazing. It’s a very different kind of national park among the mountains where the altitude ranges from 5500 to 14000 ft above sea level. Famous for it’s Kashmiri Stag (The Hangul) and the Himalayan bear, sad we did not see any in the wild.
Srinagar is one beautiful place though where nature has been too kind. Only if we could end this political war, no place on earth would see more tourists than Kashmir valley and admire it’s beauty.
1. Do not miss the apple orchards on the way to Srinagar. Even if you have to take a de-tour, they are worth a visit.
2. Don’t be afraid of visiting this paradise on earth. Media shows way more than what the reality is. Left to the locals, they are more welcoming hosts than any of us anywhere else in India.
3. A shikara ride in the Dal Lake is going to leave you spellbound. Don’t miss it for anything. But again, negotiate hard with the people there if you want to save money! It’ll work out well.