top of page


Adorable Chick

Kashmir Diary : April 2013 - Day 1 to Day 3

The idea of group travel began from our journey to Kashmir. This state is Labelled as the "Switzerland" of India, the place is big hit amongst travel buffs from all over the world. Known for its natural, scenic beauty, handicrafts, gentle & good looking people, lovely apples, other unique spices and food, the Kehwa tea and boat houses, it is a must visit at any time of the year. As it lies at the foot of the Himalayas, the climate gets from pleasant in summers to cold in winters. The uncertainty, fear and safety issues surrounding the area is the reason why most times people avoid visiting here. In fact, daily life just goes about normally like any other place. All you need to do is keep yourselves abreast of the latest happenings and just get going. We did so too.

The 10 day travel began by taking a flight from Bangalore to Mumbai and Mumbai to Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir. Known for its waterfronts and houseboats, Srinagar is one of the largest cities of the state. We had booked ourselves at the HILLSCAPE INN a bed and breakfast place in the city. It is located in a residential area, away from the hustle-bustle of the city and was big enough to accommodate a dozen people. We were just 7 in number. The idea was to stay put in the city for 4 nights with 2 days around the city and 1 day to explore the nearby town of Sonmarg. Thereafter, two nights at Gulmarg and 3 nights at Pahalgam.

The accommodation was a bungalow set up amidst a lovely green garden with enough space for a campfire. The host Nasir and his kind father can never be forgotten , despite me forgetting the dates of our exact travel. All I can remember is it was in April 2013 during the full bloom of tulips. All wasn't smooth. I developed a kind of breathing issue when we landed and Nasir was kind enough to rush me to a hospital nearby. The next 2 days was spent by me having to re-coup in a room with yummy warm food served by Nasir's dad. Of course, the others went ahead as per itinerary and explored Srinagar city.

First up was the Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden. Whizzing past the famous Dal lake, the team landed up at the Mughal Garden. This terraced garden, built during the Mughal period falls on the eastern side of the lake and is the biggest in area in the whole of Kashmir valley. The group spent around an hour easily here, walking around and enjoying the serene atmosphere. The pictures, in fact, don't do any justice to the actual is what I am told. Sad I had to give it a miss, as I was resting up , getting ready to explore the land from the third day onwards. Not far away from this garden is the second biggest garden - the NISHAT BAGH, another master piece from the Mughal era. These gardens give you a feel of the Royal lives led years ago amidst beautiful nature.

Tidy Desk

Next up was the Chashme Shahi. Though it is the smallest among the three, it is more frequented due to its triple terrace structure, through which flows the natural waters from the mountain springs above. Covering an area of around one acre, the beautiful garden, again, follows the islamic/ Persian form of architecture.

The water from the spring is said to be of medicinal value and therefore even a sip of it, cures many bodily diseases. Nights at the garden promise lights and water dance shows. The perfect time to visit these gardens is from end April to June when the flowers are in full bloom. It offers some spectacular landscaping and the surrounding hills & water is sure to leave you mesmerised.

A visit to Srinagar is never complete without a visit to the Tulip Gardens, especially when you land there during the season. By day 3, I was up and running and my health conditions improved in a great way. I can never forget how encouraging Nasir's father was. His words are still ringing in my head " with this kind of fresh air she will soon be more than better. Once this fresh oxygen fills her lungs everything will vanish" and so it did !! By the evening of day 2 , I felt good enough to travel by car to the tulip Gardens. Labelled as the largest tulip Garden in Asia, the Indira Gandhi memorial tulip Garden spreads over thirty hectares of land. It is situated on the foothills of a mountain range close to Dal lake. Apart from tulips, there are also other varieties of flowers here.

The Tulip season all around the world falls between April and May. So if you are in Srinagar during that period, do not miss this garden. It was truly heaven. The place was no doubt used by many Bollywood movie makers to film their favourite shots. For a small entrance fee, we were allowed to access the gardens. Rows and Rows of colourful tulips with a mountainous backdrop greeted us.