Monday, 23 January 2012

Kashmir-Top Destinations of India

Snow Capped Mountains
Described with words like Paradise on Earth, Heaven on Earth, Kashmir has long been the top destination of Kings and Rulers, the Rich and the Famous from the times of the Great Mughals who left their mark by building some excellent lush green gardens like Shalimar, Nishat, Chasme Shahi etc.
·          In the middle of Srinagar (Capital of Jammu and Kashmir) is the famous Dal Lake with its famous House Boats which offer excellent accommodation. The British Army Officers when they came to Srinagar in the nineteenth century were not allowed to build houses and so they came up with the concept of houseboats. One can explore and enjoy the Dal Lake by taking Shikara (special narrow boat like the gondolas of Venice) Rides. Besides the houseboats Srinagar has hotels from 5 star top of the range to tourist lodges. The Srinagar tourist places include The Dal Lake (it freezes over in winter sometimes), Shankaracharya Temple, Hari Parbat, Mughal Gardens and Parimahal. Srinagar is located in a valley and is surrounded by snow capped mountains all around.
·         Sonmarg, meaning Golden Meadow, 3 hours away on the Leh Road, is an exciting tourist place and as you approach it the Ice can be seen piled 10 ft high on both sides. A 30 minutes horse ride takes you up to the snow glaciers and you can walk up the snow glacier, have a cup of hot salty Kahwa tea, and come down at high speed riding a snow sled like a roller coaster. Sonmarg is at the head of the River Sind and famous for Trout fishing. If looking for adventure, Sonmarg would be the top destination in Kashmir.
·         Pahalgam -3 hours from Srinagar-with its Lidder River(White Water Rafting and Trout Fishing can be enjoyed) is the starting point of the annual Yatra-pilgrimage –to the holy cave with breath taking scenery at various tourist places on the way like Chandanbari, Sheshnag, Panchtarni with the snow and ice increasing as you climb higher and the temperature falling .
·         Gulmarg-being promoted at the Top Destination of Kashmir-is beautiful and its name means Road of Flowers-inspired by the beautiful wild flowers growing amongst the green meadows. The cable car ride up to Khilanmarg especially adds to the fun. Gulmarg boasts the highest green golf course in the world at 8000 feet. In the winter months Gulmarg transforms into a Ski Resort. The gentle slopes of Gulmarg make an ideal ski resort.
·          A Kashmir visit is also a culinary delight with its Wazwan cuisine which includes delicacies like Gustaba (Meat ball curry), Rogan josh (Mutton Curry), Kashmiri/Zafrani Pulav (saffron flavored rice with nuts) being the most popular dishes. At weddings a 36 Course Meal is served which consists mainly of meat-mutton, chicken, beef- based dishes. The vegetarian dishes are Kashmiri Dum Aloo (potato) and Haak (Spinach) served with Kashmiri Pulav. The people are warm, friendly and unassuming. The ladies are especially charming and pretty. 

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