Travelling serves a dual purpose for me. It helps me relax my mind and body. Besides that, it allows me to explore what we can’t do when we are stuck in our day to day life. I am fortunate enough to have visited what is known as the paradise on earth – Kashmir. It was like a dream come true, to experience the heavenly and serene environment of Kashmir with my loved ones when I went there two years ago.

The Journey

The flight journey to Kashmir from Delhi was itself spellbinding. We peeped out of the window and found ourselves entangled in between the clouds around and above us, and snow capped mountains below.

What I did there

Aanchal Rakheja at Sonmarg.

My trip included local sightseeing in Srinagar which includes the bright gardens, lakes and the local market. Although it was raining, the drizzle only further beautified the gardens and added to the richness of what we were experiencing. I must say that it was freezing cold but we were enjoying to the hilt. We also went to the local market and of course stayed in a houseboat, which was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. If you are a true nature lover, you just can’t stop admiring the beauty you witness over there amidst the colourful plants and bushes around you. The famous gardens we covered are Dilshad Garden, Shalimar Bagh and the most beautiful of the three Mughal Gardens in Srinagar, Chashme Shahi which has a small water stream flowing inside it. Pahalgam was another mesmerising place that we went to.

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We also travelled to an open meadow called Baisaran. This was the most exciting yet the most frightening part of the entire trip. The roads to Baisaran are not well developed and have been mostly cut out of the mountains. The only way one can reach there is through horses because they are the only ones who are able to walk on those narrow and slippery stretches. It’s actually like “ek taraf kua aur dusri taraf khai“. But when you reach the place, you realise that it is worth all the trouble. You will find shacks serving Maggi, games for kids, rabbits hopping around, snow-capped mountains no matter where you look and lush green meadows spread as far as you can see. It’s an ideal place for a photo shoot and that was my favourite part.

Aanchal with her family.

 

Next we visited the Sonmarg. I was brimming with joy because when we reached there, it started snowing. We were given leather coats and boots to walk across the snow. One literally experiences goosebumps as soon as one reaches there. For me, this remains the highlight of my trip, as it was the first time I had witnessed a snowfall. The pure silvery white mountains you walk through are completely dusted with snow and your feet keep on sinking in the snow just like your heart does in the beauty.

On our last and the final day in Kashmir, we stayed in a houseboat situated right in the centre of the beautiful Dal Lake. The entire houseboat had a wooden interior and you just can’t take your eyes off the interior. It gave us warmth – both physically due to the heaters installed and emotional due to its beauty.

We even went for a shikara ride in the Dal Lake and the most amazing thing is that while you are enjoying your ride you can buy snacks and cruise through the open markets on the lake, which comprises of other shikaras selling a variety of things. So enchanted were we by Kashmir, that it broke our hearts to leave.

Kashmir’s beauty had a healing effect on me. It was like the quintessential holiday we all dream of.

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Aanchal Rakheja is a student who lives with her family in Delhi. She has just completed her schooling and is seeking admissions in college.

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