Mom and Me to Kashmir! !!!
|16th April, 10.30 pm., at Pune Airport|
After a long wait finally we decided to make our journey to Kashmir. I fixed a date, 17th April; April is the month when Tulips blooms at Srinagar. We took a flight from Pune on 16th April at 1.40 am, summer heat on us and reached Delhi around 3.40 am our connecting flight was at 1.40 am, after 6 long Hrs. wait we boarded our flight to Srinagar at 9.15 am (long connection, long waiting), I was glad to be on the plane finally and landed at Srinagar at 10.30 am. The City was all ready to welcome us with all its surprises.
|17th April 11.10 am., out at the Airport|
Day:1 17th April 2018
As we stepped out of the Airport, it started drizzling (what a surprise, rains in April). Grabbing our bags, my mom and daughter in tow, we were on our vacation, summer vacation. At the airport exit, I saw Bilal (driver), waiting outside with a sign board. He dragged my trolley and led us to car park. And then he dropped us to the Hotel, making his way through narrow Gullies (narrow lanes). Throughout the ride, very excitingly Bilal was talking about his city, he talked about 2014's flood, he talked about Kashmir's political situation, Kashmir's current situation, Kashmir Tourism, he talked about unemployment in Kashmir and what not, he touched every aspect and subject, he could in that half an hours’ time (only half an hour through heavy city traffic. To make a note, he was really a rash driver. And I made up my mind to enjoy this roller coaster ride)
At the Hotel they welcomed us with aromatic “Kahwah” (Kashmiri drink, made up of water, saffron strands, cinnamon, cardamom and some sugar/honey to taste, traditionally prepared in a copper kettle known as a Samovar.) , which later became my daughter’s (Aarya) favorite drink. Though tired due to night journey, we were very excited to raom around city, so quickly we all got ready and grabbed some yummilicious food at hotel restaurant, dal makhani, roti and sabji.
|At Cheshmi Shahi|
And the most awaited journey finally started, and we headed up to Mughal Garden "Cheshme Shahi", derived from fresh spring which flows there. Garden is built around spring water. Kashmiris believes it, as holy water, which helps to heal all kinds of pains and stomach problem. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, used to get water of this spring to drink, to Delhi.
|Piece of Mughal Architecture, Pari Mahal.|
|Panoramic view of Srinagar from Pari Mahal, overlooking Royal Springs Golf Course|
From there we drove uphill to Pari Mahal or The Angle’s Abode, 5 min drive from Cheshme Shahi located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range., where we enjoyed panoramic view of Srinagar. Beautiful piece of Mughal Architecture, built by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh. We enjoyed the view of Royal Springs Golf Course. It is most picturesque Golf course in Asia. 1st women's Golf Tournament was conducted here in 2012. And surprisingly, this Golf Course is open to all (other than the members).
And then the next was Tulip Garden. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is the largest Tulip Garden in Asia spread over about 30 hectares, nestled on the foothill of Zabarwan range of Mountains. It was first opened in 2007. Tulip Festival is an annual festival in Srinagar.
|Tulips Tulips Everywhere! !!!|
As we entered Tulip garden, a dream came true, it mesmerized us with its beauty and vibrant colors. Millions of multi-colored Tulips were dazzling and waving in the wind, left us speechless. Garden was full of red, yellow, pink, white, orange, purple and many other color of Tulip beds. Every color had its own different and unique shape from other. Every Tulip plant will have 6-10 long lush green leaves with only one flower on it; some variety in Netherland is known to produce up to 4 flowers per plant. Any lane, any terrace you move in and it will leave you astonished. Travellers were busy capturing photos and videos, so as locals too…. Even they couldn’t keep themselves away from this enchanting garden. That is a famous shooting point as well I believe, I saw many groups were shooting something or the other (for music album, for some advertisement, some short film). And I also ended up capturing some lovely and colorful images of the Tulips and made loads of loads of wonderful memories, which I could, in those 2 Hrs.
|Young Traveler capturing stupendous Tulips.|
|My favorite color|
While leaving the garden I saw an old man sitting under a tiny hut, selling Bakar Khani, Sheermal (type of Kashmiri bread) and Kahwah, was damn innocent. Again a sip of Kahwah was must to refresh us (to bring back to real world) and keep us warm in the rain (it was windy and cold). If you want to book your trip to Kashmir or for Tulip festival, you can write to, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Nishat Bagh at its best|
|Count the colors if you can!|
Later we headed up to “Nishat Bagh” to admire its beauty, which is second largest garden in the Kashmir Valley after Shalimar Bagh, situated on the bank of Dal Lake. “Nishat Bagh” urdu word means “Garden of Joy and Delight” It has 12 terraces representing 12 zodiac signs. Kashmiri garden layouts are based on the basis of Persian Gardens. Nishat is divided into 2 sections, one is public garden and the second is private garden for the Zanana (a designated area for females).
Gardens in Kashmir are enchanting. You will find 100s of species and thousands of colors. 300 – 400 yrs. Chinnars , standing tall all over the city to welcome you. Kashmiri says, if a TB patient sits below the Chinnar tree daily for an hour for six months, will be cured (isn’t it surprising).
Every garden you will end up paying some entry ticket, which is anything between 20-30 rupees per person and Tulip garden was 50 rupees, which is a fair amount for Indian Travelers.
After exploring Nishat Bagh we still had some time to go back to the Hotel, so we window shopped little for nothing. Now we are back to the hotel. Ended our day with hot soup and a warm hug to my daughter. And went off to Bed.
Coming up next Doodhpathri.........