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Location: Srinagar

Day 1 - 7 Oct 2021

Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport

Srinagar, Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport

Content: After years of longing to visit this region and contemplation, I finally took a plunge and got on a flight from Delhi to Srinagar. It was my first time flying over the Himalayas and was just mesmerized by the views of those mighty mountains 🏔 . Upon arrival at the Srinagar Airport, I grabbed my rucksack and stepped out of the Airport. There are 2 ways to get a taxi to your destination. You can take an Airport taxi which is available right outside the arrivals terminal or you could walk a little further till you’re completely out of the Airport Zone and then take a local taxi (the latter is a lot more cheaper) Airport taxi fare from Srinagar Airport to Boulevard road: INR 800 (negotiable) Note: Kashmir is a sensitive region so every arrival is registered. You will be asked to put in your hotel details and purpose of your visit. Also, SIM cards purchased out of Kashmir do not work in this region. You’ll have to buy a SIM card upon arrival.

Location: Dal Lake

Day 1 - 7 Oct 2021

Houseboat Shamus Maqbool

Dal Lake, Houseboat Shamus Maqbool
Dal Lake, Houseboat Shamus Maqbool
Dal Lake, Houseboat Shamus Maqbool
Dal Lake, Houseboat Shamus Maqbool

Content: The airport taxi will drop you off to the gate which is closer to the houseboat. To arrive at your houseboat, you will be required to take a smaller boat to get there. This boat is called a shikhara. I had to call the houseboat owner to let him know that I’ve arrived so he could send one of his ‘Shikhara’s' to pick me up from the designated gate. It’s a nice little ride to the houseboat. Price per night with electric blanket: INR 450 (varies upon the season though) Breakfast is available too upon request This houseboat wasn’t really maintained so I’d suggest going for better ones which are clean and well maintained and costs around INR 950-1000 per night. After check-in and freshening up, I took the Shikhara ride back to the road so I could go explore the boulevard road. Additionally, you could tip off the owner (around INR 150) for the Shikhara ride because they don’t really make much money.

Boulevard Road

Dal Lake, Boulevard Road

Content: The Boulevard Road is the heart of Srinagar. Flanked by the Dal Lake on one side and bustling market on the other, it is a beautiful stretch to walk about in evenings. Cool breeze, Mountain view, house boats moored on wooden jetties, colorful shikaras vying for attention and all of this makes this place a unique experience. Note: A lot of houseboat owners will try to approach you with best deals or offer to take you on a cruise around the Dal Lake. Don’t mind them because 'Tourism' is solely their business during these difficult times.

Krishna Dhaba Restaurant

Dal Lake, Krishna Dhaba Restaurant

Content: After a nice little walk along the boulevard road, I was starving and wanted to eat some really good vegetarian food. Kashmir has a lot of good places to eat if you’re a non vegetarian but the one and only place in Srinagar I trust with vegetarian food is, Krishna Dhaba. My usual order is Rajma Fry. And because it tastes so good, I usually take a parcel along too. Note: People usually wind up everything as soon as it gets dark and head back home. I’d suggest not to roam around alone after the sun goes down.

Location: Floating Vegetable Market

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Dal Lake

Floating Vegetable Market, Dal Lake

Content: One has to be up pretty early to witness the bustling floating market at Dal Lake. It is a unique experience which cannot be missed. Shikaras are available for visiting the Floating Vegetable Market which can cost around INR 500-700 (negotiable) And then you can just ask your guide to take you around the lake. You will be blown away by the beauty of the Zabarwan Range and the vastness of the lake. After Dal Lake exploration, head back to the houseboat to quickly grab breakfast.

Location: Srinagar

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden

Srinagar, Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden

Content: We took a shared taxi from the taxi stand towards Shalimar Bagh which is one of the Mughal gardens located on the right banks of the Dal Lake. It was built by the Mughal Emperor for his beloved wife. Best time to visit: May to October Entrance fee: INR 20 Shared Taxi fare: INR 10-15

Location: Nishat Bagh

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Nishat Garden

Nishat Bagh, Nishat Garden
Nishat Bagh, Nishat Garden

Content: After exploring the Shalimar Bagh, we walked towards the Nishat Bagh. It was around Autumn time so the entire garden was in hues of yellow and orange, making it a lovely spot to spend your morning reading a book or taking a walk amidst the rustle of the fallen leaves. Best time to visit: April-June & Autumn of course Entrance fee: INR 25

Location: Pari Mahal

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Pari Mahal پری محل

Pari Mahal, Pari Mahal پری محل

Content: We then visited the Pari Mahal which is translated as the 'Palace of the Fairies' This palace offers stunning views of the Srinagar city. Pari Mahal’s entire structure pays homage to the art during the time of Shah Jahan’s reign. Best time to visit: April to October Entrance fee: INR 20

Location: Srinagar

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Krishna Dhaba Restaurant

Srinagar, Krishna Dhaba Restaurant

Content: After visiting the gardens and the palace, we went to our go to restaurant for Lunch.

Location: Zero Bridge

Day 2 - 8 Oct 2021

Zero Bridge

Zero Bridge, Zero Bridge
Zero Bridge, Zero Bridge

Content: After a satisfying lunch, we went for short walk towards the Zero Bridge. It is an old wooden arch bridge which crosses the Jhelum river connecting Sonwar in the north to Rajbagh in the South. We sipped on hot chocolate and pretty much spent the rest of the evening there, enjoying the pleasant weather. After a relaxing evening, we went back to our houseboat.

Location: Pahalgam

Day 3 - 9 Oct 2021

Pahalgam

Pahalgam, Pahalgam

Content: Take a shared local taxi from the Taxi stand towards Pahalgam which is approximately 55 kms away. Duration: 1.5-2h (depending on traffic) Taxi fare: INR 160

Zebrina Guest House

Pahalgam, Zebrina Guest House

Content: Check-in at your Airbnb/hotel. Pahalgam is a famous tourist destination so you’re likely to find all kinds of accommodation here (i.e., from hotels to guest houses to resorts) depending upon your budget.

Location: Aru Valley

Day 3 - 9 Oct 2021

Aru Valley

Aru Valley, Aru Valley
Aru Valley, Aru Valley
Aru Valley, Aru Valley

Content: After checking in to your Airbnb/hotel, take a cab towards Aru Valley.It is known for it’s lush meadows, pristine lakes and mountains. Duration from Pahalgam Taxi Stand: 30 mins Taxi fare: INR 400 Things to do: Horse riding Fishing Skiing (during winters) Hiking Note: Aru Valley is quite disconnected from the phone and internet services. Only BSNL network works there. After exploring the valley, head back to the main town.

Location: Baisaran Village

Day 3 - 9 Oct 2021

Baisaran Pahalgam

Baisaran Village, Baisaran Pahalgam

Content: Walk towards the Baisaran village which is just 5 kms away from the main town. You’ll end up in a lush green valley covered with tall pine trees and surrounded with snow capped mountains. You can have a small picnic set up here and enjoy the breathtaking landscape.

Location: Pahalgam

Day 4 - 10 Oct 2021

Betab Valley

Pahalgam, Betab Valley

Content: Hire a taxi either a day before or just walk up to the taxi stand and ask around for Taxis heading towards Chandanwari. Full Taxi rental cost per day: 600-700 (which can be split among fellow passengers) First pit stop is at Betaab Valley for pictures. This valley has a lot to offer and is the starting point for many treks.

Location: Chandanwari

Day 4 - 10 Oct 2021

Chandanwari

Chandanwari, Chandanwari

Content: After Betab Valley, we proceeded towards Chandanwari which is the starting point of our trek to the Sheshnag Lake. The taxi driver will drop you off here. We took his contact details so that we could contact him when we are back from our trek.

Location: Sheshnag Lake

Day 4 - 10 Oct 2021

Sheshnag Lake

Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake

Content: We started our hike towards the Sheshnag Lake, which is roughly a 12 kms hike. The hike to the lake is extremely scenic, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain terrain and vast grassland terrain. It is a low-to-moderate-intensity hike with stunning views of the trail and the destination. We decided to set our tents 45 mins before the lake because it was already getting dark and weren’t sure if we’d find wood for bonfire closer to the lake. As the sun went down, it was getting cold so the boys went to look around for some wood. They managed to get enough to keep ourselves warm. We prepared dinner and chilled by the fire. Once the fire was out, it was cold and dark but the sky was lit ✨ We quickly cleaned up the area and went inside our tents to sleep.

Location: Sheshnag Lake

Day 5 - 11 Oct 2021

Sheshnag Lake

Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake, Sheshnag Lake

Content: The next morning we woke up at 4:30 AM and walked towards the lake before sunrise. The lake looked gorgeous and it was a mesmerizing sunrise 🌄 After spending couple hours by the lake, we hiked back to Chandanwari (the place where we started the trek from) We called up the same taxi driver who had initially dropped us to take us back to Pahalgam. ➣ Key points: • Proper fitness level required • Need proper gear & clothing for sub-zero temperature • Hiking shoes are a must • High Altitude requires proper acclimatization. • Do not leave trash behind. Clean up after yourself and keep the trail and lake area clean.

Location: Pahalgam

Day 5 - 11 Oct 2021

Airbnb

Pahalgam, Airbnb

Content: Return to your Airbnb/hotel in Pahalgam. Freshen up and get ample rest.

Dana Pani

Pahalgam, Dana Pani

Content: Grabbed some lunch from this vegetarian restaurant. I’ve tried their Aloo Matar and Paratha and the food was pretty decent. You can try other places around the town but as mentioned previously, there are very limited vegetarian options. You can also pack your dinner and take it back to your room or dine at the restaurant, whatever suits you best.

Location: Kulgam

Day 6 - 12 Oct 2021

Aharbal Waterfall

Kulgam, Aharbal Waterfall
Kulgam, Aharbal Waterfall

Content: On our 6th day, we decided to visit the Aharbal Waterfall. It lies in the Kulgam district which is quite far from the Srinagar city. Aharbal Waterfall is known as the 'Niagra Falls of Kashmir' due to the amount of water falling from its height. This magnificent waterfall is easily accessible throughout the year. Entrance fee: INR 20-25 (can’t recall the exact amount) After spending nearly 3h here, we drove back to Srinagar.

Location: Srinagar

Day 6 - 12 Oct 2021

Houseboat Shamus Maqbool

Srinagar, Houseboat Shamus Maqbool

Content: After a long day trip to the waterfalls, we came back to our houseboat and called it an early night. You don’t have to worry about going out to eat as they provide basic meals upon request.

Location: Tangmarg

Day 7 - 13 Oct 2021

Drung Waterfall

Tangmarg, Drung Waterfall
Tangmarg, Drung Waterfall

Content: We took a shared local taxi to Tanmarg which is around 50 kms away from the city centre. After reaching Tanmarg, you have to hike to the waterfall because during winters, the road leading to the waterfall is covered in snow which makes it harder for the vehicles to pass through. The road winds through a thick jungle with some breathtaking panoramic views. The entire water of the fall freezes with some splashes of water falling over it. The surroundings are covered in thick snow. Distance from Tanmarg: 3 kms Best time to visit: In winter, the best months are January and February. In these months that the waterfall is completely frozen.

Location: Srinagar

Day 7 - 13 Oct 2021

Hazratbal Masjid

Srinagar, Hazratbal Masjid

Content: We visited the holiest Muslim shrine in Kashmir located on the left bank of Dal Lake. The mosque has been built with a fusion of Mughal and Kashmiri styles of architecture. There’s a lot of history behind this place which you can either hire a guide or read it off the internet.

Location: Khanqah-e-Moula

Day 7 - 13 Oct 2021

Khanqah-e-Moula

Khanqah-e-Moula, Khanqah-e-Moula
Khanqah-e-Moula, Khanqah-e-Moula

Content: We also visited one of the oldest Muslim shrines which is located on the banks of River Jhelum. The structure is a magnificent example of wood architecture and has been built without nails. Note: Dress modestly and women should have a scarf over their head due to religious reasons.

Location: Srinagar

Day 8 - 14 Oct 2021

Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport

Srinagar, Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport

Content: It’s time to bid goodbye to this amazing place 🥺 Check-out and head to the airport. (You can book a taxi a day before or take one from the Taxi stand) Taxi fare: Around 450-600 (you will have to bargain) Allow yourself at least 3-4 h because security check at the Srinagar airport is quite intense. ➣ Additional information: • Kashmir is totally a safe place to travel to either solo or with someone. • Kashmir is a conflicted region, be mindful of what you’re sharing on Social Media. • Do not take pictures of people without their consent. It’s a reserved community, so they wouldn’t be okay with their pictures being taken. • Always carry your ID on you and do not roam around alone after it’s dark. Hope you’ve found this Itinerary helpful 😊