“Don’t ever have that idea, see the news channel there are terrorist everywhere in kashmir” this was the response I got from my mother when I told her that I was going for a trek to Tarsar and Marsar. This trek starts from Aru valley near Pahalgham district in Kashmir. This was the first time i was travelling to Kashmir and as a person staying in an urban city even I become skeptical about my travel plans. The day before i was supposed to leave I had great difficulty in sleeping and was on the verge of almost dropping my plan, however an inner voice told me that I must go that I must explore.
Finally, the next day I boarded the plane. My flight was via Delhi, on board I met an interesting senior person and when I told him that I am going to for a trek to Kashmir he got very enthusiastic about it, he told me that he had been to there and that I should not worry much about the external factors. This conversation somewhat lightened me up. I boarded the connecting flight to Srinagar at around 12 pm from Delhi, it was an uncharted land for me, a place which I have only seen on television or in pictures and this was the chance to experience it. As we were descending down the whole topography of the land was changing, flat bedded fields were replaced by green beds and mushrooming trees and mountain ranges, the place seemed like having abundance of nature. The tall green mountain ranges were all visible from the flight window, chinnar trees, a Kashmiri symbol ballooning up from the mountain side.
Srinagar is under tight security, there is lot of terrorism activity in and around the state and Srinagar being the capital city, there is huge security blanket enveloping the city and it starts right at the time the airplane gates open up. The air was fresh and the sky was blue, once you enter the city one will find that every nook and corner of the city is heavily gaurded.
My place of Stay was a small houseboat with good woodwork and a happy atmosphere inside. The people were warm and friendly.
After having a quick meal i was all ready to explore Srinagar. Today the target was to explore 2-3 places, like the Shankaracharya temple and the Mughal gardens.
We were three people, we hired an auto, the temple is on top of a hill, the distance from down is around 7 km. These are the few shots taken while riding up and then coming back.
It was getting late and we had to cover one more destination, the famous Mughal gardens, it was getting darker so we decided to visit the one part of the Mughal gardens called Nishat gardens. Here are some pics taken at the garden.
It was a wonderful first day in Srinagar, a diverse culture and nature filled with beauty and awe. Returning back to the house boat with the moon in full glory in the sky I was happy and blissful.
As I was getting up from my sleep early morning the next day, I could hear raindrops, the sky was filled with dark clouds slight rain all around. Today the plan was to visit Hazarat bal shrine, Jamia Masjid and to taste some kashmiri food. I lazed around a bit for sometime and finally got up, it was 8 am in the morning, the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy.
I took the directions from my house boat manager on how to reach Hazratbal shrine, it was around 8 km from the place I was staying. I took a local transport, it took me around half an hour to reach the place, the ride was a bit bumpy but a good one.
The Hazratbal Shrine is most important religious place in Srinagar, it is supposedly is the place where one hair of Prophet Mohamed is kept,
Taking blessings from the holy place my next destination was the Jamia Masjid, it is a huge monument which can house more than 30000 people during prayer time. The monument is an architectural masterpiece with a courtyard in the middle surrounded by huge halls on all the sides.
It was a fascinating day exploring these jewels with in the city, by the end of it I was ecstatic and happy. A great end to the two days in Srinagar, next was my trek to Tarsar Marsar for which I would travelling to Pahalgham district.