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Old 29th July 2013, 22:48   #61
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

rkbharat,

Stunning, Scintillating, Awesome, Fantastic... I can add all the choicest of superlative adjectives, but they still fall short to describe the photographic masterpieces that you have shared here.

I'm just mesmerized by your work sir. If Kashmir is heaven, then your photos are heavenly.

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Its high time TBHP introduces 10* ratings

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Old 30th July 2013, 15:43   #62
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Rajiv, long time that I am posting on to your thread! Good to know that your SX4's performing great, and even I have done quite a number of soft-roading trips in the far-flung forests of Orissa (though nowhere near the likes of your trips) .. and yes, incredible photos!
Definitely it feels good for SX4 owners to re-establish the faith on the capabilities of the car through such trips. While I was contemplating something with 4x4 for sometime, can't really find any good equivalent. Debuda's thread on his Ladakh trip re-established that we can still do casual off-roading/ softroading with our non-4x4s.
Once again, kudos and congrats for your great trip.
As an observation, was looking at Renault Duster (though we don't yet have its 4x4 version) - same engine as SX4 and minor differences otherwise, except its SUV design that gives it the approach and departure angles.
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Old 3rd August 2013, 10:24   #63
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Thanks alot friends, more update next
Quote:
Originally Posted by aritraray View Post
I was just searching madly for the like button on each and every click...
Super photography , loved the long exposures.
It would be great however if you cold share the Body /Lens/Filter details
Quote:
Originally Posted by voyageur View Post
I need to say this, Awesome Photography. Made my day. Waiting for some more
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
Fabulous pictures Rajiv. Have you started your prep (permits etc) for the Bangus valley trip? Heard its quite a pain and involves verification and co-ordination between the JK and our local police?
Yes, already started

Quote:
Originally Posted by adarsh.n View Post
Hi Bharat, Those pictures are really awesome! You get a feel of being in the place. You have a fine taste. Share some more of your pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by avanishphatak View Post
very Nice Amazing picture ! looks like you like wide angle shots .

really loved each and every picture u posted
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Rajiv, Thank you firstly for the mesmerizing pictures-it kept me glued till i had to reply! it was revealing to know that there are other places that one can visit and enjoy without keeping to the beaten track.
Planning a trip in the second half of Aug till mid Sept, by Ritz, to Leh (Hopefully). as you have rightly stated no plans whatsoever-go where we can and stop whenever the need arises.
Waiting for the rest of your T-Log!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepv View Post
Rajiv, that is an amazing travelogue, made perfect with sets of picture perfect photographs!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vindrider2626 View Post
Hats off to you for those beautiful set of pics ,it is really sad that terrorism is rearing its ugly head again in the valley.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vihari View Post
I was supposed to visit Jammu/Katra/Srinagar from 1st June to 12th June but unfortunately cancelled the program. Cancelled bookings in Wangnu House Boats and JKTDC guest houses and lost a lot of money.

As already commented by me on FB, I envy you for being in such places and enjoying Nature in all its glory.

But my envy is misplaced since your talent in capturing those moments on film is such that, you make us all, a part of the experience!

Thank you very much for such photos bharath.

- Sai
Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Kudos Rajiv for bringing Kashmir to us through those top class photographs. But its not fair on us mango people when you post these picture perfect photographs, envy!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
rkbharat,

Stunning, Scintillating, Awesome, Fantastic... I can add all the choicest of superlative adjectives, but they still fall short to describe the photographic masterpieces that you have shared here.

I'm just mesmerized by your work sir. If Kashmir is heaven, then your photos are heavenly.

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Its high time TBHP introduces 10* ratings

Quote:
Originally Posted by car-go View Post
Rajiv, long time that I am posting on to your thread! Good to know that your SX4's performing great, and even I have done quite a number of soft-roading trips in the far-flung forests of Orissa (though nowhere near the likes of your trips) .. and yes, incredible photos!
Definitely it feels good for SX4 owners to re-establish the faith on the capabilities of the car through such trips. While I was contemplating something with 4x4 for sometime, can't really find any good equivalent. Debuda's thread on his Ladakh trip re-established that we can still do casual off-roading/ softroading with our non-4x4s.
Once again, kudos and congrats for your great trip.
As an observation, was looking at Renault Duster (though we don't yet have its 4x4 version) - same engine as SX4 and minor differences otherwise, except its SUV design that gives it the approach and departure angles.
Duster is a nice car, but other than those extra mm GC and better ramp clearance (and low end torque) I don't thinks it gives anything better over SX4.
After TDing all the SUVs in market, I have finalized Storme VX 4X4, hopefully will have it in couple of days . But I am still keeping SX4, its a class on its own and nothing can replace it
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Old 3rd August 2013, 10:42   #64
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Day 4 - Daksum - Kokernag - Aru

As we only had to cover around 100 km today, we decided to start late and had a very lazy morning. We completed the morning rituals by 9:00 Am. The caretaker of Daksum JKTDC, Sanaullah meanwhile asked if I have any eye infection drop as he was feeling eye infection. As we had none, we suggested him to come with us till Larno where he can get medicine and clinic facility, for which he agreed.

Bur before we leave Daksum, there was one important thing to complete. People at neighborhood invited us at their home for a cup of tea which we accepted with delight. It was a wonderful experience meeting the whole big Kashmiri family. Everybody was so friendly and shy at the same time. We did a small photo-shoot of the family and that helped opening up the shy people. They were excited to get clicked and everybody wanted to a shot .

We spent around an hour with the family and they wanted us to stay with them for a night, but we had to move as we were short on time. We picked up Sanaullah from the guest house, dropped him at Larno and moved towards Kokernag. Our first stop was at Kokernag Garden. It was really crowded mainly by locals and it was hot. Locals were enjoying the good time before the tough month of Ramzan. Its a wonderful garden and in a cooler day one can spend whole day here.

Other good option is to stay at JKTDC Kokernag which is within the premises of the garden, and you can take a lovely evening stroll in the garden. But not for us today, just to hot to our liking, so walked out of the park in 30 mins, and hadt o switch on the AC due to heat. From here on we drove straight to Anantnag, skipping Achbal garden which was in our agenda today.

Anantnag is very much like Srinagar, full of shops all across, mainly fruit shops. We refilled our food supply from Anantnag, filled up the fuel, updated our location to Sunny and moved towards Aru. Road all through this section was fantastic except of few bad patches before Anantnag. The moment I entered Pahalgam, I was shocked to see flood .

Both of them got so friendly as if they are close friends
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Lovely Kitchen, a tradition in Kashmir and Ladakh
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And the family, that was just few members of complete family
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Kokernag Garden

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Old 3rd August 2013, 10:46   #65
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Day 4 : Part 2 - Daksum - Kokernag - Aru

Yes sir Flood, it was a flood of people, with human presence at every corner of Pahalgam, from every corner of the India. It was further crowded by locals due to upcoming Ramzan. We were just hating it.
But first we needed some food as we had nothing for last 7 hours and we were feeling hungry. We checked the options with a frioend Sunny and he directed to his restaurant Punjabi Rasoi at Pahalgam. We had a wonderful lunch, filling our stomach to the brim.

Parking was a big mess, with people walking around everywhere, it was more scary than my daily drive in Gurgaon. After food we moved towards Aru and in between we called at home as Aru has no mobile connectivity, except off-course the WLL phone service at Aru Eco Resort.

Road from Aru to Pahalgam is very very very narrow at few spots and we had to backup at some places to make some space. We reached Aru Eco Resort at around 5:00 PM and received a warm welcome from Sunny. Our tent was ready and add to the fun, Sunny gave us another small tent. Nandini had two tent for her and she was delighted.

We were too tired to explore anything, so decided to spend the evening at resort. In fact its a wonderful place to sit back and relax, had a tasty food and a wonderful bonfire. We were joined by some of the BCMTians and TBHPians.
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Old 3rd August 2013, 10:56   #66
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Day 5 : Aru - Gaganpatri


Today suppose to be a very exciting day and Nandini was waiting for this day since the inception of this trip. I promised her that we will do horse/mule ride in our trip and today was the day for the that. Initially we planned for Lidderwat valley, but in discussion with Sunny last night, he suggested me to explore Arampatri as I will like it more than Lidderwat. I cannot thank enough to Sunny for suggesting me this and you will see that yourself today and tomorrow.

Three horses were arranged along with food and chicken :P, three people to help us including our wonderful guide and partner in this trek, Ali Baba. As its a long trek, we started early morning around 8:00 Am. Nandini was super excited to see her horse named Tiger. More on Tiger later.

It took me and Priyanka some time to adjust and learn to balance our self on those mules, but we were fine in next 1 hour of the trek. We were passing through lovely forest, streams, huge tall trees and sometime very scary and narrow inclines. It was more scary to cross those steep incline on the mule then on foot.

Priyanka and I tried to cover some stretch on foot but then I gave up and jumped back on the mule. All this trek route we could see Gujjar Huts on some remote peaks and kids playing around in the wilderness.

Within first hour of our trek, rain god decided to welcome us with some showers. Ali Baba was thoughtful about it and kept three rain covers for us without we even asked for it, good job I said.

It was really a poetic expressions on my face all the while we were passing through the valley and forest, which was lush green and clean due to last night rain.

Early morning clouds at Aru
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While I was taking a walk around Aru at around 7 AM, Priyanka joined me
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Wild mules
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Aru Eco Resort waking up
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Our horses/mules were ready by 8:00 am
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Monkey all set
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Let go and explore the nature
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All those lovely views on the way
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We took a breathing break after a very scary pass
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Happy Nandini
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Old 3rd August 2013, 11:04   #67
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Day 5 : Aru - Gaganpatri - Continue.

Some of the stretches in the trek were quite dangerous and crossing it over mule was making it more dangerous, so I covered some of the stretch on foot. Our first stop came after 1 hours of trek, in the form of a wonderful waterfall. And it was shockingly beautiful. A beautiful small waterfall, with a green patch of shore, surrounded by tall trees and mountains. I never saw anything beautiful like that.

We spent around 30 minutes in thearea, while Alibaba tried to catch some fish without much success, not a problem. With such a view, a simple meal will be more than what we need.

From here on the trek was simple and straight, it took us almost 30 minutes to reach our destination, Gaganpatri. We quickly had our tasty lunch, Aaloo Parantha and Chicken. While we all were having lunch together with Alibaba and other support guys, I just mentioned to Alibaba, "It would be a fun to camp here for night, wish we could". That was enough for Alibaba to open his magic box, he said just one word, "Possible".

But we had nothing for the night camping, no tents, no sleeping bags, no food and cooking arrangement. Then Alibaba offered a plan, he can go back to Aru and bring all the stuff we need for night Camping, while we can enjoy the place. It will take him two hours to go to Aru and return back with all stuff.

I looked at Priyanka, she had never done this before, she was little worried but much more excited for this. Nandini was all yes for the plan. Collectively we decided to go for the plan and gave the green signal to Alibaba. He quickly gathered himself, prepared a plan, left two horses and one helper with us, took one horse and the other helper with him.

While he quickly left for Aru, it started raining and we started looking for some cover. Few kids had put up fire near the tree and were sitting around it. We joined them and had a lovely conversation with all of them.

In between I decided to take a long walk around the waterfall and took some long exposures. And as it started raining I ran back to the tree, and saw some hectic movements under tree. I rushed to spot and found Nandini all drenched in water, she was trying to clean her mouth in the small stream and fell into it. No injuries but all her cloths were wet and we had no spare cloths till Alibaba comes back with our bags. I gave Nandini my jacket to wear which as big as her height . While Priyanka started drying her cloths over the fire. It was a funny scene, kids were really amused and so was Nandini. Luckily it was not much cold and fire was helping for the rest.

Meanwhile the helper with us went to a near by gujjar hut and arranged tea for us. We went inside their hut, had a lovely conversion with them along with multiple cups of tea. After tea we decided to go back to our tree and wait for Alibaba there. He came back around 3 Pm with all the luxuries for us.

Tent was set up in minutes, tea was ready with snacks and they got busy cooking dinner for us while enjoyed the tea. I had three cups of tea.

We had early dinner at around 7 pm and went inside our tent as it was raining, it was a wonderful experience sitting inside the tent. Nandini was sleeping in next 30 minutes as she was tired, while Priyanka and I kept talking for some time, till I lost to sleep.

At around 12 Pm, Priyanka woke me up, she was not feeling well and was feeling claustrophobic, she was feeling difficulty in breathing and may be scared a bit. I engaged her in discussion to divert her mind, we talked about our past things and watched the pics on my phone. That trick worked and she started feeling better. We kept talking till 4:00 Am and she was feeling better and took some sleep.

Morning was perfect and we are all set for our next trek to Arampatri.

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Old 3rd August 2013, 11:07   #68
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more pics from Day 5

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Old 3rd August 2013, 11:15   #69
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Day 6 : Gagan Patri - Aram Patri - Aru.

After a restless night for Priyanka, it was a wonderful and bright morning. Priyanka and myself took some sleep from 4 Am till 6 Am, while Nandini had a wonderful sleep all night.

Sun was out early with no clouds and rain. Trees and peaks were shining as if somebody just gave them an oil massage after a shampoo. Perhaps it was a gift of god after a rainy yesterday, though we enjoyed the rain as well.

We had our wonderful breakfast prepared by Alibaba and just played around a bit with Nandini who was also up early. We had to take a call for Arampatri and unanimously decided to march towards it. Though we decide to leave all out stuff at base and just carry few mules. It was a 2-3 hours return trek so we decided to take it easy.

Trek from Gaganpatri to Arampatri itself is a marvel passing through heaven. It took us 1 hour to reach arampatri, passing through some really tough patches. And as we reached the meadows, we were all shocked again. If Gaganpatri was amazing, Aramptri was breathtaking.

Its a small meadow in the middle of nowhere, you can not even expect it to be there, till you see it yourself. We spent an hour around soaking into the nature, tea with gujjar family, and taking few pics. With a very heavy heart we decide to travel back to our base at around 12 pm. I so much wanted to camp for another night at Arampatri, but I guess we had enough to start with. I am planning a dedicated camping trip in these regions. much more prepared.

Return journey was quick and event less, we reached Gaganpatri at around 1 pm and Alibaba was ready with lunch, and what a stupendous lunch it was, one of the best we ever had while on the move.

Packed all tents, bags and other stuff, we left Gaganpatri at around 2:30 pm, it was just 1.5 hour downwards journey towards Aru, but we had plan to stop at few places we marked while coming up. Our first stop came in the form of a lovely small meadow with Aru river flowing in between. Met a guy who was fishing there and in last 30 minutes he caught around 6-7 really heavy fishes, by just the the fishing cord, hook and a wooden rod.

Alibaba got excited looking at his catch and tried his hand in the river as well. He was carrying the cord and hook, though he caught only one fish after trying for about 40 minutes, but it was a good break for us.

From here on it was a straight run to Aru Eco Resort where Jagjit was waiting for us. Another wonderful night at the resort, but I was really tired and slept quite early around 9 pm.

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Old 10th April 2014, 14:12   #70
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Hello Rajeev,

I am Ujjwal writing in from Delhi and must start by praising the wonderful travelogue of yours with family to Kashmir last year. Truly mesmerising!! and what a journey!

I had planed a vacation in Kashmir this year and had already got the air tickets done , but your travelogue has inspired us to take the road- My first love.This vacation will be specially for my other who spent early part of her life in Kashmir, so she can freshen those memories with nostalgia

I took my parents through the fantastic pictures and notes you have collated and they are hell bent on travelling the way you did. Just to mention, they are already your fans and so am I!

Taking some great insights from you itinerary, here is what I have planned:

18th May- Delhi-Patnitop- JKTDC in Patnitop (Booking done)
19th May- Patnitop- Kishtwar- Ducksum- JKTDC in Ducksum
20th May- Duksum- Rest Day- JKTDC in Ducksum
21st May- Duksum- Martand- Aru- Aru Eco Resort
22nd May-Trek-Gaganpatri- Aru Eco Resort/JKTDC Aru
23nd May-Aru- Srinagar- Almond Villa/Houseboat in Srinagar
24th May-Srinagar-Doodhaatri-Yousmarg- Cottage in Yousmarg
25th May-Yousmarg-Jammu
26th May-Jammu-Delhi

I would be greatfull for your and TeamBHPians advise on making this trip a memorable one. Request your thoughts and suggestions on some doubts that I have:

1.Will Duksum be approachable from Kishtwar Highway close to 19th May? I have heard of heavy snowfall this year and being received in the region late untill now. While I know we can reach Duksum from the main Highway aswell, but going through Kishtwar and Sinthal would much more exciting..

2. Will be driving on a Grand i10 Diesel. What are the preparations I should take in terms of equipment, supplies and backups? Have done Delhi-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Drass-Srinagar and back on an old Santro and don't think this route will be a problem for the car to manage. But doing this with parents for the first time so want to be really well prepared. Your thoughts will be great to know

3. Have already spoken to Jagjeet and he tells me that the bookings will start after 20 April. Keeping the lodging options open after Daksum- as you suggested 'things change on a road trip'! Want to know how were the guides arranged in Aru for trek further. Can we connect with someone from here? Again, please suggest as to what should be taken along. Will not have the luxury of a big boot like SX4

4. Trekking difficulties (on a horse?) considering Parent's age in mid 50's (average fitness)

5. Houseboats you suggest can be taken at Srinagar, considering that I will have to park my car nearby

Had written to you on your gmail about this, but then realised that your insights could be beneficial to all here!

In great anticipation of a reply.
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Old 11th April 2014, 08:13   #71
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Mid may to do Sinthan pass is tricky, The alternate is to cross in to valley from Jwahar tunnel and then leave the highway half way down the slope to Verinag and from there navigate to Duksum via Kokkernag etc. using back roads. Had done this a few years back and it was heavenly. Have this as alternate and check for status of Sinthan Pass at Patnitop/Boatote before leaving the National highway towards Kishtwar. Kokernag could be alternate if you do not get stay at Duksum.

Other places to consider staying in your plan would be Gandherbal, Manasbal lake and Sonamarg meadows.

i20 should not have problems but be very careful on off road / broken patches. The "nose" tends to dig in up front (lower cross member) and rupture of a/c gas pipe is likely result - been there done that 8-)

And do take photography gear to rewards us with pictures on your return.
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Old 14th April 2014, 12:10   #72
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Thank you Sudev Sir!

I was considering this alternate route myself but via Anantnag. Would love to take the backroad you have suggested to see some real country side of Kashmir. And will also end up saving distance and time. Just hope this road in do-able condition and not too crowded?

About crossing Sinthan in May, have read at some places that the pass remains operational between April and September. But will have it double checked at Kud/Patnitop. Do you think he officials will be up to date on the status?

Not worried about accommodation as have booked JKTDC at Patnitop and Duksum ))

Cheers!
Ujjwal
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Old 15th April 2014, 07:23   #73
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

The route http://goo.gl/maps/9iEX0

Verinag springs is the starting spot of Jhelum take a break there and see this and the mughal garden. Also take a small detour to Acchabal either this day or the day you are moving from Duksum. Again try and visit old sun temple near Martand as well as the springs at Martand.
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Old 15th April 2014, 11:08   #74
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ujjwal Bakshi View Post
Hello Rajeev,

I am Ujjwal writing in from Delhi and must start by praising the wonderful travelogue of yours with family to Kashmir last year. Truly mesmerising!! and what a journey!

I had planed a vacation in Kashmir this year and had already got the air tickets done , but your travelogue has inspired us to take the road- My first love.This vacation will be specially for my other who spent early part of her life in Kashmir, so she can freshen those memories with nostalgia

I took my parents through the fantastic pictures and notes you have collated and they are hell bent on travelling the way you did. Just to mention, they are already your fans and so am I!

Taking some great insights from you itinerary, here is what I have planned:

18th May- Delhi-Patnitop- JKTDC in Patnitop (Booking done)
19th May- Patnitop- Kishtwar- Ducksum- JKTDC in Ducksum
20th May- Duksum- Rest Day- JKTDC in Ducksum
21st May- Duksum- Martand- Aru- Aru Eco Resort
22nd May-Trek-Gaganpatri- Aru Eco Resort/JKTDC Aru
23nd May-Aru- Srinagar- Almond Villa/Houseboat in Srinagar
24th May-Srinagar-Doodhaatri-Yousmarg- Cottage in Yousmarg
25th May-Yousmarg-Jammu
26th May-Jammu-Delhi

I would be greatfull for your and TeamBHPians advise on making this trip a memorable one. Request your thoughts and suggestions on some doubts that I have:

1.Will Duksum be approachable from Kishtwar Highway close to 19th May? I have heard of heavy snowfall this year and being received in the region late untill now. While I know we can reach Duksum from the main Highway aswell, but going through Kishtwar and Sinthal would much more exciting..

2. Will be driving on a Grand i10 Diesel. What are the preparations I should take in terms of equipment, supplies and backups? Have done Delhi-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Drass-Srinagar and back on an old Santro and don't think this route will be a problem for the car to manage. But doing this with parents for the first time so want to be really well prepared. Your thoughts will be great to know

3. Have already spoken to Jagjeet and he tells me that the bookings will start after 20 April. Keeping the lodging options open after Daksum- as you suggested 'things change on a road trip'! Want to know how were the guides arranged in Aru for trek further. Can we connect with someone from here? Again, please suggest as to what should be taken along. Will not have the luxury of a big boot like SX4

4. Trekking difficulties (on a horse?) considering Parent's age in mid 50's (average fitness)

5. Houseboats you suggest can be taken at Srinagar, considering that I will have to park my car nearby

Had written to you on your gmail about this, but then realised that your insights could be beneficial to all here!

In great anticipation of a reply.
Sorry saw your mail little late, will reply in detail tonight
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Old 6th May 2014, 15:52   #75
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, where you live to experience it

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
The route http://goo.gl/maps/9iEX0

Verinag springs is the starting spot of Jhelum take a break there and see this and the mughal garden. Also take a small detour to Acchabal either this day or the day you are moving from Duksum. Again try and visit old sun temple near Martand as well as the springs at Martand.
Thank you Sir. This will be my alternate plan if Sinthal does open by 18th May.

Indeed a great advise

Warm Regards
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