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Old 24th February 2014, 22:56   #46
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Day 4:

I woke up at around 6:30 Am, glanced outside, and all saw was white, absolute white. There was a sheet of snow on everything possible and only one color was visible, it snowed heavy at night. I woke up Nandini and Priyanka and we all were excited to see fresh snow. Nandani pointed that she can see something falling under the street light.

Yes.

Its snowing, and its snowing very very heavy. We packed all the snow proof cloths over us and ran outside to enjoy the snow. It was a fantastic experience, our first heavy snow fall. Streets of Pahalgam were completely empty, it was just us and heavy snowfall. I had this fear of how will we go back, but it was time to enjoy, we will sort out return journey later.

We played for around 3 hours in snowfall, and it was growing heavy by every hour. Snow clearing machine cleared the main road at around 8 Am and by 10 Am, its was all the same.

By 11 Am, every guest in the hotel was in panic mode, we could see lots of activity and taxi walla urging tourist clients to leave Pahalgam as early as possible. I talked to one of the hotel staff on how should we plan, and he suggested that if possible we should leave right now, because if it continues to snow like that, roads will be closed for next 2-3 days. We packed up quickly, checked out and tried to take the car out of the parking.

There was a steep incline from hotel parking to the market road, and it was all covered with snow and ice. My first test happened here, I struggled to take the car up, but with the push from people around I managed to take it out.

All ready, we bid goodbye to the friendly staff and started driving cautiously. I reduced the tyre pressure to almost 20 Psi (normal is 32psi) and kept driving at 20Km/Hr. I was doing fine till I met with my first descent, where I had to brake a bit. I think I tapped the brakes little hard, and that was enough for the car to skid towards the valley. Luckily there was too much snow at the edge and we slammed the snow. It was scary but somehow with the help from a local taxi driver we managed to bring the car back on track.

I further reduced the tyre pressure to 15 psi and speed reduced to 10km/hr in first gear. After next 1 hour of drive I was getting the hold of the situation. We did slipped couple of time in between, but I realized it normal as I saw many local vehicle stuck in strange position due to slipping in snow.

We reached Anantnag by 4:00 Pm and it was clear that we can not reach Srinagar with so much snow on the road and under heavy snowfall. I decided to take the night break at Anantnag, called Jagjit bhai and he suggested to stay at Government Guest House and recommended few Hotels. We drove by the hotels and didn't like it from outside.

We drove upto Government Guest house and asked for room to the gaurd at the gate, he took me inside to the caretaker who refused rooms, saying its all full. As I came back to the car, received a call from Jagjit that he booked a room for us at the guest house and gave me the number of ACP. After few calls and strict instructions, we were inside one of the best, centrally heated room, dinner served in room, unlimited supply of tea and chocolate milk

Finally ends one the most difficult drive of my life, but it was a wonderful end of the 2013 as well. I guess will enjoy the new year eve under heavy snow.

It was the start of the snow fall
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-1.jpg

Streets of Pahalgam all snowed out

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Nandini's new friends
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Finally people coming out
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Gears all covered
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View from our room
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-11.jpg

Maggi time
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One family shot
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-13.jpg

More snow on the car
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-14.jpg

More random
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-15.jpg

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-17.jpg

Only few pics I could dare to click during our return journey, I so much wanted to stop every next minute.
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-18.jpg

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-19.jpg

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmirwinter-3-20.jpg
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Old 24th February 2014, 23:21   #47
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Hold on - you drove back just like that? No snow chains visible in the pic?
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Old 25th February 2014, 15:59   #48
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

It takes a lot of guts to drive without snow chains!! And your account of the slippages really got my goose bumps tickling!!
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Old 25th February 2014, 19:09   #49
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Excellent photolog my friend. I will be travelling to Kashmir in April, but now I regret not travelling there in January
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Old 26th February 2014, 10:07   #50
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

rkbharat, the pictures are just awesome! Kashmir is so beautiful in winter, every picture is alluring me to witness it first-hand!
And sir, I want to gift you snow chains on your birthday! :lol
You surely have guts!

Last edited by nishantdlv : 26th February 2014 at 10:12.
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Old 26th February 2014, 15:47   #51
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

This is fantastic. Have traveled to Kashmir during the summers but the winter experience is really outstanding. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us. I can clearly sense a few things that are essentials for a trip like this:

1. Snow chains
2. Portable car battery operable or manual air pump
3. Any anti-freeze if required
4. A plank of wood (for 2WD cars stuck in slush/ice)

Please do add in others that you carried or would suggest carrying. Will be of immense help.

Again. Great travelogue!
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Old 26th February 2014, 16:38   #52
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Hold on - you drove back just like that? No snow chains visible in the pic?
Yup

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsnavy View Post
It takes a lot of guts to drive without snow chains!! And your account of the slippages really got my goose bumps tickling!!
It was not that bad , once you get hold of it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer78 View Post
Excellent photolog my friend. I will be travelling to Kashmir in April, but now I regret not travelling there in January
April will be fun as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantdlv View Post
rkbharat, the pictures are just awesome! Kashmir is so beautiful in winter, every picture is alluring me to witness it first-hand!
And sir, I want to gift you snow chains on your birthday! :lol
You surely have guts!
Please do that, I will PM you my address

BTW I did ordered Snow Cables from Amazon, but because of new year madness, it could not reach me on time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buz View Post
This is fantastic. Have traveled to Kashmir during the summers but the winter experience is really outstanding. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us. I can clearly sense a few things that are essentials for a trip like this:

1. Snow chains
2. Portable car battery operable or manual air pump
3. Any anti-freeze if required
4. A plank of wood (for 2WD cars stuck in slush/ice)

Please do add in others that you carried or would suggest carrying. Will be of immense help.

Again. Great travelogue!
Snow Chain, good to have, 99.9% of the cars runs without chain in kashmir during winter
Anti freeze, not required, it never falls below -15 at night and 0-1 at day time.
Plank is useless, unless its long and spiked, A simple plain plank will slip. A rubber mat is much better alternative.

BTW, a pic of some of the stuff we carried, we could have survived on our own, for atleast 10-15 days

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-unpack.jpg

Kashmir Packing list, and its just the extract of our master packing list :P
Kashmir - Packing List.xlsx
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Old 27th February 2014, 14:49   #53
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Any idea how diesel vehicles fared in cold weather? Especially did they face starting troubles?? Have a Safari, hence curious to know
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Old 28th February 2014, 17:45   #54
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Rajiv, the SX4 is surely going places. How is it going after 83 K clicks on the clock. Do you plan to take it for your Ladakh trip later this year or will you be going in a different vehicle. Lastly any modifications done to the car or is it in stock condition?
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Old 28th February 2014, 19:28   #55
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Hi...you have been to both Kinnaur and Kashmir....how would you compare the two? Which did you find more beautiful...in terms of scenery, mountains, snow capped peaks etc...
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Old 28th February 2014, 21:36   #56
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsnavy View Post
Any idea how diesel vehicles fared in cold weather? Especially did they face starting troubles?? Have a Safari, hence curious to know
diesel vehicles were all doing fine. You might have cover up the radiator with jute bag, in the morning a bucket of hot water on the engine block and fuel lines can take care of any frozen fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajneeesh View Post
Rajiv, the SX4 is surely going places. How is it going after 83 K clicks on the clock. Do you plan to take it for your Ladakh trip later this year or will you be going in a different vehicle. Lastly any modifications done to the car or is it in stock condition?
SX4 is doing as good as it was on day 1, knock on wood, except that it eats up lots of rubber.
Yes, family trip to Ladakh is planned for June, with Zanskar, and SX4 will do the duty for the trip
Absolutely no modification on SX4, its complete stock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrhap View Post
Hi...you have been to both Kinnaur and Kashmir....how would you compare the two? Which did you find more beautiful...in terms of scenery, mountains, snow capped peaks etc...
There is no comparison between these two places, different people, different culture, different views.
Though Kashmir has an extra edge
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Old 2nd March 2014, 21:11   #57
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Default Re: Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience

Day 5 - 01-JAN-2014: First day of the year

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmir-winter-28.jpg

What a wonderful way to start the year, Month and Day, with all white gold around you and nobody else to interrupt you. No tourist, No Locals, No Sun, No worries. Only three of us and two care takers, and a poor BRO engineer who was stuck himself while overseeing the road clearance.

After yesterday's adventure, we were in no mood to head out any where soon. We just had to drive to Srinagar, to Jagjit's home, our stay for the night. We missed a lovely New Year celebration last night at Jagjit's place, but we had party for next three days, more on that soon.

It was still snowing heavy in the morning and it snowed all night. Everything was white and covered with a very thick layer of snow. Snow clearing machine cleared the inner roads of the Guest House twice but within 30 minutes of clearing, it was all same, covered with heavy snow.

We ordered late breakfast, multiple rounds of Tea and chocolate milk. It was time to take some breath and enjoy the real display of Chillai Kalan.

Chillai Kalan is 45 days of the coldest time in Kashmir during the winter time. We were right in the middle of the Chillai Kalan. All of us had full fund playing with snow, our first such heavy snow.

Nandini and Priyanka were diving under the snow as if they were not feeling the cold.

By 1:00 Pm, we were ready to leave, it required some effort to clear the snow around the car and to take a U turn. Luckily roads were much better today, though still snow all over. The moment we joined the NH to Srinagar, it was all black tar, while snow rest every where.

I took a quick stop to refill the air back into the tyre, remember we deflated it yesterday?, called Jagjit bhai about our start. By around 4:00 we were at Jagjit's place, enjoying the warmth of home, heater, tasty tea and super chicken.

It was a day to remember, again, What a wonderful way to start the year.

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmir-winter-1.jpg

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SX4 and other cars all burried
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Central area of the guest house
Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmir-winter-4.jpg

We had good fun playing with snow
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Trees with white gold

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More views

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Roads of Anantnag

Kashmir - Heaven, A Winter experience-kashmir-winter-20.jpg

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