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Old 14th January 2015, 21:03   #16
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Gulmarg hadn't been as much of an enjoyment as we thought it would be. The nexus of touts & guides, too many people trying too hard to sell things we don't need, a lack of peace and quiet even though there aren't too many tourists, and of course, a lot less snow than we expected. Yet, it had been a good experience in some ways.

Would we go back when it snows a lot? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. We love snow, but we also love to be left alone on a holiday. No doubt Gulmarg and its surroundings are beautiful - but I can do without the irritation of dozens of people trying to cheat me, sell me overpriced stuff, tell me what to do and what not in an unsolicited manner, and in general try to lighten my wallet for no good cause.

With those thoughts we set back towards Srinagar. The rice fields are barren at this time of the year. The principal cereal for the people of the Kashmir valley is rice. Wheat (atta) is a rarity, and if one asks for rotis, one gets a product made of maida.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-2.jpg

Corn grows in plenty in the Baramullah region. Back on the NH1A, we find numerous makeshift stalls selling corn on the cob. The roasting is done on wood instead of charcoal as we are used to in the North Indian plains, and they don't coat the cob with lime, salt and chilies, unlike what we are used to. Nevertheless, the roasting on wood contributes a uniquely different (and pleasant) flavour.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-3.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-4.jpg

Necessity is the mother of all invention, they say, and we love this three-wheeler with doors on all sides to keep out the icy winds.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-5.jpg

Back at Srinagar, we are ravenous, and head for this great restaurant that we had discovered on our earlier visit. The food there is excellent as usual. This time though, they have stopped letting their customers have access to free wi-fi, and are charging Rs.40 for half an hour of use.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-1.jpg

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 14th January 2015 at 21:04.
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Old 14th January 2015, 21:24   #17
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
My PPGs were asking me about Srinagar, and we had made some plans. Then unfortunately the floods occurred and we have shelved the plans for a while.
Perhaps you can plan to go soon. Tourists are few and far between, good discounts are available on hotels, and the locals need the business that tourists bring in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Amazing TL and pictures...
Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
...I wonder how the people who own those junked up cars travel nowadays.
Many have been left car-less, and those who can afford it have bought new ones, rather than wait till the summer for spares & mechanics arrive from the plains to repair those that the local guys cannot fix for lack of expertise or spares.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Perhaps the member who started a new thread on engine trouble with his Fabia can hunt for a replacement over there!
A water-damaged Skoda engine would be a bigger nightmare for the member than his own engine that has seized due to leaked engine oil. Also, it would be pretty much impossible to find a Fabia in Srinagar. There are only a limited number of manufacturers that Kashmiris trust and drive, and Skoda is not among them. They love their Toyotas, Mahindras and Marutis, and grudgingly accept Tatas, Chevrolets and Hyundais as second choices. I haven't seen many Hondas there (no City, a couple of Brios, no dealer in Srinagar), and they haven't heard of Skodas!

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 14th January 2015 at 21:26.
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Old 14th January 2015, 22:07   #18
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

A sumptuous late lunch needs to be digested with a walk along the Boulevard beside the Dal Lake.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-8.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-11.jpg

The only company we have are these fellas on the water...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-12.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-13.jpg

...and on the road.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-10.jpg

Time for some shopping, just because this cyclist came along, hawking his ware...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-6.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-backfromgulmarg-7.jpg
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Old 15th January 2015, 10:32   #19
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Doc,

I visited Gulmarg as a kid and remember the chair car lift vividly.
So they've been replaced by the so called 'Gondolas'. Good to see.
I intend to travel with my 10 year old daughter this year, will definitely use your trip log as reference.

Was riding from Jammu to Sonamarg just after the rains last year, was stuck up at Ramsu due to a landslide. So couldn't get through to Srinagar however can understand the amount of destruction that nature unleashed.

Did you visit Sonamarg ?

Regards
MP
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Old 15th January 2015, 12:06   #20
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

No tourists, no leaves around the Dal lake. Words that come to mind: stark, bare, graphic, spartan...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-bare-2.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-bare-1.jpg

Dal Lake without tourists is still not so dull. It is a visual delight, and here's the result of spending around two hours on the Boulevard.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-1.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-2.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-3.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-4.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-5.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-6.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-8.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-9.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-10.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-7.jpg

When there's no work and no income, the people's faces tell the story...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-lonely-3.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-dallake-11.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-lonely-2.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-lonely-4.jpg

No letters, no messages...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-lonely-5.jpg

...but the warmth of the Kashmiri people continues to spill over onto the footpath!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-lonely-1.jpg


================================================== =========
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayurpalav View Post
Did you visit Sonamarg ?
No, we gave Sonamarg the miss this time.
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Old 15th January 2015, 15:13   #21
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Thanks for the detailed travelogue and of-course the wonderful pictures..!! Especially the part of your trip to the gondola's...
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Old 15th January 2015, 19:52   #22
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Lovely travelogue. It was nice reading it.

Looks like Kashmir is still recovering from the last years natural disaster. Last August we covered exactly the same places you did ! If you read my trip itinerary you will see, its exactly the same!
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-paradise.html (Kashmir - A Traveller's Paradise!)
The only difference is, that time it was all green and in January the greenery is much less and you got snow which we lacked in summer. The weather seems to be a bit gloomy from your photographs. A perfect weather to enjoy the chill in Kashmir!

We were lucky enough to return back from Kashmir just a day before Srinagar was struck with the natural calamity. Hope to see Srinagar back to its own glory very soon recovering from the disaster.

Last edited by Samba : 15th January 2015 at 20:08.
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Old 16th January 2015, 10:44   #23
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

I had been to kashmir with my wife and kids this june. It is a beautiful and quiet place to visit but there is no tourism (control) department.

Touts(guides) ruin the beauty of this place in all manners. They will fleece you at every tourist spot. Tourist spots don't allow for your hired cab to go further than the outer parking lot, you have to rent a local cab thereon at hefty prices.

As an example, Gondola ride from the parking spot is mere 2kms walking distance but the local guide will insist you hire a pony because you as per him you wont be able to walk that much because of ascent and bla bla blah.

I was lucky to have a local student as guide who was earning pocket money out of this. He warned me of all the possible excuses those local touts give. The guide is expected to convince tourists into believing those local touts. He also told me that if the guide goes against the designs of those local touts then stern action is taken against them.

Tourist spots there are filled with cheats of all sorts. You have to be very careful in dealing with these people.

I got a feeling during my visit that I am not in my own country and always being eyed upon as a "bakra".

Last edited by mishraak : 16th January 2015 at 10:51.
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Old 16th January 2015, 13:46   #24
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Wednesday morning, the 7th of January, 2015. Our destination for today is Yousmarg, with a stopover at the holy shrine of Charar-i-Sharief. Yesterday's driver, Pervez, has been replaced by Muzafar, who is also the owner. He is an even more careful driver, and I enjoy the drive.

Traffic jam at the little town of Chadoora holds us up for a while. There's a bridge across the little river, that has been on the verge of collapsing for some years, and vehicular traffic has been diverted across a causeway. A market has sprung up on the bridge, while cars jostle for space across the causeway. No information is available, though, as to when the bridge would be reconstructed / repaired / replaced. Life goes on!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-chadoora1.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-chadoora2.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-1k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-2k400.jpg

Finally we are on our way again.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-3k400.jpg

Charar-i-Sharief doen't have many visitors on this day. Within the complex, there's the imposing but modern-looking mosque to one side, and the dargah of Sheikh Noor-ud-din Noorani straight ahead. Photography is allowed outside the compound, but not within the buildings. Though the shrine is said to be almost 600 years old, there is hardly anything old in the structures.
Quote:
The whole town of Charar-i-Sharief got burnt down in 1995 during the fierce encounter between Indian troops and Mujahideen (Including Major Mast Gul). An estimated 31 residential houses/Shops were gutted in this fire. The town has since been rehabilitated by grant of 31 crores. The 1995 fire episode engulfed the 700-year-old shrine and Historical Khaniqah [Masjid].
Link
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-9k400.jpg

Some photographs from the shrine and its surroundings
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-4k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-5k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-6k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-7k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-8k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-10k400.jpg

The parking lot and the small market beyond it
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-12k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-13k400.jpg

A view of the town from the shrine complex...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-11k400.jpg

...and the views of the town and the shrine from the road above, as we continue on to Yousmarg after our visit there.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-14k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-15k400.jpg

Next stop, Yousmarg...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-16k400.jpg

...as we travel along winding roads entirely devoid of traffic.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-17k400.jpg

But before we get to see the snow-laden mountain peaks from Yousmarg, we are going to see a lot more of ice up close!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-cisyous-18k400.jpg


Last edited by SS-Traveller : 16th January 2015 at 13:49.
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Old 17th January 2015, 18:00   #25
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Seeing snowfall isn't part of the itinerary for us, as we find. But seeing an iceberg on land is another kind of experience!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-10k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-9k400.jpg

A burst water pipe has led to the creation of this iceberg, and it is impressive in size.So we decide to spend some time enjoying this sight, much to the amusement of a couple of local women who were on their way to the forests with axes in hand, to collect firewood. Muzafar borrows an axe to hack out a chunk of ice.

He then sits down and poses while I shoot a few pics for him on his mobile phone. Here's one from my camera.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-14k400.jpg

The ice has made beautiful patterns, but it's tough to get accurate pictures of the bright white colour in the sun.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-13k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-12k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-11k400.jpg

The Yousmarg Water Storage Reservoir nearby...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-15k400.jpg

...has also frozen solid and gleams in the sun.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-17k400.jpg

Random stops like these are great fun on short drives, where one is not pressed for time. A couple more stops for sheep and shepherds - or, as we like to think, DoH (Delicacies on Hoof).
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-8k400.jpg


Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-2k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-3k400.jpg

In the distance, the Yousmarg valley opens up, and the white mountain peaks beckon to hurry up - which we are not much inclined to do!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-4k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-1k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-7k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-5k400.jpg

Have you ever stopped to listen to a stream burble along in the deep stillness of the mountains and forests?
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-toyousmarg-6k400.jpg
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Old 17th January 2015, 23:28   #26
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Yousmarg.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-3k400.jpg

A valley devoid of anything interesting. Or so I had been told. No one really wants to go there, unless one is looking for utterly boring places. I had been told that too. No snow there. Why would I want to go, I have been asked.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-15k400.jpg

No tourists go there; the tourist reception centre is not expecting more than one or two mad tourists who lost their way, if that!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-2k400.jpg

The J&K Tourism cottage looks inviting. Just my kind of place, utterly devoid of any other guest.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-1k400.jpg

There's also another hotel come up there the last summer. I forget the name. But it looks inviting. Inviting enough for us not to want to go back to Srinagar in the afternoon. Nah, just daydreaming... can't change plans like that!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-5k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-16k400.jpg

We get out of the car to stretch our legs.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-7k400.jpg

Just a few locals with their horses. No touts, no guides. One can take a trip on horseback to a few interesting viewpoints. The rates are well-advertised on the board.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-4k400.jpg

The fellows with their horses offer us a ride to some of the viewpoints. They want Rs.200 per horse, for a ride that is notified on the board as Rs.230. We don't want to ride a horse. They are insistent. I expect bargain-basement rates. They do not oblige.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-6k400.jpg

I offer them Rs.100 per horse for a ride. They are not really desperate for the money. There's still enough grass on the meadows for the horses, and there's still enough grain at home for them to tide over the winter. In a while, they figure out that we are not really interested to ride horses. They go back home to their villages nearby, rather than agree to work for what they consider a pittance.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-14k400.jpg

We walk along the pathway. A purposeless walk, soaking in the scenery, the calm, the majesty of the mountains. Just a few photographs. But those two hours go a long way to make the trip worth it.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-8k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-9k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-10k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-11k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-12k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-atyousmarg-13k400.jpg

Yousmarg. Yes. The name goes into our bucket list of places we want to go back to, and spend a much longer time at.


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Old 18th January 2015, 15:04   #27
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Srinagar is not just about the Dal Lake. Or sightseeing. Or snow. Or a few trips to surrounding sightseeing locations like Gulmarg and Pahalgam. For a family of committed foodies, Srinagar is... well... about food!

Where does one start when talking about food in Srinagar? Oh, yes, make sure you're strictly non-vegetarian. Also forget about the dal makhni and shahi paneer. As my daughter said, I love this place. Walk into any restaurant and they always serve non-veg food! If you are a die-hard vegetartian, it may be a good idea not to read this post.

Discovery of interesting cooking practices - Kashmiri cuisine does not usually include onions. It's garlic that they use in loads. And we find excellent quality of garlic in the markets (no, we aren't cooking for ourselves there!)
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-1k400.jpg

There's this unusual variety of garlic, each of which is a single giant clove. We buy and bring some back home. Never seen this variety in the markets of Delhi.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-3k400.jpg

Then there's this condiment called pran. It is a variety of onion (genus Allium), identified as either shallots or leeks in English.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-2k400.jpg

It is a cold place, is Kashmir, and the food is hot to compensate for the chill. Not just thermometer-hot, but 'taste-buds-hot'! And the Kashmiri chili / mirch has its own reputation for lending the hot taste as well as the hot red colouration to food. And Kashmiris use it in abundance. Never before have I seen a 5-kg bag of chili powder. If we bought it, it would probably last us for 5 years!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-28k400.jpg

We visit an area called Nowpora, near the Khyber Hospital, in Srinagar for some excellent tikkas and kababs. There are numerous shops here selling a variety of typical Kashmiri non-vegetarian fare.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-23k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-17k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-18k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-24k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-26k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-25k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-27k400.jpg

A sumptuous lunch follows...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-21k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-22k400.jpg

...accompanied by rotis made of maida - we have not found atta rotis anywhere during our culinary adventures there.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-20k400.jpg

The chutneys accompanying the food are a big attraction. The yoghurt chutney with ground walnuts added to it has a unique flavour.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-19k400.jpg

Not that Kashmiri food is that purely meat-based. Elsewhere, we find sun-dried vegetables and fruits for sale in the markets.

There's turnips (shalgam)...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-13k400.jpg

... sliced apples...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-14k400.jpg

...and more sun-dried stuff - chilies on the left, pran on the top left, and on the right, there's tomatoes (top), bottle gourd (lauki), brinjals and palak (bottom right).
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-15k400.jpg

Kashmiris love their pakodas and samosas - but they are all usually made in advance and served cold. We hate having it that way.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-5k400.jpg

Of course, there's halwa, and paratha to go with it - sold by the kilo! This we get piping hot, and despite it being very oily, I love it. Bongs love their luchi with halwa, and these deep-fried parathas are more related to the Bengali luchi than the North Indian parantha.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-4k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-7k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-10k400.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-9k400.jpg

The way the gigantic parathas are being prepared, needs a video to explain!


Wazwan is sold as street food in many places too...
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-6k400.jpg

...as are many shapes and sizes of bread.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-8k400.jpg

A properly-made kahwa is supposed to have some 11 ingredients in it, including saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, honey, sugar, almonds and walnuts. This is the best-tasting kahwa that we had there on this trip!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-12k400.jpg
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Old 18th January 2015, 21:16   #28
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Excellent travelogue.

My son loves skiing. He has done it at Narkanda. Something on similar scale would be just right for him. Is skiing facility available in and around Gulmarg, or does one has to go beyond?
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Old 18th January 2015, 21:17   #29
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

To continue with the story of our culinary adventures at Srinagar, we taste dried, fried and salted water chestnuts (panifal / singhara). They are delicious.
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfoodchestnut.jpg

And on our last day at Srinagar, we visit this excellent restaurant called Mummy Please, with its interesting decor, where we dig in into some succulent chicken tikkas again, to carry back some great culinary memories!
Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-mummyplease.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-mummyplease1.jpg

Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam-kashmirfood-16k400.jpg

But wait, this travelogue isn't over yet! Not by a long chalk. We still have Pahalgam to visit, and a full day of shopping, sightseeing and good fun at Srinagar itself.

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Old 18th January 2015, 21:24   #30
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Default Re: Kashmir in January: Srinagar (sans snow after floods), Gulmarg, Yousmarg & Pahalgam

Slurp slurp. The video of the giant paratha with the sumptuous halwa is making me very homesick. To us bongs, home is where the stomach is
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