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Old 8th October 2009, 15:23   #376
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Thanks amit
Actually one JKTDC official told us that JK tourism is developing a valley close to PoK(forgot the name, sorry). Apparently, this will give Sonmarg, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam a run for their money. According to him, this is the most beautiful place in the valley, and in couple of years will be open to tourists once the infrastructure is in place.
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There is also a place where Farooq Abdullah is building a 18 hole golf course supposed to be one of the best in the world

And gentleman, that place is Bangus. Beautiful beyond words as they say who have trekked!

Last edited by adc : 8th October 2009 at 15:26.
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Old 8th October 2009, 15:27   #377
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Thanks @adc, now I remember, its Bangus, and finally it will be open to public.
But do not expect cheap in JK. We made it because of 30% off season discount. JK is one of the most expensive places to holiday in(except sonmarg that is)
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Old 8th October 2009, 15:48   #378
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But do not expect cheap in JK. We made it because of 30% off season discount. JK is one of the most expensive places to holiday in(except sonmarg that is)
Absolutely correct, and thus we must go next year around mid October, when half of the infrastructure is done and half we trek!

Bangus and Gurez, as per trekker accounts, are absolutely captivating.

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Old 9th October 2009, 12:19   #379
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Default Sonmarg to... Gulmarg?

So what do you do after Sonmarg. Normally you drive to Patnitop, after stopping on the way at Dal lake etc.,
But not for us.
We will go To Gulmarg.
Its called Switzerland, and for a good reason. The reason is that everything there is so expensive that you need to be earning in Euro's

Just kidding

Anyways, first we will go to Srinagar. Wife wanted to check out some shopping and stuff, and both of us wanted to eat some Kababs. Of course the Lal Chowk attach had happened less than a week before I think, so we assumed, based on proability, that for the next week or so things should be okay.

So it was actually around noon when we made the start. Srinagar was 90kms away, and the road was supposedly excellent, like all roads after you enter the valley.

First job, put 20 liters of the can fuel(which we had filled up before Hanle!) into the tank.

And of course, the flower pictures and likes.

The lawn had a few flowers. I am not a flower/closeup person, but decided to give it a try anyways!
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Thats the main bazaar from the JKTDC
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More flowers

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Our JKTDC
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So around noon after a good breakfast, we were on the road.
So how does sonmarg look when its not rainy and cloudy?
Like this, of course
Green and Blue, two colors everywhere in the valley. And not to forget the whites
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More pics, of Firdaus. When you see this, you know why its called Heaven on Earth.
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J&K, the diversity is amazing. you have the barren moonscapes of Ladakh, the enchanting Changthang, the blue lakes, and then you have green like Sonmarg. So whats missing. The green fields like Punjab? Well not exactly, Kashmir has those also, as we saw on the road!

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A size Zero horse
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To give you company are army trucks, lots of them, lots of convoys to overtake.
also, Kashmir is where my Theorem fails "The condition of the road is inversely proportional to the condition of the scenery".

See it for yourself
The Road:
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And the scenery
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Finally its little after 2pm we are in Srinagar, headed towards Lal Chowk. There is lot of security here. Everywhere there is a bunker, and lots of guns. Inspite of the army convoys and photography breaks we have done these 90kms in 2 hours!

Now coming back to Srinagar, since its a sunday, the main market is closed, and there is a street market in progress. Ramzan means most eateries are closed. but there is rush on the roads, and we also manage to find some lovely kababs.

right outside the kabab shop are 3 well armed armymen. Tell you what, the whole scene is quite eerie.

With no shopping done today, thanks to sunday close, we decide to head to Gulmarg, and come back tomorrow, since we will have to come back towards Srinagar anyways.

So its 3 when we set out on the Gulmarg road.
As usual its 50rs toll and blah blah and we land up at JKTDC Gulmarg at 5pm

TO BE CONT.............
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Old 9th October 2009, 12:22   #380
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Well, there are lots of hidden lakes, villages, and trails in changthang. In hindsight we should have spent more time in changthang plateau.
But for all this you need a SUV with 4x4, or better still a bike.
Fly to Ladakh, rent a bike, and go where no 4 wheeler can go
Flying to Ladakh totally out as the journey to the place cannot be missed. Bike totally out as it's been ages since I drove one, and never in the mountains. So I guess it's time to buy a 4x4 beastie.
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Old 9th October 2009, 12:43   #381
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TSK,, Haha, now we have the white elephant and a wolf in sheeps covering,. As mentioned before ,it is getting better, i am amused by Rudra Sir's comment on the photos, which i found them to be fantastic,i think i need to look more deeply and study more.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 9th October 2009 at 14:02.
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Old 9th October 2009, 13:21   #382
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Tsk, you did mention about the Aryan village in your report, but I dont think you elaborated on that. ( Maybe I missed it if you did).

Tell us more about the village? Do they still have a ban on foreigners visiting the village? As far as I remember from my visit 20 yrs back, they had put a ban on foriegners as there were cases when ladies came especially to conceive kids from the Aryan descendent's.
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Old 9th October 2009, 13:32   #383
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Originally Posted by deky View Post
Tsk, you did mention about the Aryan village in your report, but I dont think you elaborated on that. ( Maybe I missed it if you did).

Tell us more about the village? Do they still have a ban on foreigners visiting the village? As far as I remember from my visit 20 yrs back, they had put a ban on foriegners as there were cases when ladies came especially to conceive kids from the Aryan descendent's.
Wow Deky, I never knew about that. As for nowadays, its mostly foreigners who go to that village. Indians mostly give it a skip.
We could not spend much time there due to our rain misadventure, and time waste on the tough trail.
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Old 9th October 2009, 13:45   #384
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Default A night in Gulmarg

At JKTDC, we got ourselves a cottage. There were two options, 2500 for 2BR and 1500 for 1BR.
Since off season discount was going on, we could get 1BR for 1050. Slightly above our normal budget, but then, we would not have to spend anything on food.

Since we were using our own gas, we did not have to pay the 100rs gas charges also.

For the uninformed, Gulmarg is marketed as a luxury holiday destination, and is one of the most expensive places for the tourist. Infact most private hotels had off season rates like 3000rs/night.

To enter the meadow area(where JKTDC is), there is additional 50rs fee.
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The JKTDC office
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We roamed around a bit and also did a light jog, as the place looked like the ultimate joggers park
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Again A$s people were after us for a ride, but somehow we warded them off. Tell you what, it gets very irritating, as they hound you for full 30 minutes before letting go

As night fell, we watched TV in the wonderful cottage, and cooked our own dinner.
There was not much tourist, as Gulmarg is primarily a winter destination. Infact, Sonmarg etc., close down in winter season, and only Gulmarg remains open. The skiers come here in plenty, and this place boasts one of the best skiing slopes in the world.

From last year onwards JK tourism has been aggressively developing the area, and its a premium holidaymakers destination in season.
For us budget wallas, sept is a good time as stay is available and cheap.

The JK tourism officer told us that in winters you have to book a month in advance, or head to the 4500/night private resorts.

Anyways, food eaten, and relaxed, we had to make plans for the next day. It was going to be Pahalgam, but whether to stay there 1 night or 2 was the mystery. Well we will book one night tomorrow from here itself, and then go there and decide second night.

For now, its was time to walk the dark roads of Gulmarg, and soak in the starts.
Only sound was the hooves of horses walking along(the owners leave them out to graze), and the munch munch sounds of them munching the grass, or the neigggh

Another sound was the shutter sound of the camera.

The moon was bright, and even with 150s I could get decent exposure

The cottages
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The trees
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Some other stuff
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Some signboards
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The bazaar outside meadow area
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Towards the Gulmarg Gondola
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Gulmarg Gondola, or cable car is the highest in the world, and in true swiss tradition, the rates are also awesome.
300rs for first leg, and 500 extra for second leg, per person. Nice eh?
Well tomorrow we will blow up some serious cash.

For now, it was time to reflect upon how well we had maintained our budget by staying in places 500-600 max, and 250s min

After some more moonlight enjoyment, it was time to sleep. tomorrow we will have an early start, like 11am or so.

2 more nights after this one in Kashmir, and then the trip ends... Such is life!
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Old 9th October 2009, 14:16   #385
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i am amused by Rudra Sir's comment on the photos, which i found them to be fantastic,i think i need to look more deeply and study more.
Never, never take old man's point seriously..

Ok Tanveer, number has increased to more than 30. Once you finish I'll send you the list.
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Old 9th October 2009, 14:24   #386
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Never, never take old man's point seriously..

Ok Tanveer, number has increased to more than 30. Once you finish I'll send you the list.
I will send you the link to my gallery, then you can choose easily. And inspite of your saying no.. I am going to take all your points seriously!
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Old 9th October 2009, 15:17   #387
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Never, never take old man's point seriously..

Ok Tanveer, number has increased to more than 30. Once you finish I'll send you the list.
Rudra Sir, i am sorry if i have annoyed you, i am sincerly trying to understand what are the faults with TSK pictures, though as a layman i am ignorant to the finer aspects of photogrpahy and i enjoy them for the marvels that are captured in time. My apologies if i have offended you
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Old 9th October 2009, 15:30   #388
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Do not worry Majic. Rudra meant it in jest
As for faults, there are quite a bit when seen from the professional eye. Of course, I won't find any either
Once Rudra pics up the cream, and works his magic with them, I will post the pics to this thread, and then you will see what a magician he is.
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Old 9th October 2009, 16:14   #389
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Its called Switzerland, and for a good reason. The reason is that everything there is so expensive that you need to be earning in Euro's

A size Zero horse - This takes the cake
Tsk, along with everything else, what is also amazing about this travelogue is your sense of humor.
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Old 9th October 2009, 16:17   #390
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Tsk, along with everything else, what is also amazing about this travelogue is your sense of humor.
I dont know why tanveer finds horses funny.

remember, earlier it was Kinky horses and now its Size Zero horse.

hehe
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