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Old 11th October 2009, 22:27   #46
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Chief, I think more than the winter it was barren more due to the after effects of military. I read somewhere that finally after a long time the gardens got a lease of life only in 2005 when lot of new plants and flowers were planted.
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Old 11th October 2009, 22:37   #47
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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Chief, I think more than the winter it was barren more due to the after effects of military. I read somewhere that finally after a long time the gardens got a lease of life only in 2005 when lot of new plants and flowers were planted.
No, it was merely the winter effect! Happily, despite the insurgency tensions, Srinagar's gardens have been immmaculately maintained, and you can see this from my Sep 2003 photographs:





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Old 12th October 2009, 08:31   #48
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No, it was merely the winter effect! Happily, despite the insurgency tensions, Srinagar's gardens have been immmaculately maintained, and you can see this from my Sep 2003
This may be little OT, but this trip has changed my perceptions and fears for srinagar. Even after a bomb blast an hour before we crossed srinagar, there was not a sign of unrest in the city. Life was going as usual

Srinagar has reached way up in my driving places list
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Old 12th October 2009, 08:53   #49
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MC, awesome narration and a great write up supported with really cool visuals. I am sure this must have been a great experience and am eager to see it all. Am hooked onto this one.
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:08   #50
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Srinagar has reached way up in my driving places list
Believe me, Rajiv, Srinagar today is far better than what it was a few years ago. When I first drove there in Dec 2001, I used to go under the car to check for explosives every time I went back to the car after having parked it someplace. Army men stopped each car to check several times. In many villages you pass by, locals wore sullen expressions, although that did not manifest into any hostility towards tourists. You needed permits to visit even the various Gardens in Srinagar.

I keep telling friends that Srinagar is a swell place to visit, don't be deterred by all the media rhetoric that you hear about the Kashmir Valley - after all, the J&K State is quite a large region and everything that happens there is magnified by the media.

You must also visit Srinagar during winter - it is a totally different place - with snow on the ground and men folk going around with their "second" wives - the basket of burning coal embers beneath their cloaks to warm their bodies! And Gulmarg is a heavenly place with a white blanket of snow.
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:14   #51
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Very true.

You just fueled the urge

Now there will be a winter finale between Srinagar and Spiti
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Believe me, Rajiv, Srinagar today is far better than what it was a few years ago. When I first drove there in Dec 2001, I used to go under the car to check for explosives every time I went back to the car after having parked it someplace. Army men stopped each car to check several times. In many villages you pass by, locals wore sullen expressions, although that did not manifest into any hostility towards tourists. You needed permits to visit even the various Gardens in Srinagar.

I keep telling friends that Srinagar is a swell place to visit, don't be deterred by all the media rhetoric that you hear about the Kashmir Valley - after all, the J&K State is quite a large region and everything that happens there is magnified by the media.

You must also visit Srinagar during winter - it is a totally different place - with snow on the ground and men folk going around with their "second" wives - the basket of burning coal embers beneath their cloaks to warm their bodies! And Gulmarg is a heavenly place with a white blanket of snow.
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:15   #52
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Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Very true.

You just fueled the urge

Now there will be a winter finale between Srinagar and Spiti
I could feel the urge till here
Who will win? Eagerly waiting!!
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Old 12th October 2009, 10:07   #53
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Initially we had wanted to stay in the houseboat but had been adversely warned in Jammu about water supply in houseboats and hence decided against it. Still decided to have a look if we would change our minds. But that was not to be. Dal Lake is a mini township in itself with floating shops coming themselves to the houseboats to sell their wares. It was an unique experience in itself.

Anyways we finally negotiated and landed up at Hotel Parimahal on the Boulevard Road itself.
Was that true - the water problem in the houseboats?
And do you have proper car parking near the houseboat, or do you have to park someplace and take a shikara out everytime you want to get off the houseboat?
How much did PariMahal hotel charge you? Recommend it?
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Old 12th October 2009, 12:06   #54
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Was that true - the water problem in the houseboats?
And do you have proper car parking near the houseboat, or do you have to park someplace and take a shikara out everytime you want to get off the houseboat?
How much did PariMahal hotel charge you? Recommend it?
I was told by quite a few people that most houseboats provide the dal lake water only in the toilet. We did check the Houseboat and the smell of the water was not exactly assuring. On asking the houseboat owners they say that they have municipal water supply but I couldn't see it. Hence we decided not to stay on the boat.

There are various parking stations on the boulevard road wherein you can park your car and come to the boat through a Shikara.

We paid 600/day for the room at Parimahal. For that price and the location, very well recommended. The tariff card price for those rooms was 1800 and they were offering 50% discount(IIRC) but we bargained hard and got it for 600.
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Old 14th October 2009, 23:43   #55
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Default Rest of story

Hi MC,
Waiting for rest of the travelouge.. Been following the one written by 'laluks' on the same trip but then.. the more the merrier as far as Leh travelouges goes.
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Old 15th October 2009, 11:42   #56
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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Hi MC,
Waiting for rest of the travelouge.. Been following the one written by 'laluks' on the same trip but then.. the more the merrier as far as Leh travelouges goes.
I was waiting for Lalu's travelogue to finish. But since he is off on another trip, I'll post a few more days over the weekend.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 10:26   #57
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MileCruncher (Anirudh), I think I've seen your Bolero yesterday late evening at Somajiguda, Raj Bhavan Road, taking a U-Turn from MMTS Station. I did see the Tour De Leh sticked on the rear window
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Old 23rd October 2009, 11:08   #58
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MileCruncher (Anirudh), I think I've seen your Bolero yesterday late evening at Somajiguda, Raj Bhavan Road, taking a U-Turn from MMTS Station. I did see the Tour De Leh sticked on the rear window
Yes that was me! My office is on the Raj Bhawan Road. Should have given a shout.

Cheers
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Old 23rd October 2009, 11:20   #59
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Only after you took a turn did I realize that it was your Bolero. Shall remember the next time to shout out and catch you up in person to congratulate for the great journey you've taken up.

Highly commendable travelouge accompanied by breath taking scenic beauty captured through lens.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 16:07   #60
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Day 6 :
Start Time: 0655 Hrs, September 16, Boulevard Road, Srinagar
Stop Time : 1900 Hrs, September 16, Hotel Caravan Serai, Kargil
Sector : Srinagar - Ganderbal - Gagangir - Sonamarg - Zojila - Dras - Khiber - Kargil
Starting Odo: 10393 Kms (Trip Meter: 2832.2 Km)
Closing Odo: 10633 Kms (Trip Meter: 3072.1 Km)
Distance Covered : 240 Kms

Having rested and soaked the beauty of Kashmir for 2 days, we were ready to move on. As the car had only been back from the service station the previous day, we had to reload the luggage and believe me, it was no mean feat. Anyways all packed, we were good to go at 6.55 am. Even though the distance to Kargil is only 230 Odd kms, we wanted to have a slow drive and to enjoy the vistas.

The dal lake and hills surrounding the lake looked totally different in the morning sun. Few pictures of what we saw till Sonamarg.Name:  IMG_1275.JPG
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First of these steel bridges we encountered. This wouldn't leave us till Manali
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Last edited by MileCruncher : 23rd October 2009 at 16:10.
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