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Old 9th October 2009, 17:09   #391
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
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.
Quite cheap compared to Home stays and Coffee estates in South worth may be 10% of this, In Waynad the floor rate seems to be 3000 per room and 2000 looks like steal.
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Old 9th October 2009, 17:39   #392
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Originally Posted by simply_sunny001 View Post
I dont know why tanveer finds horses funny.

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

Well it was Kinky Asses and Camels. Horses are size zero, esp in Kashmir. Well I know why. We had hard time finding food. Guess same problem with horses

Originally Posted by amitk26 View Post
Quite cheap compared to Home stays and Coffee estates in South worth may be 10% of this, In Waynad the floor rate seems to be 3000 per room and 2000 looks like steal.
Thats why I never holidayed when I was in BLR unless company took us for free outings, or my very good friend won a vacation at orange county for working very hard(bonus thingy).

Only one time(right after marriage) we went to Silent valley and the Taj Chickmanglur.

Shortly after that I moved to NCR, and now its 350rs a night PWD rest houses and circuit houses.
Thats why we find 1050 expensive.

At the start of the travelogue you will see how we stayed in a palatial room with sitting in Keylong Circuit house for "250rs" only + 40rs Geyser charge!
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Old 10th October 2009, 10:55   #393
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
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.
TSK, I too would look forward to the magic from Rudra sirs hand

Last edited by Majic : 10th October 2009 at 10:58. Reason: Mistake
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Old 10th October 2009, 16:22   #394
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Hey TSK, no posting for today, are you out on weekend!Looking forward to Monday.
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:42   #395
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Hats off to u ...tsk
Pics are real AWESOME !!!
Nice post, Keep it up
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:23   #396
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I will update Sunday, saturday is usually hectic Majic!
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Old 11th October 2009, 22:09   #397
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Default Good Morning Gulmarg!

We woke up pretty late by hill standards(8:30 types), and first job was breakfast.
Welcome to the kitchen
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A heavy breakfast done, we had just one thing to do in Gulmarg, i.e. burn up cash. Two options, burn 300/head or 800/head.
We took the 300 option, and decided to take the ride to the lower rung only, the upper rung, well lets say we will walk up from the lower step as much as possible.

So ladies and gentlemen, here is the Gulmarg Gondola. The glass windows are fogged up, so interior pic quality is not too good
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After reaching the terminal, we alighted, and then it was the attack of the clones.
Hundreds of Asses with owners descended upon us, and ordered us to ride a "tattoo" or "Ghora".
Again, we had to fend of their advances, and literally run away. We started walking up, and they hounded us for 30 minutes(It was a one hour climb you see).

Amid all this, I managed to make some sense of "Agar Firdaus...." See for yourself
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Up we had to go
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More pics, and view from near the top
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A blue Mahindra jeep. Now the walking track looked tough, and a jeep would have been almost impossibl, But then, jeeps go a lot of places, but then at places like this when you crash, you crash real good.
You can say, this is a lesson on the dangers of Offroad driving!
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Well we continued on, and also found a herd of sheep
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The destination was the waterfall first.
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Finally, the falls
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We could have gone further from the waterfall, to the so called glacier, but with no snow it was pointless. Moreover over an hour of uphill hike had tired us pretty good

So it was time to touch base here. The waterfall also had paper trees around

I tried some IR photography, but really, landscapes do not look that good at 50mm
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The paper trees
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We started walking downwards, and progress was faster
To think of it, we started climbing around 11:15, reached the top near 12:10, and were near down at 12:50ish
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As we reached the terminal, it started drizzling again.
Anyways, a shivering size zero horse, how can anybody ride this
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The rain
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After reaching down, it was close to 13:10, and after a quick flower shot, we drove to the JKTDC booking office

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What next...?
Well Pahalgam booking. Again same deal 1050 cottage, but before that we will attempt shopping in Srinagar again, and also see Dal lake.

TO BE CONT............
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Old 12th October 2009, 09:21   #398
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Good, your back again, just read through the last posting looking out for more today, as usual wonderful!
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Old 12th October 2009, 11:22   #399
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Default To Srinagar! and Pahalgam

Finally, we were on the road again, to Srinagar. It was a weekday, and just like any other plains city, Srinagar was full of traffic jams and full chaos. Its difficult to imagine its in Kashmir!.
First stop was ATM. We found plenty there. the Kashmir trip had overstretched our budget slightly, so the visit was necessary.

Since I did not have any maps or directions, we decided that we will drive through Srinagar from one end, do a flyby to Dal lake, see a garden, and then exit from other end.
Basically instead of taking the bypass, we will go through the city. This way we will reach Pahalgam by night.

Not many pics, mostly chaotic driving, and I did not find Dal lake very scenic too

Maybe after seeing the great lakes of Ladakh, you don't get impressed easily
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After a quick flyby we reached Chashme-Shahi gardens. There was nothing much to eat there, except Chips and the likes, so we decided we will cook in Pahalgam cottage(a bad decision in hindsight)

Outside the garden entrance, some shopping was done, and I also spotted a dog who looked just like snoopy(our snoopy i.e)
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The gardens entrance
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These are one of the myriad mughal gardens in Srinagar. You know what, I tought there was just one mughal garden here, but locals told us there are many, and since nearest was Chashmeshahi, we visited this one

These gardens have lots of flowers, and are well maintained. Will give the Delhi Mughal gardens a run for their money.
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The garden was a nice relaxing outing for us
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There is a spring here. thats why the name. Apparently water is very pure, so lot of people were filling in mineral water
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You can see the lake from here
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And there are lots of red flowers
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But we could not spend much time here.
It was time to head towards Pahalgam as 5pm was approaching
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Before that we also decided to get the white elephant tanked up
The FE was 10.2. I was expecting better due to good roads, but I guess in the mountains with frequent up down this is what oyu get.

After that it was a quiet fast drive to Pahalgam.
We located the JKTDC office, and they sent the guy with us to the cottages. Now there was no space in the white elephant, with entire rear seat and boot full luggage and stuff.

So he rode on the foot board. Very cheerful guy.
He showed us the single cottages, but since renovations were going on, very few were decent. Then he told us, that for one night we can stay in the 1700 cottage for no extra charge, and tomorrow morning we can either move to single room cottage, pay more for this cottage or go to the hotel.

Well so far so good.
We took the DBL cottage for now, and cooked our dinner.
I said bad decision earlier. Why? Because unlike Gulmarg, the kitchen was in a bad shape, and had rarely been used.
But tired and hungry we finally managed.
Today had been a hectic day with lots of heavy traffic driving.

A point to note, we paid 50rs on entering Pahalgam too!
Kashmir tolls are atrocious!

anyways, we will go to sleep now, and tomorrow, we will explore pahalgam!

TO BE CONT................
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Old 12th October 2009, 12:07   #400
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Default Pahalgam - Betaab valley and chintanwadi

We woke up late, and lazed around some.
To be frank, we did not have any idea of what to do and what to see.
But first, the hotel booking and such.
We decided to take the hotel(JKTDC) at 700/night, and also order chicken for dinner.
Well so far so good.
Talking with the local guys revealed that we had a lot to cover.
There were 3 places we could go to
1. Chintanwadi
2. Betaab Valley
3. Aru

We decided to do all three.
Betaab valley was on the way to chintanwadi.
Now you must be wondering, what Betaab valley?
Well, remember the song "Jub hum Jawaan honge..."?
Yes, its that betaab valley.
Every since Sunny shot here, JK tourism has converted the valley into a tourist locale, and it also has lights and manicured grass and such, with some bridges etc., on the river.
IMHO, they should not have put lights etc., and ruined the place.
anyways, we pay the 20rs entrance fee, and decide to walk around. Again we are attacked by guides, who, for a paltry sum of 50rs, will show us around, and tell us where sunny put on his deodrant, and where he showered, etc., etc.,
Again we are not interested, and it takes 15 minutes to ward them off.

After the guides gone, we just roam around in the lawns, and click.

you know what, Kashmir is incredibly green. Real real green
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but this valley is man made now
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Somehow, the grass and lights spoil it for me
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A river runs thorough it, but you cannot cross over to the other side, to the untouched side.. too bad!
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Wild flowers also grow in the lawns
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And frogs frolic here too!
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More views of valley and grass
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This horse is healthy, after all it has wild flowers for Dessert
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BTW we came here around 1pm and its past 2 now. Time to head forward to the famed Chintanwadi
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We set out on the broken road, and come across a landslide. Its being cleared,. A little forward, a truck is parked blocking the road, with nobody in sight. Finally we find a local, who tells us some landslide clearing is going on, and so no chintanwadi for us.
What to do now?

Well click the surroundings, and then have food at Pahalgam, and spend evening at Aru.
The surroundings, well are spell bindings. Somehow I feel, the pictures are unable to do justice to this heaven.
You have to be there to experience the green. Everything feels, looks and smells green.
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The river water is clean blue, and the whole scene looks out of middle earth
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But alas, can't spend much time here, we will head to Pahalgam now
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We have a late veg lunch, and then start on the road to Aru.

Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined the heaven which awaits us....

TO BE CONT...........
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Old 12th October 2009, 14:12   #401
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Default Aru I

Barely 15kms from Pahalgam is the village of Aru, and that was our destination. After a quick lunch, we were on the road before 4pm.
Wanted to reach there before daylight vanished.

The road was like a postcard. Winding along a river. the condition was mixed with some bad patches
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As we approached Aru, the landscape turned more enchanting. We were actually experiencing Heaven on Earth.
We have travelled a lot in the himalayas, yet now seen such beauty
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The dirty white elephant
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Finally around 4:15 we were at Aru
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There was a barrier there, and we were told only those staying at JKTDC Aru could take their vehicle for the last 1/2kms.
Too bad we did not know about this JKTDC! This place was heaven!

so with a barrier on the main road, I decided to take the safari up a horse/cattle track, and park as close as possible to the JK.
Soon we found our parking spot, there was a small river with rocks blocking the way, which we will cross.

The view from the meadow where we parked the white elephant
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The safari at the meadow
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After this it was time for a short hike to the restaurant, and have tea

Look at the village. Its like Switzerland, only more beautiful
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The white elephant, now far away
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The view from the lawns
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I really wish my camera had more dynamic range. Look at sunlight selectively illuminating the village!
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The wild flowers
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Tea break over, it was time for some serious hike. there was a rive down below, and a meadow up there. First we will go "up there and then down below"

TO BE CONT............

Last edited by tsk1979 : 12th October 2009 at 14:14.
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Old 12th October 2009, 14:21   #402
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what a way to start a monday morning in office.

mesmerizing pics, kashmir is so beautiful and your pics do complete justice.

And i have started liking your style of narration too, in a nutsheel i liked the "Betaab Valley" part.

keep them coming

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Old 12th October 2009, 14:21   #403
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Thank you sunny. Glad you enjoy my narration style too!

The good news, travelogue is almost over, by tomorrow we should be done with it.
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Old 12th October 2009, 14:37   #404
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Fantastic views! Did you try anything here at late afternoon?
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I really wish my camera had more dynamic range. Look at sunlight selectively illuminating the village!
Attachment 208252
Not big help Tanveer. Only way to handle this is to use two layers of gradual ND filters.
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Old 12th October 2009, 14:44   #405
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We went for a hike up the mountain around 5pmish
coming up in next installment.
We were at Aru till sundown before starting for Pahalgam
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