Ajaz Ahmad War
Unlike Kashmir, there aren’t many places in the world that can boast of four fully blooming seasons a year, each with its distinct colours and feel.
Nestled between Himalayan and Pir Panjal mountain ranges, Kashmir’s natural, scenic beauty is unparalleled in the world, offering a multitude of cultures, languages, music and art. A journey through the Valley keeps you glued to what you see, a range of visual miracles that leaves you captivated for life.
As a traveler, you’re at peace with yourself the moment you touch Kashmir. An feeling that you’ve been detoxified sets in instantly. From the mesmerizing beauty of the Dal to its swanky, richly laid out houseboats and the gliding shikaras, you can’t ask for a more spiritual beginning to your Kashmir sojourn. And bordering the expansive Dal Lake are the historic Mughal Gardens that are not only breathtakingly beautiful but carry their own stories and folklores.
Part of your Kashmir journey is the Valley’s cuisine that’s unpredictably delectable and rich in flavours and texture. The world-famous wazwan kickstarts your palate like no other food does. It’s heavenly and sumptuous. Kebabs are a part of so many cuisines worldwide, but Kashmiri kebab is in a class of its own. It leaves an aftertaste that keeps lingering on. The texture of the soft, fluffy meatball called rista is again a memory for life. Then comes the tabakhmaaz: lamb ribs, boiled in turmeric and then slow-cooked in ghee. Its taste and feel in your mouth is just overwhelming. There is methi at the beginning, minced tripe that has no equal anywhere in the world. Roganjosh is worldwide delicacy, but again Kashmir has its own roganjosh that can only be found in Kashmir – rich and authentic. With a host of other yummy, mouthwatering delectables, the wazwan is rounded off with a big fluffy mutton ball cooked in yoghurt. You just want to be laid to rest after that – nothing else appeals you anymore.
Some rest after a wazwan riot calls for a detour of the Kashmir art, its shawls and carpets and a range of other assortments.
Shawls, crewel, carpets, the walnut work is all done by artisans mostly at their homes. Sipping nunchai or Kashmiri kehwa, playing music and working their masterly hands and fingers.
From the snowy winters to the spring that is a celebration of colours, the summer that offers blooming orchards and the autumn that’s so rich despite its nakedness, Kashmir has it all.
You can never have enough of Kashmir, but when you’re on a holiday, time management is a consideration and there are so many other resorts beyond Srinagar.
To experience the chill, Gulmarg with its vast meadows and topographic marvel is always ready to welcome you.
Your trip to the south of Kashmir on your way to the majestic Pahalgam begins with the beauty of the vast saffron fields at Pampore, thirteen kilometers from the capital Srinagar, that adorn the highway stretched across large swathes of land.
Pahalgam is a combination of valleys within the Valley: Betab Valley, Aru Valley and Chandan Valley. The highs and low of a forest-rich mountainous Pahalgam has gushing trout-rich streams snaking their way on a daily, never-ending journey.
And that’s just a peep into Kashmir. To experience the paradise on earth, you have to visit it to believe it.
Kashmir’s pristine beauty lies to a great extent in its simplicity. From Srinagr to Sonmarg or Gulmarg to Pahalgam, it leaves you intrigued and asking for more.