Date: 16 Feb 2020
One day just seeing one of my favorite travel blogger’s this Instagram post and instantly wanted to visit this place. Since I was in Kashmir during the exact same time I got into contact with Mir (@gulmarg_rider) on Instagram and he arranged for me to visit this place along with few other people. The surprise for me was that one of these “other” people was one of my favorite travel blogger – Prakriti Varshney (@itisinthename) who was traveling with her sister and her other friends to the same place along with me. Hearing this I was so excited to meet her as she is one of the traveler who practices sustainability to the utmost level and lives in the mountains alone with her 2 dogs running her own little hostel!
So it was my 2nd day in Kashmir and Mir was to pick me up at 11.30am at Ghat No.7 which was nearest to where my house boat person dropped me in the boat. I was staying at a house boat on the Dal lake which I got for an incredible deal. So there are various Ghats (kind of stops) in equal intervals along the entire lake and there are more than 30 Ghats here.
See the entire house boat video I stayed at here. It also had a electric bed for heating as the night gets really cold here.
I got in the Scorpio and we went to another place to pick up Prakriti where she came with her friends Pratik, Adnan, sister Parul and her friend. Now all of us left for Drung. The road itself was like a mini heaven as we were surrounded by mountains and snow became more as we went nearer. It was a really narrow road and there was like 3-4ft of snow on either side of it. I was seeing such roads for the first time. So we finally reached the place of the frozen waterfall after parking our vehicle a bit far from the location. We had to cross a bridge and walk rest of the way. Just a short walk and we could see the beautiful frozen waterfall and we could also spot a rainbow near it! The surrounding itself was so enchanting and the (now) partially frozen waterfall looked even more beautiful set in the white fairy tale like setting.
Mir was considerate enough to click few of my pictures which came out soo good! Then was the best part where we just walked for a few meters on 1-2 feet of snow like a short hike and reached a place full of pine trees. Then Prakriti just sat down on the snow like that even though she did not have waterproof clothes on! When we asked that her clothes will get wet she replied “kapde badal denge”. Such a live-in-the-moment and a raw person she is 🙂
After chilling for sometime we left for Tangmarg and I was dropped by Mir’s brother- Umar in his car to where my houseboat was. It was just 4pm something and I did not want to go back to my houseboat so soon. So I just started walking around Dal lake searching for somewhere to eat. Then I found a big sweets shop where I could see different kind of chat food options was also present. Hence I went and bought a Raj Kachori and sat on a table outside by myself just observing the surroundings. After few minutes there came 2 men who asked if I would mind if they sit on the same table, because all other tables were filled. I was like okay and then when they were chatting about skiing I got curious and interacted with them asking about it more. They were basically local Kashmiris who had just come out to eat. We talked for sometime and I was asking them places to see nearby. They said I should visit Nishat Gardens since it was almost sunset time.
They even waited for sometime and helped me get into a local bus which went there. I was a complete stranger to them but still they were so helpful, it warmed my heart. Nishat Gardens was build by the Mughals and at the entrance they charge a nominal fees of Rs.24. It is a beautiful garden and a rare sight where we can spot mountains on the backdrop and the Dal Lake in front of it with the gardens in between. I was there at exact sunset time and the views were just amazing. I roamed around the entire garden for quite sometime clicking pictures of myself on a self timer keeping the phone on the stairs or any possible surface I could get a good angle. There was a couple who had come on their honeymoon and asked me to click a few pictures of them, that lady was so excited when I told her that I had come there on a solo trip lol :P.
After the sunset I decided to head back before it gets dark and after waiting for 5-10 minutes I got into a shared sumo to my place. The thing here in Srinagar is there are majorly such shared cabs more than buses for transportation whose charges are quite cheap and easy to travel. They are quite safe as well because I did not face any such situation even though I was the only girl sitting at the back of a sumo full of other local men. After I was dropped at my point near Dal Lake, I called my host who sent his son to pick me up in their boat back to my houseboat.
Situation in Kashmir: Just for info, yes in Srinagar there is stringent checking at the airport where you are not allowed to click pics inside as it is an army airport. As you come outside you can see army personnel’s guarding entire Srinagar every few meters, some areas they are more and some areas less. But as I spoke with the local there he told that this situation is normal and same since 1947 over there and they have gotten used to so many army men over there.
They keep a high vigilance and the locals of Kashmir are not supposed to wear army print (camouflage) clothing or anything. Tourists will still be spared if found after some basic questioning. Even I was stopped at a point as I was wearing camouflage pants and my bag was also of same print. I was asked about my identity and then they smiled and politely let me go after they were convinced, hence do be careful. However, situation in Kashmir as always is very unpredictable but still the locals will do anything and everything to protect their tourists 🙂
Once you go to Kashmir you will feel like going there again and again thanks to the wonderful hospitality of the local people there who treat you like their own. They really respect their travelers a lot and want more of us to visit the beautiful Kashmir and to defy the rumors’ and insecurities everyone still has in visiting there. This is basically main city Srinagar which I visited but there are so many hidden and unexplored places in Kashmir whose beauty is unparalleled when compared anywhere like Gurez valley, Kupwara, Kalaroos, Anantnag, Baramulla and many more. Even better just hit up with Mir (@gulmarg_rider on instagram) who can guide even more better on any trips for future reference :D.