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Aug 01, 2017 at 13:33

“Agar firdous baroye zameen ast, hami ast, hami ast, hami ast.”

-“If there is a paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here in Kashmir!”

I had gone to Kashmir in March end, at a time when Delhi was scorchingly hot and Kashmir unbelievingly pleasant! We reached our destination right in time for lunch, travelling in a group of 25 people, each had their opinion about the place to eat. After around 5 minutes of discussion, we decided to eat at Mughal Darbar in Lal Chowk. We had the popular delicacies of Kashmir- The Wazwan and the scrumptious dum aloo with the famous Kashmiri roti bread!

After eating the delicious food items, we went to Tulip Garden, as the name suggests there were hundreds and thousands of colours of tulips, each being brighter and more beautiful than the previous one. The colours of these tulips seemed unreal but allured at every look. Our next stop was Nigeen Lake. Nigeen is a little less crowded and more well maintained than the other lakes in Srinagar. As we sat on the shikara, a pointed colourful boat, it started to rain lightly, the famous tea of Kashmir- Kahwa was served to us. To add to the beautiful moment, our boatman started to sing a beautiful Kashmiri song. We got back to our hotel, exhausted beyond words and slept off as soon as our heads hit the pillows!

The next day we left early for the popular hill station, Gulmarg. On the way our driver recommended us to get snow boots and protective coats, as it was very cold in Gulmarg. At that time we just laughed at his suggestion but borrowed the clothes anyway. To reach the hilltop of Gulmarg, Gondolas have to be taken from Tanmarg.

Snowfall was literally our welcoming committee when we reached Gulmarg! Witnessins it, as it was our first snowfall, everybody got very excited. Having garam garam Chai was like cherry on top of the cake!

Our next day was reserved for Pahalgam. Pahalgam is a picturesque hill station. Instead of taking the same route as most tourists do, we decided to take a little detour wherein we went through a small stream on our khacchar (cross breed of horse and donkey). Soon we reached a little spot on the mountain with a full view of the valley. It was like a billion dollar painting!

Next day was our day to leave. Before leaving, my friends and I had decided to do a simple thing. Our hotel was right opposite to the Dal lake. We went for a little jog at 6 am, the lake was serene and calm, and in the background, the clouds cleared away to give way to the beautiful mountains and up came the sun. It was the most beautiful scene I had ever seen.

Only one thought came to my mind after looking at that, “If there is a paradise, it is here, it is here, it is here!”

Anoushka Nair