Kashmir has been in the news for around the last 30years and most of the time not for happy reasons. It has always been a place who suffered a lot politically and with terrorism.
Kashmir- Land of Kashyapa. This is just a belief that Kashmir was named after Kashyap Rishi and whom we call Kashmiri Pandits are descends of Rishi Kashyapa. Though this is a story, some believe it, and some don’t. Let me now get to my travel diary and take you through the Kashmir where I went in November 2020
Kashmir is called heaven on earth & below I am penning down my trip & experience.
My travel started from Jammu with an approx 20min flight over beautiful snow-capped mountains. Was accompanied by my family. Lots of precautions amid Corona-virus outbreak.
Zeashta Devi Shrine(Zeathyar) & Shankaracharya Temple
Zeashta Devi Shrine(Zeathyar):
As our accommodation was near Srinagar, our 1st day started with local Srinagar. We visited this old Hindu shrine Zeashta Devi or what locals call it Zeathyar. It is around 9KM from main Srinagar. Zeashta Devi Shrine or Zeathyar is Hindu shrine located in Srinagar in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir established in around 1968 mainly a Kashmiri Hindus shrine. As it was an epidemic situation, there were very few people around. Weather was beautiful. Chill in the air and warmth from the Sun made it more beautiful. Here are a few pics from the place.
The Shankaracharya Temple is also known as the Jyeshteshwara Temple. It is situated on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
From Zeastha Devi temple, we drove straight towards Shankaracharya Temple via forest road which is about 18Km.
There is heavy security and you have to park your vehicles at a distance. You are not allowed to take your mobile phones/cameras. There are 243 steps leading up to the temple area and another 8-10 steps from there to the temple hall. Believe me these steps are not just ordinary steps, it will take some of your energy to walk :D.
You can view the entire Srinagar from the top of the temple. Dal lake looks amazing from the top.
This ended our day1 of the Kashmir tour.
Many of us might know about Dal Lake in Srinagar. ‘Dal’ in Kashmiri means lake. The shoreline of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels.
During the winter season, the temperature reaches below 0 degree Celsius resulting in freezing the lake. The floating gardens, known as “Raad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.
The shikaras in which you can go to the lake and take a tour. Not to forget the beautiful houseboats. Where you can book a stay for night while enjoying the beautiful view of Kashmir.
Set up in 1969 in memory of India’s first prime minister, this 80-hectare botanical garden contains many types of plants and vegetation. This garden has a collection of about 150,00 ornamental plants and a huge collection of oak varieties.
The garden has four sections – recreational garden, botanical garden, research section and plant introduction centre. There is a small lake of around 17-hectare within the garden area. You can sit & relax while kids can run around the park & enjoy.
There is an entry fee for all tourists visiting the place.
Day 3: Kupwara
Near about 80km from Srinagar & in normal traffic/weather conditions, it takes around 2.30hrs drive to reach this very beautiful place. Surrounded by forest & on a certain height, this temple is a very sacred place for Kashmiri Hindus. It is located at Handwara in district Kupwara
As the story of the temple goes like this “”In 1891, Shriman Sarwa Bayu, a resident of Handwara had a dream wherein Maa Bhadrakali directed him to unearth her idol from a shrine located in Khanyar, Srinagar. His son, Pandit Keshavji Bayu accordingly retrieved the idol and placed it at Bhadrakali temple in village Bhadrakal. The idol was stolen in 1981 in mysterious circumstances and subsequently recovered in 1983,”
You will really enjoy the scenery around.
A meditative site, Kupwara town is the unveiling of the most pristine sites of nature ever witnessed. Abode to innumerable wildlife, plant and bird species, these areas provide life among their breath-taking sights not only to humans who come to dwell in the raw serenity seeking peace and quiet.
This is how we ended our day 3.
Day 3: Gulmarg
Gulmarg, known as Gulmarag in Kashmiri, is a town, a hill station, and a popular skiing destination. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas and lies within the boundaries of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.
It is named after the Sufi saint Baba Payam Uddin Reshi. It is located a few kilometres from Tangmarg and near the hill station Gulmarg
The main feature of this shrine is the grave of Baba payam-Din, covered with a sheet of cloth decorated with unique workmanship. The shrine is popular for granting the boons to its devotees. Devotees that get their boons granted, revisit this shrine, to make grateful offerings in honour to the great saint.
It is around 44km from Srinagar and took us near about 1hr30min to reach the shrine. Due to Covid restrictions, we had to undergo a test first and then were allowed to enter the shrine.
Our last destination in Kashmir was Gulmarg. With rolling green meadows carpeted by bushes of wildflowers blending into snow-clad mountains, whose peaks peep into the clouds, and mountain streams rushing by, Gulmarg is sheer poetry in nature. While this is the summer landscape of this tiny hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir, in winter, it is transformed into a white wonderland, with skiers making a beeline for its famous slopes. The scenic valley of Gulmarg is a little piece of paradise cocooned by the mighty snow-clad mountains of the Pir Panjal range. Emerald, green meadows, deep ravines and pine-forested hills make this meadow of flowers (the meaning of Gulmarg) an ethereal sight that has inspired poets and artists for centuries.
Not sure how many people visit this place; this is typically the last stop of the India boundary on this side. It is called Buta Pathri and is completely under security forces. One of the best places I have seen.
Around 20min of drive from Gulmarg, it is controlled by security forces & approval has to be taken before entering the area. Once you get in, it is all covered by forest. Tall trees and beautiful weather make this place more special.
This ended our 3rd day in Kashmir and kind of end to our trip in Kashmir. Though we stayed for 2 more days, we just sneak peeked at the local area market in Srinagar & drove back to Jammu with a lot of memories. 😊
Some of the places which will be in my list when I visit again
This was a very emotional and mesmerizing experience for me. Hope you will enjoy reading this blog & plan a trip to Kashmir once everything is back to normal days after Covid.