Kashmir reminds of apples, Himalayas, boat houses and beautiful people | Dal Lake in Kashmir is like a town on water with houses, markets and lotus gardens
Kashmir looks like a beautiful painting created by God. Kashmir flourishes with Himalaya mountains, green hills and flat stretch of land. There are many apple, pine, chinar and Deodar trees. Jhelum, Tawi and Chenab rivers flow in Kashmir.
Vaishnodevi temple is situated in Himalaya Mountains. Tourists have to obtain a permission letter from security forces to visit the temple. Leather and electronic goods are not allowed. Travelling on horse backs on the steep hills is a scary experience. Devotees even walk on foot shouting ‘Jai matadi’. Dry fruits are sold everywhere. Journey to the temple will be a pleasant journey.
Security checking is conducted all through the journey. Pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi is not complete without Visiting Bhairavanath temple. Devotees can reach Bhairavanath temple travelling on the horse back. There are deep valleys beside the roads and tourists who are new to this journey will get scared when the horses run on the hill steps.
Journey to Kashmir can begin from Katra. Patny Top is situated at a distance from Katra. River Tawi flows in the valleys near Patny Top. Baglihar dam is built on River Chenab at Badaat. Nehru tunnel is also situated on this route which is 2,577 mtrs. Crossing Nehru tunnel means entering Kashmir. Two and half hours journey in the tunnel is a memorable experience.
Roads of Kashmir are full of Military vehicles. Military camps can be seen on the hills around. Soldiers guard Kashmir with alertness. Vehicles of tourists are also checked.
Pilgrimage to Amarnath starts from Shiva Temple at Pahalgaon. This is said to be the place where Lord Shiva left his Nandi while going to Amarnath caves. This place was called Bhairavagaon earlier and became Pahalgaon now. Beauty of nature cannot be described in words.
Pampore is famous for saffron flowers. Tourists can reach Srinagar via Pampore. Dal Lake can be seen while travelling to Srinagar. There will be many boat houses in Dal lake ready to welcome the tourists. Nishanth and Shalimar gardens are other interesting places.
Jahangir hotel is a famous hotel at Srinagar. This hotel is built in wood. Curtains, blankets used in the hotel are an example of the hand work of Kashmiris. Chinar leaves designs can be seen on almost everything. Chinar trees are the providers of oxygen to these people. So they do not spare the persons who pluck even a single leaf of Chinar.
Nishanth gardens are another interesting tourist place in Srinagar. It has Himalayan Mountains in the back ground and is located in the middle of Dal Lake. Shalimar gardens were built by Jahangir for his wife Noorjahan. This garden is built in storey and has rock fountains from this end to that end. Small rest rooms are built here and there. A palace is also built at the end of the garden. This palace was used as a summer retreat.
Boats used on Dal Lake are made with Pine wood. The wood is soaked in water for 7 – 8 years and boats are made with that wood. Each boat cost above Rs.3 crores. Therefore the rents of these boats are also high. These boats have hall, bed room, kitchen and garden. Foreign tourists mostly stay in these boat houses. This lake looks like a town on water. Markets, houses, hospitals and lotus gardens can be seen in the lake. Every boat house will have small boats tied in the front of them. A fort is seen on a hill from Dal Lake. That fort belongs to King Harisingh, last ruler of Kashmir. Presently this fort is called Akbar Fort.
Sankaracharya temple is built on a hill near the lake at a height of 1000 feet. This temple was believed to be built by Pandavas and was renovated by Sankaracharya. There is a 3 to 4 feet shivalingam in the temple.
Gulmarg is situated in Baramullah district and is at a height of 9,000kms from sea level. Apple gardens, mountains and streams can be seen all through the journey. After travelling for three hours, a vast grass land can be seen having Himalayas as its back ground. This ground changes into scating ground in winter and in other seasons it is used as a polo ground.
Small yellow colour flowers can be seen in large numbers. Fruit bushes bearing yellow colour fruits are available here and it is said that bears eat the dry fruits of these flowers and go into hibernations during winter. Twenty years back Kashmir was different with cinema shooting and national and international tourists. Local people say that Pakisthan wants the pine trees grown in this area and pakisthan’s fight is not for Kashmiris but for the Pine tree because they are very expensive. Terrorists used to come to the people of this area at mid night asking for dinner. Security forces used to punish those who provide food to terrorists. Presently situation in Kashmir is under control as the Indian government could able to control terrorism and tourists are visiting Kashmir though in small numbers. People of Kashmir depend mostly on tourists for their livelihood.
There are also some people in Kashmir who support Pakisthan. Kashmir is like a rose flower surrounded by thorns called terrorism.
Tourists can visit Punjab after Kashmir. As every Indian is aware, Jallianwala bagh in Amritsar is a painful incident in Indian history. Marks of cartridges on the walls remind one of the cruelty of General Dyer. Golden temple, Wagha border are a must visit places in Punjab.