This post is continuation to our earlier post about 3 nights – 4 day trip to Pahalgam .
Srinagar airport is surprisingly a teeny-weeny airport with few gates and limited eateries. Since we had planned to visit Pahalgam first, immediately after landing in Srinagar, we moved to Pahalgam. This post is about our short stay in Srinagar, before returning home happily full with cherishing memories.
Day-4 Travelling to Srinagar
At the time of leaving for Srinagar from Pahalgam, we saw a full grown sheep grazing the grass in the hotel’s compound to our pleasant surprise. Sarah was delighted to see such a beautiful sheep but we were surprised of its presence there. We enquired about it and were informed that tomorrow i.e. 21st July being Bakri-Eid (Eid al-Adha), the locals were gearing up for the festival celebrations and sheep are nurtured for sacrifice ritual. As per the local folk, the festival honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God; when God decided to provide a lamb for sacrifice instead. To commemorate the same, animals are sacrificed ritually and the offering shall be distributed in 3 parts, with one part being consumed by the family, another part to be shared with other families and friends, and last part being shared with poor and needy. Muslims also share sweets, gifts, delicacies and all bakery shops/cake shops are jam-packed on the day of Eid and the day before. Sadly, during our travel towards Srinagar, we saw sheep being transported everywhere, at the back of a truck/trailer, near the Dal Lake and even being carried by groups of shepherds everywhere, which in normal occasion would’ve been a pleasant site to behold, but on a day before the festival, we don’t know!!!
As we had not booked any hotel in advance, we were advised by our driver to stay near the Dal Gate/Lake to spend the best time during our short stay as this place is very lively particularly during evenings with great views of Dal Lake and Houseboats. We went ahead and checked in the Hotel named Shah Abbas just opposite Dal Gate No. 10. The hotel was not great by any standard, the only respite was the lake view it offered. After having checked in, we took some rest and took a light stroll around Dal Lake at night and enjoyed the colorful reflections of numerous and fancy houseboats in water. Majorly, all eateries had closed early today as most of the workers were on leave for the festival. Gladly, we ended up eating in a Punjabi Dhaba, which was just a 10 min walk from the hotel.
Day 5 – Srinagar
Minal woke up early in the morning and went for a walk around the Dal Lake. It was so calm, peaceful with only a handful of visitors on the day of Eid al-Adha. Unfortunately, the harmony with nature didn’t last long once it started pouring heavily and it rained for the whole day. We had to change our plans of visiting Mughal Gardens, and the Shankaracharya Temple. We decided to stay back and enjoy the view from the room of Dal Lake. Somewhere around 4o’clock, the weather cleared and we went for a Shikara ride for 1 hour. Truly, it is a different experience all together. The floating markets, the fancy houseboats, the parcels of isolate islands full of shrubs and wild grass, the gourd plantations, local people living on these islands, everything was beautiful. The stuff available in these markets is nominally priced and we would encourage you to purchase from them. We then had early dinner to retire for the day.
And next day, we boarded our early morning flights and came back home.
6 things to know about Srinagar
- Srinagar is heavily guarded. There is army in markets, gardens , parks, near tourist spots and on highways. Literally there is army/bsf/police personnel everywhere
- People love eating Golgappas here and in every market you will find local street vendors selling goplgappa
- Kashmiris address females as “didi” and men as “Sir”
- 90% of the population here works in tourism industry
- On festivals, they buy meat and bakery products instead of sweats
- There are very few sweats shop here as people prefer to eat bakery products more
Cost of Trip ( including Pahalgam Visit)
Tip: It is advisable to book a taxi in advance for which you can contact Mr. Hussain. His no. is 7006244423. Mr. Hussain is a local and a very pleasant guy to talk to and can guide you in every possible way.
Endnote: One thing everyone enquired was is it safe to travel to Kashmir? We have only one thing to mention, the hospitality and security we experienced in Kashmir was par excellence and the local people left no stones unturned in catering to our requirements. Someone has very beautifully written about Kashmir as:
vābasta haiñ sab jis se vo zanjīr yahī hai
firdaus-e-zamīñ jannat-e-kashmīr yahī hai
And we would sum it as it is a place full of warm, charm and calm!!!
Hope you enjoyed reading the blog. Please do tell how did you plan your trip and if we can help any further to clear any concern/query.