“Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast”
Mughal emperor Jahangir has said it rightly that that “if there is ever heaven on earth it is here, it is here, it is here”. The splendour and magnificence of Kashmir is beyond words. Mesmerizing valleys, romantic lakes, multi-laced flowers, enchanting landscapes with the mighty Himalayas as its backdrop, everything about this paradise spells beauty.
Step into the majestic land and surely you are treated with a delightful experience, which will remain etched in your heart forever. Undoubtedly, god has liberally bestowed Kashmir with sheer beauty. If you ask me personally, I have never had enough of this land, despite visiting the paradise thrice. The soulful connection which I feel with this place kicks me to make a comeback always. Someone has said it right- it’s a dreamland and if you have not seen Kashmir, you have not experienced the paradise on earth.
Last week I was fortunate to get a chance to travel to this gorgeous valley again. I was a media trip with Khyber Himalayan Resorts & Spa, Gulmarg alongside few other top travel bloggers from India. And this time it was a dream come true too. It snowed in Kashmir and the whole valley turned dazzling white.
It was unimaginable. On every turn I couldn’t stop uttering ‘Wow’. Driving through the snowy roads, the fresh snow hung to the trees felt like little cotton balls strung. Such striking beauty Kashmir is and it never fails to surprise me
But why I am sharing this? The purpose to write this blog is to share my experience of travelling to Kashmir despite the ongoing disturbance in the valley. I have to write this blog because I received numerous messages from people to know if Kashmir is safe to travel. I have to write this blog to help my friends, those who are having a second thought, of a place they were so excited to visit once. I understand that Kashmir has constant disturbances, really unpredictable at times but the entire Kashmir is not ‘unfit’ to travel
Honestly, I won’t say if Kashmir is safe or unsafe to travel because I don’t want anyone to follow my opinion blindly. I would rather suggest going by your gut feeling and not jump on me because I came back from Kashmir safe & sound. I am writing this blog solely for the purpose of letting you know my experience of Kashmir. I have also given some handy tips at the end, incase you are planning to visit Kashmir any time soon.
Before our slated visit, I received a message from a fellow blogger telling us that she has been advised by her family members not to travel to Kashmir. Her husband would pick up random news links daily and show her. Her relatives from Jammu too backed the claim. She came on the trip because she wanted to see Kashmir but with gripped fear. I could see her extra vigilant face while we were driving through the valley to reach Gulmarg. I could hear her phone ringing continuously asking for whereabouts and if she is safe. Everyone in her family was worried, including her too. And she was not alone. Many in our group were. The moment we landed I was told to call up my family immediately to tell them I reached safe. We all did it.
We saw stone pelting too on our way which was a result of bandh that day but NOT TO ATTACK THE TOURISTS. Our driver panicked for a while thinking that they might throw stone on us but everything was fine the moment the guy saw ‘us- the tourist’ sitting in the car.
At the end of this trip my blogger friend had only one thing to say- I saved the word paradise for Kashmir and I am happy to be in this happy paradise
Kashmir has been a disturbed area and anything is really unpredictable in this region. It can happen that the valley opens up for one day and closes the next due to trouble. It can also happen that nothing happens at all in the region for months. One of my blogger friend returned from Jammu border twice because there was a sudden outbreak in Kashmir. Another one couldn’t land and the flight had to return. While I had a fabulous time exploring the pristine beauty of Kashmir all the 3 times I have been here. It is this unpredictable
Despite everything, I was really surprised to see that Kashmir was full of visitors. All major tourist places were packed. You can seriously spot species in every nook and corner. So plan but be vigilant too
I am not asking you to visit Kashmir without taking notice of ground reality. You can’t ignore it either. But incase you are planning let me share some ready tips to help you out:
- Follow what the locals have to say. I found them really helpful. The drivers know the routes to bypass disturbed areas
- Ask around. Ask the bloggers and writers, whom you think can give you genuine information
- Ask in travel groups on Social media websites. It is a good way to get first hand information
- Check from local news agencies
- Check with your hotel booked
There is surely nothing like Kashmir. The Paradise will keep waiting for you 🙂
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