A road trip in Vaayu (my swift) to Kashmir Valley ❤

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by Gaurav Tomar, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Gaurav Tomar

    Gaurav Tomar Active Member

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    An unplanned trip to J&K after 5 months of major accident in same state (Nubra Valley).
    We had a plan of visiting Bhaderwah during long weekend from 29th March 18 - 2nd April 18 but plan got changed on the way.

    Day 1 – Delhi to Pahalgam, 16 hours.
    We 4 guys (Arvind, Gaurav, Shireesh and I) started from office @ Gurgaon on 28/03 at 20:00 with a plan of reaching Bhaderwah by noon but while exiting Delhi at 22:00 I got to know that road from Jammu to Srinagar is open for both side traffic next day. This news triggered a change in plan with the caveat of traffic conditions after/around Chenani Tunnel. A quick 30 mins break taken at 23:45 before Ambala to have our home packed dinner.

    Our changed plan was - if we reach Anantnag by 14:00 on 29/03, will go directly to Pahalgam and roam around and if we are running late then will move straight towards Srinagar to finish our day.

    We covered a good distance overnight and took a breakfast stop after crossing Udhampur at 7:30 where Vaayu was Fuelled up too. This was my first visit to Chenani Tunnel and I was excited to enter this 9.2 Kms tunnel - Amazing experience. A quick de-fuelling break taken around Ramban at 09:25 and continued as per our plan, there was no traffic with average roads hence we were moving without any obstacle. Reached Banihal railway station at 10:55, I am fond of railway stations so how could I miss to take some clicks at station J. Another de-fuelling break was clubbed with Banihal station and after that we crossed Jawahar Tunnel (2.5 Kms long) at 11:55. We reached the valley view point (photo break) where board says “Welcome to District Anantnag – The Land of Springs” that means we were going to Pahalgam as per our plan J. Roads were fantastic after Jawahar Tunnel and route was so scenic with a lot of green and yellow on both sides of the road throughout till Pahalgam.
    Finally saw the board at 13:36 says – “Welcome to Pahalgam” and we continued towards Punjabi Rasoi (Near Pahalgam Bus stand) to have our lunch.
    A must visit place for yummy vegetarian food and on top of it owned by our group member - Sunny Paaji (Jagjit Singh).

    As we did not have any plan so decided to stay in Pahalgam near Punjabi Rasoi, did some local sightseeing by pony ride around Kashmiri valley, Baisaran and few more places.

    Drive log – 22:00 – 14:00
    Mukarba to Murthal - AP
    Murthal to Ambala - GT
    Ambala to Pathankot - AP
    Pathankot to Pahalgam - GT

    This is how long day 1 was ended….

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  2. Gaurav Tomar

    Gaurav Tomar Active Member

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    Day 2 – Pahalgam/Gulmarg
    Vaayu was ready after a quick wash and we started early from hotel at 07:00 to visit Betaab Valley and Aru Valley before leaving Pahalgam. It was chilling outside but a scenic drive towards Betaab Valley was refreshing, there was a layer of ice formed on the hood of Vaayu and I am guessing temperature much be close to zero that time. We did not spend much time in Betaab Valley and had our breakfast in Pahalgam market then moved towards Aru Valley which was approx. 15 Kms from there. Another very scenic drive with flowing Lidder river alongside, we reached Aru Valley by 09:30 and again did not spend much time there as we had seen a place where a swift was parked riverside and we also wanted to spend some time there. I took Vaayu to very close to Lidder river and spent a good time at riverbed around beautiful place surrounded by mountains and river with nobody else around.

    We started from Aru Valley at 12:00 towards Gulmarg which was approx. 3 hours from there, we continued with no breaks as we had to reach Gulmarg on time to catch Gondola. We finally managed to reach Gulmarg at 15:00 and ran towards Gondola ticket counter, Phase 2 was closed at 14:30 but we managed to get a ticket to Phase 1 and we were there at 15:40. There was a lot of snow at Phase 1 and it was crowded too, we spent good couple of hours there and reached back to Gulmarg around 18:00. We had some snacks and Kahwa at Gulmarg and started towards Srinagar for our night stay at Sunny Paaji’s beautiful home stay.

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  3. Gaurav Tomar

    Gaurav Tomar Active Member

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    Day 3 – Local Srinagar
    This day was reserved to visit local places in Srinagar only, so we started our day around 8:00 and visited following places: -
    • Chathi Paadshahi
    • Badam Vaari
    • Hazratbal Shrine
    • Harwan
    • Shalimar Bagh
    • Nishat Bagh
    • Tulip Garden
    • Botanical Garden
    • Chashm-e-shahi
    • Shankaracharya Temple
    • Dal Lake + Char Chinaar
    • Lal Chowk
    This was an easy day visiting beautiful places but day was unexpectedly hot, returned home stay a little late as we spent some time buying dry fruits at Polo view market as suggested by Sunny Paaji.

    Suggested shop for Dry Fruits is Amin Bin Khalik and GM Shah for Pashmina.

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  4. Gaurav Tomar

    Gaurav Tomar Active Member

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    Day 4 – Doodhpatri and Drive back towards Delhi
    Though Doodhpatri was one of the reason to visit Kashmir but we were sceptical in the morning as I had to reach home as early as possible. We checked out from Sunny Paaji’s homestay at 08:00 for Delhi but did some travel time calculations and decided to visit Doodhpatri. Our drive till Budgam was average but after that, it was breathtakingly beautiful throughout until Doodhpatri, we reached around 09:30 and we were the only tourists there. Plan was to visit and move back within an hour and half but one of our friend had lost his mobile somewhere under the snow, it took 1.5 hours to find his mobile with the help of some locals. Finally, we started from Doodhpatri at 11:30 which was late as per our plan. We got a news of some unrest before Budgam and stone pelting was happening in our way, this was a real panic situation for us. A local told us not to go from main road and suggested to take some narrow lanes to reach Srinagar, I made couple of calls to update on our whereabouts as internet was not working there. One call to a friend Umang so that atleast someone is informed about our location and another call to RT sir (he was on his way from Banihal to Srinagar that time).
    Somehow managed to reach Srinagar at 13:00 where curfew was about to get imposed due to some militants were killed in Shopian and Anantnag same day.

    We kept checking road conditions with Army and Police on the way and left the city without wasting anytime, plan was to come out of problem zone as early as possible. As roads were superb, we had crossed Qazigund and reached Lower Munda in less than 1.5 hours. Did a quick call to RT sir for quick catch up but he was in Qazigund city looking for a place for lunch and reported that 80% shops are already closed and rest are half shutter down already. We continued without any break (except some de-fuelling breaks) till Kud from where we bought some Patisa as suggested by another friend Sandeep Jandu, crossed Jammu bypass at 19:30 which was fairly quick (Srinagar to Jammu in 6 hours is fast).

    Stopped for Dinner at my favourite place in Samba – 17 miles, 1.15 hour break with good meal was such a relief. Another news came up that some unrest is expected next day due to Bharat Band so internet connectivity will be disconnected in Punjab, only impact on us while crossing Punjab was FasTag did not work on one toll due to no internet – rest of the chaos happened on NH1 same day but after when we had crossed, lucky we :)

    Drove full night and reached Delhi at sharp 06:00, after dropping other 3 guys I was home in Faridabad by 07:30.

    Srinagar to Delhi completed in 17 hours (13:00 – 06:00)

    Thanks to my co-travelers and my crime partner 'Vaayu'.

    Thanks for watching
    Happy Motoring J

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  5. rdp

    rdp Well-Known Member

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    Quite Nice !
     
  6. nadz11.ns

    nadz11.ns Super User

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    A quick dash to the valley and back :grin:
     
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  7. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Fantastic! Shared it on BCMT FB Page.
     
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  8. Gaurav Tomar

    Gaurav Tomar Active Member

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    Thanks Yogesh

    Sent from my Le X507 using Tapatalk
     
  9. broote

    broote Rajesh

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    fantastic pics. reminded me my trip some 8 yrs ago. Roads have improved it seems.
     
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  10. Prakash Bhakuni

    Prakash Bhakuni Prakash

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    Beautiful pics in beautiful valley
     
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