A weekend trip to Kashmir - April '19

nadz11.ns

Super User
Last weekend I got the chance to visit Kashmir after many months and decided to make the most of it. Three days in Kashmir is not much, but it was enough to make me happy for the time-being. I covered Pahalgam side (Chandanwari and Aru Valley), day trips to Sinthan Top and Margan Top. The trip to Margan Top the most exciting part as it was my first visit here. The road had opened just a few days prior and it was full of water crossings and snow.

I left from Jammu on Friday morning and reached Anantnag late in the afternoon. I didn't take many stops, just the necessary food and loo breaks. This route doesn't offer any good views IMO and lately, has become a nightmare to travel. Since I was on a motorcycle, I was able to navigate my way through horrendous traffic jams for kilometres at a stretch. Back in 2017 when I took multiple rides though the route, it was better and safer.

I stay at my grandparents' place in Anantnag and decided to rest for the remaining of the day. At night, I told my plans to my cousin who decided to join in for the rest of the trip. I have up till now always travelled solo, so this was a delightful experience and fun throughout.

First, we decided to explore the Pahalgam side and have a night stay there. We left by car after having a light breakfast. The route from Mattan onwards is beautiful with fields on both side of the road. Our first break was near the Aishmuqam shrine. This was the place were Adnan Sami sang the Sufi song in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. We didn't visit the shrine, instead wanted to enjoy the famous Halwa-Paratha combo. We got it packed and stopped a couple of kilometres ahead on the bank of the Lidder river to enjoy it.

The shop where we brought the Halwa-Paratha. The pakodas are tasty as well.
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We stopped here to enjoy the snacks
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We initially decided to check out the property where we were to stay for the night. The hut is owned by a friend of my cousin.
It was better than what I had expected. It had a beautiful garden and a bonfire place. If possible, I would love staying for a couple of days here and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

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We first decided to visit Chandanwari. We packed a few snacks for the market and moved on. The route to Chandanwari is beautiful. There was snow along the way. Last time when I visited Chandanwari, it was desolate. But since this was the beginning of the season, there were quite a few tourists. Just after the parking space, it was all covered with snow. Since my shoes weren't grippy on snow and I am uncomfortable in wearing gum boots which are worn by strangers, we decided to move back and have lunch in the Pahalgam market.

Some pics en route Chandanwari and back.
I tried some different editing style to some of these pics, so colour tones may not match in all the pics.
Black n white was done in an older style with the added grain.

I had purchased a 10-Stop ND filter from Haida couple of months back and used it for the first time on this trip.
I hope to get better with more practice.


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nadz11.ns

Super User
After that we moved towards Aru Valley. I have been to Aru a few time now and love it every time. The evening golden light was illuminating the area and it was a sight to behold. The mountain blocked the sun well before sunset, so there is no chance for seeing a proper sunset from Aru.

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Returning back to Pahalgam, we stopped at the riverside and spent well over an hour here just relaxing.

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Tried to capture this stone in isolation with a long exposure.
I like the result. But there are a lot of hot pixels.
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After having dinner, we moved to the hut. I decided to try and capture star trails. I managed to capture just this one.

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Next Day
 
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