Day 1| Srinagar arrival and house boat stay (About 40 minute drive)
We welcome you at the Sheikh-Ul-Alam airport and proceed for the ever charming Dal Lake. Dal Lake is the top most attraction appealing with its unusual beauty guarded by holy peaks in its surrounding. As you enter the Boulevard Road (the lake road), the house boats seem to call for your presence on one side, and well-decorated markets on the other. We sit in Shikara (a small boat) that takes us across to the houseboat (fixed living boats put up in water). The beautiful walnut carved interiors delight your eyes as you enjoy hot Kashmiri Kehva for refreshment.
Evening free to experience and enjoy Shikara ride around the Lake, showing you the culture and lifestyle of people. You might cross some school children passing by, returning to their homes (doonga boats). Dinner and night stay at house boat.
Day 2| Srinagar Sightseeing – Prominent Temples & Gardens
We begin the day with visiting the holy Shankracharya Temple. Surmounted on a hillock, the temple is far visible from Srinagar city. Inside the temple is also a small room for meditation, which is decorated with devotees meditating Lord Shiva. In pre-migration era, the Kashmiri Pandits used to throng to this temple every early morning and the sound of Bhajans and Vedic chants used to vibrate all over. Even today, one can hear the echo of temple bells in the city.
Close to this, downwards is located the temple of Zeshta Mata (worshipped along with Shiva) and Mata Roop Bhawani (a family deity and Sharika Mata Incarnation). The two temples are not only held in high reverence but are located in serene and sacred surroundings offering peace and tranquility to its visitors. The devotees undertaking the pilgrimage on Mela Kheer Bhawani (held on Jyeshta Ashtami) also visit the above shrine of Zyeshta Mata temple.
There are three main gardens that must be visited Shalimar, Nishat, and Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden. Recently Tulip Garden has been developed, that lays open for a short period between March-April. Also visit the world famous spring Chashm-e-shahi and Pari Mahal. Evening for refreshments on the ghats of Dal Lake. Dinner and night stay in house boat.
Day 3| Tour to Sonamarg – feel the country side beauty
After breakfast we drive to Sonamarg-the meadows of gold. Sonamarg valley is inhabited along Sindh River surrounded by snow peaked mountains and glacier Thajiwas. Sonamarg pass leads further to Baltal and Zojila Pass. Sonamarg is base camp for the world famous Great Lakes Trek.
Arrive and check in at pre-booked camp and feel one with nature. Enjoy pony ride to Thajiwas Glacier or you can also hire a union taxi to Thajiwas. Water rafting is carried out by the adventure companies, one can book for the same through us or directly at the counter.
Day 4| Return to Srinagar via interiors of Ganderbal
After leisurely breakfast, it’s time to leave for Srinagar. Enroute we visit revered shrine of Mata Kheer Bhawani (the Goddess Parvati). Also visit Manasbal Lake and ancient temple of Lord Shiva half immersed in pond (picture above). All the places above speak volumes about the recent history of Kashmir. Before we arrive in our hotel, also visit Hari Parbat Temple.
Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple: – The temple of Kheer Bhawani is situated at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar against the background of natural sight near the village of Tula Mula. The temple of Ragnya Devi is called “Kheer Bhawani” because numerous devotees offer milk and kheer (Indian sweet dish) to the sacred spring. It is believed that milk and kheer turn to black color to warn of any impending disaster.
Manasbal Lake: – Manasbal Lake is located about 30 km north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State. It has predominantly rural surroundings with three villages, Kondabal, Jarokbal and Gratbal overlooking the lake. Manasbal is considered as the ‘supreme gem of all Kashmir lakes’ with lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) nowhere more abundant or beautiful than on the margins of this lake during July and August. It is the deepest lake of Kashmir valley and perhaps the only one that develops stable summer stratification.
Hari Parbat Temple- Hari Parbat (SHARIKA PEETH) is situated at the periphery of Srinagar city is an ancient and one of the holiest place of Kashmir. It is the abode of Maha Shakti. The Divine mother of Shri Jagat Amaba Sharika Bagwati also known as Maha TRIPURSUNDHARI OR RAJESHWARI locally called HARIE. The EIGHTEEN ARMED goddess SHARIKA is regarded as the presiding deity (ISHT-DEVI) of Srinagar city.The Goddess Sharika is represented by a Sayambhu “SRI CHAKRA” (Mahamaha Srichakra) also called “MAHA SRIYANTRA” which consists of circular Mystic impressions and triangular patterns with fot(Bindhu) at the centre. The mystic SHRICHAKAR self-engraved on a vertical holy rock (shilia) is located at the middle of western face of Hari Parbat (Hillrock).
Stay overnight in hotel in Srinagar.
Day 5| Day trip to Gulmarg (one of the Asia’s best skiing resort)
This day after breakfast at the hotel, get driven to Gulmarg. Enjoy GANDOLA Ride. Rest of the day will be for leisure activities around. In the evening we return to Srinagar for dinner and night stay.
Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country’s premier ski resort in the winter.
Day 6| Srinagar- Pahalgam via Verinag
Breakfast and departure to Pahalgam. Enroute visit Avantipora ruins and Saffron Fields. 50 km down, we reach Anantnag and 30 km further we arrive the holy Verinag past Achabal gardens. After Verinag, we drive 60 km to Pahalgam. On the way visit the ruins of old Martand Temple, New Martand Temple and Bumzova Cave (the ancient cave of Lord Shiva protected by UNESCO).
About Verinag-One of the largest springs in India, Verinag, is easily accessible through a by pass from the Jammu – Srinagar high way. Verinag is named after Nila Nag, the son of the wise saint, Kashyap Rishi, who reclaimed the Kashmir valley, the original shape of this spring was in the circular form of a kund which was later developed into octagonal shape by Jehangir. A Shaivite shrine just outside the complex draws pilgrims every year, who come for a ritual dip in the spring of the first day of the year according to the lunar Hindu calendar.
Pahalgam is positioned beside the Lidder River, in the Lidder valley. Reach there and check in at your pre booked hotel. Evening at leisure with night stay in hotel.
Day 7| Pahalgam Sightseeing: Betaab valley, Baisaran and Aru
After breakfast at hotel, you can proceed to visit Baisaran. Baisaran is known as “Mini Switzerland”, given its picturesque view and breath taking spots. The sightseeing is done using ponies and takes around half a day. Post lunch, you can visit Betaab Valley (named after famous Bollywood Hit “Betaab”). If time permits, you can visit Aru valley and Aru Wild life sanctuary. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 8|Drive to Srinagar via Langabal (100 km approx.)
Have breakfast and check out of hotel. We leave for Srinagar via Langabal. On the way we can see the plantations of Apple and Walnut (the fruit ripens in Oct only), giving a feel of country side of Kashmir.We arrive in Srinagar by afternoon. Check in at hotel. Evening at leisure or for shopping activities.
Day 9|Drop at airport
We see you off at airport for your onward journey.