Guest Posts

Kashmir – Paradise On Earth

Mridu Bhatnagar

September 19, 2018

Mountains, North India, Kashmir, beautiful snow covered peaks, fresh air, away from the city hustle. This is one school of thought. While another which I used to relate to was mountains, hills, road trip, curved roads sickness. No matter how beautiful the place is. Sickness, and a decision to stay away from the whole experience.

Pahalgam? Instinctive, reaction with reference to the previous history of events was sickness. Based on the recent learning, “Brave the mind. Let go, go ahead.” Was a self-talk.

What followed was a wonderful 3 day trip to Kashmir. Delhi to Srinagar, Srinagar to Pahalgam and back.

Kashmir – Paradise On Earth

A month back I was amidst the western ghats totally awestruck by seeing the distant hills completely covered with the green trees. En-route there were backwaters as well as tall coconut trees. This was the southern part of the country.

From the southern part to the northernmost part of the country. There were significant observable changes in the surroundings. Vegetation all throughout includes Pine Trees, snow-covered mountain peaks, because of snow, houses were architecturally different.

The road journey from Srinagar to Pahalgam did not involve much of the curved roads as I had imagined in the head. Each and everything on the journey looked fascinating. Unlike, any other experience before. This time there were gigantic snow-covered mountain peaks right in front, horses grazing the field, the beautiful whitewater river and the road alongside each other. Mesmerizing in its true sense. It felt as if all the beautiful pictures seen before came to life.

Within 2-3 hours reached Pahalgam. View just outside room window was again a snow-covered peak. Days when the sun shined bright the same peak appeared to be golden. What was around was beautiful. Going there, and being indoors. Didn’t seem to be a good idea. Outdoors, was the thing to do.

At the entrance of the hotel. A board for advertisement read. A horse ride to Kanmarg, Kashmir Valley, Baisaran Valley. This was something not in the itinerary. Horse ride and the mind recalled 10 years back the poor experience of Kufri. Time was to again implement what was shared with me. Hence, yes to the horse ride along with 4 others. And it was this which made the trip memorable.

Journey to the top sitting on the horses back was nothing less than an adventure. There were times when the horse was moving ahead with more than it’s normal speed, at times it was walking right at the edge. This part of the journey was about conquering fear.

Anything unless tried looks intimidating from a distance. Saying yes to this. Proved out to be a great learning experience. This is what the horse’s master taught. When the horse is ascending the climb you have to lean your body forward, during the descent body has to bend backward and the legs forward. Made sure to follow, as expected it did work out.

The ride at the horse’s back was not as easy as it seems. It did walk on the edges. As I did expect out of myself. I did shout out and asked the master. “Why is it behaving the way it is? Can’t it just walk down the straight path rather than being over adventurous and walking along the edges?”. His reply made me think, relate the journey with life.

“You don’t have to be scared. If you are scared. The horse will get scared. He knows his path.” It was his saying. After this everytime, the horse was at the edge. I managed to not utter a word and be calm.

On the way, the horses were following each other. Going in one line, one after the other. Following the master’s command. All that was around me was in a nutshell, amazingly amazing

While on the way only at Baisaran Valley (mini Switzerland) we got down from the horse. This was ‘The most beautiful destination’. Meadow, snow-covered peak at the backdrop.

On the other hand some of the places where the road takes you are Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Chandanwari (the place from where the Amarnath Yatra starts).

Journeys which need extra effort to reach the destination. Hold special place in the heart. It is here when each and every emotion can be felt. Standing on the other side of fear. Has to definitely be ‘The moment’. This time it was the horse ride.


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