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Small weekend stay in Srinagar

by on March 12, 2008

I was not sure what I expected when I got off the plane and walked towards baggage claim. Some part of me hoped of Shikara would pick me up from the airport. Pondering into these questions I got into the waiting car and was quickly driven to the hotel. The place was massive; Jehangir my host offered me a hot cup of kahwa and watched indulgently as I sipped its sweetness and spices.

srinagar-intercontinental.jpgI was in Intercontinental Grand the grand palace Srinagar, the former summer residence of the royal family of J&K. Hulking chinars stand around the sprawling ground. Innumerable celebrities have called this hotel their temporary home like the Big B (Amitabh). Jehangir led me to the Maharani suite, where I had to spend my weekend. The remodeling that has overtaken the palace interior is commendable. Wall upon wall of art , chandeliers, carpets, all work determinedly together to make one feel every inch of royalty. 

Next day my guide took me to Dodhpathri, only just opened to the public. It lies about 60 km southwest of Srinagar, and you have to brave a terrible road to get to it. I didn’t know where I was anymore as the setting, changing from green a welcoming to brown, dusty and unfriendly, to distant and beautiful, held my full attention and failed my camera. We drove through villages where I glimpsed the fair beauties I had been looking for, but I couldn’t see what color their eyes were. We weren’t sure where Dodhpathri was, so we just drove on and on till there was no road left, and declared that we had reached. Before us lay a generous expanse of carpented land, nature’s golf course ringed by deodars that threw strange shadows on each other and shimmered gently. There was no one else here, only cold remains of camp fire and our guide suggested that we keep going through the trees and mountains till we reached Pakistan, but we stayed and only marveled. 

srinagar-floating-dal-market.jpgIt was evening when we got back, the chill starting up again. We stopped at the Nagin Lake, where a small shikara waited to take us across to our guide Yaseen’s houseboat, there weren’t many houseboats here while the Dal looked like a parking lot. Finally we rode on water, it was beautiful. I climbed into the houseboat when we stopped. It was good and had carved furniture, the crockery was very old and I had kahwa in it.

I had three things to do before I leave; the first was to visit Nishant Gardens. Tourists were getting pictures taken in additional dress, picnicking. The garden had many rows and groups of flowers planted on various levels for maximum aesthetic effect. I moved on to the shikara ride on Dal which was the second thing to do. It was the most amaging feeling with mountains rose up around us, the sun was gentle and the water was not too smelly. Soon another boat drew up alongside, a floating shop filled with jewelry, shawls, trinkets and other things I would never use. I bargained and then bought a silver bracelet the last thing was to visit the market which had many paintings, cashew nuts and wooden items shops.     

Find driving directions from Srinagar to nearby places here..

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. Nice photos.

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