By Hitee Singh
It was the summer of 2014 and I found myself passing by the lilac fields of saffron and red orchards of apples, travelling by the Mughal Road and passing through Srinagar and reaching Gulmarg .
No sooner did we reach, it started to pour down making the mercury dip. The majestic, snow-peak mountains were barely visible as thick, black clouds smothered it as they had done to the sun. Unaffected by the cold the horses grazed in the meadow despite the rain shower. The green meadows had small huts as accommodations for tourists. We stayed in one of the huts near the forest, totally cut off from the outer world, we slept comfortably.
The next morning the sun was free from the clutches of the clouds and warmed up the place. We were fortunate enough to be the first one, for that day, to get into the famous Gulmarg Gondola, which is Asia’s highest and longest cable car.
Split into 2 stages, the first one is from Gulmarg to Kongdoori Valley, a 10-minute ride. Kongdoori Valley is a green, bowl-shaped valley with refreshments for the tourists. It was jam packed with tourists from all over the world. The ticket of the phase I cost us INR 400.
The second phase was from Kongdoori Valley to Afarwat Peak, a 15-minute ride. The ticket was INR 600. The second stage really had me chanting God’s name as it was around five thousand metres high and during the last 10 metres ride the angle of our car had been extended to 60°, making my heart miss a beat.
Going Upward on the Gandola : Video 1
The moment I stepped out of the car, I realised it was totally worth it. The view was, no I don’t think any language or any person, and no matter how eloquent he is, can ever describe what I exactly felt that very moment. I won’t dare to destroy that memory by making a failed attempt to explain. We sat there for some time and I then understood why the yogis chose the mountains to meditate. They are pure, devoid of any malice and just looking at them makes one realise how small we are, they make you reflect, their presence inspires you and brings such a peace to a troubled soul. My reflective period was short-lived as the weather turned ugly and we had to go down before it started to rain.
During the ride: Video 3
The trip is one of the places where a Travel Junkie has to go. During the winters, the area is used for skiing and is a very popular tourist spot for foreigners.
So next time you get a chance, spend some time in Kashmir.