Friday, 5 August 2011

Paradise on Earth.. Kashmir!

One sees the panoramic pictures of the snow capped peaks and the lush green valleys in Kashmir… one reads the tourism brochures which talk about Kashmir as ‘Heaven on Earth!’

But nothing prepares you for the splendour of the place that mounts an assault on your senses in a supremely tranquil, serenely beautiful and enchanting way. Words are but an inadequate tool to describe such magnificence.

This was my reaction on landing in Srinagar. Well before we landed, the picture that was unfolding below and to either side of us was mesmerising… The city of Srinagar below nestled in the lush green valley which was a stark contrast to the barren and snow clad mountains surrounding it.

Over the course of the following few days, we visited Pahalgam and Gulmarg- one an absolutely stunning valley with the gurgling waters of the Lidder flowing through and the other, a skier’s delight in winters and in summer a captivating landscape with snow on the upper reaches which offered the summer tourists a chance to savour the delights of playing in fresh snow.

One of the most amazing sights everywhere was the profusion of flowers... in formal gardens, in hedges, in weeds, by the roadside…. Just about everywhere.

 The Nishaat Baag overlooking the Dal was bursting with flowers as were the scenic meadows, every hotel garden, flower beds and pots in big and small homes, and even the trees , not to be outdone, were laden with blossoms some as large as eight-ten inches across!

The entire hillside was covered with these flowering weeds...

The profusion of pansies of myriad colours was a real treat...

 These flowers were a good 8-10 inches across!

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