>Ok. So the D-day has arrived. I am off for a much needed vacation. Its time to explore and exploit the mesmerising beauty of nature. So here it goes.
It’s 3.30 am and I hire a cab for the whole family @ Rs.300 (that’s not a fortune, considering the night fare, luggage fare , etc from the South Mumbai region.) After a short journey of around 35 mins, our group of 11 people comprising of relatives and siblings have reached the 1B terminal of the Domestic Airport. The ambience is quiet silent and its always a good sign of a silent time ahead.
We get our routine luggage check done and proceed towards the security check. Hold On! Its CCD in front of me and I cannot control my urge to drink the black coffee… Alert: Airport CCDs charge you a bomb for different coffees. Like a mochachillo costs you @ Rs.72 instead of 40 something. While my favorite black coffee costs Rs.62 instead of 40 something. They don’t give you a receipt and you have to pay a lumpsum amount (Rs.140 in my case). Argue only if you have loads of time to catch your flight or only if you have enough guts to skip your flight. A dip-dip tea costs Rs.59 but you pay Rs.60. So beware of these ‘sophisticated loots’!
After a routine security check, I search for a Wi-fi connection at the airport. Bad luck.. But every dark cloud has a silver lining. Airtel provides you complimentary internet service near the seating area. (Hehehe.. Sau customers ko kaat kar Airtel haj ko chali.) The internet connection is decent enough to let you catch up with your facebook profile. Lolzzz.
We board the Go Air flight SG-152, Mumbai-Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar. Phew! That’s a pretty long journey. The flight take off timing is 6 am. Luckily the plane moves on the runaway at a punctual time but takes off after 20-25 mins. (Traffic congestion, really?)
Good news… The flight provides you breakfast. Bad news… Nothing’s for free in this world, man.
Veg combo @ 100,
Non-veg combo @ 120
A piece of cookie @ 10
Soft drinks @ 50
Mineral water @ 15
Hehehe… A nice journey until now.
Alright… We reach Delhi at 10 am (which makes me realise that the flight is late by almost an hour). Delhi is supposed to be India’s busiest airport… Aah… Another half an hour delay. The weather at this time sucks a bit (causing problems for landing and take-offs). There is another halt at Jammu airport. A suggestion… Pray to God that your flight lands safely. Hehehe.
We reach Srinagar airport from Jammu at 12.15 pm. There are too many tour operators to offer you services at the airport itself.
Now the journey begins…
We head straight for our lunch at a restaurant called Jai Jinendra, near Dal Lake. The food is amazing in prospects of Kashmir locality and it does remind you of the 3 star restaurants of Mumbai. Buffet lunch is also provided by them @ Rs.100. The climate by now has become cool. We head towards Sonamarg hill station which is around 70 kms from Dal lake. On the way, a visit to many sightseeing places like Nishal Bagh, Mughal Gardens, Shankaracharya, Hazratbal is possible. But it requires atleast 3-4 hours of spare time to complete all these places.
We reach Sonamarg hill station at 4.30 pm (note: I did not visit places in Srinagar as I had already done it around 7 years back) and its time to enjoy a much needed rest.
We check in a 2-3 star hotel called The Glacier Heights. It definately provides a good service to the tourists. As per my knowledge, this is the only decent hotel available for a stay. The rest being camps and tents.
Its time for an evening walk in the freezing cold at 10 degree celsius. Mobile networks hardly work in this area since this is supposed to be a military-based region. (Tip: Do not forget to capture the beauty of the nature from your camera.)
The dinner is available in this hotel but it provides both veg and non-veg. (the good news is, they have different kitchens) Pure veg dhaba called Jai Mata Di is situated in the market but I aint sure if anybody would like to make an experiment.
The Glacier heights hotel makes customized dinner for you with good services.
Its night time and the temperature dips low. Asthamic patients need to take good care of themselves as the oxygen is thinner in this region. Heaters are available on request. Lights go off quite often but the generator solves the problem and there’s hardly anything to worry about.
Finally, its the end of the day and time for a good night sleep…