SNOWED IN!…. in Srinagar.

DAY 1. Srinagar. The flight lands at Srinagar airport, the pilot announces, “the temperature outside is -2 degrees”. My sister and me, shoot stricken looks at each other and reach up for our bags to get our sweaters, mufflers and gloves out. Totally smothered and hardly visible above all the woolen clothing, we wait to get down, and when we reach the door, what do we see? ITS SNOWING!!!!!! Let me give you a little flashback here, growing up in India, since its a ‘tropical’ country, I had never seen snowfall till date. Growing up while watching and loving Hollywood movies that had Christmas, snow, sledging, skiing and so many things that I could only wish for the day when I could really experience all of that. So the two young girls wrapped up in warm clothes could only utter muffled cries of happiness and walk to the bus with a spring in their feet.

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Dal lake fountains, while whizzing past in the car
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Barren Nishat Bagh, bereft of all the beautiful flowering shrubs, nevertheless a rugged beauty in its own way

DAY 2. Pehelgam. Waking up in the morning to the amazing scene outside. My eyes sprang open, I opened the curtains, and lo and behold the scene lies before my eyes! I am chilled to my bones, but I don’t care, I go out and breathe in the freezing early morning air.

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The lovely early morning scene, just like the movies!
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Phehelgam, famous for the shooting of Bollywood movies where the heroine sits on one of the rocks, the hero splashes water on her, all the while singing a love song. Plus for all the adventure sports in the summer.

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DAY 3. Gulmarg. Gulmarg is like a bowl, filled to the brim with fluffy cotton balls. It was totally snowed in. The time was December, the snow is fresh and soft at this time, as it has just started. It was not possible to ski at this time, not even in another dimension, but we were adamant. So we both posed and poised, went a few steps, fell down, got buried leg deep into the snow, got up, promptly got buried in again and so on as the saga “How to ski in soft snow” continued, while Dad kept a watch, totally exasperated. 😉

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A picturesque Gulmarg that looks exactly like the inside of a snow globe, only better!
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Ski time!
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A salute to all the soldiers present there on the high altitudes in such freezing conditions and risking their lives everyday.

DAY 4. To Rampur. A four hour journey to the place where we were going to stay.

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Raindrops on my window make me happy.
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Frozen apple orchards. I love apples 🙂
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Snow covered saffron fields, one of the costliest spices in the world. In autumn, when the stunted plants are flowering, the mile after mile of blooming saffron flowers are an amazing sight.

DAY 5. At Rampur. Sleeping in late. Rest of the day spent in bickering with my sister.

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the reason we survived the below freezing temperature.

DAY 6. At Rampur. Exploring the place around with strictest instructions from Dad to not disturb him, at which both me and my sister fail miserably.

The barren mountains, the river Jhelum, now only a thin stream of trickling water, all its frothing gushing waves having succumbed to the frost, were amazing sights. There is a beauty in the barren-ness and ruggedness of the place. The ground laid thread-bare to the sky, bereft of a shred of vegetation inspires and tickles the mind, it is almost poetic.

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A stark tree againt the clear blue sky
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Do away with all the boundaries and inhibitions and embrace what comes

DAY 7. Still at Rampur. Nothing to do. Stuck inside all day. Time spending techniques for such occasions: eat, sleep, fight, watch TV, play pool, fight again, roam around, eat and finally SLEEP, again. 🙂

DAY 8. Aman setu(Bridge).  A Hassled father takes two indignant daughters to AMAN bridge, the bridge that connects India and Pakistan for trade purposes. Luckily it was trade day and we could see all the process that occurs when goods come in from Pakistan and Indian trucks go over to the other side of the Border.

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A Pakistani truck embellished with decorations from the top to the last Tyre. Indian truck drivers should take an example.

DAY 9.Buniyar. Me and my sister sent off to a temple, so that Dad can get some peace of mind plus to get all the work done. 😉 The Buniyar temple touched my heart and it was an unforgettable place.

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The buniyar temple

DAY 10.Holiday over. Bags packed, off to srinagar to catch a flight back to kolkata. I could almost hear Dad sighing with relief! 😛 We are going to come back, nevertheless, and the next time is going to be when the apple orchards are laden with fruits, the Jhelum is gushing with full force and the mountains are covered with dense green forests.

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