Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trip to J&K - II


The ADC to the Major-General had chalked our trip to Gulmarg. The drive from Srinagar to Gulmarg was really pleasant. We stopped over at Tangmarg and hired coats and gumboots.
Gulmarg is a hill-station at 8800ft that boasts of the highest and longest cable car ride in Asia.
Gulmarg is blessed with vast meadows of greenery and looks fabulous surrounded with a blanket of green. After a brief walk in the meadows, we took the Gondola cable car to Khelmarg in the Kongdoori Mountains.

The drizzle and cold weather made for the perfect setting for a bowl of hot Maggi noodles and Kahwa (Kashmiri tea). I didn't want to move further as I had found heaven at the refreshment stall but the wife and bro dragged me out and put me on a horse. We were heading to the snow bypassing the clouds.

The wife saw snow for the first time and could not control herself. The brother wanted to dive into the snow. I wanted my bowl of Maggi. Still want it :-) After sledding for a few hours and playing in the snow, all wet, we returned to Gulmarg hestitantly. The greenery at Gulmarg is captivating and I soon forgot about the sled. The thought of Maggi and Kahwa lingered though.

Khalid drove us back to our fortified home. At dinner, uncle M-G talked about terrorists, bombs and bullets but the wife couldn't think beyond snow. With sweet memories of Gulmarg, snow, kahwa and maggi, we called it a night.

Gulmarg Khelmarg


Monday, June 22, 2009

Trip to J&K - I

Pissd will sound like a travelogue for the next few posts and i'll update it till i finish narrating my recent trip to Jammu & Kashmir. You might receive mails irritating you with the updates but if I really cared abt you, I would have never started blogging. Or for that matter even added you as a contact in my phonebook.

I jus got back from the most fabulous holiday ever. Okay, it wasn't a holiday but an experience. I didn't stay in fancy hotels or wake up at lunch, things many of you losers crave for on a holiday. The holiday was planned with military precision and my companions - da wife n bro hated me for never letting them sleep beyond 0700hrs. Ya, like I care!

It all began when my friend PS n I made a plan to experience Ladakh. Her dad is the king of Srinagar or is it Major-General. Don't know but both sound the same. Was forced to incorporate Srinagar in the plan else she would get my brain blown off. The idea of an AK-47 knocking my head off sounded exciting but then reality struck. I realised the brain would only spill out if you have one. Fearing that people would know my secret if I didn't obey PS, I incorporated Srinagar and Vaishnodevi also.

Here it goes:

Reached Jammu Tawi station two hours behind schedule. Thank god, the train was delayed by only two hours, cause it had been running late by nine hours regularly! Think it was divine intervention and we werent as late.

We got ready and took the 7minute chopper ride to Sanjichhat. Then a 2km walk to the Mata Vaishnodevi shrine. We had the privilege of priority darshan and then headed to Bhairon Ghati - another couple of kms. After a speedy darshan, we snail walked to Hotel Asia Vaishnodevi. The 5hr walk down the mountain took toll on the legs and by the time we reached Katra, we were hell pooped.

Our Kashmiri driver, Khalid, was waiting for us and wanted us to leave Katra immediately as he suspected trouble in a nearby area. Our friends in the Army didn't buy Khalid's shit and asked us to leave at 0300hrs and reach Srinagar by 1000hrs.

The legs were killing me. Got a foot massage and crashed for the day.

Helipad at Sanjichhat

Left for Srinagar at 0300hrs. Wow, some holiday this is. Getting up at 3am to save our arse from getting kicked by some terrorists. No, not the ones sent by Pakistan but our indigenous bunch of moronic citizens.

Stopped over at Patnitop en route to Srinagar. Once we crossed the Jawahar Tunnel, Khalid's fear gave way and enthusiasm peaked. He was on his side of the tunnel - Kashmir. Passing by the Jhelum and millions of army trucks, we reached Srinagar. 

Now was the time for us to be scared. We entered the Major-General's Garrison and got to his residence. With so many uniformed dudes around, we felt caged in a hole. A really large hole at that. But after sometime, we got used to it and the Army guys looked no more than civilians. Met the M-G, and then rested for the day.

             Patnitop at 0500hrs
                                                                         Green Tunnel en route to Srinagar

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