Our journey wasn’t restricted to Srinagar only. We drove up to Gulmarg: a paradise for the sports lovers. We stayed at The Khyber, but just one night at the opulent hotel wasn’t enough. If I start to use the words luxurious, majestic, and so on then it for sure wouldn’t justify the grandeur. It was more like living a dream surrounded by snow from all sides. It had snowed endlessly for days, but stopped before our arrival. But the view was no less.
It is needless to say so but still when in Kashmir don’t forget to drink Kahwa: a traditional drink made of Kashmiri green tea, cardamoms, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, almonds, and sugar. I can tell you this for sure that one cup just wouldn’t suffice because it is absolutely heavenly.
It was difficult to leave the hotel but resisting the warmth we made our way to hop onto ‘gondola’ – a cable car that carried us over the snow covered trees and mountains to reach the peak where all the activities were happening. So, for the very first time in my life, I got the chance to try my hands and legs at skiing. On television this sport looked quite easy but the reality was completely different. Once you have all the gear in place, they tell you to maintain your posture; bend your knees a little with the elbows jutting out and your back bent forward; the last part was difficult for me because I believed that I would rather slide down the slope on my back. Phew! I did land on my rear quite a few times and dragged the poor instructor as well. I am sure he must be cursing me till date. However, I enjoyed sloping own the mountains albeit on wobbly knees.
Next, it was time to test my courage on the snow scooter. The best part was that speed was no bar and I drove it on my own. Woohoo! No one can look better than Sean Connery on a snow scooter, but I did give him quite a competition… no kidding about it or maybe just a little. The energy exuding from the scooter with every inch covered in snow transcended me into a different world altogether. It turned out to be an experience for a lifetime.
So, it wouldn’t be fair if I skip the most enchanting day of our journey. Despite the constant prayers, God didn’t seem to be in any mood to make the snow fall. Well, what we saw in Gulmarg had stopped before we reached there and we wanted to see the snow fall right in front of our eyes. Since, the nature refused to give in, we packed our bags and slept quite dejected because next morning we were to leave Srinagar and go back home. You must have heard that a wish from the heart is usually fulfilled sooner or later. The next morning we woke up to beautiful flakes making their way from the sky and falling softly in our waiting palms. It was the most beautiful sight I could have ever dreamt of. We danced and played in the snow till the time our bodies refused to stay out another second in the biting cold. My fingers and face had gone numb but it was worth every second that I spent in the snow. It snowed all day and as a result all the flights had to be cancelled and we had the brilliant luck to stay an extra day in Srinagar. Also, it was being said that such a snowfall was being witnessed after decades. I don’t think that this vacation could have ended on a better note. It was better than any dream for me.
After reminiscing about the best days of my life, I am all set to go back and enjoy God’s very own paradise once again but this time in Summers.