I went to three places in Kashmir. I've told a bit about Srinagar, a bit about Pahalgam, and not much about Gulmarg. More about each:
- Staying on a houseboat in Srinagar is kind of nice. It's a houseboat! So that's cool. Also, you are treated like royalty, or at least I (and this other traveler I met, Francesco) was.
- You can go on a ride around the lake. This is rather nice, and only a couple hundred rupees. I will not make any "I'm on a boat" jokes.
- There are some sights in Srinagar too, like the Jama Masjid, which is a big mosque, and the Shahi Hamdan Masjid, which is a more interesting mosque. It looks almost Japanese.
(not pictured: the carpet factory I was taken to next. not kidding. it was hard to explain to the salesman on how many levels it would be ridiculous for me to buy a carpet. on the up side, I know how handmade carpets are made now. it is insane.)
- Pahalgam I've already talked about.
- Gulmarg is another nice resort town. In the winter you can ski there! It is one of about two places in India you can ski. Actually, it looks like it'd be a great place to ski: only a couple lifts, but a ton of area, and the gondola goes very high. In the summer you can ride a pony.
I will not make any "I'm on a horse" jokes.
Looking down from Khilanmarg, looking up at... Allopathri?
Ghulam Mohammed was my guide this time. I swear, he and Rasul were the only guys I felt I could trust in Kashmir.
- Kashmir food is great. It's kind of meaty- a lot of "mutton", which I think means goat here? Or maybe lamb. Rogan Josh is a famous dish I had heard of. Kashmiri kebab is I guess a kind of sausage. There's a yogurt mint sauce I really liked. They drink a kind of spiced green tea called Kahwa. Anyway, a lot of the food is nicely medium-spicy, perfect level for my tastebuds.
- Next I moved on to Amritsar, via Jammu. This ride was about 14 hours long, in two parts. The ride from Srinagar to Jammu felt like the Scrambler. I was stuck in a back seat. I am glad I'm not going on so many more long rides very soon. (Jammu to Amritsar was nice and easy though.)
If I had to go to Kashmir again, I think I'd just go Gulmarg-Pahalgam, and maybe Sonamarg. Well, Srinagar is nice for one night on a boat. Really, I would decide why I'm there (trekking?) and just do that. It's pretty, but tricky to get around and not so friendly, if you're just looking for a place to go that's pretty.