Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar :- Jammu and Kashmir is well known for its blend of Islam and Hinduism. The existence of shrines and temples is worth the praise. After paying a spiritual visit to the Hazratbal Dargah, I made my way to Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir. Located on a tall mountain, the temple has its own charm and uniqueness. Its a must-visit.
From Srinagar, we headed for our next destination that is mountain Apharwat and Gondola Gulmarg .Gulmarg is a beautiful, snow laden city in Kashmir and is famous for owning one of the worlds highest cable car-Gondola .We hired a Prepaid taxi from Srinagar and started our journey to Gulmarg, which was about to take 2-3 hrs. On our way we could see snow capped mountains. Landslides block the roads sometimes, but we were fortunate enough to did not come across any. Raman had been there once and was acting as our guide now. He was telling us about all the sports that we can enjoy in Gulmarg.
This small place of Gulmarg is positioned at 2’650m on a leveled plateau below the Mt. Apharwat mountain ridge. This mountain is shaped as a table-top and has long crest that provides many prospects for runs and sports over open and wide snow fields.The main magnetism of the place is the Gondola that runs up to the amazing heights of 3995 meters. I was scared after knowing the heights. We opted for a sight seeing trip to the top of the gondola up to the stage two. I was a bit scared but with my friends besides me, I was having fun and was enjoying the dense snow.
Gulmarg undoubtedly has some of the astonishing treks of world. The snow conditions were fabulous. The major activity in Gulmarg for the tourists is skiing and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The high slopes of the mountain just added to the adventure. Though Raman was the only one amongst us who knew skiing, rest all of us were beginners and tripped over endless times.Gulmarg is like a powder snow resort and is one of the best in the world. The regular and substantial snowfalls in the region provide it with the available long and perfect riding conditions.
We enjoyed the place a lot. It was snow everywhere and was very cold. After participating in almost all sport activities, we were feeling numbness in our toes and fingers, and then we opted for a glass of beer to keep us warm. I cherished this lovely place.
We returned from Shanti Stupa and stayed in Ladakh for the night as our next day destination was in Ladakh only- the Pangong Tso. The very next day, we got up in the freezing cold morning and had the energizing Kadha. It was very tasty and ravishing. Then we had our breakfast and started towards our next expedition.
Pangong Tso drive takes around five hours from the district of Leh. The route through which we were passing was along the beautiful Ladakh countryside, and was passing over the world’s third highest mountain pass (5289 m) that enabled motor drive. I asked meaning of the name “Pangong” to the local driver, who was taking us to the destination. He told that it is a derived from the Tibetan word “Banggong Co” which means “long, narrow, enchanted lake”. He further enriched us with the knowledge that about one third portion of the lake is in India and the left over two thirds is in Tibet and is in control of China. Most of the watercourses, which load the lake, are situated on the other side.
We reached the place and immediately recalled the scene from the move “three idiots”. This was the place where in the movie, the heroine rides on a scooter in wedding dress to meet the hero- Aamir Khan. Though earlier seen in the movie, we were amazed by the beauty of this lake which was sited in the upper regions of the Himalayan Mountain range. One of the most astonishing features of this lake is its forever changing hues.
During winter season, the water of the lake completely freezes, besides the fact that it is a saline water lake. But the saltiness hinders growth of any vegetation or aquatic life in the lake. Though, there were a lot of migratory birds flocking around the lake, which is an important breeding place for them.
The place is a paradise for photographers and I was not missing any moment to be captured. Camping on the shore is the only choice to witness the beauty of the sunset and the sunrise, but owing to harsh weather conditions, we opted out.