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Houses and Hotels of Kashmir
One of the most unique things of Kashmir is their houses and hotels. The walls of the houses are made of normal one layer of bricks or pure pine tree wood in many places. Roofs are made of thick sheets of Asbestos or thin metal. They are generally sloppy so that ice does not remain on them and falls down. Floors are generally made of cement and plain tiles , but each and every room is covered with famous Kashmiri Carpet called Ghalicha. Each bed is covered with huge and thick double bed sheet or you can say Rajaai which protects from sheer cold. The other good feature is the rooms of budget hotels are very large and have attached washroom unlike the budget hotels in other tourist places where they are relatively small and washrooms may be common or private depending upon pockets and choice.
The best quality which I liked is that the rooms does not have fans at least in Pahalgam because of two reasons. One is that the weather is almost cool and pleasant for all 12 months and hence fans are not required. Second thing is the houses have lot of windows in a single room. The ventilation is of ace quality. There are at least 3 windows in one room in each and every house . You won’t see any single room with single window in it. Three is minimum figure. Secondly they don’t have metal grills inside the windows as we have in our cities specially to protect from thieves.Everything window is open everywhere. I guess there aren’t any thieves or robbers in Kashmir or crime related to robbery may be nil now. Continuous cool and pleasant breeze blows in summer and chilled winds in winter. To have privacy all you have is thick and colorful curtains. Also in budget Hotels they provide cupboard, TV, dustbin, geysar good and clean washrrooms.
They have hall but in that they don’t have tables, sofas or chairs. All they have is a huge Kashmiri Carpet on the floor surrounded by pillows on the walls. One can have a good time with family and friends sitting on that carpet. The outer walls of the House and Hotels are painted in light as well as bright colours depends on the individuals choice.
Majority of the houses have only one floor i.e. ground floor . In some cases one floor plus ground floor and in rare cases two floors. All majority hotels have two floors and only some have three floors.
I am going to show you pictures having all these qualities below.
One thing which I found very unpleasant was that each and every room may have smell of cigarette inside. And specially Kashmiri people are very addictive to cigarette. I didn’t see a single Kashmiri person in my whole tour who doesn’t smoke and they smoke anywhere they want. The owner comes in the room with lighted cigarette. So each and every room has odor of cigarette. Be sure to carry a room freshener.
Now below is my hotel which looks quite shabby and restaurant from outside , but the real thing was from inside. The Hotel is located in Pahalgam Village in Chandanwadi road near Pahalgam Village Masjid.
A Large Room with TV set, with small cupboard below , Three windows, carpet and thick blanket. NO FAN : -)
The picture below shows a hall having carpet and pillows. When you get out of the room one finds this in each and every Kashmir Hotel. Sit here , Chat and Relax.
A small dressing table with small space below and attached washroom. The rent here was just Rs. 400. It was my luck otherwise in seasons the rate is Rs. 1200/ day.
Now as described above I will show you only some of the houses which I have described above. Just see the number of windows. In some of the houses you will find no wall at all. One window ends and second one starts.
Below is the Hotel on Chandanwadi Road. Just see the number of windows here.
Below picture shows house of a government employee who takes care of power supply of Pahalgam. Again the attraction here is brown and white colour and number of windows. These people really enjoy lot of fresh oxygen.
This one is the Hotel at Pahlagm main bazaar.The attractions are architecture style , shiny glasses and again number of windows which is common factor
Many windows designed in such a way that one can relish the beauty of the nature through them
Below is the wooden house made in Deer Park. Again the style , the color and at least five windows in one room.
I guess you have seen this one before .This one is from Patnitop top most point in ECO park.
This one is a massive Hotel In Batote.
In the picture below , The hotel in the center has no outer walls believe me, only windows , When one ends , second one starts. Pahalgam Main Bazaar has many hotels . Many of them cost more than Rs. 5000 / day.
Hotel information to stay
Now If one wants to stay at Pahalgam and enjoy to fullest extent then at least he should stay for two days. Best negotiation would be three days in which one full day he can go different parts of Aru Valley via Trekking or horse. So according to that I am writing the choice of Average hotels whose price range is from Rs. 600 to Rs. 1500. Most of them have average price tag of Rs. 1000 / night. And also it is totally depends upon the season when one is going . The reviews of this hotels are average to good. Please check the location first and vicinity to Pahalgam Main Market before booking .
- Brown Palace : 9418007867 website : www.brownpalace.in
- Dream Palace :9419901987
- Noor Mahal : 01936-243227 website : www.hotelnoormahal.in
- Island Resort : 9469202393
- Palestine : 01936-243296 website : www.hotelpalestinepahalgam.com
- Lidder Palace : 01932-243237 website : www.hotellidder.com
- Snow View : 9419995361
- King Palace : 9716475242
- Himalaya House : 01936-243072. Himalaya House is a small guest house situated right on the River Lidder foreshore in Laripora with beautiful views of the surrounding pine forests and mountains. Laripora is 5 minutes by taxi or a 20 minute walk into the centre of Pahalgam. Rooms start at Rs 1,000. Packages of room, room and breakfast or room and full board are available. Internet access is available in this guest house.
From my knowledge Hotel Noor Mahal is the best among the above but may be expensive also in the season.It is also in the vicinity of Pahalgam Main Bazaar. 3 – 5 star hotels having rent more than rs. 4000 / day can also be found in Pahalgam main bazaar. They offer you breath taking views of river and green hills,swimming pools, clubs etc. But these can be helpful and if one stays in Pahalgam for at least three days for relishing experience and rest and relaxation.
Budget Hotels can be found easily in Pahalgam Village . Pahalgam Village is better option for people who don’t want to shell out more than Rs. 700/day. But during peak seasons definitely these rates would go up.
The place where I stayed was a normal budget hotel having a super negotiated rent at Rs. 400 , is called Hotel Sahiba Palace. The telephone number is 01936 – 243074. The Hotel owner is named Ishfaq a 21 year old young appeasing guy. Very attentive and pleasing. Till I stayed here , I noticed that he didn’t had the word called NO in his dictionary for helping us. His mobile number is 09697934086.
Restaurants :- Nathu Rasoi, Dana Pani and Punjabi Rasoi are the best ones recommended.
Flowers of Kashmir
The next important variety of Kashmir is its Valley of flowers. Frankly I don’t know how to express the beauty of the flowers. I was just enchanted by focusing at each one . These all flowers are found anywhere and every where in Kashmir in between hills, on the road side, near the streams and rivers, in gardens, in Hotel lawns etc. Whenever I saw them anytime anywhere my job was to see them and click. The main characteristic of each of them is its bright color and different shades and color combination between them. Each one has its own beauty and charisma. When one looks at one of them, he or she feels that the one he/she is staring at is the best one and better than the previous one. The variety is such that you cannot remember the names of them. The best thing in Kashmir is that you don’t get feeling to pluck them even if you could do so. They are there and you can just watch them for hours when you are in between them. Apart from their beauty you can also watch romance and relationship between the insects and them. Specially bees, while seeing them popping around for nectar , I felt angelic.
I was so much allured and enticed with them that I am trying to develop a new hobby which is flowering and knowing more about them.
Now please gaze at their spellbinding pictures. Thanks to my SONY – W 630 . It has very good option for clicking pictures of flowers.
These are just few of them . I have got more of you in my PERSONAL BLOG . I have some information on dry fruits and handicrafts of Kashmir also which may be very useful if somebody wants to visit Kashmir.
PLEASE CLICK www.aboutomkaar.blogspot.in
2nd August 2012, Thursday
Pahalgam to Katra
Finally it was sad time as we are about to leave Pahalgam. This is one of the most attached destinations to my heart and I was feeling very dejected at this moment. We woke up in the morning early. We had already booked Tavera before, for Rs. 3800 till Katra . We left Pahalgam at 6.00 AM and our target was to reach Katra and relax a bit. Next day we had to climb Vaishno Devi.
In Anantnag we stopped for tea which is around 45 kms from Pahalgam. We saw beautiful shop selling Kashmir handicrafts.Kashmiri handicrafts vary from synthetic and woolen shawls, sarees, dresses, Paper Mash artifacts, art jewelry and wood carvings. Shawls vary from Rs. 450/- for the synthetic one to Rs.9000/- for pure Pashmina Wool Shawl. Sarees started from Rs. 400/-. Pashmina shawls are very soft, light and have a self contained design, though they look ordinary. Papier Machie items have a wide range from sindhoor box, key chains, Candle stand to Jewel Box. Wood Craft has Shikhara Boats, Hookahs, Ash Trays and Cigarette Cases. Art jewelry has a wide range too.
Kashmir Willow tree is found all along the Jammu Srinagar Highway and Cricket Bat industries are found all along the way.Cricket bats range from Rs.250-/ to Rs.2500/- which are targeted at low and middle income youngsters. They ship these bats all over India.
After crossing Anantnag we reached Qazigund and again we bought some fruits Red and Yellow plums along with some Kashmir Apples. And Finally we reached last part of Kashmir Valley called Jawahar Tunnel. Now aftercrsooing this tunnel temperature was going to increase drastically at least by 7 degree C.
To our surprise , it had rained heavily in Jammu Valley which didn’t affect much temperature rise. The weather was still pleasant in Jammu Valley beacause of rains.
If you can see below the color of Chenab river has turned to Orange which includes red sand mixed from the mountains. When I came to this valley the color was green.
Ramban is the place which is the centre of Jammu and Anantnag. From Anantnag there are two diversions. One goes to Pahalgam and other goes to Srinagar. So Ramban becomes ideal place to have food and fueling. Although it is crowdy th hotels here are best and one can find lot of Hindu veg Hotels where one can have Rajma rice.
Then after crossing Ramban after around half an hour to hour a huge dam arrives called Baglihar Dam on Chenab river which is treat to watch. The project is estimated to cost USD $1 billion.
After crossing Baglihar dam , there is huge spiral climb for around one and half to two hours we reached Batote and then Patnitop. This time atmosphere in Patnitop was foggy so we couldn’t see much but temperature was very pleasant.
Crossing Patnitop we shopped some sweets specially Patisa at Kud.
Then after around 2 hours at 4.30 PM we reached finally reached Katra .
After reaching Katra , I found a hotel called Niharika Guest house which is run by Vaishno Devi Shrine board. We had rest all the evening at our Hotel as it was raining very heavily. Next morning we were on the way to Vaishno Devi Shrine climb.
Dear Viewers ,
Thanks once again for going through the post. In the next edition of this series I am going to take you to my journey towards Vaishno Devi Shrine . Till then
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