Yeah, You heard it right. As I already mentioned, we visited Kashmir on New year. We finally, attempted a first ever mini trek to Pahalgam. I will start with very beginning, how we reach there, because I don’t even know the Name of the Pahalgam till then. All I knew was, Dal Lake, Kashmir and Gulmarg. And these two were the only reason, for my Kashmir travel. Remember my Kashmir e Khas blog, where I mentioned our Shikara ride. Where we met a Shikara Rower guy. We had a quite detailed conversation over the shikara about Kashmir. I asked him for a guide about reaching Gulmarg. He introduced to one of his fellow(Taxi Driver) friend, who convinced us about the situation of Gulmarg. They said, due to heavy snowfall, the road were blocked, and the rope ways were’nt working. So there was no point in visiting there. They all suggested a place called Pahalgam. They insisted and literally convinced us for our next journey to Pahalgam.
A journey to Pahalgam
Anyway, there is no point in clicking Gulmarg, due to unfavored weather conditions. We opted for Pahalgam. The taxi charged us approximately 2200 rupees for pick and drop facility to Srinagar. The very next day, we started our day with the breakfast of bread and omelette in the morning at the place where the taxi took a breakfast break in between Anantnag and Pahalgam. They journey was quite interesting and unforgettable due to driving through real location of Kashmir. Pine trees apple trees were smiling with the breezy wind. I kept the window of car opened. All I wanted to absorb every single feeling of the place. The sun was warm as kissing on my cheeks. I closed my eyes, and started taking bath of Sun and comforting breeze in the air. We just loving the quietness of the nature. We were’nt even talking to each other, because of the aura of environment. The only person who was talking in the car was the driver, who weren’t even annoying while driving and talking continuously. Actually I started enjoying the almost one sided conversation about telling the stories and facts about the area, like this village is of this name, we come regularly here for this purpose. I don’t know the exact thing, but I was enjoying it taking tremendous view and stories while closed eyes. While we were encountering breathtaking views of mountains, the driver told and showed us Chenab River. The river which leads to Pakistan. Due to winters, the river was not capable of flowing water, hence it frozed. This ride showcased real lifestyle of Kashmiri’s.
Gateway to Pahalgam
The taxi driver dropped us the taxi stand of Pahalgam, from where we need to find our own way. Still he suggested for a Pony Ride from one of his fellow. But as it was our first ever trek, we denied straightly. I still remember one incident about that one Pony owner followed us to 1-2km carried along his pony, trying to convince us for a pony ride. We understand that due to off season, tourism had come to the tip, but we could’t help in this situation. He left when he accepted the rejection, and we decided to continue our trek.
And the trek begins
We were hiking without any hiking gears, just with sneakers, casual lowers and Jackets on the snow covered mountains. The enthusiasm was on peak, I guess, may be that’s why we were not feeling any hassle. Also pro to the view which was tremendous, peacefully beautiful. Nothing can hold our excitement any lower. Trekking in mountains covered with white sheets will be a memorable moment for us. The sun was on peak, and the Pine forest was a bit dark that the rays of sun were asking permission to fall on ground. We can see glittery snow on the peaks of mountains in opposite view. We don’t knew the exact way of reaching on top, and we were’nt even had knowledge about where we are heading upto. All I wanted is to reach peak, doesn’t matter, which peak it is. I just require to be on top on any mountain. Some returning locals told us that there is Mini Switzerland in this way. And that’s how, we came to knew about Mini Switzerland. Sometimes I thought, how innocent and immature I was, I didn’t do any research about the place I was going. Just packed the bags, and went to Kashmir. But I don’t have any single regret about it. Infact that’s when, I figured out the way of bagpacking. Its pretty cool actually. Just trust the road. You will make it anyway. You will find a way out of any situation. I learnt so many things during this trip. So, we were trekking upwards with clicking every inches of trek, crossing the huge stone covered with snow. There were several times, when we encountered frozen flowing water. Trekking in snow is much difficult than any other season. I figured this when I crossed few more trekking experiences of my life. In snow, we cant actually figured where is the Chute(which the stream passage is very narrow) and where is just snow, or where are the rocks. As we all know there are many Chutes in mountains, but it became huge task of us to cross over chutes or the mini rivers. When we comes to meet few chutes, we got scared of our next step. Walking of frozen water is the toughest thing in any trek. The cross over is so damn scary, that we both were screaming hell inside but covered it by fake smile and just trusting each other for help. We both were familiar with the fact that, in this situation, if we loose our control and trust, there is no one to save us. All we have each other, so nothing just be careful in next step and help each other. It was so damn quite there that we can barely see any person in half hour or an hour. May be because we chose undiscovered path. After half way, we decided to talk a long break for atleast 15-20 minutes. I bummed a smoke just for enlightening the view, by sitting on lying tree trunk. And when I stood up, my legs started slipping, unable to walk straight as I saw black dots in front of eyes. That one little cigarette hitted hard after a long gap. I decided to take rest for more minutes to regain energy. I consumed some water and started over.
Finally we started hearing sounds of pony’s, locals, tourists collectively. It does’nt took a moment to understand that we had made it. This is it, We have almost reach the Mini Switzerland. And believe me, there are only two parts in trekking where the excitement, courage, energy is on top, one when you starts, second when you encountered the final peak. Same we felt at that moment. We ran towards the sound, here it was. The Mini Switzerland of India – “Baisaran Valley”. Baisaran valley is popularly known as Mini Switzerland among tourists. By remaining fair by its nick name, that place actually completes the wish of going Switzerland. Entirely beautiful place, covered by snowcap mountains around it, gives a satisfying view after a trek. Its all worth it. The trek was around 5 km from the taxi stand of Pahalgam. If you are in Kashmir, and this place is not on your bucket list, then take a buffer day, and tick it on your travel list. You wont regret.