This post is in continuation with a previous one; and part of my Kashmir Travelogue. On this particular day, we traveled from Gulmarg to Doodhpathri; details of which I have provided in the travelogue below. We spent a few hours sightseeing in Doodhpathri and returned to Srinagar by evening. Please click on the link below to read previous part of this travelogue.
Journey So Far: Gulmarg Sightseeing – Strawberry Valley & Maharaja Palace
For a brief introduction, Doodhpathri is a tourist destination and hill station in Kashmir. It is Situated at an elevation of 8,957 feet, and located about 45 – 50 kilometers from Srinagar. The name “doodhpathri” means Valley of Milk. The water which is at present flowing through the meadows has a milky appearance from the distance and remains very cold throughout the year. The lush green grasses over the vast meadows and silver shining streams running over the large stones further increase its beauty. Doodhpathri is sloping grassy landscapes with a diversity of multicolored flowers up to Chang. The famous Tosamaidan lies in the west of Doodhpathri. (Source: Wiki)
Gulmarg to Doodhpathri
Common thing between Doodhpathri and Gulmarg is that it is only the last 10 or 12 kilometers that is actually a steep climb. Rest of the journey is pretty much on a flat straight road and you will hardly realize that you are actually traveling in the hills. We traveled through the crowded towns of Magam and Khan Sahib; and crossed several other small villages on the way. Slightly after noon, we finally made it to Doodhpathri.
Road condition between Gulmarg to Doodhpathri is mostly all good. The only average part of the road is between Magam and Khan Sahib. More than the condition of the road however, it is driving through these small villages on narrow roads that limits the speed.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Doodhpathri
There really is nothing to see in Doodhpathri except for the natural beauty of the place. It is not really a village and there are no hotels here either. It is just the lush green meadows that people visit here for. Just a huge ground like place covered under a carpet of lush green. In winters, the entire place gets buried under a thick sheet of snow and I am sure would look even more stunning.
Surprisingly, like Gulmarg, out here as well we were the only tourists from outside of Kashmir. Rest all the people were the locals out on picnic with their families. We even saw a couple of schools here for picnic.
There is a small river about 2 kilometers ahead of Doodhpathri which became our first destination. We straight away reached there. There was really nothing too great about it though. More than a bliss, it was rather an annoyance with all the local kids trying to sell us a ride on their ponies.
Sightseeing in Doodhpathri
After spending some time at the river, we arrived back at Doodhpathri.
There was this guy selling Kashmiri Chaai which we thought to try. Turned out it is made by replacing sugar with salt. Yes it was salty tea with some other ingredients apart from tea leaves. Don’t know what it was but I totally hated it. They keep the tea in this beautiful kettle though.
After spending some time at Doodhpathri, we started on our way back to Srinagar. It was a distance of just about 45 kilometers but took us well over 2 hours due to single lane roads and crowded towns in between.
Hotel Grand Valley Inn, Srinagar
By 5 PM, we reached our hotel, Grand Valley Inn. Like most of things for this trip, our stay at this hotel too was arranged by Faisal and I absolutely loved our time here. It is owned by a very loving family who will treat you like more of a personal guest than a customer staying at the hotel. Location of the hotel too is quite great. Nishat Bagh and Dal Lake are merely 5 minutes and you can easily walk to Shalimar Bagh in 2 minutes from here. It is located in a very peaceful area away from the busy Srinagar streets and I will highly recommend it to anyone visiting Srinagar. I have posted a detailed review of this hotel at Hotel Grand Valley Inn Review – A Great Place to Stay in Srinagar.
We were visiting Kashmir in the same week as of Eid due to which, most of the shops, businesses and even hotels were closed. August is anyways off season with not many tourists around so a lot of hotels granted leaves to their staff for Eid celebration; and closed business for a week. Same thing happened at Grand Valley Inn as well. We arrived here just a day before Eid and there was absolutely no on in the entire hotel. No staff, no cook, no other guests and no one at even the reception. We had the entire hotel just to ourselves. I was worried about food but then the owner showed me the market in front of Shalimar Bagh where we could go and eat which worked well for me.
After checking in, we freshened up and decided to visit the nearby Shalimar Bagh.
I had heard a lot about Shalimar Bagh and all the Mughal gardens in general actually. Before walking in, I was really expecting something grand but did not find anything too great about it. It is just like any other park and not even that well maintained actually.
We remained in the park well after dark until they closed the gate and then had dinner at the market right in front of it.
Distance Chart for the Day
- Gulmarg to Doodhpathri – About 70 Kilometers, total journey of 3 hours approximately.
- Doodhpathri to Srinagar – About 50 kilometers, total journey of about 2 hours.
Change in the Itinerary
We returned to our hotel and it was time to call it a day. As per our initial plan, we were to head towards Pahalgam the next day; but this is where our itinerary started to change for a second time. Throughout the entire day, I wondered if it would be wise to go to Pahalgam because of two reasons. First was that it was the time of Amarnath Yatra so Pahalgam was definitely going to be crowded. Second and bigger reason was that Pahalgam is not a place where you can just go and come back. To explore it fully, you need to spend at least 2 to 3 days in Pahalgam itself which we were not intending to do. So we would just reach Pahalgam, see the town, spend the night and return the next day and this did not sound like a good idea.
Hence came the second change in our itinerary. We all agree to give up Pahalgam for a later time when we could stay there for a couple of days at least. Now as per the new itinerary, we were to go to Aharbal the next day. If we liked the place and found a hotel there, we may stay for the night or else make it a day trip and return to Srinagar by evening.
To continue reading next part of this travelogue, please read Aharbal – The Niagara Falls of Kashmir. If you have any questions; or need my help in planning your trip to Kashmir; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.