Head to Kashmir or Kedarnath before summer begins to enjoy the snowy winter; travellers from Bengaluru share tips
Bengalureans are heading up north to Kashmir and Kedarkantha to catch the last of the winter snow
Zohara Jamal is just back from a trip to Gulmarg, Kashmir, which she can’t stop daydreaming about. Jamal, a content creator, went on a week-long holiday with her family, to try out some adventure sports. “It was stunning. It was snowing every day and there was a good amount of snow when we went. February or the beginning of March is a good time to go because later the snow starts melting,” says Jamal, who was there last year as well.
Kashmir, which is described as ‘Heaven on Earth’ by many, becomes magical during this season in particular. And according to Jamal, what makes it even more beautiful is the warmth of the locals. “They are so helpful and welcoming of tourists. The untouched natural beauty is something else,” says Jamal, adding that it is quite unexplored owing to the political unrest. Although skiing is exciting in itself, it could come with a slight dent to the pocket.
“Different instructors charge different amounts. On average, an instructor charges around Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 per day; the skiing equipment can cost around Rs 1,500-Rs 3,000 a day, depending on the kind that is being used,” says Jamal, who suggests trying out an ATV ride, aka All-Terrain Vehicle ride. Even Diya Kalra, who tried out ATV rides, highly recommends it. “If you are too scared to ride yourself, there are people who can help. They will take you to points where the views are breathtaking. That costs Rs 1,500-Rs 2,000 for a 45 to 60-minute ride,” says Kalra, adding that they preferred going pillion.
Not just Kashmir, Shimla and Manali are also getting quite a few inquiries, confirms Praachi Tantia, who runs a high-end travel service — Fly My Travel. “People now want an international experience because travel has been so restricted in the last two years. Because of the Covid situation, many people are still skeptical of travelling abroad. The vibe you get with the snow in these places is something you won’t get anywhere else,” says Tantia, who started her travel agency three years ago.
Even luxury hotels are all sold out with people booking months in advance. “In Kashmir, The Kyber Resort and Spa are sold out. They are currently going at Rs 40,000 per night and if you pre-book, they are available at Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000,” says Tantia. If you still want to see snow and want to visit some place else, then you can opt for a snow trek, just as Nagashree Gururaj did. The city-based celebrity fashion designer took a break from Bengaluru and opted for a 20-km trek at Kedarkantha Base Camp. It was the first time she went on a trek as well as experienced snowfall.
“When we were there, we didn’t realise the day or time, we just kept walking. Since there was no network, it was a way of unwinding for me,” says Gururaj, who planned this trip with her friends through Trekkers of India. If the trip is planned well, it can turn out to be budget-friendly as well. “I had booked two months in advance and the whole trip cost me Rs 25,000, including the flight cost,” says Gururaj.
What you must absolutely carry are thermals and ski pants because they are waterproof. Ski jackets, helmets and goggles could be all hired on the spot. And if you are not comfortable wearing ski goggles, you can wear polarised glasses. Sunscreen is an absolute must because the high altitude sun rays are quite strong.