Srinagar Short Trip - Best Off Beat Places for Photography

Dear Vargis,

Hope this finds you in the best of your health and spirits.

I am Rajendran, from Cochin, Kerala. I am planning a short / quick trip to Srinagar by end May / June 2022, from where I will be travelling to Kargil and will be joining a photography tour to the Zanskar Valley. Kashmir is one place I have never visited and always wanted to do so. My main purpose of travel is photography. In this connection, would like to have your inputs and suggestions regarding the places to visit, day wise itinerary, places to stay, transportation etc. My requirements are as under.

  • My main purpose is photography. I love to shoot Landscapes, People, Cityscapes, Flowers, Birds, Abstract shapes etc or anything that fancies me.
  • I don’t like very touristy and crowded places and prefer off beat, quiet locations.
  • I normally travel alone.
  • I do know that end May is a peak season time and Srinagar can be crowded. I cannot help it since the dates for the photography tour I am joining after Srinagar is fixed.
  • My tentative plan is as under.
    • I will be flying down from Delhi to Srinagar by the morning flight so as to reach Srinagar by say 10 or so. I will be reaching Srinagar on May 31st.
    • On June 3rd, I have to travel to Kargil to join the photography tour group. So I will be in Srinagar on 31st May, 1st and 2nd June.
    • I would like to stay in a houseboat in Dal Lake. So my tentative plan is as under.
    • 31st May, fly down to Srinagar. Pick up from airport and drop at House boat.
    • Local site seeing for the day, Shikara ride in the lake. ( Char Chinar, Nigeen Lake, Hazratbal ( may in the morning for photography).
    • 1st June early morning, vegetable market. Then the different gardens, especially the Tulip one if open, then if time permits may be Shankaracharya temple, Hari par bat fort etc
    • On 2nd June, take cab to either Gulmarg or Pahalgam. Return to Srinagar
    • On 3rd early morning, travel to Kargil. On the way, stop at Sonmarg.
  • As you have suggested, I will contact Kunal / Faisal for House boat and cab.
  • Please suggest a day wise itinerary and best places to visit from a photography perspective.
Thanks and Regards

Rajendran
 

Vargis Khan

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Rajendran - You already have it covered brother. Most of the places that are ideal for photography are already in your plan and your itinerary seems fine. Two other places that I will recommend are Astanmarg and Pari Mahal. Both the vegetable market and Hazratbal are best visited in the morning for photography so plan accordingly. Pahalgam is useless, skip that and go to Gulmarg.

  • 31st May, fly down to Srinagar. Pick up from the airport and drop at House boat. View Sunset from Pari Mahal.
  • Local site seeing for the day, Shikara ride in the lake. Hazratbal in the morning, see the other gardens, Shankaracharya temple in the day, and return to Dal Lake near Centaur Hotel to capture the sunset. See the sound and light show after that.
  • 1st June early morning, vegetable market. Local sightseeing. If you can get a cab, go to Astanmarg. Otherwise, see the sunset from Nishat Bagh.
  • On 2nd June, take a cab to Gulmarg.

Keep in mind that the sun will be very harsh in Srinagar at that time, affecting the captures.
 
Dear Vargis Bhai,

Thank you for the prompt response. I like to do my research first before I do any kind of travel. So it may take couple more iterations before a practical and workable itinerary emerges.

Couple more points.
  1. As I understand, Dal Lake is very big. Do you suggest house boats in any specific part of the lake or anywhere is fine?
  2. What time do you suggest best for the Shikara ride? I dont want to do a shikara ride in the afternoon. I would rather prefer it early morning or late in the evening.
  3. I am still not clear of the logistics part since some places are accessed via Shikara while some places are to be done by cab.
  4. Now coming to Gulmarg. What are the places you suggest ?
    1. I would like to visit the Apple, Cherry and Strawberry orchids on the way if possible.
    2. Will Apharwat Peak visible from the second phase Gondola ?
    3. One place I really want to visit is the Alpather Lake. However after reading your blog on this, I am having second thoughts. What is your suggestions?
    4. Any other specific places with great views as I dont have much time in Gulmarg. If I have a list of specific places to visit, I can focus on them only and visit.
  5. While going to Kargil, as I had mentioned, I would like to Visit Sonmarg. What is your suggestion? I may not have much time as Kargil is a long drive.
Based on your suggestions, I will prepare a final itinerary and send it you for your review before I finalize the same.

Wishing you and all your loved ones, a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year filled with Love, Joy and Peace. May the blessings of the Lord is always with you.

Thanks and Regards

Rajendran
 

Vargis Khan

Administrator
Staff member
Dear Vargis Bhai,

Thank you for the prompt response. I like to do my research first before I do any kind of travel. So it may take couple more iterations before a practical and workable itinerary emerges.

Couple more points.
  1. As I understand, Dal Lake is very big. Do you suggest house boats in any specific part of the lake or anywhere is fine?
  2. What time do you suggest best for the Shikara ride? I dont want to do a shikara ride in the afternoon. I would rather prefer it early morning or late in the evening.
  3. I am still not clear of the logistics part since some places are accessed via Shikara while some places are to be done by cab.
  4. Now coming to Gulmarg. What are the places you suggest ?
    1. I would like to visit the Apple, Cherry and Strawberry orchids on the way if possible.
    2. Will Apharwat Peak visible from the second phase Gondola ?
    3. One place I really want to visit is the Alpather Lake. However after reading your blog on this, I am having second thoughts. What is your suggestions?
    4. Any other specific places with great views as I dont have much time in Gulmarg. If I have a list of specific places to visit, I can focus on them only and visit.
  5. While going to Kargil, as I had mentioned, I would like to Visit Sonmarg. What is your suggestion? I may not have much time as Kargil is a long drive.
Based on your suggestions, I will prepare a final itinerary and send it you for your review before I finalize the same.

Wishing you and all your loved ones, a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year filled with Love, Joy and Peace. May the blessings of the Lord is always with you.

Thanks and Regards

Rajendran

You are welcome Bhai

1. Most of the boats are near Dal Gate only. Find one near Ghat 17. Just walk around a bit and see the view before deciding on one.
2. Early morning to the vegetable market and at the time of sunset. You will not enjoy it in the day. Sun will be way too harsh and pictures will be dull, blown-out
3. Except for your houseboat in Dal Lake, everywhere else is a cab only. During your evening Shikara ride, you can go to Char Chinar.
4. Gulmarg is not a large place. 2-3 hours and you would have walked around the entire town. Alpather Lake can be a bit difficult but if you are up for a few hours of trekking, it is a good spot.
5. Just drive through Sonamarg and enjoy the valleys. Other places in the town would need you to break the night there to visit.
 
Dear Vargis Bhai,

Thanks for the clarifications. It is getting clearer now. I am also contemplating on doing a heritage walk through the old Srinagar to get a feel of the real Kashmir.

Thanks and Regards

Rajendran
 
Dear Vargis Bhai,

I would like to have your opinion / suggestions on a point.

  1. I contacted some travel agents including Faisal and got different quotes.
  2. Initially I thought that I will have a 4 days plan. But then considering the time and ( budget) constraints, I have now decided to reduce it to 3 days.
  3. Faisal suggest Doodthpathri also.
  4. So the first two days, I will be visiting various places in Srinagar. On the 3rd day, I had thought of visiting Gulmarg. But then after seeing the images of Doothpatri and reading the reviews, I feel that it is better to skip Gulmarg and visit Doodthpatri instead
    1. My proposed visit is in May, which is the peak tourist time.
    2. Gurlmarg will be very crowded and to get on to the Gondola for a ride can take hours.
    3. Also the pestering of the hawkers and pony wallahs
    4. Doodthpatri on the other hand is off beat and not many people visit there.
    5. It has great landscapes and added to that sheep and shepherds.
    6. I know that Gulmarg and Doodthpatri offers different experiences and images.
    7. However, taking into consideration all points, I think I will skip Gulmarg and visit Doodthpathri
What is your take on this? Since you have visited both Gulmarg and Doodthpatri and have taken photographs, what is your suggetion?

Thanks and Regards

Rajendran
 
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