We were a little apprehensive. Will Gulmarg live up to our expectation after the near-perfect experience of Pahalgam? It took us some five hours from Pahalgam. But it was okay. We were fortified with a substantial breakfast and as the contours of the Himalayas started becoming visible from the road our hearts lifted up.
The drive through the mountain terrain was pleasant as the slopes were not very steep and there were beautiful tress and lovely grass flowers all along the way. The place we were supposed to stay in was “ Gulmarg Meadows”, but Zahoor, our Innova driver, kept asking the directions to “Meadows” and where we landed up was the ‘ Nedous’ Hotel.
So when we did reach ‘ Gulmarg Meadows’ it was not difficult to see why Zahoor had not seen it in his earlier visits to Gulmarg. It was at the very end, far from the other hotels and activity centres. This was a place with ten tents with just a fencing around. The tent was very tastefully designed, had a clean bathroom and felt very cozy. Gulmarg was way colder than Pahalgam, but the electric bed-warmers kept us warm at night.
Food here was good too though it served only vegetarian and eggs. They had a buffet for dinner, which had a soup, rice, chapati, dal, two vegetables and a payasam as dessert which was quite delicious. The breakfast buffet had corn flakes, fruits, upma, vada and masala omlette or any other egg preparation you liked. The service was fast but lacked the personalized touch of MilkyWay.
We had decided to skip the pony and gondola rides, choosing to go for walks, sit by a little stream with grass flowers around, from where you could see the strawberry beds in full flower. (The address of the places aid ‘Strawberry Valley’).
But mostly we just wanted to sit on chairs outside our tent, breathing in the clean air, enjoying the panoramic view of the Himalayas, and the blue sky where high above one could see the baby moon.
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