“Would you have gone on the pony ride if you knew the path was like this?”
“I would never have,” said Jayashree.
Truly she was reluctant to go for the ride until the pony boy assured her the roads were quite wide and good. Forget wide, there was hardly six inches of pathway at places, with rough stones and slushy ground. I didn’t know it was going to be this bad, but I knew I had to do it, though I had been running a temperature the night before and had taken a Crocin as well as an antibiotic. Something told me it was going to be worth it.
And it was.
The ultimate destination, Baisaran, better known as mini-Switzerland was picturesque and all that. ( This is the place Munni of ‘Bjarangi Bhaijaan’ belonged to it and therefore mistook a calendar photo of Switzerland to be a photo of the place she came from.) But the real treat was the journey. Fortunately we had started early and there was not a soul along the track as we trotted through the quiet forest, breathing deep of the silence.
I liked the sharp-featured pony boys and got talking with them. I learnt that put of the thousand we paid for each pony, they got a hundred, the owner kept the rest. Which meant we had to tip them well, what with it being Ramzan time and Idd on its way.
On the way back we stopped by a stream. Zahoor, our Innova driver had told us what differentiated Pahalgam from Gulmarg, our next stop, was the presence of water. The place we stopped was in front of a hotel called The Heevan (whatever it meant) which looked quite classy for Pahalgam. The photo studio just before the entrance to the hotel explained it – there were photos of Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan among others. They had all stayed there while shooting for films.
We ordered some tea and kept watching the sparkling waters of the stream flow as Zahoor went for his mid-day namaz at some mosque nearby, promising to be back in an hour.
- First Stop Kashmir….Pahalgam
- Gulmarg and the Breathtaking View of the Himalayas