Need to touch and feel snow – not just see. After all I am in the Himalayas. So off to Gulmarg it was.
An eventful day – here is why:
* Conned by shop renting gumboots for the snow – paid Rs. 75 against official rate of Rs. 45.
* At Tangmarg, 12 kms before Gulmarg, I was told to get off to register my name with the police – only to be told later Indians don’t need to. But it gave some guides an opportunity to insist I need their services.
* The pesky behaviour of guides, pony owners and ski guides continued all day – stressed me, spoiling my mood.
* Was not allowed to take my car to the cable car – a half hour walk away – unless I had a hotel reservation within the skiing area. A guide promised I could if I hired his services for Rs. 500. Chose to walk, not even take a pony. No one said anything to local youth zipping around, honking away and littering beer bottles.
* Cable car ride more than worth it. Has two stops: Kongdori (3,050 m) and Affarwat (3,950 m). Hire a sledge up to the Line of Control – or border with Pakistan – where you can see a lone soldier standing guard in the snow. The futility of all this hostility! Cannot get closer – landmines have supposedly been placed in the area. Started snowing when I was there – rushed down lest bad weather leaves me stranded.
* People don’t desist from throwing garbage even at these pristine spots. ****!
* Saw some people ski all the way down to 2,650 m – what a feeling it must be? Why don’t I trust my clumsy self to ski too? Let me start with golf.
Written and contributed by Kunzum