I had never given a thought to go on a bike trip until I was in Kashmir valley with my three friends. The ride was to be both commenced and concluded at Jammu with various halts on the way. In the beginning of the ride, while we were on the way to Srinagar from Jammu, I was clouded in my mind whether the decision of spending my vacation on road was right or not, but as soon as we crossed Anantnag and had my first sight of the hills, the mountain and the valleys, my whole perspective of being on a vacation changed. A valley between the great Himalayas and Pir Panjal, Kashmir is a place of beautiful simplicity and pristine natural beauty. I felt a sense of peace and ease as soon as we reached here. Nothing felt more soothing than letting yourself feel the amount of natural beauty there is to see. This was the time when I realized that mountains or especially Himalayas are the place where I found peace of my mind where I forgot everything except “MY WORLD”.
I was so mesmerized watching the beauty which resides in these valleys that I totally forgot that I was riding a bike and also needed to focus on the road. All I was thinking and imagining that what it would be like to live in a place as beautiful as this and made a mental note that I have to visit this place once in a while. With these thoughts we reached Srinagar. The very evening we visited Dal Lake. Although the sun had set and it was dark, the view was enchantingly beautiful. That just justified the lake’s given title of being the “Jewel in the Crown of Srinagar”.
It was so mesmerizing in itself that we all were just lost ourselves in the sights. I had never been to a place as calm as sitting by this lake and just getting enthralled in nature’s beauty. After sometime, we all got loaded on a Shikara to reach the houseboat that we had booked for our stay. A Shikara ride on the Dal Lake is a different experience in itself. At first, it was like normal boating but as soon as we crossed the crowded area I started realizing that I had never done boating like this before; water, so still that the Shikara was literally floating. After sometime, we reached the houseboat. We all jumped onto the houseboat from our shikara and unloaded our bags. The very moment I entered the boat, I experienced that it was like a blend of hotel and homestay on water. The houseboat was crafted with great care and was adorned with intricate woodwork that displays the exquisite art and fine craftsmanship of Kashmiri artisans.
Next morning we were awakened by the beautiful sun rising behind the snow clad mountains with a jaw dropping reflection in the lake. The cool breeze and sunrays falling on the water of Dal Lake which after reflection were entering inside through the glass window quality viewed by the beautiful off white Kashmiri embroidered crewel curtains to reach me. After having our breakfast, we went for local site seeing and somehow minutes turned into hours and hours turned into a day and next day. We had to leave for Kargil the next day; so we woke up early and left for Kargil. The happiness that engulfed me was majestic. Throughout my journey, I was smiling without any reason. Somewhere deep in my heart, I was extremely excited (that I had visited Kashmir) and sad (that we were leaving this beautiful place) both at the same time.
We completed our journey via Kargil, Leh, Khardungla, Nubra, Sakti, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Pang, Rohtang, Manali, Mandi and back to Jammu. And that’s how the story of traveling to Himalayas on bikes began.