Do Not Be Afraid - Explore Kashmir!

Many people had warned us about the conditions prevailing in Kashmir. But that did not stop us because we believe in exploring places on our own than believing media influenced sayings. There have been many riders who have traveled before us and cherish good memories about Kashmir. It was our chance now to create some memories.


We started our trip from Nalagarh and ended back to Nalagarh. Nalagarh is a small town in Baddi district, 60 km from Chandigarh and about 300 km from Delhi. Since it was our parents anniversary we had planned to visit them first and spent two days before starting our road trip to Kashmir. From Nalagarh we took the following route: Anandpur Sahib > Una >Hoshiyarpur > Pathankot > Lakhanpur > Jammu > Udhampur > Chenani / Nashir > Patnitop Our first stay was in Patnitop. We had decided to stay here as this falls on the route to Srinagar. This is what google maps had suggested. But we were unaware of the fact that now there is a tunnel which bypasses Patnitop.

Chenani Nashir Tunnel

Though there are many tunnels on the way, this one was the most memorable one. It falls after crossing Udhampur. It was a major attraction for us, we had never in life crossed such a long tunnel. Later when we read about it we realized that this is not only the longest but also the first tunnel in the country with a fully integrated tunnel control system. It shortens the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 30 km and reduces the travel time by two hours. It also bypasses snowfall and avalanche-prone regions.

Though it has been one of the infrastructural achievement for us it felt a little suffocating. Neither could we keep our visors on nor off. In spite of the several exhausts throughout, the pollution levels were much higher. After crossing the tunnel, the straight road led to Srinagar, and for Patnitop, there was a diversion. We, of course, took the diversion as we had already made our bookings at Patnitop and also it had been drizzling so we had to stop. The evening in Patnitop was a very pleasant one. There are a lot of parks to relax and absorb the greenery around. The thunderstorm added to the overall experience.

Jawahar Tunnel

Next day we started for Srinagar and reached the same spot from where we had exited the tunnel. This time we took the straight road that led to Srinagar. The road conditions were extremely bad. Though the overall distance was about 200kms it took us around 6-7 hours to reach Srinagar. There was a lot of construction happening throughout the highway. Many more tunnels under construction to further shorten the distance.

Apart from rough roads, there were few interesting facts that we learned on this route. The most interesting is the difference that one experiences before and after the Jawahar tunnel. This tunnel basically connects Jammu and Kashmir region. On one side of the tunnel is Jammu where the terrain is dry and less green, but on the other side is the Kashmir valley, with snow-capped mountains which can be seen at a distance. The sky seemed clearer and brighter on the other side. Maybe because there was no construction happening after we crossed the tunnel. Another interesting fact about J&K state is that it is divided into three regions Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Jammu is famous for a lot of Hindu Shrines, Kashmir is famous for beautiful valleys and is majorly inhabited by Muslims whereas Ladakh prominently follows Buddhist culture and is famous for its remote mountain beauty. It is one state but is culturally and geographically very diversified. As we approached, Srinagar we were a little taken aback with so many army officials deployed all over. It felt like a war-like situation. It felt a little scary but soon we got used to it. Srinagar

The feel of the city is definitely very different than any other for few very major reasons. One of the major attraction is Dal lake which is surrounded by snow-clad mountains. It sets the feel of the city, Shikara ride and houseboats are added attractions.