Train Jammu – Delhi: Jhelum Express Train# 11078, Depart Jammu Tawi 21:45, Arrive New Delhi 10:05, Duration 12h 20m, Class: AC 2 Tier Cost: Rs. 1,855/2pax
Breakfast in train: Omlette Rs.21, Potato Rs.13, Toblerone chocolate Rs.60, Lays Rs.30, Nescafe and tea Rs.20
Hate to write about this and looooong story which I dont feel like recalling.
But short story is, when arriving New Delhi from Jammu, we helplessly got cheated by a tout so convincing enough that we believed that our next train to Agra was delayed (and canceled). Had to go to travel agents to book some bus and (foolishly, plane?? We thought Agra was so close to Delhi that it doesn even have airport! But the guys were talking about getting plane and we almost believed it? Did we get hypnotized?) only to realize later when we went to Mr.Bashir’s place to ask help, and the guys at Mr Bashirs clearly told us that we got cheated. T_T
We arrived in Jammu airport in the afternoon and received call from Sudhir that his representative will fetch us at the airport. We had to walk outside the airport gate as people who didnt have traveling document i.e. not using the flight are not allowed to enter even the airport area. We felt bad because our flight was delayed and we could not inform earlier, but the guy who came to fetch us was a kind man wearing turban. We got into his van and he brought to us to a sweet house with large garden which we guess belongs to Sudhir.
From Clermont Houseboat to JKT Bus stand: Got ride by Mr Bashir
Shuttle bus to Srinagar airport: Rs.45
Our last night at Clermont Houseboat was in this small cottage in the corner. We had to move out from the big houseboat because there will be some VIP guest going to check-in, but it’s more than okay, coz this cottage is very cozy! In fact, I’m not sure if it’s floating on water like houseboats as well but it’s surely located the same rows with them along the lake bank.
How to get there: Go to a taxi stand near petrol station. It’s a shared taxi, in form of Tata Sumo jeep going to Anatnag (Rs.50) it will take about one hour. In Anatnag, change another shared taxi to go Pahalgam (Rs.50) for 45 minutes ride. Same goes to way back (Pahalgam-Anatnag, Anatnag-Srinagar). Alternatively, you can always take return J&K Bus at Tourist Info Center, the same way we get to Gulmarg. But have to check first which day they run to which place (they usually rotate Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam). But I guess shared taxi is faster with same price. Do not take Tata Sumo jeep in front of bus station, as they will be chartered for you only and you have to pay fares for whole car.
Pahalgam is definitely my favorite place in Kashmir. Nicknamed as Switzerland of India, we were really on cloud nine when arriving in this place we almost feel as paradise of earth. Initially wanted to go by bus as we did for Gulmarg, but unfortunately when we went to the Bus Station early morning to book a ticket, they say they’re only going to Sonamarg today and Pahalgam will be tomorrow. We dont have another tomorrow to visit Pahalgam and we would skip Sonamarg over Pahalgam. So when we went out to find taxi, we found the mysterious guy again and he helped us to find our way to another taxi stand which can get us to Anatnag, and from Anatnag we can get another taxi to Pahalgam.
Way back from Saba’s house to Dal Gate: shared Sumo taxi, Rs.20
Auto-rickshaw Dal Gate to Clermont: Rs.150
Walking out from Tulip Gardens, we walked for a kilometer towards the direction we believe that would bring us to Brein district, and there were big houses sitting along the road and from their house signboard at their gate, we were convinced that we’re going the right direction. We passed by some group of army monitoring some area nearby at the road, and hoping that they would know, we asked them while showing the address written by Mr Showkat at our small booklet. The army officer doesnt seem to know it, and gave a sign to another officer to come to help us. Now we noticed from their uniforms that they are different group of army – Indian army and another is J&K (Jammu & Kashmir) enforcement people. The J&K officer seems to know his place better, and showed us to walked further to a direction.