Astha’s Journey through Yousmarg and Srinagar

Astha’s Journey through Yousmarg and Srinagar

21st July

Our next destination was Yousmarg. We woke up to hot cups of tea and Kashmiri rotis as we headed out to our destination. The entire exhaustion of the journey got away as I laid my eyes on the violet bed of flowers spread across the fields. Ah! my heart reeked with happiness. I felt a sense of rush running down my cheeks, I felt alive.

I think of Bruno today, how happy he would have been to play in these land full of meadows. How much he would love to soak up the sun here. Yea! he’s a spoilt baby. I miss him and I miss Mumma too but you know I know she knows I want this, I want to dream and travel and she travels with me in my heart.

We all settled down in a guest house called as “Shareif Hotel”! Such a naughty bunch staying at this hotel . The banter with chai and lighter passing started as we settled down in this heaven, we had called home for the next three days.


I feel at home. It’s a good feeling, to be among the unknowns, the uncertainty, to being in the moment.

Yousmarg expedition begins tomorrow, can’t wait to wake up!

22nd July

Sleep. We sleep to wake up right. I don’t sleep because I always want to be awake. I like being awake, seeing things, watching stars, feeling the wind on my arm and covering it in goosebumps. I like the smell of the earth at night, the moon sending private message when I look at it. I woke up dreaming about running. Went for a quick run on an uphill meadow, huffed and puffed after fifteen minutes because I am a big lazy bum!

Yousmarg is so different from Chatpal you know. I miss Chatpal but Yousmarg is gorgeous in its own way. So I felt like eternal love wala love with Chatpal and Yousmarg I had a crush on! How do I describe the violet of those flowers? How do I tell you that particular feeling when I lay near them and they covered me in their incense? Or how do I tell you about the joy of plucking a fresh juicy pear from a tree and about that first bite of it?

I love loving, I love giving love, I see love everywhere. I know the guy I ate the lacha parantha from mixed all his love for me in the sweetness of that yummy halwa, I know the river stream wanted me to be soaked in its love and I also know love is always around us, we got to let us for once be loved.

For once, just once not be hard on self and revel in each breath of this life bestowed upon us.

Clicked by: Krish Bhalla

23rd July

Aap hindu hain na?

Five year old Firoza asked me this question as i speaking to her and three of her friends in this place near Charar-e-Sharif. Children are so adorable, so innocent. I remember as a child how wrong things were told to us and how slowly as an adult I began to understand this tool, this dangerous tool called as religion.

Weapon of innocence destruction-Religion.

“I am a human”, I said, “Baby, humanity is my religion” I said to her. She smiled, not sure if she understood. Innocence, is beautiful know. Why don’t we let kids remain innocent? Along with baby girls me and Sakshi went to mosque and paid our respect.

This was the shrine of the saint who had got Islam to Kashmir. We left to go back to our Shareif Hotel and on our way driver Bhaiya notified us that the forest had many bears and leopards.

Windows rolled up, listening to calming music we reached back to feast on Dal Makhni, Chicken Curry, Matar Paneer and Rotis!

By the way, my dream came true!

We are going to Srinagar, Woohoo !!!

I have dreamt of staying on a houseboat for forever and sing Kashmir ki kali hun mein…hahahaha!

P.S: Melodrama runs in the genes!

24th July

Oh my god.


Officer Astha reporting from Dal lake, Srinagar and due to the excitement she has fallen from the boat!

Ah! Dreams do come and trust me when I say this this feeling of living this dream of living on a house boat with friends and I danced with joy and excitement. We all eagerly explored our rooms and got our stuff stacked up, sat on the deck and took our first batch of pictures.

I had called Ehmad, a friend Srinagar here who is also a photographer. I requested him show us around a little bit but being a Friday the old city area was closed and prohibited to enter. Kashmiri men are beautiful, very beautiful. What makes them beautiful is how they speak, softly and are full of chivalry.

Before I drift off the topic more I am going to tell you about an evening that I know one day I shall share with my children too. We had two Shikaras for ten people and left our houseboat to let Dal mesmerize us with her beauty. Click click click Sakshi, Gurveer & Rishabh went as me and Altamash Jee chatted a bit like adults!(how I love talking serious stuff at times with an elder)

Lo and behold we saw the color of the sky changing and the reflections of various boats and huts in the clear water of this beautiful lake. Jannat-e-Kashmir I call it because I do believe from my heart that I am blessed to be in the arms of this Jannat(Heaven).

Watching the sun set lying down on the fron of the boat,hearing the water rushing by,the wind softly unfurling my tied hair.I had been owned by this water,i saw my life streamlined in the nose of the boat surpassing all obstacles and dirt.I haven’t felt more ethereal in years.I wont feel like this in year to come.

Thank you dear nature for adopting us for this evening.

Indebted we are.

Clicked by: Krish Bhalla

25th July

Waking up on a houseboat: Check!

Ah! Surrounded by water, why god why! I am so happy that my cheeks hurt. We all are actually. Living in the moment, not thinking about the tomorrow, Me, Sakshi, Rishabh, Gurveer & Naim left for Gulmarg at eleven in the morning.


Why you so beautiful?

Why did you enchant me? Haan?

Why did you spread a wreath of white gorgeous flowers on our way,welcoming us with love and affection unparalleled?

Travelers don’t like going to touristy places, I do, once in a while. I like to see people enjoy with families, how we used to when we were kids. Old school. I am old school and love connecting with things that remind me of my childhood memories.

Feasting on Aloo Paranthas and Chai in the rain as I enjoyed every bit of our excursion. Oh! we also experienced the joys of riding a cable car I forgot to tell you that

Small gestures make me so happy, someone lending a hand as I slipped. How that someone becomes a friend, how moments are captured, how memories are made and how someone you didn’t know until yesterday making you smile today. Life is unpredictable and life should be like that. Someone once told me live in the present and that’s all I try to do, because right now is all we have.


Due to weather conditions and flash floods, our trip had to be shortened. We had to skip the Zanskar-Ladakh part, to return after Srinagar.

One thought on “Astha’s Journey through Yousmarg and Srinagar

  1. The last lines are so touching and makes me think so much about it. Each time I read your writes, it really feels like visiting these places. Nice write, keep writing!

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