Two weeks down... and Jean-Christophe tells us about the start of their adventures!
Who hasn’t heard of Kashmir and its world-famous cloth? It is a mythical region for travellers to explore. With a rich thousand-year history, it is also a natural link between Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent on one of the silk roads. Despite often being jostled between the two giants (India and Pakistan) that neighbour and dispute it, the little local Switzerland is no less warm and welcoming.
All aboard a houseboat on the peaceful waters of Dal Lake!
Returning to India as a family, we dreamed of discovering the lakes of Srinagar nestled in the Himalayan foothills. September is the ideal time to go. While the sub-continent is still in the grips of the humid monsoon heat, the Kashmir valley enjoys a mild and dry climate.
After several days in the hubbub of Delhi, Amritsar and Jammu, arriving at the shores of Dal Lake feels restorative. Mountains and lush gardens surround the peaceful waters that are home to our houseboat. These houseboats are old transport barges that were transformed into guesthouses in the 60s.
Although there are hundreds to choose from, only Sukoon feels like a luxury hotel. Our friend Bilal, the owner, welcomes on board us. This boat, which was built by their father, was fully renovated barely three years ago. On board it is calm and full of delights, and the team are devoted to creating a truly tranquil stay.
Staying here for a few days gives us the chance for some beautiful walks in the Mughal Gardens of Shalimar and Pari Mahal and the temples and forts that dominate the valley. You can also drift along on a Shikhara, the local gondolas that take you along the canals of the old town or to the more verdant areas of the lake that are home to thousands of birds.
In a high-altitude camp at the heart of the Himalayas
Some time to spare? We made the most of our time and journeyed to the valley of Sunmarg at the very heart of the Himalayas where the Sukoon team had organised a comfortable high-altitude camp! Finding ourselves face to face with glaciers, it was also a chance to roam the mountain pastures seeking nomadic herdsmen. A week certainly isn’t too long to discover this valley and take the time to contemplate its spellbinding lights.
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