Journey of a Life time – to the Paradise on Earth

Disclaimer – Do not feel envy after reading this blog post!!! Read the complete post to get to have the real feeling of this #DaaaaamnColdTrip

All characters mentioned in this blog post are real. The blogger holds the copyright for the content of this blog post and the images posted herein.

As a kid I have read about the epics Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Though I have not understood the real meaning of it completely, I always had thought about this.

What is Paradise? How will it look?

I have also read a lot about Venice. Though it is far away from my place but still reachable, I use to wonder whether I could find anything within my country. I got the answer to it finally when I was short-listed for a trip to Leh-Ladakh.

This was the contest organised by Fosters on its Social Media platform – FB and Twitter. As a core contest player, do you think I would have left it?

The answer is NO.

As soon as I saw the contest, I jumped into it and gave few entries and as usual had forgotten about it. One fine day, I woke up to a mail in my Inbox saying that  I am one of the short-listed contestant but I was asked to keep a low profile because the list wasn’t finalised. At that juncture, I did not know whether to smile or cry because my chances were still 50:50

A week later, when I was on a shopping mall, I got a call from the agency which is handling the Fosters brand saying that I am short-listed and wanted to ensure that I would be available in October. Though I do lot of campaigns day in and day out, I agreed to it immediately keeping aside all my commitments for 8 days as the trip was for 8 long days. Well that so called “short” seemed really “short” after I finished my trip which is a different story.

The theme of the trip is #ItsDaaaaamnCold and I knew there is something behind this. I was asked to travel light and I really did travel light. I must confess during the entire travel I did not even take bath once and you would know why as we proceed further. I spent around 20k to get myself equipped which included Solar UV Ray coolers, Thermal Inners, A Jacket, Couple of gloves, Head gear and a Woodland Trekking shoes.

There were three teams who accompanied me. Nishant Pio, Ravikiran Vissa,Shameem Fahath ,Arjun Kamath from Chennai, Nitant from New Delhi, Shishir and Varun from Mumbai were those awesome gang.

While the team from Chennai is about direction,scripting the events, Team from Mumbai is from the agency who overlooked at the way the trip was undertaken. The one man army from New Delhi is the Drone Flier.

I was accompanied by the team from Chennai and we reached Srinagar first. When we were about to land, I saw something which was breathe stopping. It was a sight of clouds amidst snow clad mountains.

Snow Mountains in Cloud

We went straight to Dal lake. It was a serene sight.

Boat in Dal Lake

This is how the interior of boat house looked. It was my first ever stay in a boat house and we were there fr good 2 days.

Boat Hoouse Dining

That’s the dining hall in the boat house.

Boat House Bedroom

That’s a single cot bedroom in the boat house.

Boat House Double Cot

That’s the double cot one.

The interiors were boat house were plush. They were well lit. It had 3 bed rooms in total. The passage looks like this:

Passage

This is how interiors were done

Interior 1

Interior 2

That’s how Dining and Visitor Hall looked.

Kitchen and Hall

We also had satellite TV and in-house food. The food served were awesome.

Kashmiri Delight

I was stunned to hear that there were more than 900 boat houses in Dal Lake alone each costing anywhere from 1.5 crore upwards.

Boat Houses

That’s Ravikiran Vissa and Shameem Fahath for you.

Ravi and Shameem

These boats which ferry us from the land to the boat house were called “Shikaris”. They followed a strict regime of “No Plastic”

No to Plastic

The plan was to travel from Srinagar to Leh via road. While coming back, from Leh, we took a flight to New Delhi and from there we took connecting flight to Chennai while Shishir and Varun took the connecting light to Mumbai.

We first went to Gulmarg which is close to Srinagar. Unfortunately the cable car line was closed a they were upgrading the lines by then.

This is how Gumarg looked.

Gulmarg 1

Gulmarg 2

For the first time, drone was deployed over here.

Gulmarg Drone

I took my first selfie in Gulmarg.

Selfie in Gulmarg

We went to Pine View Restaurant in Gulmarg.

Gul Restaurant Outer View

We ordered some awesome food over here.

Gul Res

Gul Res1

Gul Res2

I must say Kashmiri Pulav is the best in the World when tasted in Kashmir – not anywhere else 🙂

The best part of the Dal Lake is – you have lot of shops on the boat and you can get from eatables to collectibles and all.

Boat Drinks

Lake Shop

Lake Shops

Before leaving the place, I had ordered Kashmiri Pashmeena Shawls and Carpets which were pretty cheaper over there when compared to the rates they were being sold in other parts of the country and since I paid the whole amount, postal charges weren’t levied and as promised, I got my order in 4 weeks after I had reached my home town.

Now we were headed to Leh. It was Day 3. We left Srinagar early in the morning because reaching eh would take not less than 8-10 hours by road. I sighted the first snw clad mountain and it was a brilliant sight.

Hilly Top

On our journey to Leh, we touched few important points.

Potula Top

Then we also came across DRASS. Take a look at what it says…

Drass

I was really excited being at this place.

Then it was Moon-land. As the name suggests, this is a place that will give you a surreal experience. The and formation is some what similar like what you see in the moon.

Moon3

Moon1

Moon2

Finally we reached Leh in the evening and it was already dark. We took a Ladakhi Home Stay as it is quite popular in Leh which is neat, safe and cozy.

Leh Homestay

We were served traditional Leh-Ladakh food in the morning.

Leh Tradition

Dal

Its time for Selfie over there as well.

Leh Selfie

Leh Selfie1

We went to this place which is a real huge flat surface. Take a look at the stupendous view.

Landscape

LandscapeHilleTop

There are lot of selfies. Pardon me for that. I took them in some prominent places 🙂

We now travelled to Hemis Monastery which is one of the biggest in India.

Hemis

That’s Varun and Shshir for you.

Hemis Varun Shishir

This is how Hemis looks inside.

Hemis Inside

Take a look at how it looks outside.

Hemis1

Hemis View

There is also a belief that if you think something in your mind and rotate these, there are high chances for those becoming a reality.

Hemis Good Luck

Hemis has displayed a brilliant confluence of Leh-Ladakhi architecture.

Hemis Ladakhi

This serene water scape comes in between Leh to Hemis. Took a selfie over there by default.

wATER

While going back, we stopped at a restaurant to finish our food. There was no specific time as such for us to eat. We ate when ever we felt hungry and that’s Arjun for you.

Arjun

Closer to where we stayed in Leh is Shanti Stupa. It was so beautiful and Calm.

ShantiStupa

ShantiStupa1

ShantiStupa2

ShantiStupa3

Now we are all set to go to Chang La – one of the highest landlocked lakes in the World. Me with Arjun and Pio

Clicks

SarathSnow

SARATHSNOW1

We got to see the real ice on our way to these places. Though there is sunshine, it is of no good.

ChangLa

That’s the highest land locked lake in the world.

Lake

We stayed in a tent house and during night the temperature was in minus and even though I was wearing so many layers with couple of thick quilt inside the tent, I was literally shivering and was seriously hoping for the day to come sooner.

Tent

During the day, I could go closer to the lake and clicked some pics.

ALake Selfie

Also came to know that a part of 3-Idiots movie was shot here.

Wow

Finally my dream to be in the Highest Motorable Road in the World is achieved.

Khardungla

Finally it is time for Selfie with all.

Selfie With Ravi

Selfie - Ravi

Selfie With Shishir

Selfie - Shishir

Selfie With Arjun

Selfie - Arjun

 Selfie With Nitant

Selfie - Nitant

This is my longest blog post till date and I cannot write any shorter than this. They also say a picture speak 1000 words but still I could not upload just the pictures alone. My blog post along with these pics are good enough to convey the journey of the life time I had and couldn’t thank enough to Team Fosters for making my DREAM COME TRUE!!!

The preview of the video is here:

This has garnered 57K hits.

 Full version of the video is:

https://web.facebook.com/fostersindia/videos/10154594147182306/

This has got 259K hits and counting as on 18/3/16. Cool isn’t it?? I must say that FOSTERS has made me a celebrity. Thank You so very much!!!

My adventure was featured on the website of SinDenim too.. The link is:

https://t.co/5QZyoJqKej

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