After the journey to Betaab valley and lunch at Nathu's Rasoi, we walked Pahalgam town, window-shopping and normally exploring. The friendly staff at JKTDC's Tourist Reception Center told us that one popular activity in the location is fishing. Madhu was very keen on trying a hand at this. We were told that the local Fisheries Dept, which was just up the roadway from the TRC, would give him the essential authorization and likewise help organize for a guide and the required devices. Delighted, we went out looking for it.
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Sadly, the board announcing the Fisheries Dept's structure was a little one and we strolled best past it, without seeing it. As we roamed on unknowning where to go, we chose to ask with two young men who were standing outside the entrance of an alley. One of them, Imran, ended up being the owner of a local guesthouse; he also owned and managed a 'walking, horse-riding, fishing, etc.' activities business.
He used to take us fishing for a much lower rate than that charged by the govt. However so that we check this out for ourselves, he pointed us to where the Fisheries Dept lay and asked us to discover their costs before returning to him for his rates. We did as told. The resident personnel at the dept told us that the govt would charge Rs.2000 for equipment leasing, permit and a guide for a 2hr excursion. Armed with this understanding, we strolled back to Imran's guesthouse where he was waiting on us patiently.
He offered us tea and biscuits as well as introduced us to his dad who regaled us with stories and images of their trekking explorations with travelers. It was a beautiful conversation and we ended up staying for more than an hour with them. Imran eventually said that he would take us on a day-hike, some 6kms upstream to a nice fishing area, offer us with a jam-packed lunch and all the needed permits & devices, and assist Madhu fish to his heart's content, all for Rs.1200. It sounded like a wonderful and reasonably-priced offer. We right away concurred to fulfill the next early morning at 9:30 am at the guesthouse.
The next early morning excited at the possibility of hiking in the area and fishing with a regional we awakened early but encountered a snag with no warm water for a bath. So we needed to wait up until we were given 2 pails to bathe with and this caused a fair bit of hold-up.
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Madhu called Imran to let him know we were running late however he didn't sound worried and asked us to take our time. When we lastly got to his guesthouse, it was practically 10am and we were at our apologetic finest, ready to begin on the trek right away without further hold-up. However we were completely disappointed when Imran's father strolled over and stated that since a senior official from the state's Fisheries Dept was visiting the Pahalgam office we couldn't go fishing that day.
In the beginning, Madhu and I couldn't comprehend why a senior official's see had anything to do with us fishing. Later over more conversation with Imran and his daddy, we gradually recognized that they were intending on taking us fishing without paying for the needed permits; that was how they had the ability to offer us a lower rate! When senior authorities check out, security is tightened and they tend to survey the fishing locations, which suggested that prohibited fishing would be tough to handle.
This knowledge struck us hard! Imran then casually offered to organize for horses and send his sibling as an overview of visit Baisaran and the surrounding areas for the very same price that he had priced quote for fishing. However by this time, we felt cheated and understood we could not trust him any longer; how I want we hadn't met him and had rather signed up with the Fisheries Dept. Moreover we were mad that he had not told us about the fishing concern when we had actually called him earlier that early morning. I guess he figured that once we got to his guesthouse, he might make us sign up for the Baisaran journey instead. We pleasantly declined his offers and strolled away; a BAD begin to the day!
Not wishing to squander the remainder of the day, in spite of a small drizzle, we walked over to Pahalgam's taxi union stand and got ourselves a cab for a round journey to Aru valley. It cost us Rs.550 with a one-hour drop in Aru consisted of; a longer remain would cost us additional; fair adequate! The taxi was assigned immediately and we removed, following Lidder River's right fork upstream through some of the most beautiful areas ever. Once again, we missed out on having a car of our own to be able to stop and enjoy the place at our own pace. Aru valley is at the northern most pointer of the Pahalgam area and according to maps, the road does not go any even more. We got there around twelve noon and were transferred in the automobile parking area.
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The gorgeous greenery of Aru valley is fringed with a disorderly, crowded, unclean (generally since of the rains) market location. We walked through here and passed a group of horsemen idling with their horses. A few them approached us but we walked on quickly. Our manual had not provided us any information about Aru other than that it was pretty, which in reality it was, so we weren't sure exactly what to do or where to go.
Madhu strolled over to JKTDC's tourist bungalow and asked with the caretaker there. He suggested that given that we only had limited time, we need to choose a horse trip as it would cover more ground, taking us up the surrounding hillside to offer us good views of the area. If we had had more time and if the weather condition had actually been much better, strolling would have been much better. But considering that we didn't have a choice, we strolled back to the horsemen and struck up an offer for a one-hour flight around the valley on 2 horses for an overall of Rs.500. A young lad sat us on his horses and after that we took off on an extremely remarkable flight around stunning Aru valley.
We were used up the nearby hillside crossing many streams that included to the currently wet surface area. The climb was steep and treacherous at places especially because the damp rocks and slushy tracks made the horses slip and journey. Our first stop was by the edge of the cliff ignoring the river. Right throughout was a huge blob of snow that hung precariously over the river from the hill. For tourists who have not had an opportunity to experience snow yet, this must be an amazing sight. Then we went further up passing livestock and horses that were grazing quietly on the lavish green growth.
Our 2nd stop was at a small tea shack, the just one, near the top of the hill. From here the views out to Aru village were definitely stunning! The slight drizzle and mist-covered mountains made the location look paradise-like! We immediately wanted we had actually intended on remaining at least a night here.
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The young horseman informed us that some visitors, generally adventurous foreigners, go off on 3 to 4-day horse safaris following the Lidder River further upstream. Then they fish and/or camp for a day or 2 before returning. If we had actually understood better, we would have certainly liked to do the very same. In fact, now I want the lad had not informed us about this choice in the very first location.
We had a cup of Kahwa each, took images and then avoided to the adjacent hillside, at the top of which is a large, flat, rich green meadow. It was as beautiful as any of the other Kashmiri meadows we had seen so far. But exactly what contributed to its enigma was that another popular Hindi film, 'Karma' had actually been shot her back in the 70s. There were numerous young foals and calves prancing around here and we had a fabulous time open at them; it was the highlight of our visit to Aru valley.
Sadly, this was likewise our last stop of the day. When the horses lastly took us back to the market location, we realized that it was almost 2pm. By now it had actually begun to drizzle steadily. We paid the young lad, thanked him for a fantastic experience and hurried back to our waiting taxi.
Throughout our journey back to Pahalgam we questioned if we ought to select our bags and return to Aru to explore it better. But we eventually recognized that it would just add more days to our already broadened Kashmir itinerary, which might not deserve the effort especially if the weather condition continued to play spoil-sport.