Although you have over a week to spare, I’d suggest you take it slow and visit three (or a maximum of four) places in all. Divide your time betweenSrinagar, Pahalgam(with a day-trip to the village of Aru nearby) andSonamarg or Gulmarg.
The best way to get around in Srinagar these days are the new radio taxis. TrySnowcabs(0194-2432432,snowcabs.com). Theshikarais also a fine, leisurely way to explore places in and around the Dal—such as Nishat Bagh, Nigeen lake, Hazrat Bal mosque, Char Chinar and the early morning floating vegetable market. Between the towns, hire a private cab. Your hotel can help or contact any of the travel operators on Boulevard Road by the Dal. You could also call the reticent but reliable Mushtaq (9419062408).
As for hotels, I must warn you that, barring a few in the capital, most properties in Kashmir are expensive. In Srinagar, you can book a room atBrown Palace(from Rs 3,300;hotelbrownpalace.com),Green Acre(from Rs 4,500;wazirhotels.com) or atNew Gulistan Palace, a houseboat on the Dal (Rs 4,000;newgulistanpalace.com). In Pahalgam, try Himlaya House(from Rs 2,800;himalayahouse.in). Or better still, call Zulfikar Hussain to check if his privately runTraveller’s Inn, a log cabin by the Lidder river, barely two kilometres away, is available (Rs 8,000-10,000 for the hut with four rooms and a living area; ask if he’d be able to rent out a single room for a fraction of that price; 9419010780). If you decide to add Sonamarg to your itinerary, book into the newRah Villas Hotel(from Rs 7,500; 0124-4270645,rah-villas-kashmir.com) orHotel Snowland(from Rs 5,600;hotelsnowlandsonmarg.com). In Gulmarg, callPine Palace Resort(from Rs 5,200;pinepalaceresort.com).
A ten-day trip for two should cost about Rs 70,000 plus airfare.
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