A trip to Pahalgam and Betaab Valley

A trip to Pahalgam and Betaab Valley

After four unsuccessful plans, our fifth found success when Ovais visited us and at last Shian was convinced. Anish Bhatt was ready a week ago, so was I. Anish, Shian and I would usually travel together from our university to Jammu on every weekend. During the lockdown we met at least thrice in Srinagar at the Bandh.
But this trip we were having was a different one. We were going to stay in Pahalgam for two nights, with ample time to enjoy. There we wouldn’t have to wake up early in the morning, as was the case in our hostel, and we would have full freedom to enjoy to our fill.
It was Friday and the weather was absolutely fine. I left for Srinagar, where Shian and Ovais were waiting eagerly, sitting on a bench at the clock tower. On seeing me from a distance, both smiled. Shian in utmost excitement hugged me and took a selfie with his mouth wide open. Meanwhile Anish Bhat joined us and we boarded a local cab to Anantnag. The driver was a cool guy.
We reached bus stand Anantnag at 4 o’ clock. Now we had to board another cab to Pahalgam. There was one ready to leave. It took us 45 minutes to reach our destination. The music playing in the cab matched the surrounding scenery. We felt that every Chinar tree along the road was welcoming us with its red leaves falling down and making the ground like a carpet.
“Aaj mausam bada be-imaan hai, Aany waala koi tufaan hai…”
We reached Pahalgam at twilight and booked a room in a local hotel. We were tired but excitement drew us out of the room to watch the scenery of the valley in the moonlight. We returned only at midnight after traversing a good distance on foot. Then we had our dinner followed by our favourite noon chai.
The thing we enjoyed the most was when we all slept on a single bed. Shian was happy about it, Ovais felt uncomfortable, and Anish and I usually enjoy such moments. After all we are enjoying our university days and such days don’t come back.
It was at about 9 in the morning when we had our breakfast, a light one. Ovais was still feeling hungry, though, even after he had finished. Now we were heading towards the famous Betaab valley, a place we had planned to visit at the start of the trip mainly because of being lured by the very name of it.
Betaab valley had made us really “Betaab”. Betaab valley is really a place worth visiting. One gets lost in its beauty. A lush green valley with breathtaking scenic beauty enthuses the soul. One is forced to utter the famous Persian verse: “Agar firdous ba rooey zameen ast, Hameen asto Hameen asto, Hameen asto”
The mountain peaks shrouded with clouds allowed us a peep into the world beyond it, and produced in us an ecstatic feeling. The Lidder river with its waters striding over the rocks produced a sonorous sound. A continuous hiss of the blowing breeze made for a sort of dreamy atmosphere, removing all thoughts of the real world.
We clicked photos and in every photo the background was simply awesome. I was not in a mood to leave the paradise-like valley but I was helpless before the other three guys who were receiving incessant phone calls from their parents to return.
We were back to Pahalgam when the sun was about to set. We had been relieved of the tensions and mental disquiet caused by the horrendous pandemic and the subsequent lockdown which had brought all life to a grinding halt. It was clear to us that such trips were the remedy for the illnesses caused by the routines of modern life.
The responsibility of the authorities towards these sites is growing as pollution is increasing at an alarming rate and the prime lands in these areas have been grabbed by greedy elements which is threatening their very existence.
The traffic was thin on roads as a shutdown call had been given to protest abrogation of J&K’s special status. We were lucky to find a last cab to Srinagar waiting for passengers. We quickly boarded and left.
Midway our plan changed and we decided to stay at my home. Anish was ready but Shian first showed some resistance. Later he enjoyed the night stay more than anyone. Though fairly tired, we were still absorbed in the beauty of Pahalgam and Betaab valley. We showed no interest in the mundane affairs at home till we were out of the trance and started our daily chores once again.
Nature has been bounteous to Kashmir valley but we need to be serious to preserve such gifts awarded by her.
—mirnayyarazam@gmail.com

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