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KASHMIR - NOT THE ONLY HEAVEN ON EARTH
The auto driver took us around the dal lake and we could see the whole of the lake.  It is really a big one.  We arrived Khir Bhavani after half an hour more drive.  We went through the security check and offered our obesciences to the Goddess.  This is the temple visited by Swami Vivekananda in Nov. 1898 when it was in a devasted condition. He stayed at this temple for 7 days and performed pujas and meditation. Seeing this he questioned himself why the Goddess could not protect her temple from the hands of invaders?  The reply came within himself that the Goddess questioning him,"Are you protecting me or Am I protecting you?"  This reply humbled Swami ji. The present one is a renovated one and we could see about 60 people around.  Another person of Vivekananda Kendra was also present there.  He invited us to have food at the lungar. The food was chilly hot and i managed to eat a little bit.  The auto driver left us at a place where we could catch a Tata Sumo for Sonamarg.

As we proceeded towards sonamarg via Ganderbal and Kangan in shared Tata Sumo it started raining but we were safe inside and our luggage was also brought down from the roof and were kept safely inside.  Finally we reach Sonamarg J&K  Tourist guest house by the Ladakh Highway around 5 p.m.  The Manager told us that our accommodation was up near the Thajiwas Glacier but we had the option to stay by the Highway guest house.  We opted for the higher up ones.  We had a cup of tea at the guest house before proceeded to our  guest house. We got a cab for Rs. 300/- that dropped us to our guest house.  Yes, if we would not have opted for this we would have missed a lot.  The guest house was just facing the Glacier and the meadows were marvelous and we could see the Sonamarg city below. The place was surounded  by all sides with Icy peaks and it was the best place we visited so far.  The night sky was marvelous but very cold outside.  The guest house arrangements were quite in order and clean. 
The glacier was visible at a stone throw distance. We did take a walk towards the glacer and returned before the dusk set in.

Dinner as we ordered was provided.  It was so cold outside that we could not stay for more than half an hour after dinner.  As there was a cable TV available in the room, we watched the news and went to bed by 10 p.m.

Next day early morning around 7 we had our bed tea and went out on the medows. Standing in the sun we had our tea and discussed our next plan.  It was a sunny day and all around the mountain were topped by icy peaks. 

By 9 in the morning we finished our breakfast and packed our rucksacks for onward journey to Leh.  Our bus from Sri Nagar was to reach Sonamarg market area around 10 a.m. and the distance from our guest house it was more than 3 k.m. Mr. Rao was insisting on hiring a cab that could drop us at the bus stop.  I told him not to be worried.  As we walked along the road, a car stopped and gave us a life upto the market.  By 9.30 we reached the bus stop.  Who knew then that the bus would re-start from Sonamarg only at 2 p.m.  It was because Jojila pass had only one way traffic.  Any way, Mr. Rao bought a pair of trekking shoes and we had our sandwiches as lunch before the journey started.  The route through Jojila pass is the most marvelous one.  Ice, Ice and Ice everywhere. The sight was heavenly and that lingered on as we finally entered the Leh checkpost.