We were done with sight-seeing mostly. We hadn’t seen Pari Mahal but the area had been cordoned off that day. Visitors were still not being allowed into Dachigam wildlife sanctuary either. We left the houseboat after breakfast and went to a shopping area near Jamia Masjid. There are several shops here selling crockery and though they are not made in Kashmir, they cater specifically to the Kashmiri people. We were looking for tea cups and saucers with intricate patterns and designs.
We stopped by Sona Sultana next. One will be amazed by the wide array of furniture and wooden artifacts made from Walnut wood. From screens to side tables to dressers, trays to serve hours d’oeuvre and ingenious nut-crackers, you can spend hours ogling at the mind-blowing range of Walnut wood products that are on display over three floors. A dinner table that could seat over 12 people had carvings of trees all along the edge, each one being of a different genus. There were many things we wished we could have in our home. Larger products will be shipped to your residence if need be.
We had lunch at Alka Salka. It’s near Ahdoos restaurant, but less crowded. The food was very good too with many choices and options in the menu card.
In the evening, we visited the Grand Lalit Hotel as we’d been told that their lawns and gardens were worth a dekko. It is a sprawling, well-kept property. We spent a good half an hour or more in their open cafe, sipping coffee. Thereafter we went to Jee Enn Sons bakery in the old city. There are plenty of goodies you can pick and choose from. We’d gone there for the specific purpose of buying and carrying back to Mumbai the melt-in-the-mouth coconut cookies and anything else that could last the journey. Apart from cookies, we also bought a flaky plain pastry called kachori that is very different from what we get hereabouts. It needs to be noted that the cookies and kachoris did indeed last the journey and was consumed with much pleasure by us and a few others who were recipients of the same.
It was time to bid adios to this beautiful land of snowy mountains, splendid lakes and rosy cheeked girls. Most parts of the country was going through a severe and catastrophic heat wave. The last day was also the first day for us in Kashmir when there weren’t any rains. It was comparatively warmer than it had been all along. Sweaters and jackets came off. But the indoors was still cool and comfortable.