Tours of Kashmir, Srinagar, and Ladakh

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21 Comments

Reply Peter Harris
6:33 AM on December 3, 2016 
Dear Abdul,
To your readers I heartily recommend your services as a guide and introduction to the best of Kashmiri hospitality and culture. I know you as an eager and knowledgeable student of its history and current affairs, a resourceful explorer of places visitors would never find on their own, and a trustworthy friend. You are equally interested in the background and wishes of your visitors, and provide lots of good advice. We have just shared two afternoons of lively conversation, and each time parted reluctantly, feeling elated, rewarded and grateful. I can't thank you enough. All the best, Peter Harris.
Reply Thanigai
12:28 PM on May 29, 2016 
Hi Abdul Bhai,
I'm Thani residing @ Qatar and we planned to visit Kashmir in this August vacation.
We are total 5 Adults + 2 Kids = 7
Date : Arrival August-09 and Departure August-17
We got your information from Tripadvisor and would like to get your feedback along with the tour plan (looking for complete customized package).
Expecting your reply and my my email is thanigai9@gmail.com
Thanks
Regards,
Thanigai
Reply hemali
4:43 AM on February 27, 2015 
Hello Abdul..... my husband and I are travelling to Srinagar for our anniversary from 6th to 9th March. we wanted to discover Srinagar for a day (we have come here once before and have seen the touristy places) and were thinking of going to a nearby place like Lolab valley or Achabal for a nights stay. Could you let me know if you are free during those dates and can suggest a plan for us esp for seeing offbeat Srinagar.
Reply Andrew A
1:20 PM on January 18, 2015 
I've been to a lot of places, in India and other countries, and have had lots of different guides---but Abdul is one of the best. He leads a day-long "cultural walking tour" that is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting Srinagar.

Abdul showed me so many places in old Srinagar that I never would have found myself---indeed, we were in neighborhoods that I probably never would have found on my own (and I'm pretty adventurous).

Abdul knows so much about the history, politics, and people of Srinagar and Kashmir. So everything we saw fit into that context (he didn't just show a pretty temple; he explained its history and relevance), and likewise, he didn't lecture abstractly (he showed the places where the history actually happened).

We walked through various market areas, and Abdul explained some of the products I was confused about, and was able to give background on things I didn't even think to ask about. For example, the way the fish industry works in Kashmir: the men all fish at night, and the women sell the fish during the day. I hadn't even noticed that all of the fishmongers were women! This is one of the things that a really good guide (or teacher) can do: show you things you didn't even notice (answer questions you didn't even think to ask).

We also got to drink lots of tea and eat lots of Kashmiri delectables, which were wonderful---he knows all the best places.

He picked up on the fact that I like taking pictures, and so was frequently pointing out good opportunities. (He has a good eye!) He's not a tout---there were no unplanned visits to carpet shops (or to any tourist stores, for that matter).

I had wanted to buy a samovar in Kashmir, and it was my last day, and so Abdul generously took me around to various copper shops and helped me negotiate (even telling the copper sellers, inaccurately, that I was a poor student!). I got a very good deal on a samovar, and I'm very grateful to him for that.

My only regret is that I only got to spend half a day with Abdul, due to poor planning and time constraints on my part. I wish I could have spent the whole day and gone for his full-length walking tour! Very highly recommended.
Reply candid
5:15 PM on January 1, 2014 
Abdul is not only a real good guide but a nice man, very concerned about his land and with extensive knowledge about history, culture and events in Kashmir. Very honest and flexible, aboslutely recomended if you visit Srinagar and Kashmir
Reply Pavan Nayak
3:41 AM on October 19, 2013 
A very special way to see the non-touristy, old and culturally rich interiors of Srinagar city is to go on a walking tour of the Old City.

The walk starts through the Lal chowk and its history, meanders around the erstwhile Kashmiri Pandit areas with homes having intricate wooden windows, projected balconies and arc-shaped doors, indulges in the buzzing markets around wooden bridges (Kadal) built in the kashmiri style.

The walk then matures and opens into majestic Sufi mosques/mausoleums of the pirs who once introduced the 'Shaivite' valley to the new order of Islam and which paved the their symbiotic co-existence, commonly referred to as pluralistic order of Kashmiri life - "Kashmiriyat".

The walk takes you on a reality check; lays bare the mundane life of the ordinary Kashmiri - one who does not own a shop at Dal Gate, one who does not travel to Bangalore for studies, one who resents the Army and one who aspires "freedom".

The walk through winding alleys, tiled pavements and chowks - some peaceful, some volatile....alo takes you through the temple of Sharika Devi - the patron goddess of the Srinagar city, the embankments of the Hari parbat fort and the Rozabal shrine.

Along with all of the above, what really renders this walk life is the person who guides you through it.
In Mr. Abdul Zandari you will find a person, who is not only passionate about Srinagar and its heritage but also interested in sharing as much as possible with the people accompanying him on the walk.
He is a rationalist and is his awareness of the delicate nature of the Masla-e-Kashmir (Kashmir issue) is an eye-opener.

He is very balanced in his estimation and a is a great company with whom to learn, understand and then disuss the history of Kashmir and its ever evolving, all assimilating cultural ethos.

He calls 'a spade a spade' and never plays the "agent for commission". He infact suggested us ways we could have reduced our expenses along the trip.

And the surprising thing is he does not charge any fixed amount for his services. You pay as you like :)
I can surely say the best thing about our Kasmir tour was this walk - into the true face of Kashmir that now seeks freedom, where Shankaracharya once walked, where the winds of Sufi Islam touched the hearts of Hindus, Where shiv baba appears as ice, where militants routinely fire their rifles and where our civilisation once gathered shape!
Reply Stefano
7:22 AM on September 20, 2013 
As an experienced traveler for several years i found Abdul is the best guide i ever met.
He showed me Srinagar like no one else could.
Has great knowledge of the regions history, infrastructure and nature.
If you plan on visiting Srinagar in any way, make sure you contact Abdul to help plan your journey and work as your guide, he can arrange any kind of accommodation and plan your sightseeing threw out northern India and Kashmir in particular.
The best things about Abdul is that he works on a donation basis and doesn't work with rigid prefab (so to say) organized tours.
He is very flexible and can adjust to your wishes and demands.
With his connections and ideology, you will have a very special journey threw a very special place in a safe and beautiful way!
Instead of funding pushy and greedy travel companies, you can donate based on your abilities a freelance, well experienced certified professional, with a family background going all the way back to colonial British India.
While hiring Abdul, you don't only hire the best, you also help a well deserving family in need.
Abdul is your man!
Reply Elisa
10:08 AM on August 2, 2013 
Hello! My husband and I had a wonderful time with Abdul in Srinagar. We were figuring out what to do and were not happy with our houseboat experience, but then Abdul found us and promised to give us a better impression. We met with him the next day and he showed us around for the entire day. He not only extremely knowledgeable about the city and the situation in Kashmir but super fun to be around! If you go to India, please stop by beautiful Srinagar and get in touch with him. He will make your trip that much more memorable. We hope to see him again!
Reply yash
5:57 AM on July 18, 2013 
How is visiting kashmir in the month end of october. Also, would like to know regarding your treks . thanks
Reply Marten
1:52 AM on April 17, 2013 
Goede rondleiding van Abdul gehad door het centrum van Srinigar. Abdul weet veel te vertellen over de stad en laat veel zien. Ook kan je hem veel vragen over de stad en over de rest van Kashmir. Een erg vriendelijke man en dus een goede dag gehad.