My wife and I,Bhaskaran. P, Suparnam,mannuthy,Thrissur,Kerala, had participated in the tour No.14,Jammu-V.Devi-Srinagar-Amritsar-Wagah border-Kurukshetra, conducted by Panickers travels from 13th to 20th April 2013.The bitter experiences we had during the tour are detailed below .One Yadav from UP was our guide. He was called JP in short.
14.04.13 Breakfast and Dinner was served in an unhygienic dining hall with full of flies in the hotel at khatra. This hotel should have been avoided. At least the dining hall could have been kept clean without flies.
15.04.13 The food prepared by the men engaged by the guide was not good and below expectation. Cheap items were served for lunch and Dinner. Lunch was served in the premises of a temple where there is no neatness and healthy atmosphere. Worst toilet facility was provided on the way to Srinagar. The Dinner was prepared and served only after 10.30 pm on that day. With the result my wife and I was forced to give up the dinner.
The hotel accommodated us in Srinagar is below standard. The bed sheets and blankets provided by them were not washed/cleaned after previous use. They could not provide even warm water in toilets. Only boiled water (having more than 100` C) was available in toilets. Due to non-availability of cool water for mixing with boiled water, we could not use toilet on the night.
16.04.13 At Gulmarg we were cheated by the guide. We were forced to give Rs.500/-each as ropeway charge to the guide instead of actual charge of Rs.400/- ( Rs 3400/-(34x100)was gone to the pocket of guide) Except giving entry ticket, the guide has not provided any guidance at Gulmarg. Actually he was not there up to 3 Pm. With the result we and co-travelers were confused. On the way back to Srinagar we were compelled for shopping in a carpet craft center for more than one and half hour. It was very clear that the guide had vested interest in the shopping.
17.04.13 Though the programme was sightseeing in Srinagar as per schedule, the guide tried to send us to Sankaracharya temple by taxi. But the majority rejected this. Here, the guide was acted as an agent of taxi drivers/owners. The guide was also very much interested in taking photograph in Kashmiri dress. Each photo was charged Rs.200/- When we enter the Botanical garden admission fee was collected by the Guide. What is the need of this?
In the Evening after seeing Shalimar garden We were compelled to wait more than one and half hours in the bus for return to lodge at Srinagar. This unnecessary waiting should have been avoided. The reason said by the guide for this was non-permission to entry of tourist buses in to Srinagar city by 9PM.On enquiry we knew that this information was absolutely wrong. It is understood that this was done with willful intention to avoid us from independent shopping in the city. Thus the Guide has acted as a commission agent for taxi, taking photos and shopping.
18.04.13 When we visit Pahalgam, we were cheated by horse riding. We were not only compelled to pay excess charge of Rs.550/- but also ride a very short distance without seeing anything more. This cheating was carried out with full support of the guide. The guide was an agent of horse men. Though there are other ways of travel instead of horse riding at Pahalgam, the guide has willfully hidden the same . The breakfast and lunch of this day was very bad.
19.04.13 After visiting Wagah border we were again forced for `shopping` instead of seeing Golden temple. With the result we were forced to wake up and departure at early morning at 3AM on 20.4.13 for seeing Golden temple.
In short :
• The guide was acted as a commission agent during the entire tour. He never acted as an helping tourist guide.
• Meals on tour served except on 19th and 20th April were not good and below expectation.
• Toilet facilities provided on the ways were worst. Women could not use these toilets and they experienced connected health problems
• Hotel accommodation at Khatra and Srinagar were below standard offered by you.