Titled ‘Paradise on Earth’, Kashmir offers magnificent beauty that not only leaves one speechless but turns every soul into a mountain lover. A mesmerizing state that captivates you with its scenic views and hospitality that is forever etched in your memories. Set across the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, you can never get enough of the lovely valleys and alpine meadows while traveling through the state. Apart from the views, Kashmir also offers some thrilling adventure sports that are perfect for adrenaline rush lovers. Be it for a family vacation, solo travel, friends’ vacation, or romantic getaway, Kashmir’s beauty attracts everyone in its own way. Places like Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Betaab Valley, Aru Valley are a treasure trove for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Further explorations will lead you to the beautiful Chashma Shahi Gardens (Srinagar), the Dachigam National Park, charming Yusmarg, and the frozen Drung Waterfall (Gulmarg). These are also fun locations to visit if you enjoy adventure sports like skiing, rafting, trekking, or horseback riding. It is rightly said that words fail to do justice in describing the beauty of Kashmir as it can only be experienced firsthand. With its snow-capped mountains, flora and fauna and treasured monuments, local handicrafts, this state will be a perfect addition to your India itinerary. Here let’s dive into learning more about the destinations and what they offer.
A chilly ride across Dal Lake as the fog paves your way while you capture the houseboats and daily life, is what rightly describes a vacation in Srinagar. A room on the lake overlooking the serene city is ideal for your stay here. The vibrant houseboats situated on the lake have a unique charm that easily slides into one of your most memorable experiences of the trip.
Never-ending views of snow-capped mountains, the thrill of skiing through the snow, and another round of breathtaking views of the Himalayan range await you at Gulmarg. One of the only prime destinations known for its snow-clad mountains ideal for ski lovers, Gulmarg adds that adventurous twist to your vacation across Kashmir. One of the best ways to experience the place is through the two-stage Gondola cable car that takes you to the height of about 3747 m. the views from up above
Roughly 80 km from Srinagar lies another mesmerizing town of this state. Encircled by two magnificent glaciers Kolahoi Glacier and Machoi Glacier, it is home to snow-covered landscapes and tranquil lakes. Located at an elevation of 2800 meters above sea level, this lovely hamlet has peaks like Kolahoi Peak, Amarnath Peak, Machoi Peak, and Sirbal Peak making it a popular tourist destination. Sonamarg serves as the starting point for treks to alpine lakes such as Gangabal,
Situated in Jammu’s Anantnag district, Pahalgam is yet another fine example of natural beauty in every corner, no matter how far and wide you see. Located at about 2749 meters above sea level, it is called the ‘Valley of Shepherds’ by the locals for its lush green landscapes and sparkling lakes. Surrounded by pine trees all around, Pahalgam is also known for its trekking routes and hiking trails. There are beautiful valleys for family picnics, exciting trails for trekkers, exotic resorts for
Situated around 11 km from Pahalgam is the captivating Aru Valley known for its gorgeous meadows and adventurous activities. The valley serves as the starting point for two major treks in the region Kolahoi Glacier and the Tarsar-Marsar Lake. There are many local activities like horseback riding, hiking, and trekking that offer different ways to explore the beautiful meadows of the region. If not into adventurous activities, you can simply enjoy time by the Aru river.
The name of the valley is credited to a Bollywood film that was shot here in 1983 that sent thousands to the valley keen to witness the breathtaking beauty of Kashmir. The serenity speaks for itself as you explore the region and capture it in your book of memories. Also close to the Sheshnag Lake, it can be collectively seen as you explore the region of Pahalgam. Adorned with coniferous trees, rushing streams, and mystique meadows, the valley will be the perfect postcard
Fair & Festivals
To celebrate the local culture, and nature’s abundance and highlight the uniqueness of the region, the state organizes many fairs and festivals. One of the prime examples is the Tulip Festival in Asia’s largest Tulip Garden in Kashmir. The event is known for the wide variety of Tulips that can be found here. Attending a festival in the spring is truly a sight to behold as your vision only captures the beauty of the flowers. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar, Kashmir, hosts the Tulip Festival. The celebration includes a display of local handicrafts, delectable cuisine and cultural events. Kashmir also hosts a Shikhara Festival to highlight the beauty of the Shikara which is truly the lifeline of Dal Lake. Started by the government in 2016, the festival has become quite a popular attraction with artistically painted Shikaras enhancing the beauty of the lake. They also compete in races such as the Shikara Race, the Dragon Boat Race, and the Canoe Polo Match. Other cultural programmes are also being organised to give you a taste of Kashmiri culture. It occurs in the summer months of July and August. Then there are many local festivals such as Baisakhi and Eid which are celebrated with great fervour as locals get to celebrate their traditions and come together as a community. It is an added advantage to plan your trip around these festivals for the special cultural experiences of heaven on earth. As written by Firdaus, a poet:
Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.
If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here
Kashmiri cuisine offers some of the finest flavours in Indian delicacies. Divided in two categories, one is defined by the Kashmiri Pandits, which is primarily vegetarian without any onion and garlic. The other is the added by the Muslim community that have refined the dishes with other influences. You must try the Kashmiri Pulao, Kashmiri gravy, Momos, and mutton and chicken recipes that are well-known throughout the country. The mutton in the valley is made in 30 different ways. One of the highlights of the cuisine is the Wazwan, a multi-course Kashmiri dinner, is revered in Kashmiri culture and consists of 36 dishes, 15 to 30 of which can contain meat. Another must try in the region is tea, the most common beverage in Kashmir. Made with special ingredients the tea also provides the much required warmth and nourishment to the body. Kaahwa is a one-of-a-kind Kashmiri tea made with spices that add unique flavor to its taste. Kashmiris also enjoy desserts, and many Kashmiri foods, particularly the Pulao and gravies, are slightly sweet.
A place that celebrates nature in all its glory, Kashmir also pays equal importance to promoting its local handicrafts and produce. So when in the state, you’ll find many markets selling the local produce of apples, dried fruits, jams and shawls. In Srinagar, Lal Chowk Market is known for its line of shops offering the local delicacies and handicrafts. Many domestic travellers ensure they carry back the local dry fruits as they are rated best in the country.
The Pashmina shawls specially crafted in the region make for perfect souvenirs for colder regions. Even the grand carpets and traditional jewellery are perfect picks for back home and worth the extra baggage cost while going back. So while you immerse in the beauty of the Kashmir don’t miss out on retaining a souvenir for all the memories.
Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty and amazing climate with exquisite places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Vaishno Devi and Dal lake. Its beautiful and religious places add charm in the beauty of Kashmir. It is also famous for tourism, saffron, weather, dry fruits ,apples , Gulmarg gondolas, Kashmiri shawls, kashmiri carpet etc. The paradise on earth has four disticnt seasons. Each season has its own particular feel and myriad colors spread around in the flora and fauna.