Kashmir is a well-known destination, situated in the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent. Many people from all across the globe visit this place because of its unparalleled beauty and natural sites. Kashmir has always been a favourite example to be used by many poets and writers to describe the real meaning of natures beauty and how you can fall in love with it. We have always heard to Kashmir to be called as the “Paradise on Earth” due to the arrangement of snow-capped mountains touching the bright blue sky, mesmerising sunrise and sunsets, the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” Dal Lake and many other sites to arrest you with its glimpse.
Besides, being known for its naturally attractive sites, there is much more that Kashmir has to offer to travellers and one such thing is an adventure. Yes! You heard it right, Adventure. Kashmir is no less when it comes to Adventure but, this fact is lesser known to many as we have always heard only about how beautiful Kashmir is, that the Adventure in Kashmir is overpowered by its beauty and tales related to it.
Let’s have a look at all the Adventure you can get into while in Kashmir:
Gulmarg in Kashmir is the famous destination for Skiing, neighboured by lofty mountains covered in snow makes it an ideal resort for adventure activities. It is also known as the “Heartland for Winter Sports in India” and rated as Asia’s seventh best destination for Skiing. There are many tour providers who provide Skii related services and courses, depending upon your requirement you can hook up with any of the professional tour guides to make most of your trip while indulging into an exhilarating experience amid snow clad mountains and valleys. The different categories of Ski include courses for beginners and advanced level, where it can be a bit challenging for the beginners due to the terrain. The vertical descent of the mountains perfectly chiselled to provide an ultimate Skiing experience. What makes this experience even more fruitful is high gondola Ski lift, which takes you from one cliff to another surrounded only with snow and hills.
River Lidder and Sindh are two hot spots for white water rafting in Kashmir. A burst of fast flowing water cutting through mountains to make its way to provide the most adventurous escapade for rafting. With the advent of tourism in the region, such extreme sports have come into enlightenment which is unmatched in terms of Adventure and listed at the global level. Both the rivers comprise rapids from grade I to IV, depending upon your expertise level you can opt for the fun-filled yet thrilling ride. The rivers are categorised into different stretches housing raft ride depending upon the rapids and the level of expertise. The joy rides consists of grade I and II rapids including the whirlpools which cover the stretch of approx 3-3.5 km, the long rides consists of grade II and III rapids, covering a stretch of almost 6-7 km and the extra long trips for experts that covers a long stretch of 12-24 km contains heavy rapids of grade III and IV.
Kashmir is full of high mountains and deep valleys, through which white water rivers flows surrounded by a variety of rich flora and fauna. Such picturesque sites make Kashmir an ideal spot for Trekking. There is umpteen number of treks which can be done in the valley, each offering something different from the other to be witnessed, frozen lakes settled peacefully with crystallised water surrounded by ice in winters and bloom of colourful flowers in springs and summers to make your heart melt. These trekking tours also gives an insight into the local culture and tradition as you walk through the number of native villages, where every man has a beautiful tale to tell. You can go to any local travel operator and book your trek to any destination that attracts and fits you. These treks are carried out under the knowledge and supervision of experienced local trekkers who promise to give you an experience of the lifetime by showing you all the places enriched only with tranquillity and beauty.
Some of the most famous treks are tarsar-marsar lakes trek, Narang mahlish trek, kolahoi glacier trek and Kashmir Great lakes trek.
Mountaineering is another adventure activity which is popularly carried out in the gigantic mountains of Kashmir. Before you plan to knock mountaineering out of your bucket list in Kashmir, do remember to seek permission from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. The high cliffs in the region make it the most desirable resort amongst Adventure and sports enthusiasts who love to explore. The valley comprises of plenty of peaks and ranges established at the elevation of 10,000 to 24,000 feet and thus making it a perfect mountain climbing spot. These mountaineering zones in the valley are categorised into four regions that involve Kashmir, Ladakh, kishtwar and Zanskar.
Gulmarg is the well-known destination for Skiing in India; however; it is not the only adventure activity you can get involved in when in Gulmarg. Besides, Skiing, you can also experience the number of other events in Gulmarg, Kashmir such as Snow Biking. As seen in many movies, a snow bike is a bike that runs on two sledges instead of wheels; it is used in areas where heavy snowfall is seen for the longest time of the year. You can, of course, experience riding this machine in the snow-carpeted valley of Gulmarg to have an exciting and fast experience. Many travel service providers in the area can be contacted to enjoy this fun ride between the snowy white mountains.
The Himalayas are the hub for any sort of adventure sport or activity due to its varied topography, which makes it the most popular resort among travellers and adventure lovers. If you are into Rock Climbing, then this is the perfect destination for you!well, rock climbing is quite similar to mountain climbing or mountaineering however, the only difference is that in rock climbing you climb straight through the face of the mountain using only your hands, feet and ropes and instead of snow there are rocks involved in this activity. There are ample of tour and adventure sports service providers who can be contacted for the details and the significant sites to perform this daring sport.
If you are a motor junkie and likes to showcase your driving skills on rough and tough terrains, then Kashmir is the place for you to be. Gear yourself up for some extreme adventure amidst breathtaking views of the narrow gauges and soaring hills. “Kashmir Off Road” is the first of its kind and the only Adventure off roading service provider in the region, who organises off-roading trips in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir tourism. They arrange for off-road events every week, mostly on weekends. If you are passionate about driving and off-roading in mountainous land gets your heart pumping to give that adrenaline rush then, you must not miss this when in Kashmir.
Kashmir is also referred to as a paradise for the anglers due to numerous water bodies that are perfect for fishing. The snow-fed stream flowing straight from the glaciers and the spring streams in the region provides an excellent opportunity for fishing between April to October. There are a total of 61 beats which are opened for angling in the valley, each beat is approx 3-4 km long, which are well connected via motorable road except for some like Gangabal and Vishansar lakes, where one has to reach through Trekking.
These water bodies are loaded with German brown and Rainbow trout and anglers from all over the world visit this place to relish this activity. Before you plan to get involved into some angling, seek permission from Jammu & Kashmir Directorate of Fisheries and kindly note that only flying fishing is allowed here no other methods are permitted.
How about witnessing alluring Kashmir from the bird’s eye or the aerial view? Gliding through the air over the breathtaking mountains and white water rivers to gather the experience for the lifetime. Paragliding is the most popular and latest adventure sport added to the list of various adventure sports in the region. Take a flight over the snowclad mountains while spreading your wings! There are multiple places where you can enjoy this adventure activity when in Kashmir, some of the famous paragliding spots are Pahalgam, Ashtanmarg, Sonmarg and Gulmarg etc. You can choose to take a flight with a pilot or go solo over the lakes and valleys. Many tourists from every part of the world come here to have an experience of this adventure sport. The best season to enjoy paragliding from May to June and September to October. Do not forget to check for proper safety measures and weather conditions before taking a ride!
Snowboarding is not a very old sport adopted by the adventure enthusiasts in the region. Kashmir, the “Land of Snow,” is fully loaded with the number of adventure activities due to its mountainous location and natural sites that fit amazingly well to conduct adventure sports. Gulmarg in Kashmir is a well-known skiing and snowboarding destination, where visitors from all across the globe come to experience the sport. You can contact any local adventure tour operator there to unleash your passion for snowboarding in high mountains covered in a blanket of powdered snow, perfect for conducting this activity.
What a great way it would be to explore the aura of this serene place at your own pace and time. If you find it thrilling and adventurous to bike over the mountains, cutting through water streams and getting challenged from rough and rocky terrain, then a cycling tour in and around Kashmir is highly recommended for you. You can reach out to various local biking tour operators to know more about cycling tours in the region. They offer group tours and a variety of packages to multiple destinations and nearby areas such as Srinagar, Leh and Nubra Valley etc.
The beauty of Kashmir is best seen when on a Bike, there are so many places which you can visit on your bike such as Leh, Kargil and Jammu etc. Passing through the rocky mountains covered in snow accompanied with flowing water streams and fresh cool breeze makes it an ideal place for any kind of bike tour. There are many bike tour providers in Srinagar and plenty of other sites like Gulmarg and Sonmarg from where you can hire a bike to take an adventurous ride. However, as the military occupies the majority of areas, you may require permission to pass through them from the designated authorities.
By Ramneek Kaur