Kashmir! The paradise on earth has its own charm. Rightly said, that it’s a heaven’s abode, the place whose beauty is capable enough to allure even those who have not been there. Situated in the northernmost part of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir is known for snow clad mountains, sparkling turquoise water lakes, intensely lush green valleys, sprawling landscapes, melodious flowing white water rivers, immensely rich flora and fauna, and everything gorgeous you can think of. There is no end to tranquillity when it comes to Kashmir, stocked with an abundance of stunning places; each with something engaging and unique.
Although there is an endless list of the most irresistible places in Kashmir, through this article we will take you through some of the specially picked places for you.
Srinagar is the first place that would come to anyone’s mind when talking of Kashmir. The capital city of Kashmir Valley is solemnly flooded with beautiful places like Srinagar’s Jewel “Dal Lake” decorated with colourful shikaras and wooden houseboats, “Nigeen Lake” surrounded with high snow peaked mountains, the “Mughal Gardens”, Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Shalimar Bagh and Pari Mahal, being the most picturesque ones, Tulip Garden spread with thousands and lakhs of tulips. Srinagar looks equally beautiful in all the seasons as each season has something different about nature to show off. Besides, Srinagar is also world famous for Kashmiri carpets, apples, pashmina, wooden handicrafts and saffron. The local markets in the city are full of traditional stuff where you can shop for yourself and your loved ones.
Additionally, the authentic Kashmiri traditional cuisine is tempting enough to pamper your taste buds! Some of the famous dishes like Rogan Josh, Kashmiri Dum Aloo and Kebabs are to die for. Not to forget! The staple Kashmiri drink “Kewah” refreshing enough to be sipped any time of the day.
If you like to surrender yourself in the arms of mighty nature then, Pahalgam is the place to be! Situated at the distance of around 95 km from Srinagar, at an altitude of 2740 m; Pahalgam is little town surrounded with sky touching mountains hazed with snow and clouds. The place is full of serenity and peace, the striking lakes, flowery meadows and deep, dense forests will mesmerise you with every bit. The most favourable time to visit Pahalgam is from June to October and December to January during the snow. When in Pahalgam make sure to visit Betab valley and Aru valley where special arrangements for the tourists and travellers are made every season that includes the activities like horse riding, canoeing and trekking.
How amazing it would be to witness a valley full of flowers in all colours, resting at the feet of tall and strong mountains capped with pure white snow. Pahalgam has different vivacity during summers and winters, during summers the place is all about comfortable and calming atmosphere complimented with bright sunlight whereas in winters the place turns into a snow surprise. There are many activities which can be enjoyed when in Gulmarg like skiing(in winters), mountain biking, trekking and gondola rides. The best time to visit is from June to October and December to January.
Sonmarg is situated at a distance of about 80 km from the capital city, Srinagar. “Meadow of Gold” is what it is famously called as. The breathtaking views and the widely spread green lawns topped with distinct varieties of flowers makes it an ultimate tourist resort. It is also a base for many treks such as Krishansar Lake and Gadsar Lake. The best time to visit this place is from June to October and December to January. The tourists can enjoy many activities like trekking, camping, horse riding and rafting. Every year Jammu and Kashmir tourism organise rafting tournaments here which attracts many participants from abroad as well.
Kupwara is a tiny district situated at a distance of 90 km from the capital, Srinagar. This quaint little place is absolutely captivating, the abundantly green meadows, panoramic views of alpine mountains and crystal clear waters make it a heavenly place. Away from the hustle bustle of the city, the place is best suited for some lone time and peace. There are a couple of attractions which can be seen when in Kupwara like Qamar Reshi Sahib shine and Lolab valley. The best time to see this place is during summers from April to October.
Kashmir valley is impressively fabulous, wherever you go, you can’t stop your camera from clicking as you would want to capture every bit of it. One such astonishing creation in Kashmir is Shopian, which is situated in Pir Panjal District. The place offers views of majestic mountains with snow peaks and a stream of white water river crossing within. The major places of interest in Shopian are Aharbal waterfall, Hiropa Wildlife Sanctuary and the divine Jama Masjid resembling one in Srinagar, the masjid holds high relevance and is one of the famous historical monuments as it was built during the Mughal era.
Aru is one of the tourist’s spots situated at a distance of 11 km from Pahalgam. It is located upstream of Lidder river. The town is a base for many famous treks including Tarsar-Marsar Lakes trek and an activity hub for the tourists. One can enjoy the number of activities such as horse riding, camping, bonfire and trekking here. The town rests calmly in the lap of nature, surrounded by eye-catching beauty. There is an establishment of about 20 alpine lakes and surreal landscapes accompanied by the chain of lovely mountains. During winters the valley covers in the blanket of snow, which makes it a perfect spot for ski and heli-skis.
- Gurez Valley:
Quietly situated amid the skyscraping mountains and sweet sounding Kishanganga River complimented by a range of flora and fauna, Gurez Valley; is a remarkably incredible spot in the Kashmir Valley at a distance of 150 km away from the capital city, Srinagar. It is at the elevation of 8000 feet from the ground level, spread along the river banks. Gurez is lesser known to people due to its remote location, but the place is such that anyone can fall in with it. It is an excellent spot for both nature and adventure lovers due to its ravishing views and provision for adventure-based activities like mountain climbing, fishing, trekking and rafting. The valley is also well known as the starting point of the famous silk route.
- Tulail Valley:
Tulail Valley falls in the same part of Kashmir where the spellbound Gurez Valley is. Comprising of magnificently wide lush meadows embellished with high mountain peaks decorated with lustrous snow and flow of running river to give a marvellous glow. The place preserves each aspect of nature due to its untouched beauty. It looks like a wondrous land full of flora and fauna wherever you see, ideal for those looking to spend time with nature by being its muse. The place will make you believe that there is still so much to see that nature has offered.
- Kokernag :
Kokernag is the most popular offbeat destination in the rejuvenating Kashmir Valley. The place is a dreamy land just the way seen in storybooks, well fitted with snow clad mountains and the sweetest stream flowing across. The lushly green lands reflecting different shades, how beautifully they merge with the colour of the changing sky. The place is worth seeing with your own eyes, every inch of it seems selectively prepared. The place can be visited all year round, July to October are considered the best months to witness the glorified beauty. There are several outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. Kokernag owns Asia’s largest trout fishery. Besides, it is also quite known for the largest botanical garden in the state that nests large grassy lands filled with colourful flowers and natural water springs.
By Ramneek Kaur.