Kashmir - Paradise on Earth
Located in the northernmost part of India, Jammu and Kashmir are one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the country. The panoramic beauty, ancient monuments, abundant wildlife, and fun activities make the visit to the region very fulfilling. Nestled between the Himalayan, Karakoram, and Pir Panjal mountains the landscape has a unique charm. With snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, blue lakes, and zig-zagging rivers it lives up to the epithet ‘Paradise on Earth‘. It is one of the rare places where you can find glaciers in India. The lofty mountains make adventure activities like skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, and trekking possible. Even though it can get very cold during winter seasons, tourists love the refreshing weather in the region
Though it is a place in dispute between India and Pakistan, there are many safe places to visit in Kashmir. You can enjoy a great vacation if you plan your route well. As some places are under strict security, you have to obtain a pass to enter there. So make sure to plan your trip accordingly to avoid problems. The delightful places and mountainous geography of Kashmir will surely relax your nerves and fill you with joy. If you are an adventure lover, you can take part in the thrilling activities in the valley. The cool weather will soothe your soul, tormented with the scorching heat in the Indian subcontinent. So plan your next vacation to this gorgeous land.
The valley is famous for its ancient history. During the medieval periods, the land gained popularity for its Hindu-Buddhist syncretism. Later Muslim religion also was introduced into Kashmir. Many great people are associated with the place. Abhinavagupta — the great philosopher and mystic — was born in Kashmir valley. Emperor Asoka is credited with founding the capital of Srinagar. It is here that the great monist philosopher Adi Shankara assented the throne of Sarvajna Pitha. Many dynasties like Karkota, Shah Mir, Mughal, Durrani, and Sikh ruled over Kashmir. Everyone left their footprints on the land, which has now become a famous pilgrim and tourist center.
Many enchanting locations dot the valley. The charming beauty of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Srinagar are exceptional. There are very few places in the world like them that overflow with natural beauty. You can enjoy a great picnic in these locations. The historic places like Bahu fort, Martand Sun Temple, Dastgeer Sahib mosque, Gateway of Enclosure, and so on evoke respect. The pluralistic culture of the land proclaims the welcoming mindset of India. Hence plan your next trip to this beautiful land.
Top attractions in Kashmir
One of the most exquisite landscapes in Kashmir, the sobriquet ‘Paradise on Earth’ befits Srinagar. The river Jhelum which flows between the green mountains adds to the poetic beauty of the place. You can imbibe the serenity of Dal Lake, which is one of the most attractive tourist locations in Kashmir. A ride through the placid water in Shikaras — the tourist boat — is an unforgettable experience. While on this journey, you can see the famous floating vegetable market. You get to see the life of Mir Bahirs, a unique community that lives in the lake. The Mughal era gardens like Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, and Chashm-E-Shahi Garden in Srinagar will captivate you with its beauty and history.
Amarnath may be one of the most popular pilgrim locations in North India. It is considered one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. The cave formation with its Shiva linga — a naturally formed idol of god Shiva from ice —is an amazing sight. Located at an altitude of 3,888 meters above sea level, the location is only accessible during July and August. The long trek to the shrine, named Amarnath Yathra, is a thrilling experience. With each step along the way, the breathtaking beauty of the valley and the snow-capped mountains get unveiled. If you are an adventure enthusiast, you should surely take part in this journey as it will be once in a lifetime experience.
Dachigam National Park
Spreading over an area of 141 square kilometers Dachigam National park is a charming location. The name literally means ‘ten villages’; in remembrance of the ten villages that had to be relocated to form the park. It was a protected area since 1910 but was upgraded to a National Park in the year 1981. The region is filled with alpine pastures, green meadows, and coniferous forests. The stunning beauty of the small waterfalls attracts tourists. During spring, the landscape is covered with a carpet of flowers. You have the opportunity to some rare fauna in the park. Musk deer, Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Jackal, Kashmir grey langur, Hill fox, and so on are some of them. There is also a great population of highland avifauna. Orange Bullfinch, Chough, Himalayan Rubythroat, Wallcreeper, Bearded vulture, Titmouse a few of these birds. Hence the protected area is a must-visit location in Kashmir.
Bahu is an ancient fort located in the city of Jammu. It is believed to be constructed by Raja Bahulochan almost 3000 years ago. It was renovated in the 18th century by Maharaja Ranjith Singh. Built with thick walls made of sandstones, lime and brick mortar, the walls of the fort is very thick to resist any attack. The wondrous construction has eight octagonal turrets, a water tank, a pyramidal structure for storage of ammunition, and a secret underground escape route. The Mahakali temple within the fort is dedicated to the goddess Kali pilgrim center in Kashmir. Built-in the 8th century, the temple is constructed with white marble on a 1.2 meters high raised platform.
Dastgeer Sahib is a historic Sufi shrine located in Srinagar. Constructed in 1806, it is a famous pilgrim center of the Sufi monks. The mosque is huge with huge doors and windows. The interior of the shrine is exquisite with ancient lamps and chandeliers and intricately carved walls and ceiling. An old Quran written by Ali Ibn Abi Talib is preserved here with great reverence. A hair strand of the famous Sufi mystic Abdul Qadir Gilani is another attraction. Though located in the center of the town, the shrine has inexplicable tranquility. You can spend some time in a religious place and feel the calmness. So if you seek the peace of mind, make sure to include Dastgeer Sahib on your Kashmir tour.
The twin villages of Sana and Sar is a great place where you can get to know the life of the common people in Kashmir. As the place is not so well known, you can escape from the crowds here. The small lakes in the region are surrounded by gigantic coniferous trees. As the place is not crowded you can take your time to enjoy each sight to the fullest. For those who love to add some thrill to their tour, the place is best. It offers a wide range of adventure activities like paragliding, rock climbing, trekking and abseiling. The adrenalin rush you get while partaking in such activities cannot be emulated by anything else.
Pahalgam is a beautiful tourist town in Kashmir located at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. It is the starting point of the famous pilgrimage journey—Amarnath Yathra. It is a stunning sight to see the river zig-zagging between the mountain ranges. The silvery line of the river, green shade of the thick vegetation and the clear blue sky, create a serene atmosphere. The Kolhoi hanging glacier is another awe-inspiring sight in the region. People love to visit the Betaab valley where the Bollywood movie Betaab was shot. The panoramic beauty of Sheikhpora valley is exceptional. This makes it a famous picnic spot among the tourists. Hence if you are planning a trip to Kashmir, remember to set some time aside to visit Pahalgam. You will not regret it for sure.
Sonamarg is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Kashmir. Replete with serene mountain lakes, snow-laden fields, and lush greenery, the beauty of the place is spell-binding. The small cascades and glaciers add to the beauty of the place. Tourists love to relax and spend some quality time in the region. The Krishnasagar lake, located at an altitude of 3800 meters, is a popular fishing spot. It has a rich aquatic life including beautiful species like trouts.
Located in the Pir Panjal mountain range in the western Himalayas, Gulmarg is an exciting place in Kashmir. The thick snow-covered mountains, green coniferous trees, and the winding road in between give the impression of a hill station in Europe. The British colonizers built three golf courses in the region; one of them still survives. At an altitude of 2650 meters, it is considered as the highest of its kind in the world. Gulmarg is considered the heartland of winter sports in India. Adventure activities like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing are the attractions here. The place is also famous for Gondola ride which unravels the mystic beauty of the land. The historic Maharani temple ad St Mary’s Church make the place attractive for history lovers.
Best Time To Visit Kashmir
Kashmir is a year-round tourist location. There are many seasonal attractions in the valley. Nevertheless, October to March is considered the best time to visit Kashmir. The weather during this time will be comfortable and will promote sightseeing.
The summer season begins in March here and lasts till May. The place experiences a warm climate during this time. But the nights are still cold. If you are not a fan of cold winters, you can choose this time of the year for your Kashmir tour. It is also the time for the famous pilgrimage to Amarnath called Amarnath yatra.
Monsoon sets in Kashmir in June. The place receives a moderate rainfall till September. It is also the time when the valley sees a thinning in the tourist crowds to the region.
November marks the onset of winter. The temperature can go well below 0 degrees Celcius. The heavy snowfall covers the landscape in a thick white coat of snow. Tourists love to visit the place during this time of the year. But the adverse climate can cause road closures and thus affect connectivity to different places. So it is better to visit Kashmir in October when the snow starts but not so severe as to block the tourist activities.
How To Reach Kashmir
- By Air: Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport, also known as Srinagar International Airport, located just 15 kilometers away is the closest one to the tourist destination. You can also reach Kashmir through Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh. Both the terminals have frequent flights to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and so on. You can hire a taxi from the airport at an affordable rate to reach Kashmir in no time.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Kashmir is the Jammu Tawi railway station. There are trains connecting the different parts of India to the station. You can reach the destination is easily by hiring a taxi from the station.
- By Road: Kashmir is served by a network of state and national highways. National Highway 1 passes through the region. Regular bus services run by the state government and private operators connect the nearby cities to Kashmir. You may also enjoy the panoramic view of the landscape by driving through it.