‘If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this’. Amir Khusro, the famous poet wrote these lines for Kashmir (though it is the English translation). It’s true that Kashmir is a paradise on this earth. You will fall in love with this immensely beautiful region, the moment you will come here. Surrounded by three Himalayan mountain ranges– Karakoram, Zanskar and Pir Panjal, Kashmir is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.
You can even call this region the ‘Switzerland of East’ offering some of the most unbelievable natural views of rivers, lakes, mountains and meadows etc. So, if you ever wondered how a heaven would look like, plan a trip to Kashmir today.
Best Time to Visit
You can visit Kashmir all-year long. Still March to October is the best time to visit the Valley. There are 3 seasons covering the valley - spring (March-early May), summers (early May-late August) and autumn (September-November). There is also heavy snowfall in the entire state during the winters (December to March).
How to Reach
By Air - Srinagar airport (located approx. 14kms from the city) is well-connected to major India cities like Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai etc. International travelers can take the connecting flights to Kashmir from these cities.
By Rail - Jammu Tawi is the nearest railhead for Srinagar. Trains from other cities arrive at this station only.
By Road – You can opt for J&K State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) run buses or privately run buses. Private taxis are also easily available from other cities or states.
What to See
With its snowcapped mountains and scenic landscape, Kashmir (along with Jammu) is definitely a must visit destination in India. Despite the political unrest, Kashmir still attracts thousands of travelers every year and that too from different parts of the world. Given below are some of the most visited and popular tourist attractions of Kashmir.
- Gulmarg – Gulmarg meaning ‘Meadows of Flowers’ is one of the most popular ski destinations in India (you can even call it skiers’ paradise). Situated just 57kms from Srinagar, Gulmarg is no less than a heaven for the adventure enthusiasts. Along with skiing, you can also try out other adventure sports like hiking, mount biking, trekking and snowboarding etc. Also don’t forget to visit Kongdori, Shark Fin and Apharwat Peak to see the breathtaking view of the Himalayas and the lush green landscape.
- Sonmarg – Your trip to Jammu and Kashmir will never be complete without a visit to Sonmarg. This immensely beautiful hill station is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India and a true visual delight for the travelers. You can even trek to nearby excursions like Vishansar Lake, Naranag and Haramukh Mountain. Also don’t forget to visit Baltal (the base camp for Amarnath Yatra) which is located just 15kms away.
- Pahalgam – Also known as the ‘Valley of Shepherds’, Pahalgam is the situated near the departure point of the Amarnath Yatra. Betaab Valley (named after the famous Bollywood movie Betaab) is the top tourist attraction of this valley. Travelers are not allowed to take their vehicles up to a certain point in the Betaab Valley. Though they can opt for prepaid vehicles (provided by local transport association) or trekking is another option.
- Sinthan Top – Looking for a quiet and less crowded travel option? Sinthan Top is the perfect destination. This hill station is an ideal place for those who want to spend some lone time with the nature, as it is yet to be developed. It will take almost two and a half hours to reach here from Srinagar. Trekking is a good option to explore its true beauty.
Other Must Visit Tourist Attractions of Jammu and Kashmir
- Charar-i-Sharief and Yousmarg
- Jammu City
- Warwan Valley
Things to Do
Shikara Ride – It’s an awesome way to adore the natural beauty of Kashmir. Shikaras are beautifully decorated luxury houseboats where you can stay during your trip and that too without burning a hole in your pocket.
Skiing – Now this is what Jammu and Kashmir is famous for. Snowcapped Himalayan mountain ranges are an ideal skiing destination attracting adventure lovers from different parts of the world.
Visit Amarnath Cave and Vaishno Devi – These 2 are the most popular pilgrimage sites in India and are visited by pilgrims coming here from all around the world.
Road Trip – If you really want to know why Kashmir is called a paradise, then plan a road trip. It is the most exciting way to explore what all this beautiful region has to offer. Don’t forget to take your camera as you will come across some of the most breathtaking views on this trip.
You Can Also Try:
- Camel Safaris
- Monastery Tour
- Bird Watching
- Mountain Biking
- Angling and Fishing
- Kashmir borders with only 2 Indian states– Himachal Pradesh in Southeast and Punjab in Southwest.
- Jammu and Kashmir is the only Indian state which has its own flag under article 370.
- India controls over 60 % area of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan controls 30 % and China controls the rest 10%.
- Jammu and Kashmir is divided into three religious ethnic groups – Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.
- Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India in which a person belonging to other state can’t purchase any property.
- Jammu is said to have been founded by Raja Jambu Lochan some 3000 years ago.
- Jammu and Kashmir has 2 capitals - Jammu is the winter capital and Srinagar is the summer capital.
- Shrinagari (the state’s first capital) was founded by Emperor Ashoka.
- India’s first floating post office is in Kashmir.
- The overall literacy rate in Kashmir is higher than that of both India and Pakistan.