Travel

A Complete Travel Guide to Kashmir

kashmir

Kashmir, in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, attracts visitors from all over the world. With its apple gardens, saffron fields, glittering lakes, and beautiful meadows, it happens to be one of the most breathtaking tourist spots. One must experience the tranquil surroundings, stunning views, and exquisite nature of this place at least once in a lifetime.

Kashmir is an excellent option for a family vacation or a honeymoon getaway in India. The scenic Gulmarg, Srinagar, Pahalgam, and Sonmarg make an unforgettable family vacation or honeymoon in Kashmir. It is also host to the well-known Amarnath Cave, which attracts Lord Shiva devotees from all over the world. 

If you are confused about the what-tos and the how-tos of Kashmir, we have made a complete travel guide to Kashmir so that you can plan the ultimate vacation to the “Paradise on Earth”!

Getting There 

By air – Tourists can travel into Jammu, Srinagar, and Leh from the majority of India’s major cities on all major airline companies.

By railway – Udhampur is the northern railway line’s final station. Travellers will take a train up to this point and then rent taxis or buses to begin their journey. It is preferable to arrive in Jammu because onward transportation is more conveniently accessible from there. A railway project to connect the Kashmir Valley to the rest of India is presently under construction, but it is running far behind schedule and is not expected to be completed until after 2021. 

By road – visitors can enter the state via Jammu and drive up to Srinagar, or they can enter through Manali in Himachal Pradesh and drive up to Leh. Tunnels are also being constructed to reduce the commute time from Jammu to Srinagar by approximately five hours. 

Visas and Security 

Foreign tourists (including OCI cardholders) must register at the airport upon arrival and departure. It’s an easy procedure that only takes about five minutes and involves the completion of one form. It should be noted that US government personnel and contractors with security clearance are not allowed to enter Srinagar because Kashmir is off-limits. Travelling to Kashmir can result in the loss of one’s security clearance. 

When to Go 

The ideal time of year to explore Srinagar depends on the type of experience you would like to have. From December to February, it becomes very cold and snows, and snow skiing is possible. It is best to travel between April and October if you wish to admire the lakes and gardens. The peak season lasts from April to June. By mid-July, the monsoon normally arrives. September to October is also a great time to travel because it is less crowded. As the climate cools in late October, the foliage transforms into lovely rich, warm colours. Summer temperatures are very high during the day but cool at night. Don’t forget to bring a jacket!

Places to Visit 

Kashmir is the ultimate example of unexceptional beauty, and it is popular all over the world for it. You can indulge your senses by visiting the many lakes, parks, and hill stations that draw lots of visitors each year. Take fantastic photos and bring home memories of an excellent trip to these locations – 

Sonmarg

Trek to Gadsar Lake, the highest lake in the Himalayas. During the winters, see the valley covered with snow and enjoy sports such as sledging, hiking, and tobogganing. Dal Lake – Dal Lake is the most well-known and significant lake in Srinagar. There are carved wooden houseboats, colourful shikaras, and floating gardens here. Early in the morning, go to Dal Lake to see Srinagar’s renowned floating market. You can even book a room in a houseboat if you prefer. Pahalgam – The most famous outdoor activities in the Pahalgam valley are trekking, trout fishing, and white-water rafting. Try something different: Pepsi fishing, a common sport in which trout are caught using a Pepsi bottle. Walk on the frozen greenish-blue Sheshnag Lake during the winters or sledge over its famed snow bridge. 

Gulmarg

The view of Gulmarg from 10,000 feet is unreal. It is thought to be one of Asia’s longest and largest cable car systems. The trip is divided into different phases: Gulmarg to Kongdoori and Kongdoori to Apharwat Peak. The journey lasts 9 minutes and 12 minutes, respectively. The cable car trip to Apherwat includes picturesque views of Gulmarg, making it a photographer’s fantasy. Skiing, trekking, and fishing are some of the exciting activities available in Gulmarg. 

Temples

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is well-known for its sacred temples. The state is rich in pilgrimage shrines for people of all faiths, whether Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist. People travel long distances to pay their respects, and some come to admire the elegance of some of these ancient buildings. 

  • Raghunath Temple
  • Shankaracharya Temple
  • Jamia Masjid
  • Amarnath Cave
  • Vaishno Devi

Wildlife in Kashmir

The magnificent sanctuaries of Jammu and Kashmir attract nature lovers with views of varied topography as well as endangered wildlife species. The state has many national parks and sanctuaries devoted to the conservation of endangered species. The hangul (Kashmiri stag), leopard, wild cats, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan marmot, musk deer, species of wild goats can be spotted along with Himalayan birds such as pheasants, golden eagles, and bearded vultures. Include these natural forests in your travel plans. 

  • Dachigam National Park
  • Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
  • Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kishtwar High Altitude National Park
  • Overa National Park

Art and Culture

Jammu and Kashmir’s culture are centred on the people’s dances, songs, and festivals. Because of its rich and diverse past, its arts and crafts have a multi-religious and multi-ethnic character. Kashmiris are popular all over the world for their handicraft items. The floral designs that are characteristic of Kashmiri art have a strong Persian influence. When visiting J&K, travellers can purchase souvenirs such as: 

  • Carpets
  • Shawls
  • Rugs
  • Woven baskets
  • Walnut wood furniture
  • Beaten silver and copper wares
  • Silver jewellery

Cuisine

The state’s cuisine is classified into two parts: Jammu cuisine and Kashmir cuisine, both of which are distinct and yummy in their way. Seekh kabab, tabakh maaz (fried lamb ribs), methi maaz, rogan josh, Kashmiri pulao, and palak nadir are among the distinctive non-vegetarian dishes available in Kashmir. Do try haakh, a basic yet essential part of Kashmiri life. The classic Kashmiri green tea, Kahwah, is very relaxing and a must-try. Kashmiri Wazwan is a multi-course meal in Kashmiri cuisine that is regarded as an art form and a source of prestige in Kashmiri cultural identity. 

What to Pack while Visiting

Bring heavy woollens, sweaters, and scarves, particularly if visiting during the winter months. If you want to partake in adventure sports, you may require shoes. Basic medications such as Vicks, tablets such as Crocin, Saridon, and so on. If you’re travelling in December, bring an umbrella.

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