Kashmir is often called heaven on earth by people who live in or have been to Kashmir. Full of natural beauty and breathtaking sites, Kashmir is a great destination for couples and families who seek to spend quality time amidst nature. If you are a solo or a group traveller, Kashmir is a one-stop place with majestic mountains, beautiful valleys, trekking trails, waterfalls and snow-covered mountains. Apart from it, Kashmir is visited by many pilgrims also who seek to have a glimpse of Amarnath. Read below to find some of the best places to visit in Kashmir if you want to get a heaven-like feeling on earth.
At an altitude of 2730 m above sea level, Gulmarg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir located in the Pir Panjal Range. The town is bordered by the Himalayas, forest and deep ravines. The Gondola ride in Gulmarg is a joint rope-way project started by the Jammu and Kashmir government along with Pomagalski, a French company to create the longest and highest cable car ride in Asia. For sports freaks, Gulmarg has a variety of activities like snowboarding, mountain climbing, trekking, skiing and others.
Located near Kashmir, in the Anantnag district of Jammu, Pahalgam is a beautiful mini hill station located on the bank of river Liddar. This region is popular for activities like fishing, hiking and trekking. The famous Amarnath Yatra is started from Pahalgam each year as it acts as a base camp for the pilgrims. If you love trekking, Pahalgam is the perfect place as many trekking companies organise trekking to the nearby regions.
Summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar is one of the best places to visit during summer. In this city, you’ll find Asia’s biggest tulip garden and the river Jhelum. There are many tourists who visit Srinagar to enjoy the houseboats and gondola-type rowboats along with shikara rides on the Dal Lake. You can see floating vegetable markets in the city or visit Mughal-age gardens such as Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Chasm-E-Shahi.
Yet another mini hill station popular among tourists is Patnitop in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. This hill station offers mesmerising views to the travellers along with fun activities such as paragliding, golf course, skiing and trekking. Shiva Garh is a popular trekking site located just 11 kilometres from Patnitop at an altitude of 3500 metres. Even if you lack trekking skills, you can enjoy this one as it is comparatively small and safe.
Located 80 kilometres away from the capital city of the state, Sonamarg is a picturesque hill station at an elevation of 2800 km from sea level. The fields are mostly snow-covered and surrounded by huge glaciers and serene lakes. Two famous glaciers Machoi and Kolhoi can be found here. Sonamarg is an important place for mountain trekkers as well because many trekking trails start from this place to the lakes such as Kishansar, Vishansar and Gadsar.
Amarnath is one of the most popular pilgrim sites in India and an important place for Shiva devotees. Every year, Siva Linga is created with ice naturally in the cave, resembling the Lord himself. Millions of pilgrims reach this cave every year despite challenging treks that lead towards the main shrine. The cave can be accessed for two months only from July to August via Pahalgam and Baltal.
Bhaderwah is a beautiful town located in the Doda district, in the Himalayan foothills. The valleys of Bhaderwah are famous for horseback rides around the picturesque landscapes. You can also enjoy skiing in the snow-covered hills. Bhaderwah homes many snake species and is thus, referred to as the Land of Snakes.
Sanasar is like a paradise for adventure seekers since it offers many adventurous activities such as rock climbing, paragliding, trekking, abseiling and tout fishing. The hill station is surrounded by confers and Himalayan ranges. Sanasar got its name from two-place, Sana and Sar which together make this place an ideal tourist destination.
Kishtwar national park
Kishtwar is located on a ridge above the Chenab River and below the Nagin Sheer Glacier. In this region, saffron grows only for a short time, and the harvest is celebrated with rites. The park, which covers 400 square kilometres, is home to 15 mammals, including musk deer and Himalayan black and brown bears. Even though Kishtwar is not the only high-altitude wildlife sanctuary, it is distinguished by its natural vegetation.
In the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, Katra is a mini-town that acts as a base camp for yet another important pilgrimage site, Vaishno Devi. The town is located in the Uddhampur district. The main attraction of this place is the Vaishno Devi temple. This temple as compared to Amarnath Cave is easy to access. Many eco-friendly vehicles and helicopters take pilgrims from base camp to the temple. Even if you are not a pilgrim, you can visit Katra as it is surrounded by beautiful mountains famous for mountain climbing and hiking.
Pulwama is a tiny town in the Pulwama district of the northern state. Pulwama is Jammu and Kashmir’s sixth biggest city, located 25 kilometres from Srinagar. This region is regarded as the “Anand of Kashmir,” which refers to as “Kashmir’s bliss.” It features apple orchards, streams, natural springs, and gorgeous landscapes. Other than that, the city is known for its abundance of adventure activities, such as climbing and hiking in the summer and snow sports in the winter.
Dras is a small town in the Kargil district and is popularly called the Gateway to Ladakh. It is located at an altitude of 3230 from sea level on the national highway leading to Srinagar. Dras is said to be the coldest place in India and the second coldest inhabited region in the world. The temperature here falls below -45 degrees Celsius during winters. Although this region is extremely cold, it is blessed with natural vegetation, scenic mountains and a serene atmosphere. Dras is mostly visited by the trekkers who make here a base camp while trekking from Minamarg to Amarnath via Zojila Pass. During the Kargil war, Dras was occupied by Pakistani troops; however, it was re-captured by the Indian Army.
Located on the ancient Silk route, Nubra Valley lies in the union territory of Ladakh. This region is famous for beautiful monasteries, Shyok and Nubra rivers. You can enjoy Bactrian camel rides in Nubra valley. Bactrian camel is a rare specie of camel with two humps that are used for transportation on the silk route. Nubra Valley has many sports activities also such as ziplining and ATV rides.
Yet another amazing tourist destination and one of the best places to visit in Kashmir is Betaab Valley in the Pahalgam region. The region is surrounded by deodar and pine trees with the Lidder River flowing nearby. You will be amazed to know that this place got its name after a famous Bollywood movie named Betaab starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh. Snow-capped mountains, green pasture lands and meandering water bodies are some of the natural features that make Betaab Valley an ideal place to visit with friends and family. Apart from it, you can also enjoy camping and trekking to the nearby regions or travel to the Amarnath Yatra from Betaab Valley.