Kashmir is the heaven on the Earth
Jammu & Kashmir looks very disturb and the image of this state in common people mind is not good. They think that the life in the j & k especially in Kashmir valley is always on stake. However, after visiting in Kashmir and specially tourist places, the image of Kashmir has changed in my mind. I saw always peace and there is no fear at all. Tourists were enjoying the beautiful site and weather. Most of them were foreigners. After talking with the people and Muneer Ahmed khan, ADGP of Kashmir, I concluded that the majority of the people of J & K wants peace. However, some people are misguided. They have nexus with Pakistan and terrorist. The people who are literate never want terrorism and pak interference in state. Therefore, no one can say that there is no effect of terrorism. The person who has not visited in Kashmir, Are full of fear and never visit in valley. So that the numbers of tourists is going down day by day. The tourism is the important means of the livelihood of the people of the valley. Second thing, I observed after talking to the people of the valley is that the demonetisation has affected the tourism very badly. Due to bad effect of the demonetisation the business of the valley has gone down and many shops has down the shutters. Therefore, the financial condition of the people of valley is worsening. Youth are jobless and it is easy to attract them for terror and unsocial activities. After all, I can say that you can visit there fearlessly. It is as safe as any part of the India or world. Even terrorist does not touch them and local people welcome them very warm hearted.
Global Warming Affecting the Climate
The global warming is affecting the valley scenario badly and climate are changing. We have visited in valley in first week of February and it was in our mind that we will get maximum snowfall in Gulmarg and other part of the valley, but we were very disappointed to see that there is very less snowfall in the peak season. These changes are due to global warming. Such a drastic change in climate in valley are affecting the number of tourist.
Kashmir Valley, the largest Himalayan valley, is an elliptical saucer shaped landmark of Kashmir. Surrounded by the Karakoram and Pir Panjal ranges, Kashmir Valley has a mesmerising view in all the directions possible. This 140km long valley is the perfect spot for all trekkers and mountaineers alike!
How to reach:
By road : You can take a bus from any of the major cities to Srinagar. It is well connected with cities like Delhi, Chandigarh etc.
By air: You can board a flight to Srinagar which is 18 kilometers from the valley
By train: The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, taxies and buses ply from Jammu at a regular interval for the valley
Must Do: Paragliding over the Valley
Fozal is a small Village/ hamlet in Naggar Tehsil in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh State, India. It comes under Fozal Panchayath. It is located 22 KM towards North from District head quarters Kullu. 133 KM from State capital Shimla .It a wonderful new tourist sport And if you want to fly like a free bird and soar high up in the sky, then paragliding is what you must experience. Paragliders’ paradise, fozal Valley offers a heavenly view of nature. The thrilling experience of paragliding is enhanced by the blissful view of the slopes of fozal valley. Flying high with the help of paraglider will give you an exalting view of the valley, and this grand sight is one of the main reasons why paragliders from around the world visit this site. Feel the adrenaline pumping through your vein and conquer your inner fears. Touch the new horizons of fun and adventure in this exciting activity. This activity will be highly secure with all the safety equipment.
The total duration of the activity is inclusive of briefing by instructors, strapping on and off of safety harness, and actual flying time. The actual flying time might be reduced, subject to the instructor’s judgement, in case of bad weather or technical difficulties. No refund will be provided in such cases.
Best time to visit : March to October
Where to stay: There are no hotels in the valley, so either you need to book your stay in Pahalgam or Srinagar.
Sonmarg or ‘the meadow of gold’ has one of the most picturesque views in Kashmir. Snow-clad mountains, green grasslands and ponies to ride on, this place is what they call, ‘Jannat’ or heaven. Sonmarg is also one of the base points for starting the Amarnath Yatra. River rafting, zorbing, trekking are the various events conducted around the popular tourist spots. Sonmarg is inaccessible in winters due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.
How to reach: By air – You can take a flight to Srinagar and then take a bus or a taxi to Sonmarg
By road : Sonmarg can be reached by Pahalgam which is weel connected by roads from all the major cities in north
Must Do: Trek to the Thajiwas Glacier
Adventure-seekers behold! Thajiwas Glacier is the kind of heaven that adrenaline junkies feast one. The snow is beautiful and the place has options to go ice skiing or hire an ice scooter to enjoy the majestic snow cover and scenic beauty. Just remember to bargain while hiring the rides and you’ll have an experience of a lifetime!
Situated in the vicinity of Sonmarg, Vishansar Lake runs a kilometre in length and holds a lot of importance for Kashmiri Pandits. The lake freezes during winter but in the summer, the lake is surrounded by green grass and the occasional flock of sheep grazing away to glory. The lake is also the source of Nelum River which flows upwards in the Northern direction. The lake attracts a lot of trekkers and is the best place for a night-stay next to pristine water.
n White River Rafting at Shutkari Bridge
The fun starts here from Baltal to Shutkari Bridge where a long rafting expedition is carried out to quench your adrenaline thirst. The rafting is great for experienced as well as novice rafters and is one of the best experiences you will ever have at Sonamarg.
Best time to visit: February to March
Places to stay: Resorts, Hotel
Baltal Valley is another place where one can hire tents and camp outside. There is a cave that can be accessed by trekking, by ponies or by a helicopter service. It is one of the most popular tourist places and is worth the trek!
Sonmarg has ancient importance because it was a gateway on the ancient Silk Road that connects Kashmir with China. It provides as a base camp for Ladakh and is militarily very important for India. In the winter, Sonamarg becomes a valley covered in white gold thereby living up to its name.
The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department organises frequent river rafting tournaments that have participants from all over the world as the city booms with life with the flow of tourists. Sonmarg is a gem hidden in the high passes of Kashmir and is away from the hustle-bustle of city life. Plan your next vacation to Sonmarg to witness the aptly named “meadow of gold”.
Gulmarg is the snow paradise of Kashmir. This skier’s paradise is popular for having one of world’s highest and largest ropeways with an aerial distance of approx. 5kms. The view from top of the mountains at 3979 metres above sea level is bewildering. Snow falls are regular even during summer, giving every tourist a fair chance to enjoy the fall!
How to reach:
By air : The nearest airport is Srinagar which is 56 kilometers away.
By bus : Gulmarg is well connected by bus from Srinagar, Sonmarg and other neighbouring towns in Kashmir
By train : Jammu is nearest Railway Station at a distance of 290 kilometers
Must Do: Ski with the help of professionals at 14000 feet above the sea level.
If you are visiting Gulmarg, chances are that you are here to try your hand at skiing. Gondola lift is one of the major attractions of the hill station and is part of the only cable car in the entire of Asia that is at the elevation of over 13,500 ft. above sea-level. The lift gets its name from the Gondola village of Gulmarg. It stretches over 5 kms and offers stunning views of the valley. It is definitely a must-see when you’re visiting Gulmarg!
The Gulmarg Ski Area
The Gulmarg Ski Area consists of the Gondola valley and the Poma terrain. It has become one of the most popular areas used for skiing as it takes you from between pine trees out into the valley. Not only skiing, the area has a lot of other sports as well such as snowboarding, snow scooters and snow bobbing. This place is heaven for adventure-lovers!
Nagin Valley has been recently opened up for tourists after 22 years of ban on entry. It offers a paradise for trekkers who can hire camping gear and set up their sites in the valley. Moreover, the road trip to the valley itself is a sight to behold as clouds descend to the roads and offer a heavenly experience. The LOC is a few kilometres away and the valley serves as a getaway from the busy town area.
Golf Course CC BY-SA 2.0
What can be better than acres and acres of open green grass surrounded by mountains and peaks? Golf course of Gulmarg is at a height of 2,600 meters above sea level making it one of the highest green golf courses of the world. The course is frequently hosts several gold championships and was initially started out by the Britishers. One can get a temporary membership which is eligible for even one day to experience how British Royalty once passed their time!
Best time to visit: March to June
Places to stay: are the most recommended places to stay.
Surrounded by Lidder Lake and Betaab Valley, Pahalgam is the place you visit to experience clear water rivers and exhilarating deep valleys. This place is famous for river rafting at Lidder Lake, golfing and shopping for traditional Kashmiri items.
How to reach: You can take a train to Jammu which is about 255 kilometers from Pahalgam. You can then rent a taxi to Pahelgam. You can reach there by air by boarding a flight to Srinagar which is at a distance of 95 kilometers from Pahalgam
Must Do: Visit Mini Switzerland on ponies
Lidder Valley gets its name from the Lidder river which flows through it in Jammu and Kashmir. This picturesque valley is one of the offbeat destinations in the state. Lidder river which cascades across the valley makes it even more scenic. Tourists will be welcomed to vast green landcapes and blue water slithering in the heart of this place. The post card beauty of this region is undescribable. Lidder Valley with a backdrop of Himalayan peaks is alluring and also perfect for a photography tour. Shall we know more about this enchanting place?!
The twisty Lidder River poses a different kind of challenge from that of the rocky mountains locking the land. Rafting is organised at the upper region of Lidder where water rushes on, frothy and icy. Whitewater rafting is another unique way to see the Pahalgam valley – all in one go!
The Lidder river in Pahalgam offers a great challenge to the adventure enthusiasts with the touch of beauty. To make it a great river rafting experience, the tribulant river gives the challenge same as the rugged mountains. The river rafting in Pahalgam has 2, 3 and 4 rapids for the adventure lovers.
Betaab Valley is a scenic vale that lies towards the northeast of Pahalgam – the town associated with the Amarnath pilgrimage. This valley attributes its name to the hit Bollywood movie Betaab, which was shot in its picturesque surroundings. Sprawling verdant pastures, snow-capped mountains and meandering streams form the breathtaking landscape of this valley.
The region is immensely popular amongst globetrotters, who get mesmerised with its surreal beauty. Apart from being a place with impressive landscape, the valley is a famous trekking base and camping site for travellers who want to explore the nearby mountainous regions.
The association of Betaab Valley with the Hindi film industry is not new.Betaab (1983), which marked the superhit Bollywood début of Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh, featured this valley. The immense success of this movie became the reason behind the naming of this place as Betaab Valley. A song sequence and a scene from the Bollywood movie Sikandar (2009) were also shot here. Rockstar (2011), featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, was also picturised in this beautiful valley.
n Mini Switzerland on ponies
Often dubbed as ‘Mini Switzerland’ because of its long dark meadows resembling the ones in Switzerland, Baisaran is an eye-catching meadow, located just 5 km away from Pahalgam. The dense pine forest that gives the green carpet look to the meadow provides a contrasting hue to snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountains. A major tourist place to visit in Pahalgam, a voyage to the meadow is truly a treat for the senses. Additionally, Baisaran is also an ideal campsite for trekkers who want to move further up to Tulian Lake. Accessible through ponies from Pahalgam, this off-beaten track of Jammu and Kashmir tourism offers panoramic sights of the town and Lidder Valley.
Best time to visit: February to June
Places to stay: Volga Hotel, Wood Stock Hotel, Hotel Paristaan Resorts.
Dal Lake is, initially, one of the most confusing parts of Srinagar for it’s not really one lake at all, but three. Further more much of it is hardly what one would expect a lake to be like – it’s a maze of intricate waterways and channels, floating islands of vegetation, houseboats that look so firmly moored they could almost be islands and hotels on islands which look like they could simply float away.
The lake is probably at its most beautiful when the lotus flowers bloom in July and August. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, are one of the stranger aspects of Dal Lake. They’re composed of matted vegetation and earth, which are cut away from the lake bottom and towed to a convenient location where they are moored. Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Melons all grow amazingly well in these gardens, if one look underneath one can see that they do literally float on the lake. One can also approach the floating gardens by road; the boulevard runs along the eastern edge of the lake, providing fine views all the way.
One will often see weeds being pulled up out of the lake – this serves a double purpose. The lake waterways are kept clear and the weeds are rotted until they form excellent compost for the gardens. The shallowness of the lake and its heavy growth of waterweeds is probably the main reason there are so very few powered boats on the water. Dal Lake would be nowhere near as pleasant if there were powerboats rushing back and forth across its tranquil surface.
A dreamland for everyone who has been lusting for some relaxing moments amidst the breathtaking panorama of nature, Kashmir undeniably comes out on top. And Srinagar is the perfect place to start your trip. Dotted with numerous beautiful sights, the city looks amazing in a canopy of landscaped flowering gardens, crystal clear lakes, magnificent structures and bustling market. Amidst this colourful world lies something sensuous and swift. Shikara, the small wooden carved boat, usually seen at Dal Lake and Nagin Lake of Srinagar, is one of the mesmerizing attractions of the city. Regaining the old world charm, the swift movement of a Shikara provides a unique way to experience the eternal beauty of Kashmir.
Shikara in Kashmir is also used for other purposes apart from leisure. Locals mainly use this low rowing boat for transportation, seaweed harvesting and fishing. But the most unique of the lot is its use as a floating market. Shikaras are used for selling varieties of flowers and handicrafts that are quite popular among tourists residing in houseboats. The glimpse of floating boats full of colourful blooms is definitely an eye-catcher.
Along with these, the fun associated with Shikara also includes bird watching. The white breasted kingfisher, pariah kites and little grebe are some of the common birds that can be easily spotted while enjoying a Shikara ride
Whether you want peace and serenity, or would prefer to be close to the action, is the most important thing to think about when choosing where to stay.
Dal Lake is famous and is where the majority of the houseboats are located. However, it’s also crowded and commercial (others would call it vibrant). In some areas of Dal Lake, the houseboats are unattractively lined up bumper to bumper along a canal. The lake is huge, so do check which part of it the boat is situated in. On the other hand, Nigeen Lake is much smaller, quieter, and more picturesque. Some people may feel isolated staying there though. It all depends on what you like!
The houseboats offer varying rates depending on whether you take a room only or have meals included.
If you’re staying on a boat in a more isolated area, it’s a good idea to have breakfast and dinner there for the sake of convenience. The quality of food does vary aboard the boats, so do check what you’ll be offered including whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
The houseboats come in various sizes and are graded by the government tourism department.The categories range from Deluxe to D Grade. The largest houseboats have four or five bedrooms, and are great for large groups traveling together.If you’re a couple, you’ll be better off choosing to stay in a smaller boat as you’ll have more privacy and less disruption. The houseboats are very popular with Indian families and unfortunately, they tend to be very noisy with little consideration for the serenity.
One of the most famous garden in Kashmir valley, Shalimar garden is situated on the shores of serene Dal Lake. The word ‘Shalimar’ itself defines the reason of its construction which indicates ‘abode of love’. Therefore, the ‘house of Love’ was built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan, around 400 years back. The lush green and well-maintained Garden of Srinagar designed with terrace lawns, fountain pools and flower beds combined with mighty chinar trees and pavilions. The interior of Shalimar Bagh contain four terraces in which the top most terraces was originally reserved for the royal ladies and is considered to be the most beautiful section.
During autumn and spring season the picturesque surrounding of the ‘Bagh’ looks amazing as the Chinar trees change their color from green to orange. Shalimar Bagh is also popular with different names- Shalamar Garden, Shalamar Bagh, Farah Baksh and Faiz Baksh etc.
A beautiful Shiva temple situated on a picturesque location on the Gopadari Hill on the South East of Srinagar. This temple is situated at a height of 1100 feet above the Srinagar city The name of the Temple is after the great philosopher Shankaracharya who visited the valley about ten centuries ago. The Temple is built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a flight of steps.Shankarachar is a detached ridge of igneous rock to the south-east of Srinagar, separated from the Shilamar Range by the Aita Gaj Gap. The summit of the hill is crowned with a picturesque edifice. This hill was called Jetha Larak and afterwards it was named Gopadari Hill. Some are of opinion that the temple at the top was originally built by King Sandiman . There were 300 golden and silver images in it. About 1368 B.C. King Gopadittya founder of Gopkar repaired it and bestowed to the Brahmans of Arya Varta, agrahars which he built on its top. King Sandimati improved and added to the temple. Zain-Ul-Abdin repaired its roof which had tumbled down by an earthquake. Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-Din, a Governor also repaired its dome. Recently, the dome was repaired by Swami Shivratnanand saraswati at the request of a Nepali Sadhu who gave him financial aid. The temple is under the control of the Dharmartha Department. They have built two small buildings for the sadhus who live there. There is at the place an old stone shed which is called ‘Parvatihund bana koth’ (the store-house of goddess Parvati).