The state of Jammu and Kashmir is an ideal testimony best known for hosting scenic beauty, enchanting sceneries and tranquillity in its best form. Enveloped by the snow-clad mountains and glistering lakes, it creates a picturesque landscape on earth and hence, is the reason why it is popularly called as the ‘Paradise on the Earth’. This northern state of India is covered by the mighty ranges of the Great Himalayas, rich reserve of endangered wildlife, exceptionally carved out monuments, hospitable people, and exquisite local handicrafts. Often tagged as India’s Switzerland, Kashmir proudly boasts of a long list of places, which reflects the nature’s beauty at its best and which cannot be missed by any avid traveler.
Being blessed by a number of facets such as massive glaciers, splendid monasteries, blue lakes, rivers, forests, verdant meadows, and tall pine trees –everything that makes for a perfect vacation in the hills. Sublime beauty is not the only medium how it regales its tourists but it has a separate face of adventure too. Sports like skiing, golf, river rafting, paragliding, camping, and trekking make the trip to Jammu and Kashmir a memorable one, while religious sites like Amarnath and Vaishno Devi traffics a large number of pilgrims every year. The unparalleled beauty and charm of the state and the sweetness of its citizens will remain etched in your hearts forever, leaving an indelible print.
Come, explore the crown of India – Kashmir, where natural beauty meets the blessings of the Almighty. This is the land where the misty morning sprawls over the snow-clad peaks and the sunlight kisses with a gentle touch to the woods and waters, to the valleys and hillside. If you are on the lookout for a heaven on earth, then you would most likely find it in the divine geographical bounties of Kashmir!
Srinagar is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and eminent places to see in Kashmir as well as in India. Literally, it translates to “the city of wealth and abundance” in Sanskrit. Being the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, it lies on the banks of the Jhelum River and has a calming, pleasant climate throughout the year. As it is proudly stated to be the largest city in the state, it tends to be the first stopover for a traveler in every way. Locally this place is known to be the mirror to mountains as this place is enclosed by the verdant green mountains giving a close outlook to the Kashmir’s bounties and the state’s culture.
The main highlight is the Dal Lake being the gem of the city. Once you are here, you must do the following things – take a Shikara ride on the Dal Lake, try water sports such as kayaking and skiing, hop on to a gondola-type rowboats decked with colourful rugs and carpets, which take you to see attractions like the Floating Vegetable Market, and the Mir Bahris – a lively community of people who live on the lake itself. From boating to trekking, bird watching to water skiing, this place has it all.
It is quite a hub for all tourists looking for a vacation away from their mundane city lives. Quite often because of this, Srinagar has become crowded and a little too touristy but it remains the go-to destination for anyone who wants to explore the state. A quick vacation or expedition that involves touring the state of Jammu and Kashmir is most likely to stay incomplete without the compulsory buying of Pashmina shawls from the city. Being the commercial hub of the state, it proudly remains in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir. As picturesque as the most stunning painting to ever be painted, contributing to the perpetual influx of tourists visiting this city that offers a plethora of gorgeous scenic vistas.
Welcoming you aboard to the place that has the highest golf course in the world – Gulmarg! Located at an altitude of 2650 meters, it is regarded as a massive tourist attraction in the state. As the name suggests, “Gulmarg”, literally translates to “the meadow of flowers” in Hindi and was coined by Sultan Yusuf Shah in the 16-century. Originally, it was called as ‘Gaurimarg’ in the honour of Goddess Parvati. The story behind the success of Gulmarg as a winter getaway starts with the British when they came to the city to escape from the scorching summers of North India.
Gulmarg is a resplendent wonderland for adventure sports lovers as well. The stretched ranges of Pir Panjal in the north is deemed as an ideal site for trekking. In the year 1904, the golf club was started by the British that garnered quick recognition. It is also counted amongst the best places for skiing in India. You will see a multitude of courses on trekking, mountaineering, skiing, etc. which are offered by IISM at great prices here.
Also, swing by Khilanmarg, which is a phenomenal valley regaling you with panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas. The air is aromatic because of the countless colourful flowers. You will feel re-energized and peaceful when you are in the laps of this valley. Apharwat Hills is yet another charming tourist attraction to visit. This alpine lake remains frozen till mid-June. Next to these Hills is the Alpather Lake, which makes an exciting day’s excursion for horse riding fans.
Several tourists drop by the Muslim shrine of Baba Reshi to pay a holy tribute. Built over the slopes below Gulmarg, it witnesses hundreds of devotees every year. Special bits like colorful bluebells, daisies, forget-me-nots, and buttercups draw a number of tourists from the world around.
Adding to its glory, the scenic setup has acted as an ideal backdrop for shooting of various Bollywood films. Regarded as one of the top honeymoon locations, Gulmarg boasts of being a marvellous town without the crowds like Shimla and Manali. Over and above, the cable car here is also one of the prime attractions and is the second highest cable car in the world.
Dive right into the majestic monasteries and celebrate the Buddhist festivals, no other place can compete with the “little Tibet”- Leh. Set amidst two of the world’s most powerful mountain ranges, the Karakoram and the Great Himalayas, it is said to be nirvana for adventure lovers. Offering a plethora of sports activities like mountain climbing, yak safaris, mountaineering, cycling, jeep safari tours, and trekking, Leh has it all.
Boasting volumes of Buddhist art and architecture, there are a number of illustrating monasteries situated near the Indus, out of which Lamayuru is the oldest. A few others are Alchi Gompa, Spituk Monastery, Phugtal Gompa, Thiksey Monastery, and Sankar Gompa. Further, the monasteries of Hemis, Phiyang, and Chemrey were established under the Namgyal dynasty. Consider yourself lucky if you get a chance to relish festivals like Ladakh Harvest Festival, Sindhu Darshan Hemis, Losar Festival, Ladakh Festival, and Tak – Tok festival.
Enlisting a few more would be historic monuments – if you are fond of them, visit the Leh Palace. Built for King Singge Namgyal, this 17-century palace, with unique Buddhist paintings and artifacts, was the residence of the royal family.
Well-famed for its extraordinary artwork and spectacular views, the Vishwa Shanti Stupa was built by the Japanese Government in 1985. This statue of Vishwa Shanti is erected in the hilltop of the village, symbolizing ‘World Peace’. One can steal a glimpse of this statue in Changspa village, manifesting certain nuances and lifestyles of local people living in typical Ladakhi houses. Meanwhile, watch the excellent example of the Turko-Iranian architecture – the Leh Mosque, built-in 1666-67 A.D. It is a beautiful green and white Mosque, which is surprisingly only open for males.
Tagged as ‘India’s Own Moonland, it is mystical in all the spheres it covers, from nature, geography, sceneries to the modest cultures that it fosters. Starting from the mouth-watering varieties of Tibetan momos to the sensational gompas, the superabundance of attractions to visit makes this city feel like heaven on earth. It is said that only in Leh can a person basking in the sun with his feet dipped in the waters suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.
Patnitop is yet another tourist attraction that can successfully fulfill your dream of living in the snowy slopes of the Alps. Situated on the banks of the river Chenab, this beautiful town reflects a unique view of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas. Erstwhile, “Patan da Talab”, Patnitop literally translates to “Pond of the Princess”. It was believed by the localities for having been the bathing area for princesses. If you are a sports lover, this is the perfect location to enjoy sports like skiing paragliding, camping, walking, and trekking.
Situated amidst dense forests at a height of 2024-metre above the sea level, Patnitopis a great attraction to draw tourists from the world around. The Chinar Garden and saffron fields provide a picturesque view of the divine natural beauty surrounding this place. Once you are here, you will be en route to the holy shrine of Sudh Mahadev, a religious place near Patnitop. To mention a few other pious sites near Patnitop would be the Naag Temple, Vaishno Devi Temple, Buddha Amarnath Temple, and Bahu Fort and Temple.
Located in the heart of Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, it is menaced by teeming snowfall every now and then, sometimes even the National Highway gets blocked when the tourist season is on. This hill station blossoms with endearing mountains surrounding a majestic little town. With endless meadows and panoramic views of the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas, Patnitop is a flawless place to experience nature at its picturesque best.
Along with the widespread copious sceneries, the area is well accessorized with adventurous activities like skiing and trekking as well as water springs, altogether making it a popular tourist destination. To go for extended sightseeing options, visit Sanasar, located 17 kilometers away, which is a popular site for being a paragliding base along with having golf courses. Altogether, the aforementioned places are enough to give you one the most splendid and grand views and make the experience all the more enjoyable with a host of adventure activities.
Kashmir has a beautiful hill station in every nook and corner. The Himalayas play host to a variety of little towns and cities that have so much to offer. The next time when you are planning for a family vacation, pay a visit to Kashmir and witness heaven on Earth. As opportunity never knocks the door, plan this trip to Kashmir soon with your loved ones. Let this Paradise on Earth be given a chance to welcome you with open arms.
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