It was Mughal Emperor Jahanagir who once said, ‘if there is a paradise anywhere on the earth, it is here, it is here, it is here’. True enough, Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most Indian state, which is also known to be a paradise on the face of the earth. The snow clad mountains, phenomenal meadows, and marvellous valleys are a sheer treat to eyes. In addition to that, you can enjoy activities like rock climbing, skiing, trekking, snowboarding etc. One of the most fascinating things in the state is the availability of houseboats. This is uncommon in the rest of the country. On top of that, you can always find budget hotels and premium resorts at your fingertips in this paradise. You need to take at least a week off to wander around this city and to cover the whole of this state. The picture-perfect sceneries of this place will make you spellbound. It is something that you can take back along with you as memories.
One of the first things that you need to do when you land in this state, is breathe in a lungful of fresh mountain air. And second is to witness the magnificence of sunrise through the mountain top. It is a sight that you will remember for a very long time. Now that you are planning to pay a visit to this natural beauty, say no more. Here is a list of such places near Srinagar that you should not miss for the world. Dive in to know more about these places, things to do and the best time to visit this paradise.
Top 10 Weekend Getaways From Srinagar
- Dachigam National Park
- Sinthan Top
- Amarnath Cave
- Betaab Valley
1. Dachigam National Park
It is most famous for being a popular tourist place near Srinagar for sightseeing. The word ‘Dachigam’ translates to ten villages in the local tongue. According to legends, it took ten villages to pave a way for this park. It is 23 kilometres from Srinagar and takes nearly 1 hour to reach. This park is home to a different variety of pastures, waterfalls, meadows etc. Along with that, it acts as a home to endangered species of Himalayan black and brown bears. It has been under government protection ruling over a century by now. Do not forget to visit Marsar Lake in the park.
Baramulla has the perfect setting for the weekend getaway that you are searching for. It is enveloped by the Himalayas on all sides and is situated near the banks of River Jhelum. It draws the attention of many tourists mainly due to the presence of religious establishments like monasteries, Buddhist stupas, mosques, and temples. It is also a famous quick stopover for someone who is on their way to Gulmarg. Over and above, you can also see Walur Lake and Khilanmarg, which are recognised as major tourist attractions in the state. It is yet another city in Jammu and Kashmir that is an example of pure natural beauty. If you wish to take a break from the daily routine of your life, Baramulla is the key spot for you. It is also the destination for history buffs or curious or adventurous travellers.
One more thing you could try here is the Eco Park. It lies in the middle of an island, connecting Baramulla and Jhelum River. Maintained by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department here you will see designed wooden huts and well-groomed gardens. A cable car is also been planned at the site. It is suitable to drop by in the evenings due to its calm and serene environment.
Gulmarg is considered to be one of the coolest places near Srinagar. It is well-known for its tourist attractions and ski sports. In fact, it hosts a good number of winter sports for Asia. Of the many wonders that you can see here, most prominent ones are the remnants of the British era. From St Marys Church to Gulmarg Golf Course, all of it is was built during the British Period. These places are a must-visit for tourists when they swing by. Gulmarg Golf Course holds a record for being the highest green course in the world. It takes about 2 hours from Srinagar and you can reach Gulmarg conveniently via buses or trains.
If you are not up for skiing, you can try riding in the cable car. Apparently, it is known to be the world’s highest cable car. On top of that, pony rides are available almost everywhere in this place. Through the cable car, you get to see the aerial view of Gulmarg. Tourists say that the sightseeing is at its best when you see the city through the clouds. In addition to that, you can treat yourself to a spa treatment at the Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, which is a celebrated Spa Treatment Service in the Himalayan region.
Next on your check-list should be this hill station. If you have an adventure bug in you, this is your go-to place. At the moment it is well connected by motor roads and you can enjoy trekking even in the beautiful landscape. It has a huge coverage of maple trees and is best known for its green orchids. Due to its snow-clad surface, it is often referred to as Switzerland by the visitors. The first thing you will notice in this location is the silence and the next thing will be the natural beauty of the place. Herein, you get to see Sang-e-Safed, which is a frozen lake even in the summers. You can try the JKTDC huts to stay overnight in Yousmarg. This is the nearest tourist destination and the nearest airport is in Srinagar. It is deemed convenient for a weekend gateway too.
5. Sinthan Top
If you are looking for places near Srinagar where you can let loose yourselves for a while, Sinthan Top is that destination. It is most suitable when you need some peace and time alone for yourself or your family. The best part about Sinthan Top is that it is still very rustic and not yet well developed, which makes it a welcome break for those who come from concrete spaces. Daksum and Kokernag are a few nearby places that you can drop by for an outing and trekking. This mountain top is located in the south Kashmir’s Breng Valley, which is close to 12000-feet above sea level. It is about 2.5 to 3 hours from Srinagar and can be reached with help of local buses, trains etc.
6. Amarnath Cave
Amarnath Cave is one of the most pious Hindu pilgrimages of all time. It is one of the oldest religious sites belonging to Hindu mythology. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has been sculpted out of ice. The structure of the cave resembles that of a Shiva Lingam. It is located at about 4000 meters from the sea level and is 60 feet high.
It is worshipped for many reasons. Worshipers believe that this is the place where Lord Shiva had revealed the secrets of immortality to Goddess Parvati, his wife. The Shiva Lingam experiences to fade a bit from the months of May to August. It is said that this occurs due to the moon’s cycle. The cave also has ice lingams of his son, Lord Ganesha and his wife, Goddess Parvati. Every year it receives a huge number of devotees from various parts of the country. It is believed that whatever you wish for gets fulfilled, once you visit Amarnath and seek Lord Shiva’s blessings. Due to its closeness to higher altitudes, it is regularly supervised by CRPF and Indian Parliamentary Forces. You need to take prior permissions from the authorities to visit the holy premise of Amarnath Cave.
Pahalgam is yet another tick to discover adventure tourism in the Valley. Pahalgam means ‘Valley of Shepherds ’and is a popular destination for trekking. On your way, you can head to the fresh flowing Lidder River and surrounding snow-capped hills. Once you reach here, you can easily commute by hiring prepaid vehicles provided by the local transport association. Or else you may prefer to walk. Some of the various possible activities that you could try around Pahalgam includes golfing and trout fishing. Nowadays it has come up with a new concept of river rafting. Its location is roughly 3 hours from Srinagar. Throughout your way, you can witness the stunning beauty of several valleys and hilltops. It will surely give you a feeling of ‘dream-come-true’.
People call it the ‘meadow of gold’. It is situated about 95 kilometres away from Srinagar towards the north east. It is one of the major attractions in the state. Sonamarg is best known for being that bridge that connects Srinagar and Kargil. For those you are on their way to Leh, you can stop by this natural beauty. Also, it is frequently visited by tourists during the Amarnath Yatra. The handsome valleys and views that this place offers, is a pretty gift in itself. If you are heading to Srinagar, do come by this place.
Next on the list is a place called Doodhpathri. It is just about 2 hours from Srinagar. If you are running short of time, this is where you can visit as it would not consume a lot of hours. The name Doodhpathri means ‘Valley of Milk’ in Hindi. Funnily enough, you would not see milk in the valleys but it sure is a fascinating treat to your eyes. The waters in the valley has a sheen, resembling that of milk. Hence, the name has been suggested so. Apart from that the lush greenery around with fresh lakes in this place makes it a top-notch tourist spot.
10. Betaab Valley
This valley is best known for being a shooting space for Bollywood blockbuster movie – Betaab. It is located 15 kilometers away from Srinagar in Anantnag District. You will definitely find this place if you are on your way to Pahalgam and Chandanwadi. Here you get to see the amazing mountain ranges of Zanskar and Pir Panjal as well. If you are a nature lover, this is just the right place to go to. Because of the mountain terrains, clear waters, and greenery, it is a perfect tourist hub.
Jammu and Kashmir is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in India. Apart from visiting the popular places in Srinagar, there are many other scenic locations in the state that are just waiting to be explored. There are many luxurious and budget hotels in Srinagar where you can relax after your day of touring. Without much ado, plan your trip and get ready to see the other side of life. It is an experience like never before! So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets right now before you miss out. The paradise on earth awaits!