Headed To Kashmir? These Are The Top Places To Visit In Kashmir
One of the most popular travel destinations in India, Kashmir attracts tourists from around the world. Offering a wealth of experiences, Kashmir has something for every type of traveler. Whether you are travelling with your friends or family, many tourist places in Kashmir will enthrall and impress you. Today, the state of Kashmir and Kashmir is significant in three distinct sections. The first part is the Hindu Jammu, a major draw for domestic pilgrims and a substantial portion of its rail hubs. Muslim Kashmir attracts local tourists who enjoy the alpine scenery and cool temperature, making it one of the significant places to visit in Kashmir. The third section in the state is the Ladakh – a Himalayan land that is an important place to see in Kashmir. Boasting friendly Tibetan people who are predominantly Buddhist , timeless monasteries and emerald green villages that bring people from around the globe, Ladakh and Leh are undoubtedly the state’s top tourist attractions.
So if you have decided to head out to Kashmir in the coming days, we have you sorted with some of the top places to visit in the state. Excited? Well, let us go.
Surrounded by green mountains, Srinagar’s prime attraction is the mesmerisingly serene Dal Lake. One of the most famous places to see in Kashmir, Dal Lake is also a photographer’s delight, mainly due to its bright array of stationary houseboats and shikara (gondola like boats) that add a unique travel experience. A perfect destination for couples, Dal Lake, is best visited between May and November. Once you have had your fill of the Dal Lake, head to the charming Mughal Gardens that are perfect for a quiet evening walk with your family/friends.
Srinagar is also a hidden gem for architecture lovers. Take a motorboat cruise on the Jhelum river and head to the Old City, which boasts of buildings with traditional architecture and old bridges. Further, the iconic Jama Masjid, Hazratbal, and the lesser know Shah-e-Hamdan offer an insight into the Sufi culture.
That’s not all. Srinagar is also an excellent place for tourists to meet the traditional artisans of the state. Whether you want to try your hand at carpet and shawl weaving, papier-mâché and wood carving or just look for some gifts to take back home. Srinagar markets have something for you. That’s not all – wildlife lovers can head to Dachigam National Park, where you can look for Hangul (Kashmir stag), langur and leopards. Keep in mind that you cannot visit the park in the evening, so plan accordingly. You can also head out to the outskirts of Srinagar for a picnic lunch, where you can pick various fruits, including pears, cherries and apricots.
What to eat in Srinagar – Since Srinagar attracts so many tourists, there are many food options in this region. From kebab stalls to European inspired cafes, there is something for every type of foodie. Head to Ground Zero Grill & Café near Lal Chowk, a cosy restaurant that serves kebabs, rolls, and North Indian stapes and Chinese dishes. Their star dish is Afghani pulao that is made with dry fruits and fragrant spices. Wait, there is more – don’t miss the bakeries that are spread over the city and serve Kashmiri breads like Czochworu and along with other sweet treats. Head to Jan Bakery for pineapple pastries – they are delicious.
PS – Don’t miss a visit to Kahayam Chowk with various stalls selling juice mutton kebabs cooked on a coal fire. It is generally served with multiple types of condiment and Lavasa – a Kashmiri type of bread.
How to reach – Srinagar has an airport that connects it to all major cities of India.
Very few places in the world are enchanting and traveller friendly as the mountain framed Leh, located in Ladakh . One of the most famous tourist places in Kashmir – Ladakh, is dotted with monasteries and whitewashed houses. The Old Town boasts of a steep rocky ridge crowned by a fantastic Tibetan-style palace and fort. Below the bustling bazaar area, there is a network of souvenir shops, restaurants and tour agencies. However, step out a bit more, and you will find large patchworks of irrigated barley fields spread out as far as the eye can see. Some of the major attractions in Leh include the following.
Shanti Stupa – Situated on a high and rocky ridge, Shanti Stupa is a large white spired stupa that the Japanese monks built between 1983 and 1991 to promote world peace. Head to this Stupa in the evening as it provides some superb views of Leh.
Leh Palace – Almost similar to the Potala Palace in Tibet, the Leh Palace is a nine-storey dun-coloured edifice built by King Singge Namgyal in the 17th century. The palace has been essentially unoccupied since the Ladakhi royals were removed from power. Today, when a tourist visits the castle, they will see photo exhibitions and prayer rooms.
Pangong Tso – A popular tourist place in Kashmir, Pangong Tso gained a lot of popularity after the release of 3 Idiots. It is located 224 kilometres from Leh – a drive of close to six hours. While you can spend a day here and return to your lodgings in the evening, we recommend you spend a day or two camping on the lake. You will find camps near the lake, but make sure you book before-hand as they tend to sell fast, especially during the prime travel months.
Nubra Valley – Located 159 km (4 hour drive time) from Leh, Nubra Valley is another popular destination in the region. Famous for its double-humped camels and white-sand deserts, it is also the place that marks the Shyak and Siachen rivers’ confluence. Comprising of huge mountains, yawning valleys and vast uninhabited lands, the Nubra Valley is an unmissable destination. Head to Diskit, one of Nubra’s commercial hubs, where tourists mainly come to see the Diskit Gompa, a monastery perched above the town. Close to 10kms from Diskit stands the Hunder village. Here you will find camels grazing on the dune-like landscape between the mountains’ foot and the braided Shyok River. A pretty town, ideal for ambling, with a small roadside monastery known as Chamba, is the perfect place to unwind and relax.
Where to eat – Thukpas and momos are a staple of the region and can be found in many cafes and restaurants around the city. We recommend you try these two dishes at any of the local cafes. However, if you are confused, the Tibetan Kitchen is highly recommended for its local cuisine.
How to reach – Leh has an airport that connects it to all major cities of India.
PS – Take things easy on arrival as the altitude requires a few days’ acclimatisations before you can safely start enjoying the various attractions in the region.
One of the top places to see in Kashmir,Pahalgam, is also called the Valley of Shepherds. Located 100 km from Srinagar and 7,000 feet high, Pahalgam boasts pine-covered views overlooking the Himalayan mountains and rivers with crystal clear waters. While temperature can become freezing at some periods of the year, the temperature rarely goes above 25 degrees, even in summer. Pahalgam is a place of beauty, and it lies around you at all times of the year. All you have to do is to slow down and enjoy the pure beauty that surrounds you.
The Lidder river lies in the middle of the Pahalgam. The aquamarine hue of the glacial river is present everywhere in Pahalgam – whether you are taking walks along with the town market or enjoying the views at a local cafe, or drive to picnic sports like Aru Valley or Betaab Valley, the Ladder river is a constant companion. Sometimes as narrow as a stream and sometimes as wide as the sea, this river is an excellent city attraction.
According to local guides, the Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary in town will start safaris soon, which means there will be more things to do in the city. But until then, head here to do nothing and experience the beauty of nature.
Where to eat – Enjoy local delicacies at the town’s cafes which might be few in numbers but will serve delicious, homely food.
How to reach – You can take a cab from Srinagar which is located close to 90 km away and takes nearly two hours.