- Location: Northern most State of India
- Attraction Type: Mountainous region
- Significance: An alluring destination for nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, and pilgrims
- Best Time to Visit: May to September; December to February for winter sports
- How to reach: By flights to Srinagar; alternatively by train to Jammu and then by road
- Nearest Airport: Srinagar Airport; Leh Airport in Ladakh
Kashmir is often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of the East’ and that too not without reason. Its majestic snow peaked mountains, sprawling lush green meadows, fresh water lakes, gorgeous gardens, coniferous forests and snowfields testifies this expression. Adventurers, pilgrims, nature lovers, sports enthusiasts and tourists find Kashmir in India equally appealing.
The varied topography and vegetation has resulted in the creation of various art forms, development of tourist attractions, and evolvement of different lifestyles. The landscapes vary from the desolate wilderness of Ladakh, mountains of Amarnath, ice slopes of Sonmarg to the forests of Pahalgam, and the lake valley of Srinagar. Be it spring, summer, autumn, or winter, Kashmir has something to offer for everybody.
The entire state of Kashmir is an alluring tourist attraction. Srinagar located on the banks of River Jhelum is a honeymooner’s paradise with its peaceful surroundings. With majestic mountain ranges all around and the Dal Lake and Nagin Lake within the city you get transported into the most romantic environment. The Shalimar and Nishat Gardens created under the Great Mughal Emperors are a riot of colors in the blooming season.
Gulmarg with its vibrant green hill slopes and coniferous trees is a splendid golfing destination in the summer and a resplendent skiing destination in the winter. The meadows interspersed with coniferous trees transform into endless stretches of ice offering enticing skiing opportunities to both amateurs and professional skiers. Pahalgam surrounded by cedar and pine forests is the perfect retreat for an absolutely quiet vacation.
Ladakh in between the Himalayas in the south and the Karakoram Range in the north is the highest inhabitable plateau in India at a height of over 3000 meters. This Buddhist village is the home of Leh Palace which has close resemblance to Potala Palace.
Whether on pilgrimage, adventure sports or touring, Kashmir would never disappoint you. Amarnath cave is a revered pilgrimage for Hindus, while Muslim pilgrims throng to Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar. Adventure sports lovers cannot resist the temptation of hiking or trekking through the innumerable mountain trails arising from Gulmarg, Pahalgam, or Sonmarg. Gulmarg in summer time serves as the highest golf course in the world and is visited by top professionals regularly. The rapids in Ladakh allow thrilling river rafting opportunities. For relaxation a ‘shikara’ ride in Dal Lake is perfect. Camping beside Lidder River is an exciting summer activity. The woods around Pahalgam are superb exploration destination on horseback.
Staying in Kashmir
Srinagar being the state capital has an abundance of superior as well as budget hotels for putting up. Centaur Lake View, Heritage Palace Hotel, Hotel Inter-Continental, and Hotel Silver Star are among the renowned hotels to choose from. In Srinagar, staying in a ‘houseboat’ in Dal Lake is an attraction. If planning to stay in Gulmarg, you could choose between Hotel Highland Park and Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation cottages. For a quiet recluse within the woods of Pahalgam, you might put up in Hotel Mount View or Hotel Pahalgam.