A land of anomalies, Kashmir is most definitely a paradise on earth with its snow-capped mountains and scenic landscape. Despite the politically-induced territorial division, Kashmir sees a healthy influx of tourists from all over the world. With an eclectic mix of tourist attractions comprising of beautiful gardens, lakes, valleys, and much more, Kashmir remain one of the most celebrated tourist spots in the world – and as Led Zeppelin quotes- it still remains the Shangri-la for most Kashmiris.
In and Around
The city best known for its lush gardens, serene lakes, and chameleonic landscape, Srinagar is best visited during the summer season. Relish a shikhara ride on Dal or Nagin Lake, or snap to your heart’s delight with the snow-clad Hari parbat hill in the backdrop.
Places to see in Srinagar
The landscaped Mughal Gardens, developed by the rulers of the Mughal dynasty, make you fall in love with their beauty. They consist of mainly the following three gardens Chashmashahi Garden, Nishat Garden, Shalimar Garden
Srinagar sightseeing loses its meaning if you have not visited the Dal Lake. With the backdrop of mountains on three sides, the view of the Dal Lake looks as if you are watching a photograph. This lake counts amongst the most splendid lakes in the country. One of the major attractions of the Dal Lake is the houseboats that stand lining its edges.
Another popular tourist attraction of Srinagar is the Nagin Lake. Placid water of the lake, surrounded with manicured flowerbeds and groves of chinar, poplar and willow, is enough to capture your heart.
Perched on the Takht-e-Suleiman hill, the Shankaracharya Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is supposed to be the oldest shrine of the Kashmir valley.
Situated opposite the Nishat Bagh on the banks of Dal Lake, the Hazratbal Shrine houses the Moi-e-Muqqadus (preserved sacred hair) of Prophet Mohammad. It is one of the most popular shrines in Srinagar, revered by Hindus as well as Muslims.
The undulated hilly area of Pahalgam is famous for its fertile region and rich vegetation, of which conifer forests make for a large part. Engage in various adventure sports like horseback riding, trekking, canoeing, water rafting, etc. The placid surrounding of Pahalgam with its breathtaking meadows and natural landscape is the perfect tourist destination for anyone looking to get away from the bustles of the city.
Places to see in Pahalgam
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. 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.
Situated at a height of 3353 meters above sea level is Tulian Lake, a beautiful and scenic spot among the several icons of Jammu and Kashmir tourism. Though there are several tourist places to visit in Pahalgam but the allure of this pristine water body is unmatched. The lake lies amidst the Zanskar and Pir Panjal Mountain ranges and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks that are normally 300 meters above its level.
Earlier known as Hagan Valley or Hagoon, Betaab Valley got its present name after the blockbuster Bollywood movie ‘Betaab’ was shot there in 1983. A combination of picturesque surroundings, the valley falls on the way to Amarnath Temple Yatra and is one of the three angelic valleys of Pahalgam; the other two being Aru and Chandanwadi.
Overlooking the majestic snow-capped peaks of Himalayan Range, Aru Valley is a pristine scenic village situated in the region of Trans-Himalaya. Clear blue canopy over the head, misty surroundings, whispers of the native pines and conifer forests and beautiful meadows create a captivating diorama for travelers thronging the place. Though the village is the smallest hill station in the state, but still its breathtaking beauty and interesting activities like trekking, hiking and horse riding make it one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Pahalgam.
Literally translated ‘Meadow of Flowers’, Gulmarg is a picturesque hill station with vibrant flowers contrasted against the backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks. A popular picnic spot, Gulmarg has much to offer in terms of beautiful natural beauty, and is also renowned for the highest and longest cable car system in the entire Asian continent.
Places to see in Gulmarg
Asia’s largest and highest cable car project lead to Kongdori Mountain perched at an altitude of 3099.6 meters from the resort situated in Gulmarg. A bowl shaped area, it is known for its abundant opportunities for enjoyable sessions of powder skiing and snowboarding. As a popular destination for skiing, Kongdori has earned fame as one of the best Gulmarg tourist places to visit. A lofty mountain that adjoins Apharwat peak, Kongdori can rightly be called the skier’s paradise. Jammu & Kashmir tourism department credit Kongdori for catching the eyes of travel enthusiasts. Rendering a perfect blend of adventure and recreation, Kongdori is a little paradise in its own right.
Shark Fin in Gulmarg is reckoned as the finest bowl for powder skiing. Located on the backside of lofty Mount Apharwat, Shark Fin provides skiers the opportunity to rip apart the snow and sway through an immaculate steep slope. It is directly visible from the top of Apharwat mountain peak and thus has become quite popular Gulmarg tourist place to visit. It offers few splendid mellow runs into the bowl for amateur and technical skiers.
Baba Reshi Shrine
The mausoleum of Baba Payamuddin (Pam Din) is dubbed as Baba Reshi. Located in Baramullah district in Rambodh Village, the shrine is revered highly by Muslims and Hindus alike. Anointed by Baba Zainuddin Rishi (disciple of Saint Nooruddin), Baba Reshi moved to Rambodh and performed miracles, helped people and preached Islam.
Sonmarg or ‘Meadow of Gold’ is situated a few kms before the Zoji La pass, and is also a popular route to traverse to Ladakh. Abundant with beautiful flowers in an array of colors, Sonmarg is famous for its undulated and far-reaching trekking routes, which pass through many other tourist spots such as Vishansar and Gangabal lakes. A number of lakes and rivers have their confluence at Sonmarg, Nilagard where a small stream meets with River Sind is another major attraction. Vishansar Lake, located at an altitude of 4048 meters above sea level is the most popular of all the lakes in Sonmarg, and is one of the breathtaking views from the very top of the meadow.
Places to visit in Sonamarg
Thajiwas glacier at an altitude of 9,186 feet is a striking silvery scene set against emerald meadows and a clear blue sky. In summers, you can take a half-day hike to numerous waterfalls around this glacier. The road will be long and the journey hard but the captivating views make it worthwhile. On the way, have a friendly match with the local Gujjar kids who are almost always ready for a friendly snowball fight!
It offers many adventurous routes with amazing green water & frozen lakes around and Thajiwas glacier is a one such major tourist attraction in the region. Located 7 km from Sonamarg, it is an ideal spot for enjoying a sledge ride on the snow even in mid-summer. The nearby area is perfect camping site too.
Lying around 47 km south of Srinagar is a pristine hill station where nature’s beauty blooms in its fullest. The hill station, named Yusmarg, is a perfect rejuvenation as well as adventure destination. It is placed at a height of 7,500 feet above sea level and lies in Pir Panjal Mountain Range. Offering a striking diorama of valleys, meadows and peaks, Yusmarg is the perfect gateway to explore the beauty of the southern part of Kashmir Valley. There is no shortage of attractions in Yusmarg. From holy shrines to exotic places, Yusmarg gives many reasons to travelers to visit it once in a lifetime. Nilnag Lake, Dudh Ganga, Tosa Maidan, Sang-e-Safed, Charari Sharief and Pakharpora Shrine are the popular attractions located in and around Yusmarg.
The hill resort at Patnitop offers numerous attractions to its tourists. Opportunities for long peaceful walks, lovely picnics, snow games, golf, etc all lure visitors to this charming place.
One of the places to see in Kashmir is Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Drass is quite famous for the excellent trekking options it offers.
Situated in the center of the Himalayan region, Kargil serves as the perfect destination for adventure activities. Apart from that, it is also renowned for some of the finest examples of architectural excellence, situated nearby.
Achabal is situated at a distance of 58 km from the district of Srinagar. Reached via Anantnag, Achabal served as the pleasure retreat of the Mughal Empress Nur Jehan. Situated at a height of 1,677 m, Achabal is a visual treat for the eyes. Achabal is adorned with one of the best Mughal Gardens in India.
As you drive past the Mughal Gardens of Achabal, you will come across the picturesque Daksum. Situated amidst the magnificent grandeur of the Kokarnag springs, it presents an awe-inspiring sight. Standing at an altitude of 2438 m in a densely forested gorge, Daksum offers peace and tranquility.
Situated at a height of 2,020 m, Kokernag is approximately 70 km from the district of Srinagar. Blooming gardens surround this spring, which bubbles at seven places at the foot of the forested mountain. The water of Kokernag in Kashmir is believed to have medicinal and digestive properties.
Verinag is situated at a distance of approximately 80 km from Srinagar. Reached through the link road, it is located at a height of 1,876 m. It is believed that the Verinag spring in Kashmir is the chief source of the river Jhelum. There is an octagonal base at the spring, surrounded by a covered passage.
If you want to experience the real Kashmir then a trip to Watlab is a must for you. As you move away from the well-traversed areas of the valley, slowly and steadily, you will get to see the Kashmir you have never seen before.
Wullar Lake is approximately 60 km from the city of Srinagar, between the towns of Bandipore and Sopore. Spreading over an area of 125 km, Wular Lake is said to be one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. The Wular Lake of Kashmir changes character after every few miles of its course.
Yusmarg is approximately 47 km from the Srinagar and lies in the Badgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. The two-hour drive to the place is an enjoyment in itself. Grassy pastures stretching to acres of land, the dense forests full of pine trees, with the backdrop of splendid snow capped mountains leave you almost speechless.
Activities to do in Kashmir
One of the most popular attractions of Kashmir includes the Kashmir houseboats. The magic of houseboats, with the serene and tranquil water flowing below, is enough to lure tourists to Srinagar. The sound of rippling water combined with the picturesque overview provided by most of the houseboats leave you completely at peace with yourself. Shikaras of Kashmir, India are the perfect solution to the hectic, stressful and maddening pace of most of the cities.
Fishing in Kashmir
One of the major attractions for tourists in the Kashmir valley is fishing. With the ending of the winter season starts the season for fishing in Kashmir, India. However, for fishing in the valley, one requires to get a permit.
Golfing in Kashmir
Golf tourism is one of the main attractions of the Kashmir valley in summers. The peak season for golf in Kashmir is from April to November. One advantage that the game of golf in Kashmir has over other golf courses that the weather here is quite refreshing & the shade of the bordering Chinar & Pine trees enables the play to go on longer.
Mountaineering in Kashmir
For mountaineering in Kashmir, you need to take permission from the Government of India through the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF). The relief and terrain of Kashmir offers exciting opportunities for mountaineering in the state.
Skiing in Kashmir
Snow skiing in Jammu and Kashmir is like a dream come true to any adventure sports enthusiast. The snow capped mountains in Kashmir offer great opportunities for snow skiing. The best place for skiing in Kashmir is Gulmarg. Infact, Gulmarg is the best ski resort in the Himalayas.
Trekking in Kashmir
Trekking in Kashmir is one of the highlights of tourism in the Kashmir valley. Some of the popular and famous routes for trekking in Kashmir valley of India are: Amarnath Yatra, Gulmarg, Sonamarg etc.
River Rafting in Kashmir
Kashmir is quite famous for a number of picturesque lakes and rivers. These water bodies of Kashmir not only serve as delight to the eyes, but are also a hub of a number of activity-oriented leisure sports. The less adventurous people go for the quiet Shikara boat rides on the Dal Lake and Nagin Lake of Srinagar.
Paragliding in Kashmir
Aero sports are a rage amongst those visiting the Kashmir valley. Amongst the numerous aero sports, paragliding is the most popular in Kashmir. Also, it is one of the latest adventure sports that are picking up fast in the Kashmir valley.
Shopping in Kashmir
Shopping in Kashmir is a truly an overwhelming and delightful experience. A shopper’s paradise, Kashmir offers numerous shopping attractions to its visitors. The amazing handicrafts of the valley of Kashmir truly match its scenic beauty. A tour to Kashmir will leave you mesmerized not only with the beauty of the state, but also with its remarkable arts and crafts. A reflection of the colorful life of the Kashmiris, Kashmiri handicrafts are usually made by the women folk of the family.
Kashmiri handicrafts are known for their uniqueness and work far and wide. Some of the handicraft items of Kashmir have even earned global recognition. The Pashmina shawls of Kashmir are one of such handicraft items that are famous throughout the world. Have a look at some of the main shopping attractions of Jammu and Kashmir include Carpets, Papier-mache, Shawls, Silk and Tweeds, Woodwork, Pherans, Brass, Copper and Silverware,Wall hangings with naqqashi work, Chain Stitch Embroidery, Saris Cricket Bats, Wicker baskets, Crewel Furnishings, Namdas etc.
The best time to visit Kashmir is during the months of March to October.
How to Reach
Srinagar airport is approximately 14 km from the city. There are daily flights to Srinagar, operated by Indian Airlines (from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu) and Jet Airways (from Delhi and Jammu).
Jammu Tawi, approximately 305 km far, is the nearest railhead for Srinagar. Trains from Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai and other cities arrive at this station only. During holiday season, when there is a heavy rush for Kashmir, additional trains operate for and from this station.
National Highway 1-A is the main highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu. J&K State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) as well as a number of private Super deluxe, A-class and B-class busses operate to and from the state. Private taxis are also available for traveling to Kashmir.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
1st Lane Boulevard,
Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Vivanta by Taj – Dal View
Kralsangri, Brein, Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir 191121
Lal Chowk, Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Where to Eat
Residency Road, Lal Chowk,
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192126
Imperial Grill Restaurant
TRG Hotel, Bahu Plaza, Gandhinagar,
Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir 180004