Jammu and Kashmir is a mesmerizing place that testifies Heaven on Earth. Snow-covered for the most part of the year, the area is home to some fantastic spots that store the beauty of nature in its purest form. The place enjoys a global rank in terms of tourism and is especially preferred by couples as their honeymoon destinations.
What makes Jammu and Kashmir enthralling is the variety of options it encapsulates for its tourists. There are places of worship, trek opportunities, camping, rafting, sightseeing and much more giving you a galore of choices to try your hands on. And while you are here, it is advisable to get a flavour of their traditional lifestyles including a sneak-peek into their world of handicrafts and delectable cuisine.
Here we enlist 5-holiday destinations that are a must-visit with family and dear ones to give you an experience of a lifetime.
- Pahalgam- Pahalgam is a great tourist destination that deserves a place when planning a Kashmir Holiday package. Dotted with lush green meadows, the place has earned itself the name of “Valley of Shepherd”. The place sits on the banks of the famous Lidder river that features a foaming overview. Aru and Betaab valley invoke breathtaking views of lakes and streams with fringes of greenery. For those who are looking for a quaint environment where one can enjoy the sky kissing mountains and apple orchards; Pahalgam offers you the perfect platform. Further, sports lovers can also enjoy a lot of activities in Pahalgam like, trekking, white water rafting in the Lidder River and trout fishing. Camping can be done at Lidderwat Tarsar Lake, Panchtarni and Lidderwat that promises to give an experience of a lifetime. The place is also ideal for a family vacay as you can comfortably enjoy in the lap of Mother Nature while spending quality time with your loved ones.
- Sonmarg- Sonmarg is a beautiful spot, perched at an altitude of 2800 meters. Popularly known as the “Meadow of Gold”, it overlooks breathtaking views of glaciers, snow-capped mountains and forests, offering a treat for nature lovers. Offering some of the great treks of Kashmir, it is a retreat for adventure enthusiasts. Gangabal Lake Trek is one such trek that draws many tourists. Krishnasar and Vishansar are places of trout fishing that allure many people here. It serves as a good place for camping especially for the pilgrims on their journey to Amarnath Cave. During camping one can explore the majestic beauty of the snow-clad Himalayan Mountains and also feast their eyes on the rich flora consisting of sycamore alpine flowers, fir and silver birch. You can also walk around the grasslands of Baltal to explore Sonmarg in its unadulterated form. The best time to visit here is from May to September and November to February.
- Gurez Valley- One of the hidden gems of Kashmir, Gurez Valley truly personified heaven on earth. The valley boasts of rich flora and fauna including snow leopard and Himalayan brown bear, giving a plethora of options for wildlife lovers. It is further surrounded by snow-covered mountains and engulfed between dense pine forests, making postcard-perfect scenery. Dawar lies in the heart of the Gurez valley and has places for lodging. Gurez offers many places to visit like the Habba Khatoon peak, Peer Baba shrine and sightseeing options alongside the Kishanganga River. The valley stores the mesmerizing beauty of nature, which can be enjoyed with your dear ones. For those who love trekking, choices are available from Gurez and Title to Drass, Zanskar and Dahanu offering thrilling experiences. You can also lay eyes on Wular lake, the largest freshwater lake in Asia and the razdan pass that are some of the prime destinations in this area.
- Srinagar- The summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar is famous for its lake and gardens and has rightly been given the title of “ Land of Lakes and Gardens”. It is home to some great gardens, like the Shalimar Bagh, Chasme Shahi and Nishant Garden which behold surreal beauty. You can also visit the Tulip garden, which captures more than forty species of tulips that bloom in March and April. It is one of the popular destinations of the country known for its Dal and Nigeen lakes that are known for its Shrikara ride and houseboats that levy you with a unique experience. Another great spot to visit is the floating vegetable market on Dal Lake which is quite distinctive. Hari Parbat fort, Pari Mahal and the Khanqah Shahi Hamadan are great places of historical importance which treasures the rich cultural heritage of India. Hazratbal Shrine, Shankaracharya temple( located at hilltop) and Kheer Bhawani are other monuments worthy of visiting. While on a visit to Srinagar, so try the traditional cuisine Wazwan and go on a shopping spree for embroidered clothes and handicrafts which are unique to this place.
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- Vaishno Devi- A sacred place for religious believers, Vaishno Devi is a pilgrimage centre to visit with family. Situated at a whopping height of 5300 feet, it requires a bit of an adventurous trek to reach the Trikuta Mountains to get the darshan of the deity. During the trek, you can enjoy the heightened beauty of nature. The beauty of the temple is that it is in the form of a cave that embodies Pindies which are natural stone structures believed to have incarnated on their own. The three Goddesses, Saraswati, Kali and Lakshmi are placed here who are very powerful. Worshipping them is considered as one of the pious deeds. There are many lodging places available here with hotels placed on the viewpoints that promise a panoramic view of the beautiful nature. The best time to visit here is from March to October, as the climate is quite pleasant here.