"The Paradise on Earth"
Famously known as 'Heaven on Earth', Srinagar is located in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, on the banks of river Jhelum. Srinagar is known for the stationary houseboats and gondola-type rowboats- Shikaras on Dal Lake. Adorned with tranquil Dal Lake & Nigeen Lake, Srinagar is the dream destination for honeymoon and family holidays.
The tourists use Shikaras to see attractions like the Floating Vegetable Market and the Mir Bahris – a lively community of people who live on the lake itself. In addition, there are a lot of houseboats that provide a beautiful and unique stay experience on the lake. Srinagar is home to some of India's most exquisite Mughal-age gardens, with the top attractions being Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh and Chashm-E-Shahi Garden. It is also home to Asia's largest tulip garden.
Kashmiri cuisine or Wazwan is famous all over the globe. So when in Srinagar, trying out the local dishes, which are rich in unique fragrant spices, is a must. Srinagar is also famous for the Kashmiri shawls, Kashmiri apples, and dried fruits (almonds and walnuts) from the Lal Chowk Market.
Heavy snowfall affects the connectivity of Srinagar during the winter months of December to February. Communal tensions also lead to frequent curfews in some parts of the city; however, things have improved in the past few years. So, make sure to check the situation before visiting.
Places To Visit In Srinagar
1. Dal Lake
The famous Dal Lake is the second-largest lake in Jammu & Kashmir. The mirror-like lake reflects the peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains while the colourful shikaras (gondolas) float around. The houseboats and shikaras are its main attractions.
2. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is the largest tulip garden in Asia which is set in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range in Srinagar. Formerly known as Model Floriculture Center, it overlooks the mesmerising Dal Lake. The Tulip Festival held here is the highlight which attracts tourists from the world over.
3. Shankaracharya Temple
The Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar, located on top of the Shankaracharya Hill, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the oldest shrines in Kashmir. Situated at a height of about 1100 feet on the south-east of the city, this sacred temple offers splendid views of the valley and the snow clad mountains of the Pir Panjal range.
4. Shalimar Bagh
Shalimar Bagh is the largest of the three Mughal gardens in Srinagar. It is now a public park and is known as the "crown of Srinagar". The chini khanas or arched niches placed behind waterfalls and the chinar trees are the highlights here.
5. Nishat Bagh
The Nishat Bagh is a 12 terraced garden which is the second-largest Mughal garden in Kashmir after Shalimar Bagh. It has a splendid Mughal central water channel with several fountains, which is surrounded by tall Chinar trees.
6. Char Chinar
Char Chinar is an island in the Dal Lake of Srinagar, surrounded by the Chinar trees on all four sides of it. Also known as Char Chinari (char chinari means four sides) and Rupa Lank, it was constructed by Murad Baksh, the brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Char Chinar is best explored during a shikara ride in the Dal Lake.
7. Nigeen Lake
Nigeen Lake is renowned for its pristine waters and stunning ambience. It is located next to Dal Lake but is much smaller in size. It is one of the best places in the city to catch the sunrise and sunset thanks to the beautiful landscape and willow and poplar trees surrounding it.
Chashme Shahi is one of the three Mughal gardens in Srinagar. It is a terraced garden dotted with walkways, colourful plants and pools of water. It is famous for its natural spring known as Rupa Bhawani.
9. Pari Mahal
The House of Fairies or Pari Mahal is a historic monument placed above the beautiful Chashma Shahi Gardens near Srinagar. A well-laid spacious garden surrounds this structure, which was once a Buddhist monastery and later served as a school of astrology promoted by the eldest son of Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh.
10. Hari Parbat
The majestic mountain overlooking the city of Srinagar is called Hari Parbat. Besides the famous Hari Parbat Fort, the mountain also has various Hindu and Muslim shrines and even a Gurudwara here. This park was open to public visitation only In 2014. Today, visitors can set up picnics here. The fort is in turn fortified by mountains and water bodies.
A famous tourist destination located close to Srinagar, Baramulla's charm lies in its untouched beauty. Enveloped by the Himalayas on all sides and resting on the banks of the River Jhelum, this city has been endowed with a quietly scenic landscape.
The capital of commerce of J&K, Anantnag is filled with hot springs, lakes, temples and shrines. The place is known for its religious tolerance and there are shrines that belong to both the Hindus and the Muslims.
13. Hazratbal Shrine
The Hazratbal Shrine is the holiest Muslim shrine and mosque in Kashmir. It houses a relic known as Moi-e-Muqqadas which is believed to be a sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad's beard. Situated on the banks of Dal Lake facing the Nishat Bagh, it affords a picturesque view of the lake and surrounding mountains.
At a distance of 47 kms from Srinagar, Yusmarg is the quietest place out of all tourist destinations in Kashmir which is also an amazing trek spot. It is one of the most romantic places in the state.
15. Wular Lake
The famed Wular lake is India's largest freshwater lake. An experience unparalleled, it is home to several species of birds and thus haven for bird watchers. It is also popular for boating, water sports and water skiing.
16. Jamia Masjid
Jamia Masjid is a 600-year-old mosque in Srinagar, located in the Nowhatta area amidst the bustle of local bazaars. The tranquil mosque is known for its unique architecture, the highlight being the 378 wooden Deodar pillars. The mosque becomes especially crowded on Fridays.
17. Salim Ali National Park
Located in Srinagar, Salim Ali National Park is a national park housing beautiful mangrove shrubbery habitat for several endangered animals and birds alike. Officially named in commemoration of ornithologist Salim Ali in 1986, this national park is spread across an expanse of 9 km.
18. Badamwari Garden
Situated at the foothills of Hari Parbat in Srinagar, the Badamwari Gardens are known for their bloom of stunning almond flowers. These flowers bloom around March, marking the arrival of the spring season. Badamwari Garden is open to the public from 21 March 2022 till the blooms last.
19. Tarsar Marsar Trek
A trek that not only gives you a thrill of adventure but also a glimpse of nature’s beauty so spell bounding is one of the most memorable trips of Tarsar Marsar Trek. Nestled in the lap of Aru Valley of Kashmir, the trail is of quite a magnificence adorned with variety of landscapes.
20. Kheer Bhawani Temple
Situated in Tul Mulla village near Srinagar, Kheer Bhavani Temple is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Bhavani- the incarnation of Goddess Parvathy. The temple was originally named Bhavani Mandir but eventually came to be known as Kheer Bhavani due to the delicious rice pudding offered as prasad. It is built over a holy water spring in between tall chinar trees.
21. Challi Point
Challi Point is one of the most trendy and popular places in Srinagar. With the Dal lake in the backdrop, this place bustles with both tourists and locals spending some enjoyable time amidst breathtaking sceneries.
22. Dachigam National Park
Situated 22km from the main town of Srinagar, Dachigam National Park is known for housing rare Kashmir stag which is the only species of red deer in India. Other animals that can be spotted here includes Himalayan brown bear to Pygmy Owlets to the predators, the leopards.
23. Nehru Garden
Providing the best view of the Dal lake is Nehru Garden, a botanical garden in Srinagar. It was built in 1969 in the memory of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Nehru Garden is popular for housing a collection of rare Kashmiri tropical plants. Other things to see include 15000 ornamental plants and a collection of oak trees.
24. Burzhama Ruins
Burzhama Ruins is situated in Burzahom in Srinagar. It is archaeological excavation site where numerous relics and remnants have been discovered suggesting the existence of an ancient settlement hundreds of years before. The excavations include skeletons, pottery, dwelling pits, mud brick houses and bone and stone tools.
25. Dastgeer Sahib
A Sufi shrine in Khanyar, Srinagar, Dastgeer Sahib is dedicated to Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jelani. The shrine is known for housing the hair strand of hair strand of Abdul Qadir Gilani and the old Quran written by Ali Ibn Abi Talib AS.
26. Makhdoom Sahib Shrine
Located towards the south of Hari Parbat in Srinagar, Makhdoom Sahib Shrine is an Islamic shrine dedicated to Sufi saint Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom aka Makhdoom Saheb aka Hazrat Sultan aka Mehboob-ul-Alam aka Sultan-ul-Arifeen. Built in Mughal style architecture, the sturdy shrine rests on innumerous pillars and is thronged by pilgrims all through the year.
Charar-i-Sharif is a Muslim shrine dedicated to Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali, situated around 30 kms from Srinagar and built around 600 years ago. Sheikh Wali was the first person to preach Rishism in the valley and propagated non-violence, vegetarianism, communal harmony and tolerance. His remains were buried at this shrine and ever since it holds significant religious importance.
28. SPS Museum
SPS Museum is situated at Lal Mandi in Srinagar and is popular for its had crafted products and notable archaeological artefacts collected from across the state. The museum has been divided into separate sections including archaeology, manuscripts, enamel ware, decorative art, natural history, paper mache and the like.
Things to Do in Srinagar
Shikara Rides in Srinagar: The paramount reason why people come to Srinagar is for the relaxing and memorable Shikara rides. Shikara rides are traditional long boat rides taken along the Dal lake in Srinagar. These gondola-shaped rowing vessels are used for casual tourism purposes. Besides, it is also a great mode of water transport to various areas in Kashmir. Shikara rides are locally used for fishing and seaweed harvesting as well. A typical 3 to 4 hour ride would cost at least INR 100 per person. However, these bargainable prices are subject to the season, with the high season being anywhere between INR 400 and INR 1500. Taking the ride across the scenic Dal Lake at the backdrop of the majestic slow clad Himalaya's is indeed an experience in itself both enjoyable and unparallel.
Stay in a houseboat: Staying in a houseboat amidst pristine waters of the Dal Lake, is one of the most essential things to do in Srinagar. Made in wood and adorned in a typical Kashmir style decor, the houseboats are a perfect way to experience the quintessential local life in the luxurious way. You will also be mesmerised by the surrounding atmosphere and the interior decor.
Visit an Apple Orchard: Srinagar is counted among the most beautiful places of India owing to its lush green orchards, free flowing rivers and paradisal locales. Also, 80% of the country's apple supplies are managed from here. So, visit the emerald carpeted meadows full of green trees sprinkled with shiny red apples and let the picture perfect scene be etched in your memory forever.
Paragliding: Paragliding is one of the most exciting activities that you can experience in Srinagar. Most of the adventure clubs let you experience the thrills of paragliding. Besides giving you a major adrenaline rush, it also lets you have a gorgeous bird's eye view of the valley below. Some of the top paragliding points close to Srinagar include Aru village in Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Harwan Garden.
Trek to Sinthan Top: A mountain pass in the Pir Panjal Mountain Ranges, Sithan Top is found along the National Highway of Kokernag-Sinthan Top-Kishtwar Road. This pathway connects Jammu and Kashmir. The snow-laden hilltop is lately emerging as a new tourist destination owing to the beautiful views and the idyllic setting. It is also popular for mountaineering, trekking and skiing.
Hot Air Balloon in Srinagar: Hot Air Balloon is now available in Srinagar at the Zabarwan Park. It provides breathtaking view of Dal Lake, Zabarwan Park and the Srinagar city. Each hot air balloon can accommodate 4 people at a time. The ride lasts 10 minutes and goes up to 28-32 feet. There is generally a 1 hour waiting time.
Visit the Floating Market: Srinagar is also popular for its floating vegetable markets where vegetable and fruits are sold around in the waters on the Shikara. More than a sell-purchase transaction, it is an interesting place to visit for sightseeing. One of the most unique things to do in Srinagar, these markets are run at the corner of the Dal Lake and besides the regular traders and buyers, they attract a whole lot of tourists.
Shopping in Srinagar
There is plenty that you can shop for while in Srinagar. It is famous for its handicrafts, wooden products, handlooms and more.
You would find a variety of hand-knotted oriental carpets made entirely of wool or silk which are famous for their beautiful patterns and bright colours.
Shawls made of wool, silk, pashmina etc. and organic dyes make for excellent souvenirs.
There are numerous markets selling paper mache items like vases or boxes which are known for their organic or vegetable-based colours.
Srinagar is also popular for wooden items, especially made of walnut wood, which feature intricate carvings.
You can also shop for a copperware with beautiful carvings; pots, glasses, water jugs, pans, cauldrons, etc. are available.
Kashmiri tea (specifically Kashmiri Kahwa and ink tea) is another item that you can shop for while you are in Srinagar since it is known all around for its taste and aroma.
Spices like saffron, black cumin, Kashmiri red chilli powder and dry fruits like walnuts, figs, raisins, dates and apricots etc. are also sold here.
Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Zaina Kadal Road, Polo View and floating markets are great for finding souvenirs.
Food in Srinagar
Srinagar is synonymous with a delectable cuisine which features a variety of dishes, especially those that contain meat and are extremely flavourful.
One of the most popular dishes that you must try out when visiting Srinagar is rogan josh which is made of lamb; a spicy and aromatic dish, it is made by caramelising onions and cooking the spices with yoghurt.
Matschgand is essentially a dish featuring minced meat in thick red gravy which is hot and spicy because of rich spices.
Make sure to try out modur pulao, a rice dish which includes a variety of spices like saffron, cashews, almonds, green cardamom, sugar and also ghee.
Another popular meat dish is shab daig which is prepared overnight and includes turnip which is cooked alongside meat.
You can also try out bakarkhani which is a naan like bread with sesame seeds eaten with a spicy dish or gogaji razmah made of kidney beans, turnip and various spices.
Beverages like noon chai, which is pink salty tea and Kahwa which is green tea with dry fruits and spices are also famous.
Srinagar is also known for its desserts such as phirni. It is made up of ground rice, milk, saffron, cardamom, fruits, rose essence etc.
Do make sure to try falooda which comprises milk, vermicelli, basil seeds, tapioca pearls etc., seviyan which is made of milk and vermicelli, and shufta made of loads of dry fruits and sugar.
"Heart of Winter Sports in India"
Situated at an altitude of 2730 m above sea level, Gulmarg is a popular skiing destination located in Pir Panjal Range of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by snow-covered lofty Himalayas, meadows of flowers, deep ravines, evergreen forested valleys, Gulmarg also has the world's second-highest Gondola ride.
Among one of the top honeymoon destinations in India, Gulmarg boasts of being a beautiful town without the crowd like Manali and Shimla. Gulmarg has also been developed as an adventure hub as Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering is located here. A lot of courses on trekking, mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding are offered by IISM. There are a lot of other private tour operators in Gulmarg as well which provide similar courses and facilities for skiing, snowboarding and trekking. Known for its scenic beauty, Gulmarg has also been a popular destination for shooting of various Bollywood films.
Famous Attractions & Places To Visit In Gulmarg
1. Kongdori - Gulmarg Gondola
Gulmarg Gondola is the second longest and second-highest cable car in the world. Divided into two phases, it ferries almost 600 people per hour to and from the Apharwat Mountain. Phase 1 of Gulmarg Gondola ferries people from Gulmarg Resort to Kongdoori Station. Phase 2 of Gulmarg Gondola connects Kongdoori Mountain to Apharwat Peak.
2. Alpathar Lake
Alpather Lake is a high altitude lake set between the twin Apharwat Peak in Gulmarg. It is popularly known as the Frozen Lake as it remains completely frozen from November to June. It is popular for the one-day trek which starts from Gulmarg and covers a distance of almost 13 km.
3. Apharwat Peak
Situated at a height of 4200 metres above the mean sea level, Apharwat Peak in Gulmarg is one of the most breathtaking places. Remotely positioned near LOC with Pakistan, the region receives heavy rainfall and is covered in snow for most of the year. Apharwat Peak is where winter sports in Gulmarg takes place.
4. Skiing in Gulmarg
Gulmarg is a hill town in Jammu and Kashmir which is lately gaining a lot of popularity for its ski terrain. Ideal for both amateur and professional skiers, the place has several skiing operators and institutes that can tutor you on the same.
5. Maharani Temple
The Maharani Temple of Gulmarg is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and lies on a small hillock which is visible from all corners of the town. It looks striking with its red roof against the green meadows. Also known as the Rani Temple or Mohineshwar Shivalaya, it is popular as the spot where the famous Bollywood song "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar" was shot.
6. Drung Waterfall
The Drung Waterfall is an extremely popular tourist attraction located in the Tangmarg tehsil of Gulmarg, Baramulla. A cascading waterfall set amidst majestic mountains, it freezes completely during winter due to the extremely low temperature. This frozen waterfall is a must-visit in the area.
7. Strawberry Valley
A hidden attraction in Gulmarg is Strawberry Valley, unexploited by tourism and still holding its nascent beauty and charm. The emerald meadows with budding red strawberries look like a picture straight out from Garden of Eden.
8. Ningli Nalla
Situated 10 km from Gulmarg, Ningle Nallah is a mountain stream flanked with snow-capped mountains and lush green pastures from all four sides. The water formed by the melting of ice in Apharwat Peak and Alpather Lake is the main source of Ningle Nallah. It is popular for picnic and camping.
9. St. Mary Church
Standing tall, even after a 100 odd years, is this Victorian architectural wonder of the Saint Mary's Church located near the Golf Course in Gulmarg. The church is accessible only by trekking and is known for the stained glass artwork.
10. Golf Course
Famed as the highest 18 hole golf course in the world, the Gulmarg Golf Course is also the longest in India. It is very beautiful and consists of a meadow with various varieties of beautiful and rare species of flowers. Visitors are allowed to take their cars inside for a ride.
Tangmarg is a small town in the Baramulla district of Kashmir, almost 13km from Gulmarg. Known as the gateway to Gulmarg, the prime attractions in this tiny hamlet include Baba Reshi Shrine, Ningle Nallah, Baderkoot, Gogaldara, among others.
12. Seven Springs
Seven Springs is the majestic stream, known for its seven different outlets of water. Located on a hillock near Kongdori, the springs offer a spectacular view of the valley of Gulmarg and Srinagar. A gondola cable ride from the base of the Apharwat mountain can take you to this enchanting place with sweeping vistas of snow-capped mountains and the blooming vale below.
13. Ziarat of Baba Reshi
Ziarat of Baba Reshi is a Muslim shrine built in the 13th century on the slopes below Gulmarg. The Ziarat or the tomb is of a well-known Muslim saint, Baba Payam-Uddin who died here in 1480.
14. Gulmarg Biosphere Reserves
The Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve is a protected reserve situated 48 km from Srinagar. It is known for housing many exotic and rare species including musk deer, snow leopard, etc. The reserve boasts of its rich avifauna population which are a beautiful sight during the months of migration.
15. Kanchenjunga Museum
The museum has on display a modest exhibit of modern warfare & mountaineering equipments and gears used by the Indian Army in the mountains. Developed initially as a High-Altitude Warfare School, the museum was set up to commemorate 1997's first summit of Indian Army to Kanchenjunga.
16. Children's Park
Children’s Park in Gulmarg sprawls over acres of land amidst breathtaking conifers, floating clouds, and spectacular hills. It houses toy trains, car rides, buggy rides, and several slides and swings.
Khilanmarg is a miniature valley set at a 6 km walk from Gulmarg. It is surrounded by panoramic glimpses of some of the tallest Himalayan peaks and is a great place for offbeat travel enthusiasts as it is not directly reachable on vehicles. One has to either walk from Gulmarg or take a pony to reach Khilanmarg.
18. Imambara Goom
mambara Goom is a religious attraction located at Ahmadpora near Baramullah. It is a sacred destination for Muslims, Hindu, Sikhs and Buddhists alike. The view of the snow-dusted mountains adds to the tranquil atmosphere.
19. Ferozpur Nallah
Ferozepur Nallah is another exquisite mountain stream flowing through the valleys between the beautiful Chinamarg and Nurpur Pass. This Nallah is quite famous for its activity of trout fishing that takes place over here in summers.
Gulmarg Snow Festival
Started in 2003 to encourage winter sports and tourism, Gulmar Snow Festival is a two-day long celebration organized every year by the tourism ministry. The fest offers a bouquet of delights to its visitors by organizing snow sporting activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snow - sledging and ice skating.
Gulmarg is not a shopping destination and doesn't offer as much as Srinagar. However, there are always souvenirs to buy. Some of the things to buy in Gulmarg include Pashmina shawls, walnut products, dry fruits, silk carpets, papier-mache souvenirs and stone jewellery.
What is the best time to visit Gulmarg?
The best time to visit Gulmarg is in Summer from March - June. The hill station is often visited for the adventurous opportunities that await visitors and the scenic views of the surroundings from the town. If you are a nature enthusiast who loves the heat, the months April, May and June are the best months for a visit. Gulmarg is also known as the 'meadow of flowers' due to the fields of blooming flowers that cover the lands of the city in Summer. However, If skiing is what you are looking forward to, December to mid March are recommended.
Food of Gulmarg
Like most of the areas around it, the essential and most popular bits of Gulmarg's cuisine include Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo and Yakhni. A menu bit more local would list down, Qabargaah (Fried Rack of Lamb; The Kashmiri Muslims refer to this dish as "Tabakh maaz"), Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually taken as a dessert) and Muj Gaad (Fish with Raddish).
Along with this Raazma-Gogji (kidney beans with turnip), Sheer Chai(salted pink tea with almonds), Kehwah (sweet green tea with almonds and cardamom) and Sheekh Kabab (spicy ground lamb on skewers) are preparations which almost define Gulmarg's cuisine.
"Valley of the Shepherds"
Situated in the Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir Valley, Pahalgam is a beautiful hill station and a popular tourist attraction. Pahalgam is located on the banks of the Liddar River and is famous for adventure activities like hiking, trekking, fishing.
Pahalgam serves as the base of one of the most important pilgrimages in India - the Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari, located 16.6 km. away from Pahalgam is the actual base camp of the Amarnath. Kolhoi Glaciers trek via a beautiful village named Aru is one of the most popular treks in the region. The local people also offer sledging on the frozen glaciers. In addition, the long stretches of rivers in Pahalgam are the perfect site for people who enjoy trout fishing.
Pahalgam is where the famous Bollywood movie Betaab, starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh, was shot. The valley was consequently named Betaab Valley after that. Sheshnag Lake, situated near Pahalgam, is another bliss altogether. When in Pahalgam, buy authentic Kashmiri saffron from Pampore.
Top Attractions & Places To Visit In Pahalgam
1. Aru Valley
Located around 11 km from Pahalgam, Aru Valley is the base camp for trekking to the Kolhoi Glacier and the Tarsar-Marsar Lake. Aru lies beside the Aru river and is known for its scenic meadows and activities like horse riding, hiking and trekking.
Chandanwari, located 15 km from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the famous Amarnath Yatra. Surrounded by snow-dusted mountains and the Lidder River flowing by, it is breathtaking. Chandanwari is famous for snow sledging on a snow bridge and enjoying a picnic.
Baisaran is a beautiful destination 6 kms away from Pahalgam. It is also called the mini Switzerland of India with tranquil meadows, pristine lakes and picturesque settings. You can just stroll down the area or sit down to have a picnic. Baisaran also offers activities like pony rides, zorbing, etc.
4. Betaab Valley
Betaab Valley is a breathtaking combination of picturesque surroundings encircled by tall deodar trees and pine forests, with the Lidder River flowing right through it. It got its name from the Bollywood movie Betaab starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh shot here.
5. Kolahoi Glacier
Situated over the Lidder River, Kolahoi glacier is a hanging glacier known for its breath taking views. While the only way of reaching this glacier is though trekking, one can also hire ponies or horses for some parts of the journey.
6. Lidder River
Lidder River is a 73-kilometre long glacial river that originates from the Kolhoi glacier. Flowing through the valleys of Pahalgam, Lidden River is a quaint picnic spot. Other adventure sports that you can indulge in are white water rafting, angling, horse riding, and fishing.
7. Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake is one of the topmost attractions of Pahalgam and is an epitome of natural beauty, peace and serenity. Enveloped in snow capped mountains and surrounded by tall alpine meadows, the lake is a haven for nature lovers.
8. Lolab Valley
Lolab Valley is an oval-shaped valley and a top camping site in Kashmir, famous for its scenic natural beauty, dense pine forests and bubbling springs. It is also home to some animals like Himalayan brown and black bear, snow leopard, hangul and musk deer.
With plenty of trekking trails, Pahalgam is the base camp for countless trekkers. Challenging mountain ranges, pristine lakes and plateaus make the region of Pahalgam suitable for all types of trekking. Best time to trek in Pahalgam is from April to June.
10. Tulian Lake
Tulian Lake is a famous tourist attraction in Pahalgam, located between the Pir Panjar and the Zanskar range. It is a sparkling blue lake which is popular for the 2-day trek needed to reach it.
11. Lidder Amusement Park
Lidder Amusement Park is one of the best amusement parks in the region replete with paddle boats, miniature railways, bumping car rides, and other swings and fun games; all in the lap of the mighty mountain peaks.
12. Mamaleshwara Temple
Mamleshwara Temple is a famous temple in Pahalgam, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the few temples constructed purely of stone, by the then King Jayasima. Inside the temple complex is a shrine completely covered in gold.
A camper's delight, Panchtarni is one of the most scenic spots around Pahalgam. It is the final helicopter drop point for the Amarnath Yatra from where the pilgrims have to undertake the 6 km remaining trek on foot or by mule.
Top Things To Do In Pahalgam
Pahalgam is also a host to the famous Amarnath Yatra which takes place each year during the month of Sawan (July to August). It commence from both routes, of Pahalgam and Baltal.
At an altitude of about 2400m above sea level, a nine hole golf course is sported by Pahalgam, also referred to as 'Plateau' by a lot of locals. One can also rent equipments here as well as enjoy the few refreshments available in the premises.
While in Pahalgam do shop for woolens, carpets, kaftans, Namaz prayer rugs, Kashmiri handicrafts and tea cozies. Zamindar-Home of Handicrafts, is a shop in Pahalgam where one can not only get carpets and Gabbas but also fantastic shawls and dress materials with some lovely Kashmiri embroidery.
With plenty of trekking trails, Pahalgam is the base camp for countless trekkers. Challenging mountain ranges, pristine lakes and plateaus make the region of Pahalgam suitable for all types of trekking. Best time to trek in Pahalgam is from April to June.
White River Rafting
Indulge into pure awesomeness in the rivers flowing in and around Pahalgam by rafting in its gentle gradients. A 2 km stretch on the Aru branch of the Lidder River is a popular rafting spot in Pahalgam. In Pahalgam, white river rafting generally starts in the month of June.
What is the best time to visit Pahalgam?
March to November is the best time to visit Pahalgam to enjoy the outdoor adventure activities like trekking, sledging and skiing. The temperature during this time ranges between 1 and 12 degree Celsius. Summer months from April to June is the most crowded season in Pahalgam. The temperature during these months ranges between 11 and 25 degrees Celcius, making it perfect for sightseeing and quick picnics. Tourists undertaking the famous Amarnath Yatra, visit Pahalgam between July and August.
Food of Pahalgam
Pahalgam fosters a subtle distinctness in its cuisine from its neighbours in the state. The preparations that give it this hint of uniqueness include Matschgand (minced lamb meatballs in spicy red gravy), Kaanti (lamb pieces in red hot gravy, usually eaten as a snack and not part of the main course). Other popular items are Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually as a dessert), Muj Gaad (Fish with Radish), Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji (lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish), Marcha-wangan korma and Syoon Olav (Meat with Potatoes cooked in spicy gravy).
"The Meadow of Gold"
Sonamarg is a picturesque hill station in Jammu and Kashmir, located 80km north-east of Srinagar. At an elevation of around 2800 km from sea level, Sonamarg is known for its snow-laden fields, surrounded by majestic glaciers and serene lakes which casts subtle spells on the travellers.
Sonamarg is enveloped by the great Himalayan glaciers - Kolhoi Glacier and Machoi Glacier - and gives rise to the famous Three Sisters of Kashmir Valley. Towering over this charming hill town are the peaks like Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak, Machoi Peak and Sirbal Peak which makes Songamarg a popular place for adventure sports tourism.
Sonamarg acts as the base camp for the trekking routes which leads to the mountain lakes such as Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Kishansar. The Sonamarg Valley is divided into two halves by the Thajiwas range - on one side is the fir-covered Thajiwas spur popular for its camping site. The other side houses some stunning waterfalls and the Thajiwas glacier which is the prime attraction of this place.
Sonamarg remains inaccessible during winters as the NH1D connecting it to the nearby places closed down due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.
Places To Visit In Sonmarg
1. Zoji-La Pass
Zoji La is a high mountain pass located in the Dras, near Ladakh, at an altitude of 3528 m above the sea level. Connecting Kashmir to Dras and Suru Valley, it is known as one of the world's most dangerous mountain roads.
2. Krishnasar Lake
Located at a height of 3801 m above sea level, Krishnasar Lake is one of the most mesmerizing lakes in Sonamarg. Surrounded by dense alpines, the place offers cool and pleasant atmosphere. The lake is popular for trout fishing while people also enjoy other water activities here.
3. Baltal Valley
Baltal is known for its scenic views. The tents available here are affordable and tourists need to either trek or hire ponies to reach the cave. Tourists can also take helicopter services from Baltal that will drop the yatris till Panjtarni which is 5 km from the cave in just 7 minutes.
4. Gangabal Trek
Considered a highly sacred place by the Hindus, known as Harmuk Ganga at a height of 3570 m above sea level is Gangabal trek. The lake is known a large population of fish, the rainbow trout fish being the star of the lake.
5. Vishansar Lake
A little outside Sonamarg, Vishansar Lake is an alpine high-altitude oligotrophic lake. It is a sparkling blue lake surrounded by a lush green meadow, alpine flowers and white and silver mountains at a tantalizing distance. The Vishansar Lake completely freezes during the winter, while during the summer, it is enveloped by lush green meadows.
6. Nilagrad River
Nilagrad River is a highly revered river, located 6km from Sonamarg. The reddish water of the river is believed to have medicinal properties which make it a popular tourist attraction.
Top Things To Do In Sonamarg
1. Trekking to Thajiwas Glacier
Sonamarg which means meadow of gold has its own charm . Snow masked Thajiwas glacier is one of the most enchanting tourist place of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located 3km from the town. It is at an altitude of 9,186 feet. It is a lovely vantage point to observe snow and the picturesque Kashmir Valley.
2. White River Rafting
White water rafting is one of the popular things to do in Sonamarg. One can go for a long rafting expedition starting from Baltal and ending at Shutkari Bridge at Sonamarg.
With plenty of trekking trails traced on the map of this town, Sonamarg is a delight for trekkers. Challenging mountain ranges, pristine lakes, and plateaus make the region of Sonamarg suitable for all types of treks. Machoi Peak, Amarnath Peak, Sirbal Peak, and Kolahoi Peak are popular peaks for trekking.
4. Kashmir Great Lakes Trek
Described as heaven on Earth, Kashmir offers some of the most exciting treks in India. This Great Lakes Trek is definitely one of them, though lesser known. Surrounded by sheer beauty, the trek begins at Sonamarg.
What is the best time to visit Sonamarg?
The best time to visit Sonamarg is Summer from April to June when the wild flowers are in full bloom making Sonamarg breathtaking. The temperature during this time ranges around 10 to 20 degrees Celcius. Another good time to visit Sonamarg is from July to August, especially for people undertaking the Amarnath Yatra trek. Sonamarg remains closed to tourists during the winters from November to March because of heavy snowfall and avalanche.
Food of Sonamarg
Sonamarg's cuisine is not very diverse but derives most popular delicacies from a typical Kashmiri cuisine. Local cuisine includes Syoon Olav (Meat with Potatoes cooked in spicy gravy), Marcha-Wangan korma, Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji (lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish), Muj Gaad (Fish with Radish), Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually as a dessert), Kaanti (lamb pieces in red hot gravy, usually eaten as a snack and not part of the main course) and Matschgand (minced lamb meatballs in spicy red gravy).
How to Reach Srinagar
Many people take the train to Jammu followed by a taxi or bus ride to Srinagar. State buses are safe but a little uncomfortable. Foreign travelers on visas are required to register upon arrival at the airport or to their hotel or houseboat. Jammu has an excellent airport which has many flights from Delhi and Leh. Spice Jet, Jet Airways, Air India and Go Air have flights from Delhi.
What is the best time to visit Srinagar?
April to October is the best time to visit Srinagar when the weather is perfect for sightseeing. The minimum temperature during this time ranges between 10 to 20 degrees Celcius while the maximum temperature is around 20 to 30 degrees Celcius. Srinagar has two main seasons - summer and winter with 1-2 months of autumn. There is no proper monsoon season as Srinagar has very little rainfall. Overall, Srinagar has pleasant weather with a soothing temperature making it a go-to destination throughout the year.
Srinagar Tour Packages
About Srinagar Tourism: Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is situated in the Kashmir Valley and is often called the “Venice of the East”. Heaven for nature lovers, Srinagar makes for an excellent holiday destination owing to its picturesque landscape featuring lush green gardens, lakes and shikaras, palaces, heritage sites, etc. Enjoy the best of the city with multitude of Srinagar tour packages that are ideal for everyone.
Srinagar holiday packages provide you an opportunity to discover the region’s rich flora and fauna at sites like the Salim Ali National Park and Dachigam National Park, known to house the rare Kashmir stag, flying fox, hangul etc. The region’s hilly terrain is suitable for outdoor activities like trekking (the Tarsar Marsar Trek is quite popular) and paragliding. For an incredible experience, visit destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Katra.
Situated in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, Katra is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in India since it’s home to the Vaishno Devi temple in the Trikuta Mountains that is dedicated to Goddess Durga. If you go around Navaratri, you can be part of the massive crowds that come to pray here. The gorgeous Pahalgam is synonymous with verdure, the Amarnath Yatra, Baisaran, the mesmerising Kolahoi Glacier etc! Enjoy a thrilling skiing excursion in Gulmarg that is part of the Pir Pranjal ranges, explore its green valleys, board the Gulmarg Gondola and visit the religious site called Imambara Goom. We offer a number of Srinagar tour packages that are affordable and customisable, making your trip with friends and family unforgettable.