The fascinating beauty of Kashmir lies in its rugged mountainous terrain flaked with picturesque lakes and fierce rivers. The ubiquitous serenity adds a unique appeal to Kashmir. And to say that Kashmir is heaven on Earth is not an exaggeration, but it comes from the overwhelming feeling of experiencing such stupefying beauty at every turn. It is a rare spectacle. Although Kashmir is charismatic everywhere, but there are a few gems that make a vacation in Kashmir truly unforgettable.
The moment you land on the capital Srinagar, you are startled by the scenery. You begin to wonder if that is the heaven itself or a replica. But it is just the beginning of your Kashmir tour and Srinagar is a mere introduction to the beauty that Kashmir holds. Dal Lake is the centrepiece of the city – captivating and inspiring. Whether you stare at the lake from the city or ride a shikara to watch the city pass by, the scenery is beyond compare. You cannot escape the lush splendour of the Mughal Gardens like Chashme Shahi, Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh. Climb up a couple of hundred steps to reach the Shankaracharya Temple, perched atop a cliff from where the views of Srinagar are mesmerising.
This small town is a glittering gem of Kashmir and you must book a Kashmir travel package that includes a trip to this enchanting town. Replete with boundless natural beauty, this town is also a great place for adrenaline-rushing white water rafting. The Lidder River shows a fierce side around Pahalgam and roars wildly as it winds down the rapids of different grades. Rafting is best done between April and September, when the river is gushing with water. And if you are more inclined towards laid-back Kashmir holidays, explore the resplendent Betaab Valley and the splendid Aru Valley. Watch the snow-covered peaks reflecting orange and golden hues of the sun and a gleaming deep blue colour in the moonlight as you camp under a starry sky.
The rolling hills of Gulmarg attract trekkers from around the globe to marvel at the stupendous charm of this town. The challenging trails up to the glorious mountains of the Pir Panjal range can be difficult for some, but those who make it to the mountain tops are rewarded with spellbinding vistas of the Himalayas. The name translates to ‘Meadow of Flowers’ and is aptly termed as the beautiful wildflower blooms lace the landscape. That is, of course in summers. In winters, the town is covered in a blanket of snow and is a great time to enjoy holidays in Kashmir. The snow is best explored from the peak of the Kongdoori Mountain. A cable car ride takes you to the peak where the scenery stupefies you, making you feel like you are in heaven. Fluffy white snow also calls for trying a hand at skiing and Gulmarg is renowned for its international-grade slopes.
Kashmir is, without a doubt, blessed with a perpetual natural beauty and Sonamarg is yet another example of its scenic splendour. The imposing mountains and glistening glaciers are the highlights of Sonamarg. There are numerous adventure activities to be indulged in such as white water rafting, trekking, skiing, camping and fishing. The sun plays hide and seek here and is often hidden behind the clouds, making it hard to figure out why the town is called Sonamarg (The Meadow of Gold). The trick is to get up early and find a vantage point (any place from where you can see the peaks) to watch the first rays of sun reaching the snow-clad peaks and making them shimmer as if they are made of gold. The serene environs of this town make it a perfect getaway for honeymoon in Kashmir.
It is an offence to explore Kashmir without feasting on its scrumptious cuisine that boasts of heavenly dishes. Some exceptionally-delectable delicacies include rogan josh, goshtaba, monji haak and matschgand. You must also try the famous wazwan, a multi-course meal, famed for its rich preparation. Additionally, drink a hot cup of kahwa to keep yourself warm and breathe a lot of fresh air as it is hard to come by these days.
So what are you waiting for? Just pack those woollens and take a trip down the lush valley.