Kashmir is often called “heaven on earth” because of its splendid natural beauty. There’s an abundance of snow in Kashmir in winter, whereas in spring it is covered with fresh, colorful blooms. Sleepy villages, alpine meadows, apple orchards and snowy peaks all combine to give Kashmir a unique, exotic identity. Popular tourist destinations in Kashmir have something for everyone, from honeymooners to adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts to the religiously-inclined. Indeed, they all make a bee line to Kashmir to experience its sublime natural beauty.
In July and August, pilgrims also arrive in large numbers to join in the Amarnath sacred yatra starting from Pahalgam, a beautiful hill station of Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, Kashmir receives both tourists and pilgrims alike. Here are the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir.
This beautiful area’s name means “meadow of flowers,” and vibrant wildflowers cover the vast stretches of its alpine meadows in spring. Meanwhile, in winter, snow cloaks its vales, making it an ideal spot for winter sports like snowboarding and skiing. The gondola cable car ride is certainly a popular activity. The major tourist attractions include St Mary’s Church, Ningle Nallah, a golf course, Apharwat Peak and Alpather Lake.
At the confluence of Sheshnag Lake and Lidder River stands the picturesque hill station of Pahalgam, often referred to as “Valley of Shepherds.” Mesmerizing vistas of snow-clad mountains, alpine forests, vast meadows and turquoise lakes constitute the scenic beauty of Pahalgam. Each year in the Hindu month of Shravan, the sacred pilgrimage journey to Shri Amarnath cave shrine starts from Pahalgam, making it the base camp for this religious expedition.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
Colorful tulips in full bloom carpet 30 hectares of land in Srinagar. This planned garden lying at the base of the Zabarwan mountain range is the largest of its kind in Asia. The tulips farmed here are grown from specially bought seeds from Spain. Once you reach the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, you will find yourself amid a floral extravaganza.
The Dal Lake
Shimmering and resplendent, Dal Lake in the heart of Srinagar is a large pellucid water body of unparalleled beauty. Lush and colorful Mughal gardens also surround the lake, known as the “Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir.” Richly carved, British-built houseboats line up on one portion of the lake. A ride on a canopied shikara certainly offers a scintillating view of the floating markets and gardens, laden with fruits, veggies and flowers. Also, the views of sunrise and sunset from the shikaras are mesmerizing.
This small, scenic mountain town is situated along the banks of the Nallah Sindh River. Its name means “meadow of gold.” And indeed, the beauty of the majestic mountains, lakes, glaciers, alpine meadows and waterfalls is no less than pure gold. The best way to explore the area is to hire a guide; the best way to reach the glacier is by taking a pony ride.
This is a forested hill atop which stands one of the most ancient temples of Lord Shiva, dating back to the 9th century A.D. Grey blocks of stone were used in the construction of the temple and the architecture is unquestionably an ancient one. A flight of 250 steps uphill leads to the temple. From the hilltop you can catch a wondrous bird’s eye view of the picturesque Srinagar.
Chashme Shahi Garden
Chashme Shahi is one of the Mughal gardens of Srinagar. Per its history, Shah Jahan gifted this beautiful garden to his son, Prince Dara Shikoh. The garden has a Persian style design and architecture. A spring in the garden’s centre adds to its grandeur. Waterfalls, fountains, statues, rose gardens and other types of floral gardens make Chase Shahi a true garden of paradisiacal beauty.