Kashmir often known as the ‘heaven on earth’ is indeed so because of the splendid natural beauty it is blessed with. There’s no dearth of snowing in Kashmir in the winter months while in the springs, there’s no dearth of fresh, colorful blooms.
Sleepy villages, emerald alpine meadows, wooden stilt houses, apple orchards, lofty snowy peaks, luxurious house boats, canopied Shikaras and The Dal all combine to give Kashmir, a unique, exotic identity as the most beautiful tourist destination on this earth. Honeymooners, adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, photo fanatics and even religiously-inclined travelers all make a bee line to Kashmir in order to experience nature in all its beauty and sublimity.
In the month of July-August, pilgrims pour in large numbers to join in the Amarnath sacred yatra that starts 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 which should never be missed while you are on a Kashmir trip. Read on to learn:
‘Gulmarg’; the word stands for ‘Meadow of flowers’. The vast stretches of Alpine meadows are covered with vibrant flowers during the Spring season while in the winters snow cloaks the vales of Gulmarg making it an ideal spot for winter sports like snowboarding, skiing etc. Gondola cable car ride is an important activity you could undertake at Gulmarg. The major tourist attractions of Gulmarg include St Mary’s Church, Ningle Nallah, Golf Course, Apharwat peak, Alpather Lake.
On 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, wooded 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 which makes the base camp for this religious expedition.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
30 hectares of land in Srinagar is carpeted with colorful Tulips in full bloom. This is a planned garden lying at the base of Zabarwan mountain ranges and is the largest of its kinds in the whole of Asia. The Tulips farmed here have their origin in Spain as specially bought seeds from Spain have been sowed in the land to grow the Tulips. Once you reach the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, you find yourself amid a floral extravaganza.
The Dal Lake
Shimmering and resplendent, The Dal in the heart of Srinagar is a large pellucid water body of unparalleled beauty. Lush and colorful Mughal gardens surround the Dal Lake, correctly referred to as the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir’. Richly carved, British-built houseboats are lined up on one portion of the lake and canopied flat boats; the Shikaras ply on the Dal and a ride on the Shikara offers one with a scintillating view of the floating markets and vibrantly colorful floating gardens laden with fruits, veggies and flowers. Also, the views of sunrise and sunset from the Shikara are too mesmerizing.
The mountainous town of Sonamarg is a scenic small town situated along the river banks of Nallah Sindh River. The word ‘Sonamarg’ stands for ‘Meadow of Gold’ and indeed the beauty of the place characterized by snow capped majestic mountains, placid lakes, amazing glaciers, vast alpine meadows and exquisite waterfalls is no less than that of ‘pure gold’. The best way to explore Sonamarg is to hire a guide and the best way to reach the glacier point 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 9th century A.D. Grey blocks of stone have been used in the construction of the temple and the architecture of the temple is quite an ancient one. A flight of 250 steps uphill can lead you 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. As per history, this beautiful garden was gifted to Prince Dara Shikoh by his father Shah Jahan. 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.