Kashmir, referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’, is the north-western region of India. The great Sanskrit poet Kalidas wrote that Kashmir is “more beautiful than the heaven and is the benefactor of supreme bliss and happiness”. The famous 19th century historian Sir Walter Lawrence wrote that “The valley is an emerald set in pearls; a land of lakes, clear streams, green turf, magnificent trees and mighty mountains where the air is cool, and the water sweet, where men are strong and women vie with the soil in fruitfulness”.
As per the old historical documents the Kashmir was formerly a lake and the old capital of Kashmir, Shrinagri was founded by the Buddhist emperor Ashoka. The Kashmir is surrounded by large Himalayan ranges. Most of the Kashmir’s population is Muslim, but there is limited number of Hindu population also. ‘Kashmiri’ is the main language in Kashmir, but due to a large number of tourists visiting Kashmir every year, English is also spoken by a large number of people.
How to reach Kashmir
To reach Kashmir by air, one has to take a flight for Srinagar, approx. 14 kms. from Kashmir. A few major airlines like Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, etc. operate regular flights to and from Srinagar. Cabs are easily available from Srinagar to Kashmir.
If you want to travel by rail, the nearest railhead is Jammu Tawi, approx. 310 kms. Trains from all major metro cities run at regular intervals and sometimes special trains are also run to cater to major tourist rush during summers.
For local travel, mini buses, luxury coaches, tourist taxis and auto rickshaws are available to explore this beautiful valley and enjoy the sightseeing of the lovely paradise.
Tourist Attractions of Kashmir – Best places to visit in Kashmir
One of the most popular tourist destinations, Kashmir, offers great experience and memories to cherish lifelong. Snow-clad majestic Himalayas, picturesque scenery, temples, mosques, lakes and gardens leave tourists mesmerised, asking for more. Some of the most famous local tourist attractions are Shankaracharya Temple, Jama Masjid, Charar-i-Sharief, Martand Sun Temple, Hazratbal Mosque, etc.
Gulmarg, referred as the “Meadow of Flowers”, has colourful vibrant flowers blooming in the spring season. Other than being a basket of flowers, Gulmarg is also known for its hilly slopes measuring between 8700 feet to 10500 feet which gives the tourists a suitable spot for skiing. Gulmarg is also well known for its highest golf course in the world.
Located at the bank of Jhelum River, known as the ‘Venice of the east’, Srinagar features the serenity of Dal Lake and the magnificent snow-capped mountains. Visit the magnificent world famous Mughal Gardens, lakes, wonderful floating vegetable gardens and enjoy leisure rides at the Shikaras. Tourists can also choose to visit the pilgrimage sites and classic wooden mosques that dot the region.
Pahalgam is a charming and old-fashioned town and is known as one of the most remarkable places in Kashmir. The extensive forests, meadows, glittering mountains and beautiful lakes have always attracted filmmakers to capture the beauty in their cameras. Kolahoi Glacier and Chandanwari make Pahalgam a platform for trekkers. This blissful rural valley has still maintained its virginity between the wipe-outs of urbanization.
Sonmarg, translated into English as “Golden Meadow” leaves the tourists mesmerized with its beauty and the Kashmir tour looks incomplete without a visit here. The Valley has beautiful yellow flowers and when the sun rays fall on the yellow land, the valley reflects a golden glitter on the snow-capped mountains. Sonmarg offers the experience of thrilling activities like trout fishing, trekking, camping and undertaking Amarnath Yatra – one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimage.
Patnitop is beautiful grassland absorbed in dense forests of thick woods and lush green surroundings. The incredible mountain streams and gushing musical waterfalls will keep you spellbound.
A long walk blended with an array of adventures gives you a reason not to leave the meadow forever. The Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi (the goddess of Shakti), visited by thousands of Hindu devotees every year, is just 39 km away from Patnitop.
Kargil is a hill station of Ladakh region, famous for its fantastic valleys, untouched villages, unspoilt facets of wonderful valley and river. Tourists can visit Suru Valley, Dras, Mulbekh, Padum.
Shopping in Kashmir
A shopper’s paradise, Kashmir is world famous for arts and handicrafts. The bazaars of Lal Chowk, Badshah Chowk and Polo View are some of the most famous places for shopping in Kashmir.
The Kashmiri carpets are well known for their uniqueness of being knotted by hand. The great finishing and the artwork shown in the carpets make them expensive but worth enough to own one.
The Kashmiri papier-mâché carry their own popularity differentiated on the terms of quality of paper, adhesives and colours used to make them. The patience and time artisans inculcate making them are remarkable.
Kashmir gives the most impressive shawls to the world. The type of embroidery these shawls have on them is unmatched. Pure Wool, Pashmina and Shahtoosh Shawls are popular world over for their uniqueness and quality. Shahtoosh is the most expensive shawl, popularly known as the ‘ring shawl’, but this has now been banned by the Government.
Silk and Tweeds
The silk weaves mostly known as ‘chinon’ are of the most refined quality that are produced in Kashmir. The cocoon in Kashmir gives the finest quality of silk which makes this item all the more different and unique.
The detailing of the carving on wooden logs and the smooth texture of the wooden grain makes Kashmir furniture very popular among tourists.
You are sure to rekindle the romance and make more new memories to cherish lifelong during your tour to Kashmir!