Rightly described as the “heaven on earth”, the Valley of Kashmir right away talks about being the ultimate destination of extraordinary beauty and fascinating mysticism. The exceptional combination of mountains, lakes, several kinds of flora and fauna coupled with the pleasant climate creates the right impact in the onlooker’s mind. Amongst the numerous places to visit, here goes a list of “must visit” destinations.
Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir is located at the heart of the Kashmir valley. The river Jhelum flows through the city and the Nagin and Dal lakes enhances the picturesque quality of the setting. The house-boats of the Dal Lake are a major tourist attraction. Hari Parbat Fort is the Mughal fort located on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar. It is positioned at peak of the Sharika Hill. Initially it was built during the reign of Akbar however Afghan governor of Kashmir did some structural changes to it in the 18th century. It houses a Parvati temple on the western slope and the southern slope has Muslim shrines of Akhund Mullah Shah and Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib. There are also several world famous Mughal gardens in Srinagar, and the city has an international airport situated in it.
Gulmarg, is a place which is famous for its floral beauty. The name of this place comes originally from ‘Gaurimarg’ as the shepherds used to call it. Gulmarg, is mainly a mountain resort with extraordinary beauty and it also has the highest golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2650 meters. According to seasonal changes, the nature’s colors change from translucent green to golden hues, from rich emerald to scarlet chilly red. The way up to Gulmarg is an adventurous ride, through fir-covered forests and hillsides. On the way, there comes a juncture, commonly known as the View Point, where travelers take a halt and indulge in the breathtaking spectacle of snow capped mountains within close proximity.
Pahalgam, popularly known as the valley of shepherds , is situated at the convergence of two rives, viz. Lidder river and Sheshnag Lake. This place, previously used to be an ordinary shepherd’s village, but presently it has evolved into Kashmir’s premier resort. The pleasantly cool climate, never exceeds 25 degree centigrade, even during scorching summer days. The green meadows aligned with the silvery flowing streams at Baisaran, makes one hell of an experience. Hajan and Chandanwari are ideal picnic spots, with many filmmakers zeroing upon this destination as their ultimate location.
Sonamarg, is situated at an altitude of 2730 meters, is the “meadow of gold”. Through the Sind valley, this placed can be reached and the Sind Rivers makes its way all the way through this valley abound with trout and mahaseer. The Thajiswas Glacier is a major tourist attraction.ponies can be hired to reach up to this place. The mountain lakes Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal, comprise of the trek base of this area.Sonamarg is also the place which is considered to be the base while undertaking the Amarnath yatra.
Amarnath Yatra, is held from mid-June to mid-August every year. This is considered to be one of the most sacred journeys where devotees from all over India take part. One of the holy trinity, Lord Shiva, is worshipped here, where the devotees trek the entire difficult journey on foot to pay homage before the ice-lingam; which is considered to be an incarnation of the God.
Best time to visit Kashmir
For anyone interested in visiting the valley, the first question is “when to visit Kashmir, India” or the ideal time to visit the Kashmir valley. Well Kashmir is all-season destination but still the best time to visit Kashmir is during the months of March to October. During this period the weather conditions in Kashmir are at their best. This period covers three seasons in Kashmir i.e., spring (March-early May), summers (early May-late August) and autumn (September-November). The blossoms of spring, the cool weather of summer and the gold and red hues of autumn all provide the peak season for Kashmir travel. From December to early March is the winter season for Kashmir, when the entire valley wears a white blanket of snow. For those, who enjoy chilling weather and are interested in skiing, winter is the time to be in Kashmir.