Jammu and Kashmir is quite the embodiment of the term ‘tragically beautiful’. The state remains one of the most exquisitely beautiful places on earth, while its saga of military and civil turbulences is equally heart-shattering. The state however remains a place one should definitely visit in their lifetime if only just to bless one’s senses with its magnificent splendor. Here are some of Jammu and Kashmir’s best attractions:
- Golfing at Gulmarg: Kashmir’s Gulmarg boasts of four world-class golf courses which are estimated to be the most elevated golf courses in the world. Like with everything in Kashmir, Gulmarg’s golfing experience is also enriched by a stunning backdrop of snow draped mountains and glimpses of deep green valleys. Relaxation at its finest, indeed!
- Road Trips: Jammu and Kashmir’s terrain is not only scenic, it’s also challenging, and an open invitation for some good ol’ road trip extravagance by the true travel enthusiasts. Charming hills, towns and meadows aside, it is the Khardung La that will stay etched in your memory.
- Camel Safaris: Ladhak’s landscape might be barren, but that does not stop tourists from flocking to it all year long. Its pull lies in its almost sensual desolation that drips with grace and many layers of enigma. The period of July-September allows visitors to take long camel rides through this region, where you can experience the best of its natural beauty, and have some time for relaxing and soul-searching.
- Winter Sports: There is no other place in India that can give you a winter sports experience better than Kashmir. Regions like Patnitop, Yusmarg, Pahalgam and Gulmarg are renowned for their facilities in ice-skating, snowboarding and skiing. The rises and dips in the Himalayas are simply waiting to be explored and places like the Thajiwas glacier certainly have become tourist-favorites. The government of Jammu and Kashmir recognizes the significance of people’s interest in Kashmir’s winter sports, and maintains lodgings for tourists near popular sites like Sanasar and Kud.
- Camping and Trekking: If you are a traveler at heart, then it’s almost impossible to imagine not going on a trek on your visit to Kashmir. The mountains are simply too tempting, and they offer everything from short day walks around the lower peaks, to long treks that bring you across exquisite camping spots among the hills. Sonamarg, Pangong Lake, Yusmarg, and the Nubra and Aru Valleys are some of the most frequented trekking and camping spots in the region.
- Water Sports: Kashmir has no shortage of streams, rivers and lakes, and the hills and mountains make them ideal spots to indulge in some adventure aqua-sports. Manasbal Lake, Dal Lake and Nagin Lake are just a couple of water-skiing places where you can ride on powerful waves that spike your adrenaline. For the more adventurous traveler, rafting is a powerful attraction. Kashmir’s yawning gorges and mesmerizing mountains hold the gushing Indus, Lidder and Zanskar rivers that will more than just satisfy your thrill-craving. For the laidback traveler, canoeing and kayaking are more appealing, with the Drass, Sindh and Suru rivers providing the perfect landscapes and pure waters.
- Shopping and Dining: Once you have taken in the splendor that nature blessed Kashmir with, it’s time to dwell deeper into the culture and the people that make this state. Shopping in Kashmir is not an experience you can miss, when you can get all the specialized, handicraft products like shawls and carpets, and authentic Kashmiri materials like Kashmir silk, copper and silverware. Although there are modern shopping centres set up throughout the state, we recommend street shopping at local shops so that you have a chance to get to know the people better. Kashmiri cuisine has also won hearts all over the world, and one should definitely try out some of its signature dishes like the Wazwan, and of course, the multitude of bakery items that this haven of all things beautiful is so famous for.
To say Kashmir is a paradise on earth was not erroneous hundreds of years ago, when Jahangir, bewitched by its beauty dedicated odes to this ravishing land, and it definitely isn’t wrong in the 21st century, when all of its histories have combined to simply add to its undeniable grandeur.