Kashmir is a region that is the stuff of legends. Blessed with unbelievable natural beauty, you see the most amazing mountains, deep valleys, lakes, lush and untouched scenery and a culture and people so spectacular, they will win you over. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has marvels like Ladakh that is a Buddhist paradise situated high up in the Himalayas with some stunning natural marvels. The valley of Kashmir has seen some terrible conflict but is now a relatively peaceful region that has seen tourists go back to partake of its natural beauty of late.
Must see sights in Kashmir:
Srinagar: The capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is very popular with tourists. There are many museums, palaces, gardens and sights to behold in Srinagar. Situated around the pretty Dal Lake, it is also the gateway to many places in Kashmir.
Dal Lake: It is a vast expanse of pristine water that is fringed by the majestic Pir Panjal range of mountains and dotted with tiny houseboats and shikaras. It makes an idyllic tourist spot with a lovely boat ride that allows you to soak in the natural beauty of the lovely lake and the mountains at a distance. Time comes to a standstill as the only sound you hear if of the oar hitting the water. You can also see the nifty shikaras also ferrying children to school and goods from one place to another.
Shalimar Gardens: This was built by Shah Jahan for his queen, Noor Jahan. Like the other Mughal gardens in Kashmir, these gardens are spectacular. They have landscaped lawns, pretty flowerbeds, lovely fountains and the tall chinars overlooking the lush, natural beauty. A serene spot to spend time in the shadow of nature.
Manasbal Lake, Shankaracharya Temple, Nishat Gardens, Jama Masjid, Old city of Srinagar and Hari Parbat Fort are some other attractions of Srinagar.
Gulmarg: Gulmarg is extremely sought after both by trekkers and ski enthusiasts around the world. Skiing season begins in December and lasts upto April. It has the world’s highest 18-hole golf course for the golf aficionados. You can also try the popular Gondola ride. It is also well known for its lovely forests. It is an experience not to be missed. For those in India who love snow, this makes for a great getaway.
Sonamarg: Situated at a height of 9000 m. and close to Srinagar, Sonamarg offers a great backdrop of lofty mountains against clear blue skies. It is also called “The Meadow of Gold.” Sindh river that flows through provides a scenic backdrop. Thajiwas glacier forms a major tourist attraction.
Chadar Trek or Zanskar trek: It is located on a high altitude. In winters, Zanskar river freezes completely and thus is born one of the most thrilling treks called the Frozen River Trek. The place is also culturally isolated and maintains its unique Buddhist culture. It is inaccessible for most parts of the year due to heavy snowfall. A must visit for the adventure tourists.
Ladakh: Ladakh makes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will be covered in detail subsequently. Ladakh hides in itself some outstanding treks and sightseeing opportunities and a terrain that is truly unique.