Planning to visit Kashmir? Haven’t made a list of places to see or have too much on your list? Worry not! With our curated collection of the best places to visit in Kashmir, you’ll definitely have a lot of fulfilling memories without the regret of missing out on exploring this “Heaven on Earth”. With those huge mountain ranges covered in snow and alpine vegetation, Kashmir is truly a sight to behold.
This place is a comprehensive package, offering everything from relaxed family vacations to solitary getaways and trekking. Here are some of the places that are a must-visit when you are in Kashmir.
1. Dal Lake
The more you speak about its beauty, the lesser it feels. Known as “the jewel in the crown of Kashmir”, this ~22 square kilometres of blissful flowery water is located in the capital city of Jammu & Kashmir, i.e. Srinagar. Surrounded by Pir Panjal mountains and Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake makes it the top spot of tourist attractions whether they are couples or solo travellers.
The splendid view of shikaras and houseboats sailing in the lake often pleases a plethora of nature lovers and people seeking escape from their office cubicles into these floating heavens. But the whole thing tends to freeze when it’s cold! Therefore, the best time to visit is between March and November, since the weather is pleasant and not very extreme.
By Air: The (22.3km) Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport is the only working airport around the city.
By Train: About 305 km from Srinagar, Jammu is the closest railhead.
Kashmir’s one of the most visited towns, Gulmarg is a hill station with a major attraction point of being a popular skiing destination. 30 miles away from Srinagar, this “meadow of flowers” is like a splash of colours in our monochromatic life! With a rich abundance of flowers and vegetation, with the small hamlet scattered, Gulmarg also holds the record of having the world’s highest Golf course.
While you are in Gulmarg, one thing you must absolutely not miss is the Gondola ropeway ride, hanging taut at a height of 10,000 feet! Coming to the best time to visit, Gulmarg, is open all year round at your service. Depending upon your preferences, you can visit it during the start of winter from October to February, if you are keen on skiing and want to have some ‘cool’ adventures. Otherwise, the warmer days are more than welcome, since the flowers are in full bloom from March to June.
By Air: The nearest airport to Gulmarg is in Srinagar which is 56 kilometres.
By Train: Jammu is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 290 kilometres.
By Road: Gulmarg is well-connected with regular bus services from Srinagar, Sonmarg and other neighbouring towns in Kashmir.
3. Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
Remember those old Hindi songs featuring a large field of colourful tulip flowers? Well, more often than not, they were shot in Asia’s largest tulip garden, formerly known as Siraj Bagh or Model Floriculture Centre, which is now, Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden. The garden has about 68 varieties of tulips scattered in a terrace fashion over the field with an overview of Dal Lake.
Over the course of time, several other flowers like daffodils and hyacinths are added to the collection. Since flowers are in full bloom during the spring, you should prefer to visit the tulip garden between the end of March and the start of April. And if you land up here during the first weeks of April, you might as well get to attend the annual tulip festival!
By Air: 22 Km from Sheikh ul Alam International Airport Srinagar.
By Train: The nearest railway station is the Srinagar Railway Station, 18 Km away.
By Road: 8 Km from Lalchowk Srinagar.
The overgrown bloom of yellow crocuses in spring has gotten this highland the title of “meadow of gold”. Sonmarg is quite famous for people interested in trekking up the Thajiwas glaciers since it’s the base point. If that’s not what has your blood rushing, the river rafting experience in the bubbling Indus river in Sonmarg will definitely have your undivided attention.
The place is popular among religious travellers too since the Amarnath Yatra starts from Sonmarg. The best time to visit here is April to June if you want to enjoy the outdoor activities without any snowy nuisance!
By Air: The nearest airport is the Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport at Srinagar (70 km away).
By Train: The nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi Railway Station in Jammu.
5. Dachigam National Park
Located a little to the east of Dal Lake, this protected area is famous for Hangul, or the Kashmir stag, which are found nowhere except in this national park. A variety of other wild and rare animals are all here for you to find and admire them. The greenery and all sorts of tall coniferous forest stretches are capable of lifting up your spirits toward mother nature.
The park is open all year round, but still, the most profound time to visit it is between April to August, when the animals are found loitering around the land and basking under the warm sun.
By Air: The nearest International Airport is Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport (22 Km).
By Train: Jammu is the nearest railhead about 327 km away.
6. Shankaracharya Temple
Also known as Jayesh Eshwara temple, the shrine is at a height of 1,000 feet above the valley floor of the Zabarwan range and overlooks the city of Srinagar. It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. You most probably have sighted this famous ancient Kashmiri architectural beauty in some of the old Bollywood movies!
The best time to visit the pilgrim site is during pleasant, warm or spring weather to enjoy the lush greenery. During festivals like Maha Shivratri, the whole temple is lit up magnificently, so it is a plus point if you make it during that time.
By Air: The nearest International Airport is Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport (19 Km).
By Road: The only way to reach the temple is by either your own vehicle or a private taxi. There is no public transport available for a drop at the temple.
7. Wular Lake
It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in South Asia, fed by the Jhelum River and is located in Bandipora town. Boating and water skiing are major tourist attractions here.
The surroundings of the lake are home to a large variety of birds including the Himalayan Woodpecker, Chukar Partridge, Golden Oriole, Koklass Pheasant, Barn Swallow, Himalayan Monal, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Alpine Swift, a delight to birdwatchers. The best time to visit the lake is between June and August.
By Air: The nearest International airport is Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport (74.5 Km).
By Train: The nearest railway station that approaches Bandipora is the Sopore railway station.
Also called the “delight of Kashmir”, this place has apple orchards, natural springs, waterfalls, and scenic valleys. The city is most popular for the numerous opportunities for adventure junkies, like mountaineering and trekking in summer and skiing and snowboarding in winter.
This answers your question of when is the best time to visit Pulwama, doesn’t it? Apart from that, Pulwama is also famous for some religious constructions like Jama Masjid Shopian and Avantishwar temple.
By Air: The nearest airport is Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar (38 Km).
By Rail: The nearest railway stations that approach Pulwama are Awantipora railway station, Kakapora railway station and Pampore railway station.
Kashmir has a little bit of everything to offer its guests, including an incredibly stunning environment, a valley of flowers, serene lakes, and adventurous trekking paths. So let us dive in, to narrow down our destination for the next trip.