Synonymous with red apples, rosy cheeks and favourable weather, Kashmir is the most sparkling jewel of India. Endowed with sheer natural beauty, this destination is aptly called the ‘Paradise on Earth’. It would be no exaggeration to say that its pristine beauty puts picture postcards to shame. Its diverse topography and rich culture heritage make it the must-visit destination not only of India but the world. No amount of words is enough to do justice to the exquisiteness of Kashmir. You must visit it to experience it!
Kashmir abounds in breathtaking tourist attractions making it a perfect tourist destination for every kind of traveler. Whether you are a nature aficionado or honeymooner, mountain lover, adventure enthusiasts, water baby or a laidback traveler, you will find Kashmir the ultimate destination for holidays.
Adventure sports in Kashmir
Kashmir is not just famous for its natural beauty but adventure too. Many tourists come here from far and wide to indulge in its interesting adventure activities such as fishing, golfing, mountaineering, trekking, river rafting, skiing, camping, Kayaking and paragliding. Some of the adventure sports are entirely based on the seasons, so check out the perfect time to enjoy the sports or activities you are interested in before going to Kashmir. The popular destinations for indulging in the adventure activities in Kashmir are Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Drass.
Beautiful to the hilt, Dal lake is not only famous in Kashmir but in India too. Sprawling across 6 km, it is the second largest lake of Kashmir. It is divided into four parts by causeways- Lokut Dal, Gagribal, Nagin and Bod Dal. Surrounded by majestic mountains on its three sides, the Lake is popular for its Shikaras and Houseboats. The shikaras offer ferry rides on the lake. Its banks are lined with blooming gardens and orchards adding more beauty to it. There are several Mughal monuments on the embankments of the Lake.
It is a lovely lake surrounded with Shankaracharya Hill and Hari Parbat. Its banks are lined with trees. Visitors enjoy swimming, boating and diving at the lake.
Other arresting lakes of Kashmir are Manasbal Lake and Anchar Lake,both famous for bird watching.
Culture of Kashmir
The culture of Kashmir is a blend of many civilizations that inhabited it. Be it literature, language, arts and crafts, music, dance, festivals, Kashmir reflects beauty and richness. The handicrafts of this heaven on earth such as Pashmina shawls and silk carpets are famous the world over. In the past, Kashmir has served as one of the highest learning centers of Persian and Sanskrit.
Cuisine of Kashmir
The cuisine of Kashmir is a clear reflection of the rich cultural heritage of it. Saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon (spices) are some of the most famous ingredients of the cuisine giving it a special aroma and taste. Rice is the staple food here which is well complimented with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Wazwan is the must-try traditional dish of the valley. It is a multi-course meal the preparation of which is truly an art. Non vegetarian dishes like chicken, meat etc are an important part of the cuisine. You must also try Zarda- Kashmiri sweet rice which is served as a dessert. Kahwa, a traditional green tea, is very famous here. Some of the other lip-smacking dishes of Kashmir are seekh kababs, dum-aloo, rista, chaman, roganjosh and Gushtaba.
Best Time to Visit Kashmir
The most favourable time to visit Kashmir is from March to October as the weather conditions are good here during this period. It is the time to enjoy the blossoms of spring, the pleasant weather of summer and the red and gold hues of autumn. The winter season is from December to early March when the entire valley is carpeted with snow and the weather is cold. This is the perfect time for enjoying skiing here.
Shopping in Kashmir
Shopping in Kashmir is a great delight! It would be no exaggeration to say that this is the place where you can shop till you drop. Its colourful and beautiful handicrafts are as enchanting as its natural beauty. Majority of the handicrafts are made by the women folk of the family. Some of the famous shopping items are pashmina shawls, silk carpets, papier-mache, woodwork, silver and copperware, wall hangings with naqqashi work, chain stitch embroidery, pherans etc.
Redefining natural beauty, Srinagar is a treasure-trove of tourist attractions. Ideally located on the bank of Jhelum, Srinagar is the capital city of Kashmir. This immaculate destination boasts of snow-capped mountains, canopied Shikara boats, beautiful houseboats, captivating Dal and Nagin lakes, floating vegetable market, lovely flora and fauna, Shankarcharya temple, Hazratbal Shrine, Jama Masjid and much more. In terms of adventure it offers bird wating at Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, golfing at Kashmir Golf Course, water skiing at Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Bod-dal, trekking towards Pir Panjal and Shikara ride on Dal Lake.
The beauty of Srinagar increases manifold with its popular Tulip festival which is held every year in the magnificent Tulip Garden. Blooming with a wide range of colourful tulips, the Tulip Garden of Srinagar is the largest tulip garden in Asia. The garden also offers charming views of the Dal Lake. A walk through the flowerbeds of this sweet smelling garden is like a walk through a paradise.
Offering adventure and natural beauty in plenty, Gulmarg is the perfect bet for a traveler desiring activity-packed holidays. Located around 52 km from Srinagar, this destination is popularly known as ‘Meadow of Flowers’. You can indulge in trekking, skiing, golfing, snowboarding, fishing, mountain biking, trekking and much more. It is well known ski-destination of India. Also, try out Gondola (Cable Car) for fun.
Enjoy the beauty of the gorgeous green meadows, majestic mountains and tranquility in Pahalgam. Nature lovers would definitely fall in love with this lovely town. Chandanwari, 16 km from Pahalgam, is a base camp for Amarnath Yatra.
Aru Valley & Betab Valley
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Aru Valley is a stunning village which serves as a base camp for visits to lovely lakes, majestic mountain peaks and scenic meadows. Tranquility is served in plenty here. It offers activities like hiking, trekking and horse riding.
Another must-visit valley located just a few kilometers from Pahalgam is Betab Valley which is a perfect blend of picturesque environment encompassing pine forests, huge deodar trees and the Lidder River. Its beauty attracts not only tourists but filmmakers too.
This destination wins the heart of travelers with its unparalleled natural beauty. It is famous for many excursion options too. Baltal which is just 15 km from Sonmarg is a base camp for the famous Amarnath Yatra. You can also visit the Zojila Pass which is located close to Sonmarg.
Located around 234 km from Srinagar, Kargil is hemmed in by the mountains and lies at a strategic location. It offers great opportunities for adventure activities. It serves as the base station to the Zanskar Valley. Fine quality of apricots is the other highlight of Kargil.
Yusmarg & Doodh E Patha
Located around 50 km from Srinagar at an altitude of 7500 ft above sea level in the Pir Panjal Mountain Range, Yusmarg is a magnificent town blessed with sheer beauty. It is a paradise for adventure lovers offering adventure activities like trekking, skiing and pony ride. The lovely views of valleys, mountain peaks, and gorgeous grassy meadows at Yusmarg will surely win your heart. Nilnag is a starting point for treks here.
Doodhpathri, also known as Valley of Milk, is located in Budgam district of Kashmir, around 42 km from the capital city Srinagar. It is a hidden gem with oodles of natural beauty. Take a pony ride through flush meadows, pine trees with the backdrop of lofty mountains. A river with milky water runs through the meadow giving it a picture-perfect look. Also treat your eyes with the sights of cattle and horses grazing in the meadow and the inquisitive shepherds keeping an eye on them.
By Air: The Srinagar Airport connects Kashmir with the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu.
By Rail: The nearest railway station from Srinagar is Jammu Tawi (around 305 km far). It connects Srinagar with Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Kolkata.
By Road: Srinagar is well connected to Jammu through National Highway 1-A. Several private buses operate to and from Kashmir making it easily accessible from other states of India.
The arrangement of our trip was so perfectly done, that i could not find even a single fault or drawback for which i could provide a suggestion. We are so much impressed and touched by the hospitality and services provided. To be frank, we have already started to plan for our next holiday, may be sometime in the end of the year. We will get back to you soon :-) Thanks again Exceptional Escapes.....you guys are truly EXCEPTIONAL!!!! - read more...
The trip in general has been exceptional
The driver was a sweetheart. Always bringing me something to eat or drink and also always carrying a beautiful smile - read more...
Airport Representative was very Good Tour & Guide Services was very Good Ground Services was excellent Hotel Services was excellent - read more...
Generally all are good except that in shimla. Silverine hotel is not a suitable hotel for elderly people as they need to walk up and downhill to the hotel….though the place is ideal for shoppers - read more...
Thank you so very much for going above and beyond to ensure that we had a wonderful trip. I have been telling everyone about your hospitality. I truly had a great time and I especially am thankful for all your organizing and to take time to show us your family and invite us to your home. You have a beautiful family and I think Choti (your little sister) is so adorable - read more...
Hi Gaurav, thanks for following up and for all your efforts in making all the necessary arrangements for my trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. A few suggestions on how you might improve your services for future bookings - read more...
Many thanks for putting together a wonderful and memorable vacation for us. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We did not find anything lacking from your side. It was our first visit to India and it seems like we are already planning to be back. The pace was hectic so we did not find much time to visit the local markets which we will have to make up next time - read more...
We reached home safely on Sunday morning (USA time) and slept most of the day. I cannot thank you enough for all your help and efforts in making our trip such a wonderful success. I will never forget the experiences we had and fun time we enjoyed all throughout the trip. I will send you pictures soon.....'not to worry!!!' - read more...
We waited almost two years to meet again and it was well worth it. Everybody had a fantastic time and loved every moment of it. Your friend speaks very good English now and we all wish her well in the future. It seems that shopping with your friend was the highlight of the trip, the ladies would not stop talking about it - read more...
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