Why You Should Visit Kashmir, India / by Suzana Jamil

Kashmir is one of the most amazing places in the Indian peninsular in terms of natural beauty, with alpine mountains that rivals even that of Europe. Once heavily disputed by India and Pakistan, Kashmir has now managed to settle in the gentle bows of tourism. Although currently the area is split and governed by three countries, India, Pakistan and China, at the moment wars are set aside to make way for much needed peace and prosperity. The area of Jammu and Kashmir and now ripe with tourism activity as people come and flock to see the vale of Kashmir, the land of unparalleled beauty.

 

A far cry from the usual image of most Indian cities crowded and marred with pollution, entering Kashmir is like walking in a dream. You’ll be surrounded by snow-capped mountains, cool rivers and pine trees.  Gulmarg is very famous for their winter wonderland escapades as well as colourful valleys if you come in the spring. Gulmarg is located in the Pir Panjal ranges and about 55km from Srinagar the capital of the Indian part of Kashmir. The best way for you to enjoy the pristine picturesque view is to ride the Gondolas up the mountain range, which will travel the total length of 5km with an elevation that goes all the way up to 4000 metres above sea level. This is also the location of one of the highest ski resorts in the world.

 

Srinagar is the capital city of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is also a definite must visit. Located along the banks of the Jhelum River, it is the most populated town in Kashmir and made famous for it’s “Shikaras” and botanical gardens. This is also where the main airport is located. There are a quite a number of location worth visiting in Srinigar. The Shikara or houseboats for once is a once in a lifetime experience and can be found at the Dal Lake. Tourists are recommended to spend a night at the boathouse if possible to get the full experience of the shikaras and the floating markets surrounding it.

 

Another must do in Srinagar is to visit the botanical gardens. Srinagar has a few and every single one is worth a visit such as the Royal Fountains, the Pari Mahal, Nishat Bagh and the Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Gardens, will surely take your breath away. Also do drop by the 14th century Jama Mosque and also the Hari Parbat area, which contains places of worships for the Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs alike.

 

If time is not an issue, please do make the 2 ½ hour trip down to Pahalgam from Srinagar. Pahalgam is and area that has been closely compared to a “mini Switzerland”. Lush open lands where you can still go around town via pony rides! And for the more adventurous, white water rafting is highly recommended as the rivers here are amazing! And if you feel like travelling further, take a short flight to Ladakh, an area which is at the border of the Himalayas and Tibet. The place is so remote that travelling by cars will take a few days from Srinagar. In fact Ladakh’s population is mostly consist of devout Buddhist and you will see that the population are much more akin to the Tibeten culture. This is the place to visit if you want to see ancient monasteries and stupas deep within the mountains. The views of the natural wonders of Ladakh, in fact the whole of Kashmir, will take your breath away and it will make the long arduous trip here worth your while.