The word Kashmir is derived from ‘Kashmira’, which means land desiccated from water. Nestled between the Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Mountains in northern India, Kashmir is known for its unparalleled alpine beauty and breathtaking views. Kashmir attracts tourists from across the globe owing to its scenic beauty.
Kashmir is regarded as Paradise on Earth by Mughal kings who holidayed in the valley. However, for much of the second half of the 20th century, periodic war and political strife have kept visitors from heaven’s gate. But now, newfound peace has come to a divided paradise, where life’s pace is set by echoing calls to prayer and the gentle paddling of colourful canoes in the Dal Lake.
Srinagar is at the heart of both the valley and the state’s tourism industry. Jammu becomes the capital in the winter, when extreme weather can make entering Srinagar difficult. For the past two years, Indian tourists have returned to Kashmir in record numbers, with more than one million people visiting the state each year, compared to less than 30,000 a decade ago.
Kashmir is a year round tourist destination but the best time to visit this paradise is in the months of March till October. You will be charmed by blossomed gardens, chirping birds, alpine meadows and fresh air. For snow lovers, December and January are the best months.
Metro cities are well connected to the Srinagar Airport. You can hire taxis or cabs to explore various cities and towns in Kashmir.
Kashmir is well connected by a network of state and private buses with several nearby cities and towns. Road runners get the advantage of crossing the popular Jawahar Tunnel that connects Jammu with the valley of Kashmir.
Jammu Tawi Railway Station, situated at a distance of about 330 km, is the nearest railhead serving the beautiful valley of Kashmir. You can hire taxis or cabs to explore various cities and towns in Kashmir.
Kashmir is more than a natural wonder; it is also a shelter for wildlife. Sheltering a wide range of world’s mammal species and more than 120 species of birds, Kashmir promises diverse wildlife. Varied wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kashmir provide brilliant option for wildlife tourism.
Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve and Overa wildlife sanctuary are three prominent spheres for wildlife protection and development in Kashmir. While Dachigam is reckoned to be home to endangered species like Hangul (Kashmir Stag), Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, on the other side is known for sheltering endangered species like musk deer. The Overa wildlife sanctuary shelters varied species of pheasants.
You can spot leopards, jackals, yellow-throated martens, hill fox, Himalayan griffons, lammergeyer, long tailed blue magpies and Himalayan weasel in Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary. Whereas, at Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, other than Hangul and Musk deer, one can spot Serow, Leopard, Black Bear, Brown Bear, and Red Fox. At Overa Wildlife Sanctuary, one can catch the glimpse of Serow, Rhesus Macaque, Langur, Leopard and Leopard Cat. The bountiful fauna has the potential to leave one on a Kashmir wildlife tour awe-struck and mesmerised.
During the winter season, many high-altitude birds migrate to the lower valley. Black and yellow grosbeak, cinnamon sparrows, black bulbuls and Monal pheasants can be seen fluttering in the valley. Summer is a treat for bird watchers as you can see several species and the grey Langurs. If you are lucky you will be able to spot the Himalayan Black Bear.
Srinagar is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kashmir as well as in India. From boating to trekking, bird watching to water skiing, Srinagar place has it all.
Famously known as the ‘Meadow of Flowers’, Gulmarg is a treat to the eyes with its spread of vibrant flowers against snow-capped mountains in the background. Mountain Biking, trekking, and skiing are other attractions.
Sonamarg, as the name suggests, is famous as the ‘Meadow of Gold’. An endless stream of stunning flowers and undulated trekking routes are its attractions.
Glimpse into Kashmir’s past through Kathua with its history, scintillating views and serene atmosphere.
Visit the Jasrota fort and Ujh Barrage Pulwama for the saffron fields and to experience Kashmir’s rich culture.
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