As a tourist destination, the state of Kashmir provides the best combination of all of the natural elements. A range of mighty mountains, placid lakes mirroring the vast sky overhead, picture-pretty gardens, and so much more - Kashmir tourism has it all. A Jammu Kashmir tour is undoubtedly an experience of touring heaven on earth, no less.
Start your trip with a visit to the archaic city of Srinagar on your Kashmir Tour. Adorned with magnificent lakes and gardens, every pillar in this beautiful city would tell you the tale of a glorious past. Stay at a houseboat that rims the Dal Lake or take a ride through the tranquil waters on a gorgeous Shikara. There are so many other types of interesting experiences at J & K.
You can also add the famous tourist location of Ladakh to your Kashmir itinerary. In the Himalayan wilderness, you can come across several quaint desert hamlets with their unique culture, exotic tribes, and monasteries with prayer flags fluttering in the air. If not for anything, the unique lip-smacking cuisines of Kashmir are alone to make your trip worth it! Read the following Kashmir tour guide to learn more.
Languages Spoken in Kashmir
Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi, and English are the languages spoken in Kashmir.
Kashmiri language, also called Koshur, is the language of the people living within Kashmir valley, whereas Dogri is mostly spoken by Jammu residents. Urdu is the official language of the state, however, the educated class, as well as guides, speak in English. Kashmiri Pandits and Gujjar people within the state mostly speak Hindi.
Where is Kashmir located?
Kashmir is situated in the northernmost part of India, bordered by Pakistan and China. If you go through the Jammu Kashmir tourist map, terrain-wise, the place is located among the Himalayan, Karakoram, and Pir Panjal mountain ranges.
Why should you visit Kashmir?
Kashmir is a region of amazement and peace. Some of top reasons to visit there are:
- Breathtaking Landscape
You cannot talk about Kashmir without mentioning its magnificent landscapes stretching on all directions. Jaw-dropping mountain views, green meadows, grasslands, dense forests, water streams truly make Kashmir worthy of being called ‘Heaven on earth’.
- Endless Adventure options
The landscapes naturally entail endless adventure options in Kashmir region. Camping, trekking, and mountaineering are the primary ones. Stop by at Sonmarg if you want to explore the best trekking routes and other mountain sports. Head to Gulmarg to enjoy skiing and the world's highest gondola (aerial lift).
- Spiritual heritage
Kashmir is widely known to be a pilgrimage site for Muslims, Hindus and for other religions as well. Among the famous Hindu temples are Vaishno Devi, Bhuteswara Temple, Amarnath Cave, and others. Jama Masjid, Hazratbal Mosque, and Akhund Mullah Mosque are popular mosques in the region.
- Shopping antiques and local handicrafts
You may have seen Kashmiris wearing the iconic Kashmiri dress called Pheran or Phiran in movies or tv series. A trip to Kashmir is your chance to bag one of those for yourself.. Besides, you can get your hands on Pashmeena Shawls, silverware, handicrafts, antique copperware, carpets and more in the local markets.
- Delightful Kashmiri cuisines
You cannot come to Kashmir and not relish its famed Kashmiri dishes that lure tourists from every corner. If you are a chai-lover, you should start with Kahwah and Noon Chai. Non-vegetarians should go for Rogan Josh, Yakhni, Matschgand, and Qabargaah. Ask for Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Paneer Chaman, Kashmiri Saag, and Nadur Churma if you are vegetarian.
Best time to visit Kashmir
Kashmir is now open to tourists throughout the year, even during the chilly winters when popular tourist locations in the region remain open. However, the best time to visit would be during the months of March to August. This is the period of Spring (March to early May) and Summer (early May to late August), which make for a perfect season to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Heaven on Earth. Read the detailed classification below:
- Summer Season (March till June, Temperature 15°C to 30°C) :Kashmir’s summer is unique. It has pleasant and comfortable weather which makes the ideal weather conditions for sightseeing. Enjoy a shikara ride on Dal Lake and explore the valleys of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonmarg, etc.
- Monsoon Season (July to September, Temperature 13°C to 17°C) :During this period, almost every part of Kashmir receives decent rainfall. The lushness of Kashmir valley particularly come to light then. The famous pilgrimage Amarnath Yatra also begins in this season.
- Winter Season (October to February, Temperature -2°C to 12°C) :During this season, tourists can enjoy the snowfall very much. Many honeymooners plan their vacation during this period. You can also enjoy Gondola riding, skiing, and many other adventure activities in this season.
Places to Visit in Kashmir
As stated before endless times, Kashmir is a treasure trove of many stunning tourist places. If you are planning a trip there, the following 7 places should be included in your itinerary without a miss.
- Srinagar - the largest city of J & K and also one of the most famous. Visit the famous Dal Lake here.
- Gulmarg - enjoy skiing and the world's highest gondola here.
- Katra - the place is the abode of the holy Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.
- Pahalgam - multiple trekking routes; starting point of Amarnath Yatra.
- Patnitop - a famous hill station in Jammu.
- Sonmarg - trekking, fishing, and mountain sports.
Bahu Fort, Dal Lake, Mata Vaishno Devi, Mubarak Mandi Palac, Mughal Gardens, Peer Baba, Raghunath Temple, Betaab Valley are some of the popular tourist attractions you will visit in these places.
Things to do in Kashmir
- Because of its unique landscapes, the place has options for endless activities for a fulfilling travel experience. Some of them are listed below.
- Shikara Ride - the experience of boating on a Shikara on the famous lakes are an experience of a lifetime.
- Trekking - Kashmir Great Lakes, Vishansar Naranag Trek, Naranag Gangabal Trek, Pahalgam Tarsar Marsar Trek are some of the most popular trekking trails.
- Camping : If you want to enjoy the natural glamour of Kashmir in its full bloom, you gotta do camping here. Pahalgam, Aru Valley, Nubra Valley are the best places for it
- Other popular activities are skiing, mountain biking, paragliding, mountaineering, angling and fishing, birdwatching, snowboarding, and much more.
Festivals and Fairs in Kashmir
Like the rest of India, Kashmir celebrates mulititude of festivals with full vigor. Popular ones are Makar Sankranti (known as Lohri in Punjab & Pongal in the South), Baisakhi, Eid ul Azha and Eid ul Fitr, Jhiri Mela, Food And Craft Mela, and others.
Nightlife in Kashmir
Being majorly known for its natural charm, Kashmir scores low on the nightlife. However, if you want to explore th enightlife of J & K, there are a few. Some good ones are Ministry of Bar (MOB) - Lounge Bar in Jammu, Nox Cafe & Bar in Jammu, and Polo Bar in Jammu.
Is it safe to visit Kashmir?
Yes, authorities have clarified Kashmir remains to be a safe destination, including for foreign tourists.
How to Reach Kashmir
Kashmir is a lot better connected now than ever to the rest of India. This is why the influx of tourists to the region has been increasing a lot over the last couple of years.
- By Flight: Srinagar airport operates flights to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore. IndiGo, Air India, GoAir and Jet Airways are major flights operated in the region. Jammu too has its own airport located 8 km southwest of the city of Jammu.
- By Train: If you are going there by train, Jammu is usually the last stop. Jammu Tawi, located within Jammu city, connects to almost every important city, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Amritsar, Trivandrum with mail train and regular express trains. From Jammu Tawi, you can avail cabs and tourist vehicles to reach other parts of Kashmir. There is no train service in Srinagar.
- By Road: Kashmir has good road connectivity, which is connected to the rest of India with NH 1 and NH 44. The Jawahar Tunnel connects Jammu to the valley of Kashmir. You can avail various bus services which connect Jammu with Srinagar, and with other nearby cities like Patnitop (110 km) and Amritsar (214 km).
How to get around Kashmir
If you are heading to Kashmir region, you’ll hear people taking ‘mini-buses’. It is the most common and widely used local transport in Kashmir which operate both in the city and the sub-urban areas. You can avail auto rickshawas for the purpose of commuting, which are also available.
How to save money on a Kashmir trip?
- Book the flight in advance.
- Contact you a good tour operator who will manage all travel logistics to avoid any confusion there.
- Stay at budget hotels and eat in small restaurants.
- Avoid unnecessary shopping.
Where to Stay Kashmir
Kashmir has many good budget-friendly and some luxury stay options. Ramada by Wyndham Katra Station Road, Hotel Heevan Pahalgam, Four Points by Sheraton Srinagar, Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Pine N Peak, Pahalgam, Radisson Srinagar, Vivanta Dal View are some of the good options.
What to Eat in Kashmir
The deliciousness of local cuisines of Kashmir is not unknown to any. Some of the dishes are so iconic that they are even named after Kashmir (e.g., Kashmiri Chicken Masala). Popular dishes are Mutton Rogan Josh, Paneer Chaman, Kashmiri Saag, Chicken Pulao, Nadru Yakhni, Kashmiri Rajma, Kashmiri Muji Gaad, and many more.
Kashmir Travel Tips
- Be careful if you have any health condition. Don't reach for the upper parts of the destinations in Kashmir.
- Avoid having drinks outside.
- It is usually told to avoid public transport. If you do, use Google Maps to make sure you are on the right path.
- For security reasons, don't take pictures at the Srinagar international airport.
- Only a Postpaid sim card works in Jammu & Kashmir and Leh & Ladakh. Prepaid sim card does not work in these states due to security reason. Check with your tour operator for more details.
- If you are going to a holy place, cover your head at the main entrance and take off your shoes.