Top five Places to Visit in Kashmir By Harneet Kaur
Top five Places to Visit in Kashmir
By Harneet Kaur
“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast,
Hami asto, hami asto , hami asto.”
“If there is a paradise on Earth,
It is this; it is this, it is this!”
In awe of the beauty and serenity of the place, Amir Khusrau, a Sufi poet, could not help but call the sky of Kashmir to earth. Surrounded by the majestic snow covered mountains, the lush green meadows, the crystal cold river streaming and merging into Indus and Jhelum, deep forests that have witnessed the history of Kashmir, all has a story to narrate.
Every year, Kashmir welcomes tourists worldwide with sunshine, a soothing breeze and smiling and courteous people. The Kashmiris have a strong culture and a heart that gives you comfort. There is so much to see and experience while you are in Kashmir. Not being able to mention all the beautiful places seems so unfair.
Are you planning to visit Kashmir this season? Let me assist you by suggesting a few must-see places here
Bienvenue à Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Can you experience fun and adventure amidst the city? Yes, in Kashmir, please!
Srinagar is located on the banks of the river Jhelum. It is a warm place for newlyweds, romantic couples- young and old both and people looking for some time alone. Srinagar has beautiful Mughal Gardens - Chashma Shahi (royal fountains), Pari Mahal (the palace with the fairies), Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring), the Shalimarg Bagh and Harwan.
The picturesque Dal Lake is the second largest lake in the Kashmir Valley. It is truly called the “Crown of Kashmir.” It not only provides Shikara (boat) walks, but has houseboats accommodation that can rival any luxury hotel. You can also water ski in Dal, if you love adventure and thrill.
Srinagar is a home to several beautiful mosques. They each have a unique architecture and history. Sculpted wooden ceilings, symmetrical arches and gentle chirping of birds, can take you in a trance.
For shopaholics, Srinagar is a hub of exciting products to shop. From super expensive hand woven shawls and carpets to wooden and walnut craftwork and not forgetting the beautiful copper utensils, the market will not disappoint you. There are spices and dry fruits that can add aroma to your culinary experience.
Foodies can experience a variety of scrumptious food here. There are restaurants serving authentic traditional Kashmiri-Wazwaan cuisine outside of regular Chinese and Indian and Mughalai.
Situated at an altitude of 2130m above sea level amidst the Great Himalayas, beside the Lidder River in the Liddar valley, Pahalgam is an ideal setting for trekking, camping, and hiking and fishing.
You can book for camping, backpacking and hiking in Aru Écoresort. If you enjoy a solitary fishery, you are at the right place. Lidder river is the ideal place for fishing. Who knows, you might catch some delicious trout?
For those who desire spiritual worship, Amarnath Yatra's starting point is Pahalgam.
Remember the evergreen melodious song, "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar" of the super hit movie "Aap Ki Kasam" was pictured around a Maharani Temple in Gulmarg. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Gulmarg is famous for its snow-capped cliffs and lush green meadows. The gondola on Apharwat Peak, one of Asia’s most prominent and highest cable cars surrounded by pine forests, takes skiers and snowboarders from 3900 meters to 4100 meters on the mountain.
For an adventurous experience, Gulmarg offers an extensive range of sports activities. You can opt for any action that is more interesting to you. Those who love adventure can do trekking, paragliding, ice skating and skiing.
Sonmarg, with her "Gold Meadows", is the best escapade for nature lovers. The Thajiwas Glacier trek is one of the prime attractions of Sonmarg. It is an entirely safe trek.
Apart from hiking, you can enjoy rafting, fishing, skiing and the campsite. If you want a more adventurous experience, consider taking the Zojila Pass. If you enjoy rough and bumpy drives, do not miss the chance to drive through the Zojila Pass. The view is breathtaking and worth all the trouble.
There are beautiful lakes you can trek to in Sonmarg. Vishansar lake, Gadsar Lake,
Krishansar Lake, Gagabal, Satsar Lake and Nand Kol are beautiful. Gadsar Lake is also called the Lake of Death. A myth revolves around this lake that there lives a freshwater octopus, which drags the creatures off the shores with its tentacles in the water. The shepherds also chose to graze their flocks away from the lake.
Aharbal is famous for its waterfalls. The Aharbal Waterfalls are also called the Niagara Waterfalls of Kashmir. The Veshu falls noisily 25.7 meters down. Though the place is appropriately fenced, one must be careful not to slip. The site is ideal for video blogging, photography and fishing.
For those of archaeological significance, Aharbal is the oldest and most varied fossil site. Experts estimate that the site that is rich in fossil biodiversity and full of dense fossil samples at specific locations can be as old as 488 to 354 million years. However, the exact date may not be determined until after radiocarbon dating.
The best part of being at Aharbal is it is never overcrowded like other tourist places in Kashmir.
Kashmir, no doubt, is heaven on earth. Plan a trip, follow the Covid Guidelines and try to do as much as you can from the activities mentioned above. Try speaking to people here to understand their culture and perspective better. Take some of Kashmir with you to come back and explore what you missed.
Nair Khudaais Hawaal. Khuda Hafiz.
Have a safe journey. Goodbye.