Kashmir, renowned as ‘Heaven on Earth’ is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised. Set like a jeweled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons – always extravagantly beautiful. Every city of Kashmir will overwhelm you with its many vistas! Kesari’s Kashmir Tours take you to Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Katra, Khilanmarg, Vaishnodevi and more. Juicy fruits like apples and cherries, beautiful flowers like tulips and saffron, snow-capped alpines will all make your photographs even more lively! In winter, when snow carpets the mountains and along the gentle slopes, while in spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer.
Below are 12 amazing things that you must try when in Kashmir:
1. Take a unique Shikara Ride in Dal Lake
The Dal is famous not only for its beauty but for its vibrancy, because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is unique anywhere in the world. Yes- it’s the Shikara ride. The Shikara is a small floating marvel and an iconic symbol of Kashmir.Dress yourself up in the Kashmiri attire and enjoy the romantic boat ride covered in the variety of flaunting flowers. Floating amidst the clean blue water of Dal Lake and beholding the surroundings of snow-draped mountains is one amazing experience.
2. Experience the fascinating House Boat Stay
At least, for one night, you must say goodbye to your hotel to enjoy the chills of Kashmiri winters in the houseboats. Away from the materialistic world, the houseboat will offer you the serene view of the glittering stars lighting up the water bodies and the moonlight adding sparkle to the white snow.
3 Indulge in the Heavenly Taste of Kashmiri Cuisine
Just like its picturesque beauty, the food in Kashmir is heavenly. The world over Kashmiri dishes like Rogan Josh, Yakhni, Matschgand, Qeleeya, Mujh Gaad, Goshtaba, Syun Pulaav, Biriyanis and Dum Aloo are repeatedly imitated but the real flavor lies in the spices available exclusively in the valley and you must dig your spoons into to get your taste buds going in the valley. Any trip to Kashmir is absolutely incomplete without a tasting of the ‘ Wazawan’ which are mutton preparations cooked in different gravies
4. Take a trip to colourful Shalimar Bagh
Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal Garden in Srinagar built by the Mughal emperor- Jahangir in the year 1916 AD for his beloved wife Noor Jahan. This three terraced Garden is graced by the lush green carpet of grass and it has total 410 fountains. On the backdrop, you can witness the grandeur of Himalayan ranges. Nowadays, it holds pots with bright coloured flowers which reflect their vibrancy to the waterfall.
5 Experience Sheer Adventure
Gulmarg is a Skier’s paradise in India and international skiing competitions is annually held here. Famously known as the ‘Meadow of Flowers’, Gulmarg also makes amazing trekking destination. Try mountain biking on the slopes of Kashmir. Glide high in the sky to enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains covered in the sheet of snow and the valleys draped in the lush greenery. Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Baderwah, Sanasar, and Harwan are the famous spots to enjoy the thrills of Paragliding.
6. Try the Paronamic Gondola Ride at Gulmarg
How would you enjoy the view of the serene lakes and majestic mountains covered in shimmering snow from up above the sky? Eye-pleasing, isn’t it? Which is why you should definitely try the Gondola ride at Gulmarg Valley. Gondolas are the official cable cars of Kashmir. It is the world’s second highest operating cable car. The ride that takes you high in the sky to offer you the bird’s eye view of Gulmarg valley covered either in a white sheet of snow or lush green vegetation. Definitely a feeling of being on cloud 9!
7. Shop for Kashmiri exclusives:
Kashmir’s Pashmina shawls, Shahtoosh shawl and stoles have captured our hearts but you could come back with so much more. There are walnut wood carvings, papiér–maché knick knacks, red Kashmiri chillies, vintage maps of Kashmir, special green tea leaves, and woven carpet or Namda, willow baskets, Walnut wood articles, Lac ornaments, ‘Doda Sapphire’ – found only in Kashmir. If you’re travelling back home by air, make a stop at a local bakery or Kandur Wan for some delicious Lavaasa , Girdas and Kulchas.
8. Explore the world-famous Saffron fields
Pampore apart from Spain & Israel is the only place in the world where Saffron is grown. Kashmir not only has the proud privilege of being one of these 2 places but also the best quality saffron in the world comes from Kashmir. Known for its delectable taste, aroma & 100% purity- Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world is the adornment of the beautiful valley of Kashmir. When the vibrant, purple saffron flowers bloom, it paints Kashmir with exotic colours and quixotic ambiance.
9. Take a stroll in the beautiful Tulip garden
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, located at the foothills of Dal Lake is where you can witness heavenly sight of beautiful Tulip flowers. It is Asia’s biggest tulip garden and has thousands of flowers which impart a mesmerizing ambiance to this 90-acre tourist attraction in the Valley. Nearly 1.3 million tulip bulbs comprising 70 varieties of diverse colours have been grown in the garden. Now you can imagine why Yash Chopra chose Kashmir for one of his eternal romances, Silsila amidst the blushing tulip fields!
10. Slurp on the popular “Kawah” or “Noon” Chai
Kashmiri Kahwa tea is a fragrant, healthy tea infused with delicate flavors of whole spices to keep you warm, especially in the bitter cold. Saffron strands, cinnamon bark and cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses are added to the boiling green tea leaves for a refreshing aroma and taste. Served with honey and crushed nuts, it’s a must have on your visit to Kashmir. For those who like to try new and different variants of tea, the Noon Chai, the salty pink tea made with milk and butter is also a great option.
Endowed with picturesque settings and natural beauty, this northern-most state of India is a paradise for photographers. Weather you are in the traditional Kashmiri attire or the Himalayan backdrop, it will urge you to capture the beauty in your lens, every corner of the state is full of beautiful shots.
12.Visit the world’s famous Cricket bat factory
Forty kilometers from Srinagar is Sangam, the veiled world of the Kashmiri willow and cricket bat makers. Some of the factories here supply bats internationally and also to many well-known cricket personalities. Kashmir again is one of the few places in the world producing finest willow wood.