Kashmir was, is and will remain the ultimate paradise on earth in India. If you are wondering if you must plan a holiday to Kashmir though you keep reading reports about it. Yes, you must. Declared a Union Territory last year, the government decided to open Jammu Kashmir to tourists in October 2019 after studying the situation carefully.
If there’s any time you must visit this beautiful tourist destination, it is now, when they need tourism to continue their livelihood. Tourism in J & K is important and handles many businesses. If you are still debating, then read on to know why you must visit Kashmir at least once in your lifetime.
Transcendent beauty: Nature has gifted Kashmir with unbelievable splendour from its dazzling yellow and red Chinar trees that make the valley vibrant in autumn, the gorgeous silver lakes that turn golden at the dawn, to clear azure rivers running down snowbound peaks. There’s plenty you can see and enjoy from tall pines, rainbow-hued flowers, plenty of lush juicy fruits including black apples available only in Kashmir.
Safety in Kashmir: Yes, we agree safety is the topmost question in your mind. However, rest assured the government has made provisions to keep visitors safe. Not only safety measures, but the locals are friendly and welcoming. Many who’ve visited in November and December have mentioned the valley being quiet and peaceful. Despite assurances, it is prudent to take a few precautions just as if you were travelling to any other city or country. Make sure you have travel insurance. If you don’t then do get one before you travel.
Kashmir is famous for unmatched panoramic vistas, snowbound peaks, gorgeous lakes, several rivers, abundant wildlife, stunning monuments, local arts and handicrafts, spices, condiments, and friendly locals. Emperor Jehangir’s says it perfectly, “If there is ever a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”
Fantastic food: Kashmir is not only home to several gorgeous vistas but also where you can look forward to some fantastic mouthwatering cuisine. Haven’t you heard about Rogan Josh and has it at restaurants here but eating it when in Kashmir is another experience completely. Kashmir is well-known for its non-vegetarian dishes but there are some fabulous vegetarian dishes like Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Lyodur Tschaman is a delicacy straight from the hills. Made using cottage cheese in a creamy turmeric gravy, often a part of everyday Kashmiri food. Don’t forget to get a taste of Modur pulav , which is sweet Kashmiri rice made with milk, sugar, rice, nuts, and condiments. If you are looking for a taste of everything, then the Kashmiri ‘wazwan’ is what you must try.
Wazwan is a multi-course meal of sumptuous Kashmiri food and is an important part of Kashmir’s culture. Be ready for several lamb and chicken dishes with a few vegetarian staples added to the meal. If you aren’t scared of overindulging, then Wazwan is for you.
The best time to travel to Kashmir: The best time to travel to Kashmir is between March and August. You get a chance to enjoy both spring and summer in the valley. You can travel to Kashmir throughout the year but seasonal changes colour the valley differently. Here’s what you can look forward to during the seasons.
Summer in Kashmir: Summer in Kashmir lasts from May to August when the minimum temperatures hover around 14.4°C to 20.8° C. Summers are when the snow melts forming charming rivulets filling up streams in the mountain with fresh chilly water.
Summer is the best season if you plan on a boat ride on Dal Lake, a trek through the Himalayas, fishing for trout, gondola rides and more. The valleys, mountain passes, beautiful gardens come alive making it an ideal time for a holiday. Some places you can plan for are a shikara ride on Dal lake in Srinagar, Nageen lake, a visit to Chandanwari in Pahalgam and the beautiful tulip gardens. For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers visit the Dachigam National Park for sure.
Winter in Kashmir: Winter in Kashmir lasts from December to February when maximum temperatures hover around 10°C the minimum can fall to -8°C. Snow-covered Gulmarg, Srinagar, Pahalgam and the lofty Himalayas is a sight unlike any other. The city looks postcard with imposing mountain peaks, frozen pine trees and a blanket of white as far as the eyes can see. Though travelling over frozen roads and mountain passes may be difficult it is also when newlyweds flock to the mountain for their honeymoons. A stay on the houseboat in Kashmir is a must when the lake is partially frozen.
Get an adrenaline rush when you try skiing at Gulmarg or enjoy the beautiful vista on a cable car ride. Have you ever walked over a frozen river? The Chaddar trek on River Zanskar is just that -a trek on the frozen river south of Leh in the Hemis National Park. The Thajwas Glacier and Zero point in Sonmarg are worth a visit if the weather permits. A pony ride, camping in the snow and hiking are things you can look forward to doing when you visit Kashmir in winter.
Autumn in Kashmir: Autumn in Kashmir lasts from mid-September to mid-November. Known as the king of all seasons in Kashmir, the beautiful city turns golden in all its glory. Not only is it a beautiful sight, but it is the best time to stay outdoors in Kashmir and have fun. The weather turns warm and pleasant when pumpkin and squash aroma fills the air. You can get the whole houseboat experience, spend a day enjoying the floating market on Dal Lake. Take a stroll through the magnificent Mughal gardens, shop for arts and handicrafts and kahwa.
Kashmir is home to several beautiful monuments that you cannot miss, whether you visit during summer, winter, or autumn. Kesari Tours offers several options you can choose from to fit your budget. If you still have a few doubts walk into the nearest Kesari branch.