Kashmir

Kashmir Valley

“Going to Kashmir has turned me into a romantic!” – Rohit Warekar

Introduction

Enough has been said about the ethereal beauty of Kashmir, and yet, so much remains unsaid. Over

1 million tourists visit Kashmir every year, to be overwhelmed by the snow-capped peaks of Pir

Panjal, frolic in apple orchards, take dreamy shikara rides, ski and snow-board, and experience

Kashmiri warmth and hospitality. The adventurers make a beeline for Ladakh (mostly on their Royal

Enfields) while peace-seekers bask in the silence of Kashmir’s Tibetan Monastries.

Weather in July

Ask any native Pahadi, about the weather in Kashmir and the standard retort is, “There is no

guarantee”.  This is the region’s summer-time  and sees temperatures go upto 30 degrees,

interspersed with a few showers. Yet, this is when the valley’s beauty puts on a spectacular show –

The orchards brim with delectable fruits, meadows turn emerald, and rivulets of melted snow run

down mountain slopes. It’s a good idea to carry some rain gear, but we recommend frolicking about

in mountain rain just the same! July weather is best enjoyed by visiting some of the more wooded

areas of Kashmir like Gulmarg or Pahalgam, as populated locales like Srinagar or Sopore may be

hotter and more humid.

Must-See Places

The landscape is Kashmir is sure to enthral anyone, regardless of where you choose to go or even if

you choose to stay put. From legendary tourist attractions in bustling towns to less known scenic

spots tucked away in valleys, here’s what you should see in Kashmir

Srinagar

Whether you choose to arrive by air, rail or road, Srinagar will be your first glimpse of Kashmir.

Called the Venice of the East, Srinagar is known for its lakes, gardens and houseboats. The most

popular of these is of course, Dal Lake. A trip to Kashmir is incomplete without a romantic shikara

ride or even better, a houseboat stay on Dal lake. In July particularly, the floating gardens of Dal Lake

bloom with louts flowers, adding a whole new dimension to its appeal. On the periphery of the lake

you will also find Srinagar’s famous Mughal gardens: Nishat, Shalimar and Chashme Shahi as well as

the Shankaracharya Temple and Hazratbal Mosque. Other popular tourist attractions are

Off the beaten track, you can visit Wular Lake – one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes and Hokersar

Lake. Both of these will are highly cherished locations of bird-spotting and a large number of exotic

migratory are seen nesting here all year round. Wular Lake also offers some good water sporting

activities. About 50 kms away lies the scenic hill station of Yusmarg. An as-yet unexploited locale,

Yusmarg offers great scenic beauty and offers many trekking trails. Another popular hill station close

to Srinagar is Sinthan Top, that offers majestic views of the entire J&K region as well as loads of

mountaineering challenges. Wildlife enthusiasts will also savour a visit to the Dachigam National

Park known for sightings of Musk deers, leopards and bears.

Pahalgam

Many Bollywood films swear by the overwhelming beauty of Pahalgam. Well known as the starting

point of the Amarnath Yatra, it is a favourite amongst leisure tourists and trekkers alike. Blessed with

abundant natural beauty Pahalgam offers everything – fir lined mountain slopes, snow capped peaks

rolling green valleys, still lakes, gushing rivers and silent glaciers.

A visit to ‘Betaab’ valley is practically on every traveller’s list.

Gulmarg: Gulmarg Gondola, Khilanmarg

Sonmarg: Nilagrad, Krishnasar Lake, Baltal, Kolhoi Glacier

Other than these, Kashmir boasts of quite a lesser known, yet gorgeous gems:

Yousmarg, Chatpal, Sinthan Top, Lolab Valley, Shopian, Kishtwar, Gurez

You Gotta Try

Shikara, Gondola and Pony rides notwithstanding, if your health permits, one of the things you must

absolutely do while in Kashmir is trek! Add to that, Houseboat stay, a Kashmiri Homestay, full

fledged Kashmiri meal, Camping, Mountain biking

Popular Trails:

From Yusmarg: To Nilnag lake, and Sang-e-Safed Lake (day trips). Expeditions to Tatakooti and

Sunset Peaks.

Dig In!

Meat, particularly mutton features predominantly in Kashmiri cuisine (a la Rogan Josh or Yakhni) but

their vegetarian fare, and desserts in particular can tempt anyone! Get invited to a Wazwan. Slurp

the kahwah or noon chai