I have been lucky to visit Kashmir three times and I find it incredibly beautiful. As the season moves to summer vacation time you might be looking for a trip to Kashmir. I have out forth a list to things to do in Kashmir. I hope you will enjoy it. And I sincerely hope that another flood doesn’t materialize in Karshmir.
It is an amazing experience to stay in a house boat in Srinagar. There are many house boats both at Dal Lake and Nagin Lake across various budget ranges. For me the most beautiful aspect of staying a house boat was to wake up in the middle of the lake and see it come alive in the morning with shikaras selling breakfast, flowers and souvenirs.
Walking around Dal Lake in the evening is a thing of beauty. The setting sun makes the surface of the lake glow. I would stop at the road side tea shop and have chai as well when I was tired of walking.
There is a local floating vegetable market on Dal Lake which sells wholesale vegetables. It has become a tourist attraction too. One has to wake up early to go there as the market disperses by 7.30 am or so.
Paragliding is available at Srinagar from Astanmarg area. I could not do it personally as our bookings didn’t work out but I did see the site and it was a beauty.
Pari Mahal is a garden in Srinagar. The garden itself is beautiful but the view of the city from the garden is breathtakingly beautiful.
The gondola ride at Gulmarg is very popular and rightly so. The ride is dependent on weather. On some days it is not possible to go the level two due to the weather, on some days the ride may just not happen at all. But if possible do try going to both the levels. In the skiing season it is fun to skiers zipping around on the slopes.
St. Mary’s Church is situated on a vast meadow and the location itself makes it so beautiful. A mass is said in the church every Sunday and the priest comes in from Srinagar!
Gulmarg gets snow, a lot of snow. When I was there in March it had five feet of snow. And snow is so much fun. There is a skiing institute in Gulmarg too, so if you are planning to learn skiing, Gulmarg is one of the options.
There is rafting available on the River Lidder in Pahalgam. It was open for a small stretch when I was there and the water was oh so cold! But it was a lot of fun as well. Pahalgam is picture postcard beautiful even otherwise.
If you like tea you have to try kahwa the Kashmiri tea. It is a tea made without milk and everyone does it a little differently. I am otherwise a big fan of Chai but kahwa comes quite close. When in Kashmir, I drink only Kahwa. You have to give it a try, chances are you will get addicted like me!
I was so excited when I got a call from the PR team handling J&K Tourism. I immediately agreed to go on the trip, I took three days leave as well. For me leaves are really truly precious because I work full time. Anyway, talking about leaves is not too engaging, so back to the Kashmir trip.
We stayed at a house boat at the Dal Lake in Srinagar for the first night. It was a unique experience. The name of the houseboat was Acropolis. It was clean though the bathroom was far from ideal. It was clean but had an antiquated and non-functional tub and to take bath you had to climb in. Other than this minor gripe the experience was quite memorable.
We visited the floating vegetable market at the Dal Lake early in the morning. Originally the market might have been only for the vegetable but now with tourists around flower seller also join in. It was such a pleasure to wake up at the other side of the lake and watch the birds and life generally around the lake. Srinagar is full of Mughal gardens but on this trip I could visit only one.
Pari Mahal is a seven terraced garden built by king Dara Shikoh somewhere in 1600s. It is a beautiful garden but more than that it has stunning view of the city. It is a bit outside the city, with narrow roads leading to it. I could have sat there for the whole day and looked at the view.
No, before you say you envy me, let me tell you I could not take a ride. Kashmir is trying to develop adventure tourism. Paragliding is one of the activities. It is happening on a hillock at the Asthan Marg. For us it was difficult to locate the place. As of now one has to trek 1.5 kilometers to reach the spot. It was fun for me but it would have been even more fun it I could have taken the flight! Anyway, there is always a next time! What a view we got even from the hillock.
What I could do was rafting on the Lidder River at Pahalgam. It was a short stretch of 2KM but that was enough for me. The water was so, so cold that I would yell and scream (no, really I did that) every time I got drenched. I can only shudder when I think what would have happened if I got thrown-in. Thankfully it never happened.
Finally, it is time to talk a bit about food. You are better off if you are a non-vegetarian as there are many local dishes you can try. I can only talk about this excellent lemon cake and coffee at Cafe Log Inn. Read it carefully, it is not login and password, it log as in wood Inn! More on these snapshots in later posts.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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