Do You Know Kashmir?

Heaven has a Synonym : Kashmir 

Writers have been trying their best to describe the beauty and abundance of Jammu & Kashmir; however the truth is that the power of words, images or even videos can never comprehend the mysticism that this state possesses. This Northern-most state of India has been endowed with nature’s best and that is why it has been an object of interest for many travel enthusiasts.

The state is known for it's scenic splendour, snow-capped mountains, plentiful wildlife, exquisite monuments, hospitable people and local handicraft. It's Also, dotted with the most beautiful mountain peaks, massive glaciers, splendid monasteries, blue lakes, rivers, forests, verdant meadows and tall pine trees.

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While Sports like Skiing, golf, trekking, river rafting, paragliding, camping make the trip to Jammu and Kashmir more adventurous, Amarnath and Vaishno Devi attracts large number of pilgrims every year. Dal Lake, Kashmir Valley, Khardung La Pass, Gulmarg, Shalimar bagh are some of the major attractions of the state. The unparalleled beauty and charm of the state and the sweetness of it's citizens will remain etched in your memory forever.

Some take it as a challenge, for others it is a dream destination, well… no matter what you are seeking and what your interests are; our list of top 10 places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir can help you learn about your options better :

1) Photographer's paradise, Patnitop

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Along with the widespread abundance of landscape, the area is accessorised with activities like skiing and trekking as well as water springs, all together making it a popular destination. Sanasar, located 17 kms away is also popular for paragliding base and golf courses. These together, are sure to give one the most splendid and grand views and make the experience all the more enjoyable with a host of adventure activities.

Best time to visit: Although Patnitop is an 'anytime' place, the best time to visit Patnitop would be in summers during May-June and in autumn (September-October).

2) Village of Shepherds, Pahalgam

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You will be wonder-struck by the sumptuousness of Pahalgam the moment you arrive at this pristine land. Little houses, green fields and farms of saffron, the valleys are green & beautiful. You can go on fishing trips or trek to one of the plenty mountains that cover this place. The 18 hole golf course is set among the snowcapped surroundings of Pahalgam and can make a really worthy experience to remember for long time.

Best time to visit: June to October, December & January for snow
Things to do: Visit to Betab and Aru Valleys, Horseback riding, canoeing

3) Expanse Of Exemplary Beauty, Sonamarg

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A picturesque town located in Kashmir valley at an elevation of around 2800 km from sea level. Bounded by natural beauty, breathtaking glaciers and serene lakes. Nilagrad, a colony of the Baltics, is a picturesque location that one can always visit. Sonamarg is the home of many beautiful and serene lakes. Various mountain lakes such as Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Kishansar are situated in and around Sonamarg. Another scenic eye catching lake in Sonamarg also includes Vishansar. Krishnasar Lake, at a height of 3, 801m above sea level, is popular for fishing with beautiful species such as the trouts.

Best time to visit: June through October, December & January for snow.
Things to do: Trekking, Camping and nature walks.

4) Redefines Beauty, Anantnag

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Near Anantnag exists the confluence of three streams, Arapath, Brengi and Sandran, and the resulting river is named Veth or Jhelum. There are several larger streams such as Brengi. Another stream Lidder joins the river a little downstream and from that point the river becomes navigable. In olden times river Jhelum was the main source of transportation between Anantnag and other towns downstream.

Best time to visit: Anantnag is a destination that comprises of alpine weather. The best time to visit the place is during the summer months and at the onset of the monsoon that is May to October.

5) Entailing Adventure, Gulmarg

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Known for its scenic beauty, Gulmarg has also been a popular destination for shooting of various Bollywood films. Gulmarg is the snow paradise of Kashmir. This skier’s paradise is popular for having one of world's highest and largest ropeways with an aerial distance of approx. 5kms. The view from top of the mountains at 3979 metres above sea level is bewildering. Snow falls are regular even during summer, giving every tourist a fair chance to enjoy the fall!

Best Time to visit; June to October, and for snow December & January would be the best.
Things to do: Mountain Biking, trekking, Skiing if you visit in winters and Gondola rides for a panoramic view of the valley.

6) The Winter capital, Jammu

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Nestled against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains, the region of Jammu constitutes the southernmost unit of the state of J&K. Between these two extremities lie a series of scrub-covered hills, forested mountain ranges and river valleys, encompassing several microclimatic regions that extend from Kishtawar in the north-east to Akhnoor in the south-west, and the historic town of Poonch in the north-west to the borders of Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) in the south-east. The Shivalik hills cut across the area from the east to the west while the rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab cut their way through the region.

Be it the multi-hued flags representing the temples and shrines in the city, the tantalising aromas that lift and diffuse from its spectacular cuisine or even the snow capped mountains that promise adventure and action, this 'City of Temples' has something to offer to everyone.

Best time to visit: Winters and spring are the ideal time to visit.The best time to visit Jammu is between late September and early March.

7) The Shrine of Vaishno Devi, Katra

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One of the most important places of worship in India calls the little town of Katra its home. Located in the Uddhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, Katra is mostly visited by devotees of Lord Shiva. The pilgrimage route is only complete when Shiv Khori, 1.6 km away from Vaishno Devi is also visited. Katra has a large collection of water bodies which can be easily accessed.

Growing as an attraction, people now have access to helicopters and eco friendly vehicles. Katra is worth visiting, even if you are not on a pilgrimage, because attractions like the Banganga, the Chenab river, and a large amount of peaks around offer great places for mountain climbing and family outings.

8) The Holy Caves, Vaishno Devi

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Vaishno Devi is a religious trekking destination where pilgrims walk about 13 km uphill to reach the little caves which is among one of the 108 Shakti Peetha. Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani is a manifestation of Durga, a Goddess according to Hindu mythology.

Best time to visit: Summer season and autumn season are perhaps the best time to visit the pilgrimage site of Goddess Vaishno Devi.
Things to do: Trek to the temple and Ardh Kuwari Caves

9) The Unforgettable City, Kargil

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The beautiful area is embellished with sturdy rocks where the crystal clear Suru river stream flows. There are rich apple, mulberry and apricots orchard in summers. There are revered monasteries and mosques as well, exhibiting the culture of Kargil.

Situated drastically close to the Line of Control, Kargil doesn't end here. Apart from the glorious War Memorial in the Drass town, situated at the foothill of the Tololing Hills, the district has several Buddhist monasteries, where you can seek blessings in peace, be it the Lamayuru Monastery, or the scenic monasteries at Phuktal, Sani & the Cave Monastery. To sum up, Kargil is a destination that suits the bold travellers, who want a slice of adrenaline rushing up every moment in their veins.

Best time to visit: March to June
Things to do: Mountaineering in the Nun Mountains, trekking to Suru Valley. Visits to Mulbek Gompa, Shergol, Urgyan Dzong and Wakha Rgyal

10) The Land of Sapphire and Saffron, Kishtwar

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Situated approximately 255kms away from Jammu city, Kishtwar is surrounded with lofty mountains and dense deodar and pine forests. A perfect place for those who enjoy taking short or long walks or contemplating the natural beauty, Kishtwar is a paradise in its own right. Chowgan, Paddar, Chingam, Sinthan Top, Warwan and Marwah are the places that you must visit. Also a 400 sq km land is under National Park in Kishtwar. Even though Kishtwar is not the only high altitude wildlife sanctuary, it is made special because of its large variety of flora and fauna.

Best time to visit: Kishtwar is a year-round destination and hence, it can be frequented throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Kishtwar is from May to October when the weather

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Kashmir, is a gem of our country that offers you great heartwarming memories for a lifetime. Srinagar being the purest of it's form has a great importance in-terms of being the getaway to major attractions of Kashmir valley and Jammu district. As it called out to us to create a Home in Paradise, we couldn't deny and got to work and now we are in the quaint valleys of Srinagar, Kashmir, near to Dal Lake, Nishat Bagh and other sites.

Come and explore the best of Kashmir with us through Zostel Srinagar.

Book your stay at www.zostel.com

Crafted By, Anushka Arora


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