Kashmir is the crown jewel of tourism and one of the most beautiful places to visit in India. It is a part of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and lies in the northernmost section of the country. Often regarded as “Heaven on Earth”, the place is blessed with spectacular landmarks created by Mother Nature. Alongside agriculture exports, tourism is a massive contributor to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. The availability of quality accommodations, accessible transport, sightseeing locations, and adventure activities are some of its key highlights that draw in millions of domestic and international visitors all year round. Kashmir is also one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in India, thanks to its serene atmosphere, natural flair and local culture and traditions.
From vast green valleys to snow-clad mountains, there are a plethora of landmarks to check out during a Kashmir trip. It includes popular places and attractions like Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Apharwat Peak, Betaab Valley, etc. You can also find various prominent religious sites in Kashmir, like the Jama Masjid Mosque, Shankaracharya Temple, Hazratbal Shrine, Maharani Temple, etc. The wide selection of fun activities and adventures in Kashmir, like bird watching, horse riding, Shikara rides, etc., also piques a massive tourist interest. From local farm produce to beautiful works of regional craftsmanship, shopping in Kashmir is another prominent aspect of Kashmir tourism. The availability of luxurious restaurants, delicious local cuisine and famous bars allows visitors to enjoy fine dining and the exuberant nightlife of Kashmir during their holidays.
The renowned tourist attractions in Kashmir are natural landmarks, historical sites, religious places, regional events, etc. Some prominent Kashmir famous places and attractions are:
Shankaracharya Hill is a popular tourist attraction and a crucial religious landmark for Hindus. Located about half an hour's drive away from the centre of Srinagar, tourists come to this site to visit the famous Shankaracharya Temple. The temple sits on the hilltop at a height of 1,000 feet above the plain. This grey-stone-built shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and features a 240-step climb. Shankaracharya Hill is also known for its natural beauty and offers the best panoramic view of the city.
Covering an area of around 18 square kilometres, Dal Lake is one of the most visited tourist sites in Kashmir. It is a massive lake known for offering some of the best scenic visuals in the city. Various houseboats, gardens, parks, hotels, etc., are located on the bounds of the lake. Tourists mainly visit Dal Lake in Srinagar for its Houseboat stay and Shikara ride experiences.
The Jama Masjid is a significant religious landmark in the region. It is located in Nowhatta and is regarded as one of the best places to visit in Kashmir. Jama Masjid is known for its religious and historical significance, spectacular Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and massive courtyard. The mosque can accommodate up to 33,333 individuals at a time.
The Baisaran valley ranks as one of the top tourist attractions in Kashmir. Located 5 kilometres from Pahalgam, the place is surrounded by lush green meadows, tall pine trees and snow-capped mountains. Baisaran Valley’s breathtaking natural beauty has won it the title of “mini-Switzerland”. It is also one of the best Kashmir famous places that you can visit for adventure activities, like zorbing, zip-lining, trekking, etc.
When sightseeing in Srinagar, consider visiting the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden. It is popularly known as the largest tulip garden on the continent and covers an area of 30 hectares. There are over 15 lakh tulips with more than 60 different varieties on display in the garden. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kashmir.
Located at an elevation of 4,390 metres, the Apharwat Peak is an exceptionally beautiful summit in Gulmarg. It remains covered by thick layers of snow for most of the calendar and is a famous spot for winter adventures and activities in Kashmir. The best way to reach Apharwat Peak is via the Gulmarg Gondola ride. It is one of the best places to see in Kashmir for its natural beauty.
The Betaab Valley is another remarkable tourist attraction in Kashmir. Located 15 kilometres from Pahalgam, the place is surrounded by dense vegetation, vast green meadows and snow-covered mountains. The nearby flowing Lidder River also adds to the picturesque glow of Betaab Valley. It is one of the best Kashmir famous places for photography, horse riding and picnic.
Sonmarg is a famous hill station and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kashmir. It is situated in the district of Ganderbal, roughly 80 kilometres from Srinagar. With an elevation of 2,730 metres, Sonmarg is a prominent location for camping and trekking activities. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, beautiful meadows, gushing streams and majestic lakes, which offer phenomenal scenic views to tourists.
The Sinthan Top is an off-beat location you can check out during your Kashmir trip. It is a mountain pass lying between Anantnag and Kishtwar. The main highlights of this location are its scenic beauty and trekking adventures. The ideal time to visit Sinthan Top is considered between April and September. It is also one of the top attractions on Kashmir's best places list.
The Chashme Shahi is a Mughal garden and a well-known Kashmir tourist spot. It is situated in Zabarwan Range and overlooks the famous Dal Lake. Chashme Shahi garden was built in 1632 AD under the orders of emperor Shah Jahan. The main highlights of the garden include its natural spring, calm atmosphere, colourful plants and Persian-influenced Mughal architecture.
The Hazratbal Shrine, in the Srinagar district, is regarded as the holiest Muslim shrine in Kashmir. This grand white marble structure is a fine specimen of the Islamic architecture of that period. The shrine is widely-known for housing a relic called Moi-e-Muqaddas, which is believed to be the hair strand of Prophet Muhammad’s beard. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Kashmir.
The Pari Mahal plays an important role in the aspect of Kashmir sightseeing. It is a 7-terraced Mughal garden nestled on top of the Zabarwan range, about 10 kilometres from the centre of Srinagar. It was built by Mughal prince Dara Shikoh somewhere around the 1650s. Pari Mahal’s main attractions are its Islamic style of architecture, colourful flowers and surrounding beauty.
Gulmarg is a popular skiing destination located at an elevation of 2,650 metres. The entire region is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush green forests and massive flower-filled meadows, giving it a unique and charming look. Gulmarg’s Gondola Cable Car Ride is one of the best Kashmir tourist attractions. Other notable attractions in Gulmarg are Apharwat Peak, winter sports activities, Maharani Temple, Baba Reshi Shrine, St. Mary’s Church, etc.
Located in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, the Amarnath Cave Temple is one of the most significant Hindu shrines in India. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and sits at an altitude of 3,888 metres. Devotees from all over the globe go on this holy journey, called Amarnath Yatra, to catch the majestic glimpse of the Shiva Lingam inside the cave temple. It is one of Kashmir's best places for a spiritual tour.
It is a grand festival that takes place every year at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar. It celebrates the blooming season of the gorgeous tulips in the garden. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing events in Kashmir. Tourists attend this Tulip festival to get an insight into the local culture, traditions and festivities.
When it comes to fun activities, Kashmir has a massive range of experiences to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Kashmir:
There are multiple distinct bird species residing across several locations in Kashmir. These places tend to be ideal spots for bird-watching activities that you can enjoy solo or with family. The best places to visit in Kashmir for bird watching in Kashmir are Dal Lake, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, Hokerser, etc.
One of the most fun things to do in Kashmir is to go horse riding. The unruly terrain, vast green meadows and beautiful scenic beauty of the region make it a magnificent location for this activity. Pahalgam and Gulmarg are the two best places to visit in Kashmir for horse riding.
During your holidays, make sure to go on the renowned Gondola cable car ride in Gulmarg. It is a signature experience offered in Kashmir that you can enjoy with your family. While on the cable car ride, you can get breathtaking views of the snow-clad mountains and the underlying rocky terrain from above.
Going on a Shikara ride is another signature activity you can try during your Kashmir trip. It is a relaxing experience amidst the picturesque beauty of the lake on a traditional wooden boat. The Dal Lake in Srinagar is the best place for Shikara rides in Kashmir.
The snow-covered mountains and steep slopes in Kashmir make it a prominent location for winter sports and adventure activities. If you are visiting during the winter, consider trying out skiing. Gulmarg is one of the best places in Kashmir for skiing activities.
Kashmir is an ideal location in India to go for golfing activities. The majestic scenic beauty of the region makes the experience of playing golf a truly remarkable one. Pahalgam and Gulmarg are two of the best places to visit in Kashmir for golfing activities.
Individuals who are looking for a fast-paced adventure activity that will get their adrenaline rushing can consider river rafting in Kashmir. The Lidder River near Pahalgam and the Sindh River near Sonmarg are the two most popular places in Kashmir for river rafting.
The hilly terrain and meandering routes in Kashmir make it a great spot for mountain cycling. It is a challenging but fun activity that enables tourists to explore regional beauty at their own pace. Some of the best cycling routes in Kashmir are the Srinagar-Sonmarg route, the Gulmarg-Pahalgam route and the Sonmarg-Manasbal Lake route.
Paragliding in Kashmir is one of the most thrilling adventure activities to try in Kashmir. It offers a brand-new vantage point to check out the surrounding valleys, snow-covered mountains, serene lakes and dense forests while gliding through the air. The best places to visit in Kashmir for paragliding adventures are Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sanasar.
There are various streams and lakes in the region that allow tourists to take part in fishing and angling activities. Some of the most famous places for angling in Kashmir are Lidder, Ferozepur Nallah and Gangabal Lake.
Exploring Srinagar city on foot is one of the best things to do in Kashmir. It is a great way to explore the local landmarks and learn about urban life in the region. It is a calm and slow-paced activity suitable for individuals of all ages.
From high-quality saffron and green apples to beautiful shawls and designer clothing, there are a lot of things to buy in Kashmir. Here are some of the best places you can visit for shopping in Kashmir:
G M Shah is a widely popular handicrafts showroom based in Polo View Market, Srinagar. They sell a massive collection of quality goods, including sarees, shawls, crewelwork goods, embroidery suits, etc. The quality of products at this location is top-notch, and the price is a bit on the expensive side.
It is another famous shop located in Polo View Market, Srinagar. Saklain’s Coterie mainly deals in naturally made cosmetics and essential oils. It is a great place to buy organic hair oil, face wash, gels, scrubs, soaps, and moisturisers.
If you are looking to buy high-quality leather goods during your Kashmir trip, consider visiting Simson in Srinagar. The store has a massive collection of products on display, including wallets, jackets, purses and so on. The prices of items are reasonable, considering the quality.
Amin Bin Khalik is one of the best stores in Srinagar that deals in dry fruits. The store offers high-grade products that are grown on local farms. Some must-buy items at this store include dried cranberries, almonds, saffron and dates.
When out for souvenir shopping in Srinagar, consider stopping by Sun Beams in Polo View market. It is a prominent store in the city that sells high-quality handicrafts. Here you can find items like table lamps, wooden mementoes, jewellery boxes, chain-stitch rugs, etc.
Kashmir Loom in Srinagar is one of the best places to shop for authentic Kashmiri shawls. They offer a wide range of colours and contemporary designs. Make sure to check out their speciality product, which is Kani Weave Cashmere Shawls.
When shopping around in Srinagar, don’t forget to check out Asia Crafts on Bund Road. They sell premium quality goods, ranging from beautifully designed carpets and rugs to intricately decorated lampshade parchments and furniture.
The Gulshan Bookstore on Residency Road, Srinagar, is one of the best places in the city to shop for books. With a massive collection ranging from history to travel, it is a paradise for book lovers.
When visiting Kashmir, consider trying out the unique and delicious local bakery products. Ahdoos Bakery on Residency Road is one of the best places to shop for bakery items in the city. Make sure to check out their walnut-flavoured biscuits and Baqarkhani bread.
Featured on various media outlets, it is an antique shop that deals in manually distilled rose water, which is a regional speciality item. Located in the old city of Srinagar, Aziz Ahmad Kozgar is one of the best places to shop for rose water in Kashmir.
If you are looking for intricately designed hand-embroidered products and high-quality Pashmina pieces, visit Andraab near Humhama Chowk. It is a renowned store in the city that sells products like shawls, wraps, bedspreads, etc., of the finest quality.
Kashmir Essence is a beauty brand based in Srinagar that deals in organic products made with local ingredients. Located in Jawahar Nagar, you can shop for body cleansers, moisturisers, face packs, and other skincare and beauty products at this location.
When it comes to food, Kashmir has a lot of prominent restaurants and local delicacies to offer. Here are some of the most famous restaurants and dishes in the region:
Located on Residency Road, Srinagar, the Mughal Darbar is a famous restaurant in the city. The place serves delicious Mughlai and North Indian cuisines and is reasonably priced. Make sure to try their speciality Roganjosh when dining here.
Cafe de Linz on Street Court Road in Srinagar is a great place to go for lunch and dinner. It mainly serves Indian cuisine at a very budget-friendly price segment. The comfortable seating arrangement and prompt service are its main highlights.
Ahdoos is a restaurant on Residency Road, Srinagar, and is quite popular among tourists. Its multi-cuisine menu and affordable pricing make it one of the best places for brunch and dinner in the city. It also features a cosy ambience and air-conditioned seating.
Known for its ambience and food quality, Coffea Arabica is a great place to grab a quick bite in Srinagar. Located on Maulana Azad Link Road, the cafe serves bakery foods, coffee, milkshakes, pizzas, etc.
If you want to try mouthwatering vegetarian Indian dishes, make sure to visit Krishna Vaishno Dhaba on Durganag Road in Srinagar. Some of their must-try dishes include Butter Naan, Shahi Paneer, Tawa Roti, and more.
The Lhasa Restaurant in Srinagar is one of the best places to try Tibetan and Chinese cuisine in Kashmir. The restaurant is famous for its delightful ambience, seating arrangement, and hospitable service. Some of their must-try dishes include Momos, Wontons, Thukpa, Soups, etc.
It is a massively popular non-veg dish that is a must-try for tourists during their Kashmir trip. Rogan Josh is a type of lamb curry made with a signature mix of spices and yoghurt. Its savoury taste makes it a perfect side dish to go with naan or basmati rice.
It is a special fish curry cooked alongside diced nadur or radish. Ingredients like cloves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger, green cardamoms, etc., are also used for added flavour and spiciness. Kashmiri Muji Gaad is served across various restaurants in Srinagar.
Popular among locals, Aab Gosht is a must-try dish in Kashmir. It is a type of curry-based mutton dish prepared with lamb, milk, cardamom, garlic, onion, ghee and a few other ingredients. It has a unique taste and is usually served alongside rice.
The nightlife in Kashmir is a bit limited in options. However, there are some prominent locations where you can meet new people and enjoy your evenings with good food and drinks. Some examples include:
Located at The Lalit Grand Palace, Dal Bar is one of the most popular bars in Srinagar. It is known for having a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating options, and a well-curated cocktail menu. It also features scenic views of Dal Lake and an elegant ambience.
It is another popular spot where you can hang out with friends and enjoy the nightlife in Kashmir. Undress is a pub in Srinagar that features a delightful ambience, great music and a cosy seating arrangement. The pub remains filled with people during the evenings and is a prominent place to meet new people in the city. Make sure to have a go at their beer and wine menu when visiting this location.
Often referred to as the 'Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir,' Dal Lake is one of the most precious slices of paradise in Kashmir. Surrounded by the lush Mughal gardens and lined with British-built houseboats, the lake is the region's favorite summer destination for centuries. The houseboats and Shikara rides that present a scintillating sight of floating gardens and markets filled with vibrant lotus flowers, fruits, and vegetables; is worth a million bucks! Spend a few hours and you are sure to be mesmerized.
Location: Boulevard Road, Srinagar
Known for: Shikaras and House-Boat Ride with really scenic views.
How to reach: One of the easiest places to reach in Srinagar. It is easily accessible via all modes of local transport.
Approximate Cost: A one hour ride on Shikara will cost you INR 400-500 per person approximately. Houseboat charges depend upon time of visit and also on availability.
Operating hours: 6 am to 6 pm
Gulmarg is a town nestled in the Pir Panjal range of the Western Himalayas at an altitude of 8,690 feet above sea level. Literally translated as ‘Meadow of Flowers’ it is encased by glimmering snow peaked alps, verdant green pastures, colorful meadows, deep valleys and pine covered slopes.
A picturesque beauty, it is known for its ski resort which was established in 1927, the Gulmarg Gondola – Asia’s second longest cable car ride and the highest golf course in the world at an elevated altitude of 2,650 meters. Gulmarg is an absolute delight for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Called the ‘heartland of winter sports’, it offers a plethora of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, horse riding, heli-skiing, snow scooter, tobogganing, etc. and sightseeing options. The best season to visit Gulmarg is from October to June as it is the perfect destination especially during winters when the snow capped landscape transforms into the premier destination for winter sports in India.
Jammu and Kashmir, 193403
A family holiday in the scenic valley of Kashmir.
Flight: The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport, Dehradun. A cab can be hired from there directly to Gulmarg.
Train: The closest station is Jammu station. You can either hire a taxi or take a bus to Gulmarg
Road: Several private and state buses run to Gulmarg. Private car and taxi can also be hired to reach the place.
Gulmarg is a popular world class ski resort destination and attracts a lot of skiers from neighbouring nations. Established in 1927 by the British, they used to host two annual ski events at Christmas and Easter respectively. Skiing and other snow activities are carried out on the slopes of Apharwat mountains which is at the height of 14,000 feet. The Gulmarg Gondola connects Gulmarg with Apharwath Mountain from where one can ski down the trail crossing the gondola valley and poma terrain. The ski terrain adorned with Pine trees and snow covered slopes offers a mesmerizing view and challenging trails transpiring into an exhilarating experience for skiers. The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering is also located here which offers courses on trekking, mountaineering, skiing, etc.
One of the major attractions, the Gulmarg Gondola is the second highest cable car ride in the world. It came into existence in May 1998 with phase I ferrying visitors to Kongdoori at a height of 8,500 feet. The second phase became operational in May 2005 from Gulmarg to Apharwath peaks at a height of 13,500 feet. The third phase, an addition in the form of chairlift was made in 2011. The Gondola offers a spectacular view of Gulmarg, Khilanmarg, the Himalayan ranges, Pir Panjal range, Nanda Devi and the LOC.
6km away from Gulmarg, Khilanmarg is a riveting natural meadow which offers a splendid unparalleled panoramic view of the Himalayan range including the Nanga Parbat. A favourite destination of tourists, during spring it is a spectacular landscape engulfed with vibrant blossoming flowers and in winters, it’s one of the ski runs popular with skiing enthusiasts.
Situated at an elevated height of 4,200 meters above sea level, it is a charismatic snow crest mountain peak with a breathtaking birds eye view of the entire valley. Covered with snow, it is a hot spot for skiing and has slopes and trails suitable for beginners and experts. During summers as the snow melts, the landscape transforms to lush verdant grasslands making it suitable for horse rides. The Alpathar lake at the base of the Aphwarat peaks is a magnificent lake that gets frozen during winters and becomes a thriving lake surrounded by greenery during summers. It is a nature’s paradise and a must visit attraction.
Gulmarg is also a home to several religious shrines. Visit the Maharani temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiv and Parvati and was built by the Maharaja Hari Sisodia for his wife Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia who in 1915 and belongs to the Dogra Kings. A buzzing shrine, the ziarat or tomb of Baba Reshi is a 13th century shrine of Muslim saint Baba Payam-Uddin. Witness the grandeur of the St Mary’s church that was built in 120 by the British. Made of grey bricks and green roof with ornate wooden walls, it is considered a ‘Victorian architectural wonder’ and it gleams brilliantly when surrounded by snow.
Spirituality is a beautiful journey that begins from within; it connects you to your ever-glowing soul, the pure consciousness. Seekers of the spiritual world always seek to find answers and travel to distant places to attain spiritual knowledge. India is one country, where spirituality is deeply rooted and which better place than Amarnath to explore your own divinity and find answers that take you to the path of enlightenment. Amarnath is a Hindu shrine, which is located in Jammu and Kashmir in India.
The Amarnath Cave which is home to the Lingam of Lord Shiva is surrounded by plush snow crest mountains. Amarnath Cave is located at an altitude of 3,888 meters and is about 141 kms from Srinagar. Pilgrims and tourists can witness the merging of Amravati and Panjtarni rivers while they are on their way to the Amarnath Cave and can take a dip in the holy river Amravati before entering the cave. Once at the Amarnath cave, you’ll see two Shivlings, one of Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. Lakhs of devotees from all over the world throng Amarnath battling chilly winds, narrow roads and high altitudes to worship at the shrine.
The Amarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. Devotees visit this temple to get a glimpse of the Lingam of Lord Shiva which is formed from water drops that are frozen to build vertically. However, the Lingam waxes from May to August. According to religious practitioners, the Lingam grows and melts with the moon phases.
Address: Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Anantnag, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192230, India
Timings: Amarnath Cave is open all days of the week, from 4:00 AM - 11:00 PM
• Amarnath is one of the most important religious places in India and every Shiva worshipper takes the Amarnath Yatra once in their lifetime.
• Sonamarg is the base camp for devotees and tourists, who want to reach the Amarnath Cave. This place is extremely serene and gives the feeling of being in a rich countryside.
• The Sheshnag Lake is another major attraction and is located at a distance of 27 kms from Pahalgam.
Amarnath is recommended for devotees and tourists - to experience a tranquil, spiritual and holy place dedicated in reverence to Lord Shiva. It is not advisable for patients with heart conditions, asthama or any major health issues.
Once at the Srinagar Airport, pilgrims can take the helicopter services, which saves time and also you don’t experience fatigue.
The closest railway station to Amarnath is Jammu, which is located at a distance 315 km from Pahalgam,
From Jammu, cabs are available that take you to Pahalgam. The Pahalgam route to Amarnath Cave takes about 5 days to reach and people normally use ponies to reach there.
Hire a cab from Jammu till Baltal and from there devotees can walk to the Amarnath cave, chanting Om Namah Shivay. It is just a day’s trek.
The best time to visit Amarnath is between May to September. During summer, Amarnath climate temperature ranges from 9 to 34 degrees. However, the ideal time to take the Amarnath Yatra is in the month of July and August and it is advisable to wear warm clothes as the winter climate is harsh and chilly
There are many stories revolving around the discovery of Amarnath Cave. One popular legend narrates that Bhrigu Muni was the first one to discover the cave. The valley of Kashmir was plunged under water and Kashyap Muni was the one, who drained it. Hence, Bhrigu Muni was the first one to receive Amarnath Darshan. After hearing about this news, many devotees worshipped the Lingam and it became the abode of Lord Shiva. As per popular beliefs, the gadaria community, discovered the Amarnath Cave, and were the first ones to encounter Baba Barfani.
Another story recounts about Buta Malik, a shepherd, who received a bag full of coal from a saint. When he opened the bag, he was surprised to find the bag contained gold coins. Overwhelmed by gratitude, the shepherd went back to the place where he had met the saint but was unable to find him and instead discovered the Amarnath Cave.
Amarnath Cave has a special significance with several mythological stories attached to it. One significant tale talks about Lord Shiva narrating the secret of His immortality and how the universe came into existence to His wife Parvati. Listening to the story, she fell asleep, but a pair of pigeons attentively heard the story and gained all wisdom. It is said that since the pigeons got the knowledge of the Amar Katha, they are presently leading immoral lives. However, many believe it’s a myth because pigeons don’t have a chance of survival in such extreme climatic conditions.
The journey of faith and devotion is not an easy one. However, located at the altitude of 2743 m, Baltal is the perfect refuge for Amarnath Cave pilgrims. This base camp provides all the necessary amenities for you to refuel your energy with food, toilets and tents located at a distance of 100 metres.
Another base camp, Pahalgam has a captivating view, with mountains laced with pine forests. Don’t forget to capture beauty at its best, when you reach Pahalgam. This riveting place is perfect to enhance your Instagram page with brilliant photography.
• At the Amarnath Cave, there are ice Lingas that are naturally formed, each depicting Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha.
• Nearly 5000 years old, the Amarnath Cave naturally forms ice and the process is known as Swayambhu.
• To narrate the story of immortality to his wife, Lord Shiva went to Amarnath Cave, leaving behind the moon, the bull, the snakes and the five elements, earth, air, water, fire and sky.
This charming forested hill is the home for a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are two hundred and fifty steps; the ascent of which will lead you to this ancient temple built in the ninth century A.D. This beautiful temple is made of grey stone blocks and is one of the oldest designs of the country. The best part about this temple is that electronic devices are strictly not allowed there and should be deposited with the military personnel before you climb the steps. This means that you can truly disconnect! The Shankaracharya Hill is regarded as one of the best attractions in Kashmir. This hill offers a pleasant panoramic view over the entire Srinagar!
Location: Shankaracharya Hill, Srinagar
Known for: The ancient temple of Lord Shiva and the breathtaking view of Srinagar from the tip of the hill.
How to reach: 4.4 km away from the central city of Srinagar.
Approximate Cost: No entry fee
Operating hours: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
Precautions: Make sure you leave your belongings in the cars, as the security check here is rigorous.
Located in the heart of the old city, the Jama Masjid Mosque is the home for many Muslim devotees across the valley. This historic mosque features four towers, three gates and two minarets made of sandstone and white marble. It was built by Shah Jahan with 5000 artisans who intricately carved verses from the Koran. The inside of the mosque has a black and white marble floor which resembles Muslin prayer mat and can house about 2,500 people at once maintaining utter silence.
Location: Nowhatta Kathi Darwaza Road, Nowhatta, Srinagar.
Known for: One of the oldest and the most beautiful mosques for worship.
How to reach: Reach Srinagar and follow the route to Nowhattain, the centre of the old city to reach the mosque.
Approximate Cost: No entry fee.
Operating hours: 5 am to 9 pm.
Precautions: Maintain pin drop silence when you are inside this place.
This place is known as the Switzerland of India. With dense pine forests, long dark meadows and snow-capped peaks that give the area a look just like the Alpine Republic, this is a must visit part of Kashmir. It is an ideal campsite for trekkers and honeymoon couples. They also host many outdoor activities like balloon-rolling to keep the tourists entertained. You can also take pony rides to get a view of this place in detail.
Known for: Beautiful sceneries and views.
How to reach: Take a ride, 3 km from Pahalgam
Precautions: Carry some food while you leave, as you might not find much food here owing to the fact that this is a remote area
You close your eyes and enter the garden, and open them to find yourself submerged in a pool of flowers There are tulips of all colors in this garden that have been planted with seeds brought specially from Spain. They are the best during springs, and the nearby Dal Lake along with these flowers provides the perfect backdrop for photography. These flowers represent the ones from Amsterdam.
Location: Foothills of the Zabarwan hills, Dal Lake, Srinagar.
Known for: Tulips, tulips and more tulips!
How to reach: Take any local transport, as this is one of the famous places and can be easily located.
Approximate Cost: They charge INR 25-50 per person as entry fees.
Operating hours: 7 am to 7:30 pm
Located about 4,200 meters above Mean Sea Level (MSL), Apharwat Peak is the best location for winter activities in Kashmir. With snow covering the peak most of the year, it makes a perfect location for skiers and snowboarders every month. From beginner skiers to advanced ones, all of them are fond of this place during winters. However, in summer, lush greenery blooms, creating conditions for perfect horseback rides through the mountains. Another interesting fact about the Apharwat Peak is that the Line of Control which divides the Indian and Pakistan Controlled parts of Kashmir, is barely a few kilometers from the peak.
Known for: Snow activities and horseback rides.
How to reach: Situated near Alpather Lake in Khilanmarg.
Approximate Cost: Free
Precautions: There is extreme weather during the winters so all activities may not be available. Also, reaching this place depends on weather conditions as well; it may not always be possible.
With lush green meadows and snow-capped mountains, this valley is the starting point for many trekkers in the Valley. There is a dense vegetation of conifers and lush green shrubs that captivate the true essence of Kashmir. Dotted with color huts, shelters and many different species of birds, this valley has a specialty in itself. In the Betab Valley, you can go horseback riding or even have a picnic on the banks of snow-fed, Jade River that bubbles down south from the snowy hills. The water of Jade is so pure that the locals here use it for drinking!
Location: Near Pahalgam, Baramulla, Hajan
Known for: Picturesque Views, Hiking, Trekking and Horse Riding
How to reach: It is on the route of Amarnath Yatra in Hajan and can be reached by any means of public transport or by private vehicles as well.
Sonamarg actually means, “Meadow of Gold.” This small mountain town set in a scenic position is the starting point for a range of hikes and adventures into the surrounding peaks, glaciers, and streams. There are many guides available in an around Sonamarg who will take you to show the area, or you can even hire a pony for the trip up the glaciers. As the snowfall gets heavier during winter, this village remains uninhabited and inaccessible. It is one of the best places to visit in Kashmir. The place is located at a height of about 2800 meters. from MSL.
Location: Sonamarg, Srinagar
Known for: Awe-inspiring glaciers, trekker’s haven and the home to abundant green meadows.
How to reach: 97 km from Srinagar, and can be reached by any public transport.
Approximate Cost: The pony rides here will cost you INR 200-400 per person approximately
Operating hours: Closed in winters.
Situated about 3,658 meters above the sea level, Sinthan Top offers beautiful panoramic views of the snowcapped mountains and the low-lying regions of the area. The spot of readily accessible to a highway but you need to navigate yourself and face a few obstacles before you reach the top. You can also take a walk further and land in snow, while you get a 360-degree view of the entire area which is really breathtaking and magnific.
Location: HN 1B, Sinthan Top, Chhatroo
Known for: Astonishing views from the hilltop.
How to reach: Reach the highway NH 1B and navigate yourself with the help of locals.
Operating hours: Usually the mornings
Precautions: Keep in mind to wear warm clothes and apply sunscreen on your skin to avoid burns.
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan presented this to his son Prince Dara Shikoh. It is the smallest of the three Mughal gardens in Srinagar and takes inspiration from Persian gardens with a freshwater spring in the center which is a highlight of the gardenas it is known to have high mineral content. The water from the springs flows down the garden and creates several water features, including a waterfall and fountain.
Location: Nr. Rajbhawan, Foothill, Srinagar
Known for: Mughal architectural gardens.
How to reach: Can be reached conveniently by any modes of public transport.
Approximate Cost: Approximately INR 10 per person
Operating hours: 8 am to 7:30 pm
This beautiful shrine has been delicately carved out of white marble. It is a house with many items of religious importance tied to the prophet Muhammad, and it open for all the visitors. You can head here for the Friday prayers to catch crowd of pilgrims arriving to pay their respects to Muhammad artifacts.
Location: Nagin Lake, Srinagar
Known for: Holy shrine of Prophet Muhammad
How to reach: Any public transport
Approximate Cost: No entry fees
Operating hours: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Precautions: Wear traditional attire when you enter the place.
Home and library for Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh, the seven-terraced garden represents fine examples of contemporary Islamic architecture and design. You can take a small ride up to the Pari Mahal, this walled set of gardens provides a notable view of the surrounding area. There are breathtaking views of stunning gardens alongside the lake.
Known for: Scenic views of the lake and gardens.
How to reach: Located on the south-west end of the Dal Lake, it is a five-minute drive from the Chashma Shahi Gardens.
Approximate Cost: INR 5 per child and INR 10 per adult approximately
Operating hours: 10 am to 6 pm
Type: Historical Site
For all those who are not adventure-enthusiasts, Srinagar has a way to entertain them. The capital of Srinagar, formerly called 'Shahar-e-Khas' by Mughals, offers an excellent opportunity for city walks along its pathways filled with historical charms, ancient shrines, gurudwaras, churches, temples, mosques, forts, bazaars, and many more. This walk helps you get a deep insight into the rich cultural heritage of the Kashmiris.
For: All age groups
Difficulty level: Easy
Why you should do it: To get a deep insight into the rich heritage of Kashmir.
Tips: Carry a map of the city for better navigation and understanding.
Kashmir, often regarded as the angler's paradise is a home to a network of rivers and streams and high altitude lakes that make it perfect for the anglers. Many snow and spring-fed streams offer opportunities to fish in the area. The season for fishing runs from April to October with many people from India coming here just to fish.
Location: Rivers and streams in Kashmir
For: All age groups
Difficulty level: Moderate
Why you should do it: To experience angling in one of the best places in India
Tips: Get hold of good nets to practice it in a better way.
One of the most favorite aero sports of Kashmir is Para Gliding. With a jump from one of the topmost cliffs that take you on a ride over the lush valleys and majestic snow-capped mountains, this ride is a specialty in itself. The best time for paragliding is during the interval of May-June and September-October.
For: Young people and couples
Difficulty level: Moderate
Approximate Cost: It will cost you INR 1000-1200 per person approximately for a one hour ride.
Why you should do it: A lifetime experience
Tips: Follow the instructions of guide for a better experience.
The mountain and hilly terrain of Kashmir offer ample opportunities for cyclists to test their cycling skills. There are challenging routes and sturdy terrains to be conquered within a few days, which serves as a true test of their activity. It is also for the adrenaline junkies who want to see Kashmir from a different angle, along with the adventures it has to offer.
Location: Mountains and Hilly terrains
For: Young people and couples
Difficulty level: Hard
Approximate Cost: It will cost you INR 200-300 per hour ride on a cycle.
Why you should do it: To challenge yourself and face the obstacles.
Tips: Make sure you can do rigorous cycling and are fit enough.
The mountain ranges are a home to several rivers that offer a pleasurable sight, including all the adventure ingredients to attract a large crowd of enthusiasts. It is a real blessing for the adventure-seekers who come to Kashmir for an activity-oriented trip in Kashmir.
Location: Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam.
For: Young people and couples
Difficulty level: Moderate
Approximate Cost: It will cost you INR 600-800 per person for a one hr ride
Why you should do it: To explore the waters of Kashmir and also the sceneries along the river banks.
The golfing course at Gulmarg is something you have never even looked or imagined before. It is situated at a high-altitude of 2,650 meters and is the greenest golf course you will ever come across in your life. Here in Gulmarg, you will be able to play for more extended hours because of the weather conditions that cooperate with the body and does not let you get tired quickly. There are many cups held in this golfing course, and also temporary memberships offered to tourists if they wish to play for an extended period. It also has many other activities like Billiards, ping-pong, health club, etc. that play as a host for the foreign tourists.
For: Golf lovers
Difficulty level: Moderate
Approximate Cost: Changes depending on the demand.
Why you should do it: To get an incredible golf experience.
Skiing is one of the prime attractions of Srinagar. Gulmarg is considered as the best ski resort in the Himalayas. You can ski in the snow-clad mountains of Gulmarg especially during winters to get an amazing experience. There are trainers for all levels of skiers across the world who will offer training to tourists. Skiing in Gulmarg is often the best before Christmas.
For: Young people.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Approximate Cost: For domestic tourists, it costs INR 600-1000 per day, and for foreign tourists, it will cost INR 1000-1600 per day approximately.
Why you should do it: To get a view of the snow-capped mountains in Gulmarg
Tips: Make sure you cover your skin adequately to avoid getting sunburns.
One of the most famous boat rides on the scintillating Dal Lake is the Shikara boat ride. It is regarded as one of the most relaxing and serene aspects of a Kashmir holiday, offering a relaxing sightseeing tour of the interior and calm parts of Dal Lake. You can spot many large and striking birds like white breasted kingfishers. There are also many floating markets and gardens along the way that will definitely grab your attention.
Location: Dal Lake
For: All age groups
Difficulty level: Easy.
Approximate Cost: It will cost you INR 600 for four persons on a 2-hour ride.
Why you should do it: To get deep insights into the calm and placid waters of Dal Lake.
Gondola in Gulmarg is one of the beauties of Kashmir. It is visited by almost everyone who reaches to Kashmir, to experience the alluring views and snow-capped mountains. The cable car ride in Gondola is an ultimate attraction for the visitors. One of the cable car moves up from Gulmarg to Kongdoor, and another one goes up from Kongdoor to Apharwat. It is about 13,500 ft above the sea level and offers a view like no other.
For: All age groups.
Difficulty level: Easy
Approximate Cost: It will cost INR 600 per person from Gulmarg to Kungdoor and INR 800 per person from Kungdoor to Apharwat. Entry is free for kids below three years of age.
Why you should do it: To get a view you will rejoice for the rest of your life.
Tips: Do not forget your camera at any cost.
Horse riding in Kashmir is not just an activity but also a unique means to explore the natural ranges and countryside. You can readily hire horses here or approach the local Travel Desks to guide you for the same. In addition to riding, trekkers also hire horses for carrying their equipment and luggage to the highlands. The popular spots for horse riding are Pahalgam and Gulmarg.
Location: Gulmarg and Pahalgam
For: Young people
Difficulty level: Moderate
Approximate Cost: It can cost you INR 150-250 per meter ride.
Why you should do it: To get a good view of the countryside of Kashmir.
Tips: Wear clothes that are comfortable for a horseback ride.
At the wetlands of Surinsar and Gharana, Bird Watching is a sheer pleasure. Known as the bird watcher's paradise, these two places are the home to many migratory birds every winter from Siberia to its abode. You can spot some of the rare species of birds like the coots, cormorants, egrets, mallards, pintails, and terns. One of the fascinating birds of this area is the Bar-headed geese which are often spotted in the Gharan wetland. It flies over the Himalayas, covering a distance of 1000 miles from the breeding grounds of Central Asia to India in just one day. There are also other bird species like Black Necked Crane, European blue whistling Thrush Vulture, Falcon, Ibisbill, Pied Fisher bird, and the Yellow-billed Magpie, which are a delight to watch for bird lovers all over the world.
Location: Gharana and Surinsar
For: All age groups
Difficulty level: Easy
Why you should do it: To get a look of some of the rare species of birds.
Tips: Take binoculars along with you.
Some of the famous Kashmiri pieces of bread like baqarkhani and sheermal and a wide variety of puffs are available in this bakery. They also make many walnut based treats like biscuits, tarts, and cakes that are a blessing to mankind.
Location: Residency Road, Srinagar
Known for: Bakery products
Bargaining: You can try to bargain
Last but not the least, Andraad produces the world famous pashmina pieces woven and hand embroidered. It is one of the most famous places in Kashmir, and its clients include celebrities like Richard Gere and Judi Dench.
Location: On the way to the airport, near Humhama Chowk, Srinagar.
Known for: Pashmina weaves.
Bargaining: You better not even think of bargaining at this place, they offer sheer quality products with fixed rates.
This beauty brand sells products that are made from completely natural products. From fruit face packs to lavender cleanser to olive body butter, you will get a great variety of naturally made products that are suited to most of the skin types.
Location: Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar
Known for: Beauty based products
Bargaining: Fixed rates
This is the place to buy those intricately designed rugs, carpets, and furniture from Kashmir. They also sell bright jackets and exquisitely detailed furniture that is carved out of walnut wood, along with painted parchment lamp shades.
Location: The Bund, Srinagar
Known for: Rugs and carpets
Bargaining: Might work out, if you try really hard.
They are the official sellers of all kinds of Kashmir shawls in fabrics of cashmere, silk, cotton, in contemporary designs and colors. They offer costly products and take appointments to make them for you.
Location: The Bund, Srinagar
Known for: Kashmiri shawls
One stop destination for souvenirs of all kinds. They have wooden objects, woven carpets and chain-stitch rugs that will give your home that Kashmiri touch and make it authentic. It is a fantastic choice to shop at when you are doing your home!
Location: Polo View, Srinagar
Known for: Souvenirs
Bargaining: Can bargain
Since time immemorial, Kashmir is world famous for its dry fruits. This Srinagar store sells the best locally farmed produce. Saffron, Walnuts, Smoked Almonds, Dried Cranberries, Mushrooms, Dates, Prunes, etc. are just some of the items. Another special offering of Amin-Bin-Khalik is the Masala Tikki; a local savoury meat dish.
Location: Polo View, Srinagar
Known for: Dry fruits and Masala Tikki
Bargaining: Fixed rates, owing to high quality.
This is a perfect place to buy leather goods in the city. Kashmir was a major exporter of leather goods, and even today, quality leather products are sold all over the city. At Simson, you can find leather jackets and bags in bright colors and authentic quality. There are also clutches, purses, and wallets incorporated with Kashmiri embroidery!
Location: Polo View, Srinagar
Known for: Leather Goods
Bargaining: Difficult to bargain
This is where you can get really enticing essential oils made from naturally obtained walnut and lavender. Handmade soaps such as Royal Saffron, Almond Honey are also very popular here. This is a family owned and managed small business and you can also get some authentic Kashmiri teas here.
Location: Polo View, Srinagar
Known for: Essential aromatic oils
Bargaining: Can give it a try.
These were the people who designed the beautiful clothes Nargis Fakhri wears in the movie Rockstar. They sell authentic Kashmiri fashion with hand embroidery on wool, cotton, silk and even prints and net. However, they are a bit high on the price end.
Location: Polo View, Srinagar
Known for: Hand embroidered clothes.
Bargaining: Hard to bargain, but you can give it a try!
This is one of the beautiful restaurants of Srinagar, located on the banks of Dal Lake. It has Buddhist elemental design and style with a walled garden incorporated into the dining room.
Must eat: Chinese and Tibetan dishes
Approximate Cost for two: It will cost you INR 200-250 approximately
Address: Lane 2, Boulevard Road, Srinagar.
Contact: +91 194 250 0517
Opening hours: 9:30 am to 9 pm.
If you miss home food, then this is the best place to come. It is a very quick serving dhaba with authentic Indian food suitable for backpackers and tourists.
Must eat: Vegetarian dishes
Approximate Cost for two: It will cost you INR 100-150 approximately
Address: Durganag Road, Srinagar
Opening hours: 8 am to 10:30 pm
It is a perfect bistro to spend your evening chilling with your friends. It has all kinds of coffee and bakery foods that will make your evening better.
Must eat: Pizzas, Momos, and Milkshakes
Approximate Cost for two: It will cost you INR 500-700 approximately.
Address: MA road, Srinagar
Opening hours: 9 am to 10:30 pm
It serves some authentic Kashmiri delicacies at reasonable rates. Apart from these, it also has a wide range of Asian and vegetarian options and a bakery that serves lip-smacking desserts.
Must eat: Lamb dishes
Approximate Cost for two: It will cost you INR 280-350 approximately
Address: Ahdoo's Hotel, Residency Road, Srinagar
Opening hours: 9 am to 11 pm
This place offers you something different when compared to other restaurants. They have a very unusually cozy ambiance with dim lighting, seated in a semicircles format. It serves authentic Indian and Chinese dishes.
Must eat: Rogan Josh
Approximate Cost for two: It will cost you INR 300-400 approximately
Address: Court Road, Srinagar
Opening hours: Noon to 10:30 pm
Mughal Durbar is not just a restaurant but Kashmiri cuisine’s still beating heart. The four-decade old restaurant has been at the forefront of Kashmiri cuisine in the country. It is known for the exceptional, authentic flavour of all of its dishes. This is exactly what has made it a must-visit place in Srinagar. For a restaurant to become a tourist spot just speaks volumes about the quality of food offered there.
The restaurant is so famous that the Residency Road is known by the restaurant rather than vice-versa. If you want to try the most authentic Wazwan in Kashmir then Mughal Durbar is the place to be. You can also get accommodations here at affordable prices.
Mughal Durbar is the face of Kashmiri cuisine and Wazwan in particular, with it being the most talked-about dish of all. This multi-course, shared meal is one thing that you should definitely not miss if you are a meat lover. The beauty of the restaurant is the authenticity of the flavours of dishes that have not changed one bit over decades and generations. Another key feature of their tremendous success is that they ensure quality is maintained across dishes. Since they provide quality and quantity at affordable prices, visiting the restaurant is a common entry in the bucket lists of most tourists visiting the valley.
The nearest airport to the restaurant is the Srinagar Airport, which is no more than 11.6kms, making the restaurant easily accessible. In fact, you can straight away go for a meal here after you land in the city.
By train : Srinagar railway station is the nearest to the restaurant. You can easily cover the distance of 10.7km in a cab or a bus. Jammu Tavi is the major railway station nearby.
By road : you can get a bus from almost all the major towns in North India to reach the Srinagar bus stand. The restaurant is at a walking distance from the Srinagar Bus Stand.
People who love snow must visit Srinagar during winters to experience some of the prettiest snowfall experiences out here and eat some piping hot comfort food like tabak maas or gushtaba at Mughal Darbar. However, the summer months of May to July see the maximum number of tourists as the weather conditions here are just perfect for you to travel.
Mughal Durbar restaurant in Srinagar opens at 9 in the morning and runs till 10 at the night but remains closed on Sundays.
There are no charges for you to just enter the restaurant.
When in Srinagar, visiting Mughal Durbar is a ritual in many ways. So why wait, get the best deals to visit this amazing, authentic Kashmiri and Mughlai restaurant, get in touch with Thomas Cook.
This bar is one of the authentic bars of Srinagar that offers wine and beer tasting. Once you enter this bar, you want to relax and have a great time. It is a safe place with good music and a delightful crowd.
Location: Hotel Broad Way Link Road, Kashmir Golf Course, Nohata, Srinagar.
The area in and around Dal Lake is pretty famous and has many restaurants and hotels located here. The Dal Bar is one of them, where the tourists can unwind themselves and enjoy their favorite drink. It is a gorgeously decorated bar with timber and stone finish bar counter that gives you an ancient feel. It also offers scintillating views of the lawns and Dal Lake.
Location: The Lalit Grand Palace, Gupkar Road, Srinagar