“Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Kashmir”

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“Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Kashmir”

Kashmir, a heavenly abode in the extreme north of the country, is nestled within the North Himalayan Region, boasting breathtaking natural beauty. This slice of paradise stands tall at altitudes ranging from 1585 to 1829 meters, extending over a vast area of 129 kilometers in length and 40 kilometers in breadth.

"Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit"
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The People of Kashmir: Handsome and Charming The climate in Kashmir remains cold throughout the year, particularly in the winter season. This unique climate has had a fascinating impact on the local people. Kashmiri people are known for their striking appearance, with fair skin and rosy cheeks. They proudly adorn traditional attire, and women wear intricate silver jewelry adorned with semi-precious stones, enhancing their natural beauty.

"Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit"
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Dal Lake: The Jewel of Srinagar Draped in beauty, Dal Lake reigns as one of Srinagar’s most beautiful and renowned attractions. This picturesque lake stretches for 6 kilometers in length and spans 3 kilometers in width, located just 2 kilometers from the heart of the city. Within its watery expanse, you’ll find a plethora of islands, floating gardens, houseboats, shikaras, and hotels. Shikaras and houseboats gracefully glide along the tranquil waters day and night, providing visitors with a unique experience. The lake’s water remains cold in the summer and surprisingly warm in the winter, creating a captivating contrast against the backdrop of towering mountain peaks and verdant chinar, deodar, and pine trees.

"Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit"
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Gulmarg: The Valley of Flowers Gulmarg, formerly known as Gauri Marg, is a paradise situated just 50 kilometers west of Srinagar. It is recognized as one of the most exquisite hill resorts in the world. During the winter, this lush green valley transforms into a winter wonderland, covered in a thick blanket of snow. Gulmarg also stands as India’s premier winter sports resort, offering visitors an opportunity to partake in various snow-related activities. A 5-kilometer-long ropeway and cable car connecting Gulmarg and Khilanmarg add to the charm of this captivating destination.

"Kashmir Tourism: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Visit"
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Pahalgam: A Cool Retreat in Liddar Valley Nestled 96 kilometers away from Srinagar, at an altitude of 2195 meters in Liddar Valley, Pahalgam offers a serene climate and is renowned globally for its natural beauty. Serving as a base for trekking enthusiasts, the area boasts numerous excellent hotels to cater to visitors. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, Pahalgam maintains a cool temperature throughout the year, making it a perfect getaway. Fishing in the Liddar River adds a special touch of enjoyment for tourists.

Nehru Park: An Evening Stroll by Dal Lake Nehru Park, a delightful addition to the Dal Lake experience, was built in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru. Located on the northern shore of Gagriwal at the foot of the Shankaracharya hills, this park provides an ideal setting for an evening walk. The park’s illumination at night is a mesmerizing sight, attracting tourists from far and wide.

Sonmarg: The Golden Meadow Situated 80 kilometers to the northeast of Srinagar, Sonmarg is aptly named the “golden meadow.” Nestled at an altitude of 2667 meters on the Srinagar-Leh Road, this location boasts breathtaking natural beauty, surrounded by imposing mountains and the pristine Indus River. Sonmarg is dotted with numerous springs and dense forests, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. The area also serves as a gateway to several famous lakes, including Bishnar, Kishnar, Gadsar, Rahmasar, Gagalbal, and Sat Sarn.

Char Chinar: The Island of Chinar Trees Char Chinar, situated in the middle of Dal Lake, also known as Lokut Dal or Rup Lank, is a charming island surrounded by water. Four majestic chinar trees adorn this island, from which it derives its name. A restaurant is nestled on this picturesque island, accessible by hiring a shikara or houseboat.

Chashma Shahi: The Royal Garden Chashma Shahi, also known as Shahu Bagh, is located just 9 kilometers from the city. This splendid garden was constructed under the supervision of Ali Mardan, a Mughal governor during the reign of Shah Jahan, in 1632 AD. At its heart lies a refreshing and digestive cold-water spring. The garden offers lodging, dining, and shopping facilities for visitors to enjoy.

Shankaracharya Temple: A Spiritual Oasis The Shankaracharya Temple, a renowned Shiv temple in Srinagar, is perched atop a hill over 305 meters high, overlooking Dal Lake. Accessible via a climb of 242 steps, this ancient temple dates back to 200 BC and was initially constructed by Jhaluka, the son of King Ashoka. Later, it underwent renovation by Lalitaditya in 699-736 BC. The temple is associated with Hindu saint and philosopher Shankaracharya and offers panoramic views of Srinagar city.

Amarnath: A Sacred Pilgrimage In the heart of the Kashmir Valley, the Amarnath Cave stands as a significant religious center for Hindus, located 140 kilometers from Srinagar. Every year, during the Rakshabandhan festival, a grand fair is held here. Inside the cave, a natural ice Shiv ling forms and gradually melts, a miraculous sight for pilgrims. The cave, perched at an altitude of 12,758 feet above sea level, spans 60 feet in length, 25 feet in width, and 15 feet in height. Pilgrims first bathe in the Amar Ganga, the river flowing beneath the cave, before embarking on the sacred yatra, which commences from Srinagar via Pahalgam in August each year.

Shesh Nag: A Frozen Gem Shesh Nag, situated en route to Amarnathji, is a captivating natural lake located 24 kilometers from Pahalgam at a height of 3718 meters. The lake remains frozen by ice until May each year, surrounded by towering mountain peaks and lush trees, creating an enchanting scene.

Khir Bhavani: A Mythical Marble Temple Khir Bhavani, a marble temple with a gold-plated dome, is nestled amidst a pool formed by spring waters, believed to change color periodically. Located 28 kilometers from the capital city, Srinagar, this place carries significant mythological importance and is surrounded by a village known as Tulamula. A visit here can be conveniently combined with a trip to Manasbal Lake.

Ruins of Awantipur: A Glimpse of History The ruins of Awantipur, located 18 miles from Anantnag District in Kashmir, bear witness to the dreams of a bygone era. The most beautiful temples of Awantipur, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva, were constructed in the 9th century by King Avantivarman. This king once ruled the region from a capital that was located 18 miles away from the present capital.

Hazrat Bal Shrine: A Place of Religious Significance Situated 9 kilometers away on the western shore of Dal Lake, opposite Nishat Bagh, the Hazrat Bal Shrine is a sacred mosque constructed with white marble, following Arab-style architecture. This mosque holds immense importance for Muslims due to the presence of a Holy relic, namely, the sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad’s chin. The sacred hair, displayed within a glass case, was brought from Madina in 1630. It is exhibited to the public on special occasions, attracting devotees from far and wide.

Vaishno Devi: A Spiritual Trek This sacred Hindu religious site is located 74 kilometers from Jammu, with Katra being the nearest town at 50 kilometers from Jammu. To reach the shrine, pilgrims need to complete a 14.5-kilometer journey on foot or atop a horse, following a set route. The pilgrimage includes visits to Bhoomrika Temple, Darshni Gate, Charan Paduka, Adi Kumari, and trekking to Hathi Mattha. After covering an additional 4.5 kilometers on foot, pilgrims reach the entry gate of the cave, where they embark on a 50-yard journey inside to witness the three deities: Maha Kali, Maha Laxmi, and Saraswati. The pilgrimage remains incomplete until a visit to the Bhairav Nath Temple, situated at an altitude of 2.5 kilometers, is undertaken. From this temple, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Srinagar city.

In conclusion, Kashmir, with its captivating beauty, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual significance, continues to mesmerize travelers from all corners of the world. Whether you seek natural splendor, cultural treasures, or spiritual experiences, Kashmir offers an array of delights waiting to be explored.

“Article Credit: Razia Paras”

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