Surrounded by the snow-clad mountains and the green lush woods and hills, the beautiful valley of Kashmir is in the cradle of the giant Himalayas. Kashmir has got four different seasons which are all best to visit here. It all depends upon the mood and the taste of the visitor. The spring brings new life to the valley, as the new flowers and the bloom shower their colors. People consider Kashmir in Summers the most beautiful, as the climate remains moderate throughout the day and the valley looks alluring in the green shade of the trees. Autumn is perfect for aesthetics so that they can sip the hot coffee in the houseboat, enjoying the cool wind of Dal Lake. Winter is all set to gear up the adventurers, as the valley is full of adventures during the winter.
We decided to explore this slice of heaven in Summer. Here is our detailed itinerary to help you plan your trip.
Day 1: Arrival at Srinagar
Take some rest and leave in the afternoon for Shankaracharya Temple that also offers a majestic view of the entire Pir Panjal range.
Seek spiritual refuge in the holy Sargah Hazratbal Shrine that houses the ancient relic, Moi-e-Muqqadas (Hair of Prophet Muhammad). After that, visit the biggest mosque of the city, the Jamia Masjid.
Go for Shikara ride and watch the sunset at Dal lake
Day 2: Srinagar local sight seeing
Visit the beautiful Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Nishat Garden complex that houses Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, and Chashma Shahi Garden. Visit Pari Mahal (The eldest child of Emperor Shahjahan, Dara Shikoh, made this the school of astrology).
Day 3: Day trip to Gulmarg and back to Srinagar
Experience the Gulmarg Gondola, the second-highest cable car project in the world.
After experiencing the cable car project, head straight to the Khilanmarg, located just 4 kilometers from the central Gulmarg Valley. Nestled amidst the high mountains, Khilanmarg offers you the majestic beauty of the twin peaks, Kun and Nun. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Nanga Parbat.
Take spiritual retreat to the Maharani Temple after that. Constructed by the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh, Rani Mohini Bai Sisodia, the Mohineshwar Shivalalaya or Maharani Temple is a sacred place in Gulmarg. The Bollywood flick “Aap Ki Kasam” was featured in this temple.
End your day tour while visiting the Victorian-styled St. Mary’s Church
Day 4: Pahalgam
Enjoy the beautiful view of the Lidder River, en route Pahalgam that literally translates as the valley of the shepherds.
Visit the ancient Awantipura ruins while proceeding towards Pahalgam.
After checking at hotel, directly head to the Baisaran, also known as mini-Switzerland, due to its enchanting beauty. Set amidst the pine and chinar timberland, this place offers a 360-degree view of the snow-crested mountain peaks. Visit local market in the evening.
Day 5: Pahalgam
Visit the picturesque Aru Valley, situated just 12 kilometers from the main Pahalgam town. It is not only spectacularly beautiful but also serves as the gateway of the three-day trek to the Kolahoi Glacier.
Then visit the iconic Betaab Valley, named after the Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh starrer 1983 Bollywood romantic movie, “Betaab,” which was filmed right here.
Head directly towards Chandanwari after spending some time at the Betaab valley. This beautiful little hamlet is the gateway of the holy Amarnath Yatra.
End your day taking a spiritual refuge in the Mamaleshwar Temple. This 12th-century temple is dedicated to the Hindu supreme god, Shiva.
Day 6: Back to Srinagar
Visit the Pampore village where the highest-quality saffron in the world is cultivated.
Apple valley that houses hundreds of apple orchards.
Visit the Bijbehara enroute, which is known as the Chinar town of Kashmir valley due to its colorful gardens full of beautiful Chinar tree.
Visit local market in the evening.
Day 7: Day trip to Sonmarg
Visit valley which is known as the gateway of Ladakh, UT. We would suggest you to trek and skip the pony to explore the beautiful Thajiwas Glacier. We would recommend you to do the same with the help of local guide to save time and follow best route.
Trust us the views on your way up to the Glacier are breathtaking.
Optional (if time permits): Have a trip to Zojila Pass, located high above the mountains on National Highway 1D.
Day 8: Departure in the afternoon from Srinagar
Visit Dal Lake for a morning view before leaving.
Must try: Traditional dessert Kashmiri phirni and Kawha.
The most famous places to shop are the Lal Chowk, Raghunath Bazaar, Badshak Chowk and Polo View Market.
Best budgeted places to stay in Kashmir are-