With the floods taking over all of Kashmir, I feel sorry for the beauty that has been washed out and for the ones who have still not visited the heaven on Earth. It is a must visit place for all the bikers, nature lovers as well as adventure lovers. No place can be compared to the beauty of Kashmir. With India and Pakistan fighting over this beautiful piece of land, there still exists heaven on Earth. In the valley of Kashmir lie the most beautiful mountains, lakes and various valleys. One of the favorite places of Bollywood film makers, you got to visit Kashmir at least once in a lifetime and I promise you, you will yearn to go back!
I visited Srinagar with no idea about the underlying beauty. In the winters of Nov 2011, when I landed all I could see around was the snow and the beautifully crafted valleys. One of the must visit places is Pahalgaam, an immensely beautiful place surrounded by mountains and within it lies Betaab Valley. A very romantic and picturesque valley where quite a few Bollywood movies have been shot. You can plan a 2N/3D stay only for Pahalgaam. I haven’t seen a place so beautiful as well as peaceful.
Another must do while in Kashmir is the Shikara ride on Dal Lake. With every passing hour, the view of the mountains as well as the lake changes. As the sun sets, the pristine blue water begins to look even more peaceful. The surrounding mountains as well as the locals going to and fro about their work in and around the lake makes it an interesting ride. Living in a house boat is an experience in its own. Especially in the winters when its freezing cold. The traditional methods of heating up the rooms and the kahva which tastes even better due to the dipping temperatures. Srinagar is also surrounded by various gardens and lakes. The gardens have a different view in summers as well as winters. Which is another reason why one should visit Kashmir more than once.
Gulmarg and Sonemarg are another favorite for the tourists. Visiting any one of them is advisable. Both are located at a height with mountains of snow all around it. If you are an adventure lover, you can enjoy skiing here. It is a favorite among honey moon couples. While on your way to both the places, there is the best opportunity to meet the locals and get to know them better. Nobody really knows much about the locals in Kashmir, but the ones I met have been really warm and welcoming. One can hire a horse to ride up the hills. Once up, you can see snow as long as your eyes can go. The best time to visit these mountains is when the initial snowfall begins. The roads are narrow, and before leaving it is advisable to confirm about the conditions of the roads with localities. Landslides may cause blockages for hours as well as days.
While in Kashmir, seek in all the beauty you can. There is no place like a heaven on Earth. If you are a foodie, you should have maggi while on the shikara on dal lake and you might as well try the Rogan Josh which is a famous and mouth watering dish made by the locals. For all the people who are still thinking about visiting Kashmir, go once and you will know once is never enough!