Top reasons to visit Kashmir

Kashmir was once called Heaven on Earth, and one of the most beautiful places in the world. However, in last couple of years, terrorism has faded its charm – A place home to Himalayan Ranges. Yet the previous year, Kashmir recorded the maximum number of tourists ever. The alluring beauty of Kashmir gives you a reason to live and visit this place again and again.  The famous Dal lake where you can stay in houseboats, a five star luxury beyond the hotels that offers you the options to choose your cuisine according to your own taste and enjoy your meals while looking at the hustle and bustle of the Dal. The Shikaras, Kashmiri handicrafts like shawls, woodcarvings, dried fruits, saffron and the Kashmiri Culture are some of the attractions.
Here are the top reasons to visit Kashmir:

1. Beauty:  Needless to say, Kashmir offers such breath taking views that it becomes extremely difficult for one to go back home! From the very beautiful Tulip, Nishat, Chashma Shahi and Mughal Gardens to the marvelous hill stations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam & Sonamarg; Kashmir has it all.

Dal Lake

Leh Ladakh or the Biker’s heaven is a feast for eyes! The Valley is full of the mighty mountains, lush greenery, and blossoms of pinks, whites, yellows and flowers of all the rarest varieties.

The beautiful Valley

The Chinar trees account for most of the elegance, painting the entire canvas with myriad of colors. The skies here are awesome azure with cotton like ivory clouds! The magic the valley wreathes one with is accentuated with the quaint charm of houseboats or Shikaras of Dal Lake.

A Flower in Mughal Garden

2. To beat the heat:  With scorching heat and temperature rising over 40 degrees, in most of the cities; Kashmir is probably the best place to visit to get a relief from the summers!

The view from Hotel New Green View on Dal Lake

Infact, It is a delight for people from cities like Mumbai and Delhi as one enjoys the exotic hills and breath taking views of the mountain ranges. One would surely enjoy the pleasant weather in Srinagar.

Sonamarg

Dal Lake at Night

3. Adventure-Sports:   Kashmir is certainly the best destination for those, who are adventure crazy and love to experience adrenaline rush. The state of Jammu and Kashmir offers top class sports including skiing, golfing, river rafting etc. Kashmir pulls Lakhs of International tourists mainly for its wide range of adventure sports!

Rafting Point near Pahalgam

4. Shopping:   The capital of Jammu and Kashmir i.e. Srinagar offers a rich variety of traditional Handicrafts, Leather Items, Shawls, Blankets and other good including Dry Fruits, Saffron etc. The floating market on Dal Lake is a must for all the Shopaholics!

Kashmiri work on a Shawl

The Sunday Market at Lal-Chowk is one of the best markets in Srinagar. It offers quality products at reasonable prices. The market at Jammu specializes in Leather Goods. One must remember to bargain at any of the markets, when in J & K.

Bangles at a Shop in Srinagar

5. Cuisines:   The state of Kashmir offers a wide variety of Cuisines. Wazwan, a multi-course meal in the Kashmiri Muslim tradition, is treated with great respect. Its preparation is considered an art.

The Kashmiri Kahwah

Some of them are:

  • Rogan Josh (lamb cooked in red sauce)
  • Yakhni (lamb cooked in curd based sauce)
  • Tapak Mans
  • Matschgand (minced lamb)
  • Goshtaba (extra-minced meat balls cooked in creamy sauce)
  • Qabargaah (Kashmiri Muslims refer to this as Tabakhmaaz; It is similar to Roasted Lamb)
  • Syoon Pulaav (Meat Pulao)
  • Modur Pulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually as a dessert)
  • Lyodoor Tschaman (Cottage Cheese cooked in turmeric based sauce)
  • Dum Oluv (Whole Potatoes cooked in Red Sauce)
  • Muj Gaad (Fish with Radish)
  • Nadir-Waangan (lotus stems with Brinjal)
  • Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji (lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish)
  • Raazma-Gogji (Kidney Beans with Radish)

No No! These aren't Tomatoes, They are Kashmiri Guava

Other Other famous cuisines include: Kahwah (GreenTea) and Noon Chai. Kashmiris are heavy tea drinkers. Over 20 varieties of Kahwah are prepared in different households. One must taste the unheard “Kamal Kakri ke Pakore” near Nishat Gardens in Srinagar. Kashmir offers a vast variety of Kebabs. Non-Vegetarians must enjoy the mouth watering Chiken,Kebabs etc. But then, Nothing can beat the very own Lucknawi Kebabs! (Seriously),

Seekh Kebabs

Most of the people have Kashmir on their wish-lists, but they don’t plan a trip because of the situation prevailing in the valley. I personally had the issue throughout my journey, but what I discovered was totally opposite to whats being portrayed. The media can definitely be blamed for the same. You can have an idea by the fact that Record 10 lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley in 2011. The place is quite safe now. So, Go and enjoy the scenic views of the valley! Hope you all enjoyed reading :D

-Naman

10 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome back Naman.

    Congratulations for scoring excellent marks in your boards and wish you luck.

    A nice sweet story covering the major insights you gained from your trip to Kashmir. You forgot ‘Tapak Mans’ in the cuisine list. Look forward to read more from you.

  • Welcome Back Naman,

    Congratulations for scoring brilliant marks ( as described by Nandanjee) .

    Thanks for this wonderful series on Kashmir. I am going to Kashmir this July – August but most days are for Amarnath and Vaishno Devi Yatra. If everything works according to schedule I will have 2 days left apart from this yatra . In that I will cover Pahalgam , Patnitop and if possible Srinagar. I will once again read your posts on Kashmir in coming 15 – 30 days and if I have question I will ask via comment. please reply asap.

    Once again Thanks for wonderful series of beautiful pictures and wonderful narrations.It was a delight. Keep travelling and posting.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear Naman,
    In 70es we saw Kashmir in every film and I think every important place we saw through Hindi films. Now you describe so nicely and phtos are so good. I heard before in Kashmir goods are cheaper than rest of India , like to know about Bus fare, food items in market and hotel etc. I know house boat in Dal may be not affordable for everyone.

    Thanks and regards

    • Naman says:

      Hello Sir
      Yeah, I agree! 90% of the films in 70’s and 80’s were shot in Kashmir! Sadly, now the place invites not many film-makers! Well, goods in Kashmir are not very cheap (blame it on U.P.A). Its because of the decline in tourists and as well as unemployment in the valley! But, as I mentioned one should bargain at every place. You’ll get to find the rates of some items almost double!! So beware! We stayed in Hotel New Green View at Dal Lake. They provided us with the complete package which included sight seeing and drop till Jammu. Thought we had our dinner at a restaurant near by (Ahooja ki Rasoi) which had served Punjabi Dishes! :D The house boats charge around 350 rupees for a complete Dal Lake’s ride. Hope this helps! Thanks! :D

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Thanks Naman

  • Mukesh "Ghumakkar" says:

    Naman,
    Welcome back. As always beautiful pictures and nicely written description.

    Thanks.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome back. Naman. Fantastic pictures. And, thanks for that amazing statistic: Kashmir had a million visitors in 2011.

    Now that you have passed the most important exams of your life with flying colours, what next? We would like to know your future plans. All the best.

    • Naman says:

      Hello Sir! Thanks a lot! I hope that this year the visitors would break the current record! Well I’ve cleared my medicals and will be going to BITS Tolani in Pune for Merchant Navy! That’s the only career where I can see the world! :) :)

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