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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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)
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),
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