It isn’t just the alluring sceneries of Kashmir that they call it the “Heaven on earth”. Kashmir has more. Much more. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie, or the lover of nature or the foodie type, there is one for everyone that this crown of India has to offer to its tourists. Here are top 10 things that you must put on your bucket list whenever you are visiting Kashmir.
1. Shikara Ride in Dal Lake
Shikara is the traditional wooden houseboats that dot the beautiful lakes of Kashmir. Dal Lake and Nagin lake are the best waters where you can enjoy the soothing ride of Shikara. The true beauty of Dal Lake is unexplored if you do not witness it from the perspective of the Kashmiri people. Shikara isn’t just about hitching a boat ride in the calm waters of Kashmir, they have a different lifestyle to offer altogether. Floating amidst the clean blue water of Dal Lake and enjoying the surroundings of snow-draped mountains is one thing, and then you will witness the Kashmiri lifestyle in your Shikara with markets offering various souvenirs and traditions of Kashmiri lifestyle. Dress yourself up in the Kashmiri attire and get clicked, enjoy the romantic boat ride covered in the variety of flowers. You can further visit the floating garden of Dal Lake and Nehru Park in your Shikara.
2. Gondola Rides at Gulmarg
How would you enjoy the view of the serene lakes and majestic mountains covered in snow from up above the sky? Eye-pleasing, isn’t it? Which is why you should definitely try the Gondola ride at Gulmarg Valley. Gondolas are the official cable cars of Kashmir. It is the world’s second highest operating cable car. The ride that takes you high in the sky to offer you the bird’s eye view of Gulmarg valley covered either in a white sheet of snow or lush green vegetation. Definitely a feeling of being on cloud 9.
3. Experience Nature’s Wonder at Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill in Ladakh is a wonderful phenomenon of nature that has put science in trouble. Also known as a gravity-defying hill, the hill is believed to have magnetic properties to pull heavy vehicle towards. The layout of the hill is such that the vehicles moving uphill seem to be moving downward and vice-versa. So, you can actually climb uphill in your vehicle with your vehicle’s ignition off and to move downwards you need to accelerate your vehicle.
4. Trek Chadar Lake
Your ‘Frozen’ fantasies, your ‘Ice Age’ adventure dreams, bring them to life. The Chadar trek is coined as one of the toughest treks of India. And if you have got the guts, do not think twice before going out for this trek. It may be tough on you, but the beauty and the beast of nature that it has to offer you can make you fall in love with nature. The trek is over the Zanskar river that lies frozen in winters. The whole trek asks you go through the hardest and the sensitive areas all covered in the sheet of Ice. The trek will take you at an elevation of 11,123 ft and will test your bodies under the steep low temperature of -15 to -30 degrees.
5. Down the Slopes of Gulmarg valley
Gulmarg valley accounts for one of the best locations in India that offer the alluring adventures of snow sports. Be it skiing on the snow-covered slopes of Gulmarg or the fun of snowboarding, Kashmir offers the best of it! Gliding down the slopes and enjoying the chills of white snow is the bet feeling ever.
6. Stay in a House Boat
While everyone chooses a decent hotel to stay in, do not let the luxuries deprive you of the raw beauty of nature. Moreover, isn’t traveling about experiencing the off-beat activities and places? At least, for one night, you must say goodbye to your hotel to enjoy the chills of Kashmiri winters in the houseboats. Away from the materialistic world, the houseboat will offer you the serene view of the stars lighting up the water bodies and the moonlight adding glitter to the white snow.
7. Indulge in the Heavenly Taste of Kashmiri Cuisine
It isn’t just the treat of beautiful landscapes of Kashmir that satisfy your wanderlust, but the food of Kashmir is equally good to please your bellies. The aromatic Roghan Josh, the mouth-watering Chicken Biryani, the famous Kashmiri Dam Aloo, Kashmiri Muji Gaad and other authentic cuisines of Kashmir you must dig your spoons into to get your taste buds going.
8. A Trip to Shalimar Bagh
Welcome aboard to THE real Shalimar Bagh of India. Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal Garden in Srinagar built by the Mughal emperor- Jahangir in the year 1916 AD for his beloved wife Noor Jahan. On the right, it is connected to the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar. This three terraced Garden is graced by the lush green carpet of grass and it has total 410 fountains in its premises. On the backdrop, you can witness the grandeur of Himalayan ranges. The garden is known for Chini Khanas which remains the unmatched beauty of this place. The niches where you can enjoy the water cascading down slowly used to be lighted with lamps during the Mughal period. Nowadays, it holds pots with bright colored flowers which reflects their vibrancy to the waterfall.
9. Must Visit the Monasteries of Kashmir
You simply can return from Kashmir without having to visit their monasteries. Reflecting the true culture of Buddism they offer intense peace to the mind and soul. They just do not speak of Buddhist religion but reflects the architectural marvels too. Some of the famous monasteries of Kashmir are – Alchi monastery, Basgo monastery and Chemry Gompa and Hemis monastery in Leh, Korzok , Thikse monastery and Kursha Gompa among other important Buddhist monasteries of the state.
10. Experience Sheer Adventure (Moutain biking, camping, rafting)
To all the adventure junkies, here is for you the Kashmir that offers a number of adventure sports. Try mountain biking on the rugged mountains of Ladakh or on the gentle slopes of Kashmir. Glide high in the sky to enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains covered in the sheet of snow and the valleys draped in the lush greenery. Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Baderwah, Sanasar, and Harwan are the famous spots to enjoy Paragliding. Indus, Lidder and Zanskar the important river that offers the enthralling adventures of rafting. Pitch your tents for the night in the Leh and Ladakh region to enjoy the Camping experience. The Pangong lake is another beautiful camping site to spend the night under the naked sky.
Indulge yourself in retail therapy in Kashmir! You can pick up anything from a large variety of Kashmiri dry fruits, Pashmina Shawls, Shahtoosh Shawls, Jewellery, Carpets, Antique Copper from the streets of Kashmir. Or just pick some flowers and fruits from Shikaras on Dal Lake during your stay in a house boat.