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Komal and Sujata, two Mumbai girls we’re planning their trip to Switzerland, to discover astonishing beauty of mountains unless one of their pals told them about Jammu and Kashmir! Have you heard about this? If not, then get yourself a break and know what your travelling list is missing.
A place which is no less than Switzerland or any other tourists’ priorities, is said to be as beautiful as heaven.
“If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.”
Well said by Mughal Emperor Jahangir who was left astounded by the beauty of this Paradise. This place is well known for stealing hearts of many with its picturesque mountains, magnificent lakes, wonderful gardens, spiritual temples, lush green valleys and ancient forts. Being a major tourist attraction, Jammu and Kashmir is visited by many natives as well as tourists from other countries. An experience that relates to one’s fantasy world and becomes a lifetime remembrance for all.
Once visited, tourist wish to visit this heavenly land over and over. If you too are planning your trip to Jammu and Kashmir, then here are a few suggestions to guide you about things that you shouldn’t be missing from your travelling list.
Must-visit places in Jammu & Kashmir
Here is a list of place that should be definitely visited when you travel to Jammu and Kashmir
An incredibly beautiful city that lies on the banks of the Jhelum river has most of nature’s beauty to be admired by the tourists. Srinagar is well known for the splendid views it offers when it comes to Dal Lake, Nishat Bagh, Pari Mahal, Sinthan Top and many other breathtaking views.
Gulmarg is the most popular town visited by people because of its extraordinary scenic beauty and magnificent snow-capped mountains. Gulmarg was first known as ”Gauri Marg”. This wonderful place offers many beautiful sites to visit such as Gulmarg Gandola, Alpather lake, Children park and many more.
Located at a distance of 95 kms from Srinagar, Pahalgam is the starting point of a holy journey to Amarnath. Pahalgam was a major attraction for many retro Bollywood movies because of its range of beautiful Himalayan mountains. It is well known as ‘Valley of Shepherds’. It has Betab valley, Sheshnag lake, Lidder river and many trekking points to give you exquisite feels.
Located at a distance of 465 kms from Jammu, Kargil is a town located in Kargil district. Surrounded by delightful Himalayan mountains, and has Karsten river in the heart. As a major of its population follows Buddhism, it has many monasteries like the Sani Monastery, the Mulbekh Monastery and the Shargole Monastery.
Popularly known to be ”The City of Temples”, there are a number of temples that amaze tourists with their beauty and spiritual atmosphere. Not just temples but mosques, churches, gurudwaras and many other holy places. Tourists can discover the beauty of Bahu Fort, Dogra Art Museum, Mubarakh Mandi Palace and many other tourist attractions.
Patnitop is another wonderful hill station located in Udhampur district. At a distance of 110 km from Jammu, this hill station is a major tourist priority to spend weekends with joy and relaxation. With scenic views of mountains, it’s also a place to enjoy paragliding, camping, trekking, rock climbing. Few distance apart, you can visit Kud, Sanasar, Nathatop.
Another jaw-dropping destination that attracts tourists from everywhere is perfectly monikered as “The Mini Kashmir”. Bhaderwah is located 200km from Jammu in Doda district. Being in the midst of Himalayan mountains, Bhaderwah offers extraordinary scenic pleasure that is enough to take your heart away. Padri, Chinta Valley, Jay Valley are some places not to miss out when travelling to Bhaderwah.
Popularly known because of holy pilgrimage Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. Katra is located from 40 kms from Jammu in the Reasi district. Located at the foothills of Trikuta Mountains, Katra too has become the holiest place because of the grace of Goddess Vaishno Devi. Nearby places tourists can travel are Nau Deviyan, Baba Dansar and Jajjar kotli.
Holy Places in Jammu & Kashmir
Few holy places that tourists would admire being in the serene atmosphere.
A beautiful and holy cave surrounded my show capped mountains is a major tourist attraction of J&K. A holy cave temple of Lord Shiva is famous for its natural now linga formation that represents Lord Shiva’s miracle. Annually thousands of pilgrims visit Amarnath to feel Lord Shiva’s grace.
MATA VAISHNO DEVI
Vaishno Devi temple is the most sacred and holiest pilgrimage amongst all. The beautiful cave temple surrounds itself with colossal trikutaa hills and spreads goddess Vaishno’s blessings. This spiritual place observes an increased number of pilgrims during the season of Navratras (a ritual festival).
TEMPLE KHEER BHAWANI
Situated in a nearby village of the heavenly land Srinagar, this temple is dedicated to goddess Kheer Bhawani. This sacred temple is constructed above spring and is believed that the spring changes its colour. Regardless of the number of pilgrims, Kheer is offered as Prasad to everyone.
BAWE WALI MATA TEMPLE
Bawe wali Mata temple is dedicated to goddess Kali and is located in Jammu. A 3000-year-old ancient temple that has beautiful views and a calm atmosphere. People visit for the holy shrine mostly on Sundays to worship the deity.
Accommodation alternatives in Jammu & Kashmir
Entering the terrain of Jammu and Kashmir, you should plan about a place to accommodate yourself that relates to your convenience. Below are some accommodation alternatives for tourists to manage their stay.
• LUXURIOUS BOATHOUSES
A luxurious and snug abode in the midst of calm and peaceful Dal Lake lets tourists experience a prestigious stay that’s worth every penny. There is no doubt in saying that staying in the boathouse of Srinagar won’t even let you fall asleep. The boathouse charges fares that are inexpensive and reasonable.
Jammu and Kashmir has a range of affordable yet luxurious hotels that satisfies every tourists with their hospitality and food. Elegant and cosy hotel rooms make tourists feel relaxed after a long day of roaming around their favourite places.
Guesthouses could be found everywhere in j&K unless it’s not a remote area. These guesthouses offer delicious food, peaceful atmosphere and are budget-friendly also.
Yatri Niwas is another accommodation where tourists stay. This is the most affordable staying option for tourists who don’t wish to spend much.
Cuisines to taste in J&K
The unique union territory has ample of mouth-watering cuisines on its list of delicacies. Tender food and delicious sweets prepared with authentic flavours are a must to try when you visit Jammu and Kashmir.
Very fine Kashmiri dish prepared with potatoes brings an explosion of rich flavours. This finger-licking dish is prepared with fried potatoes cooked slowly in a flavoured gravy made with a mixture of traditional spices. This dish can be enjoyed with many Indian flatbreads.
Rista is a slowly cooked yet extremely delicious dish loved by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The preparation takes quite a good time and is a tedious process. Very soft and tender medium-sized meatballs are cooked in rich gravy having a major flavour of Kashmiri red chilli. Preparation of this is extremely time consuming and is considered an art.
The royal hot Kahwa mostly consumed during winters is made green tea leaves, cardamom pods, saffron and sugar-infused in hot boiling water then after topped with chopped dry fruits. This winter speciality along with exotic flavour has many medicinal properties as well. Being a perfect tea time drink, Kahwa helps to keep us warm during the winters.
An extremely delightful sweet dish that is another speciality of this paradise. A creamy and saffron flavoured dessert made with powdered rice, milk, sugar, cardamom and then topped with dry fruits. This pudding is a must to try in J&K.
Connectivity to Jammu & Kashmir
While you think to visit Jammu and Kashmir, getting there could be equally a major concern. Below is a list of convenient options that tourists can prefer.
Jammu and Kashmir, both have railway stations that are connected to every Indian city. The trains are comfortable and safe for people to reach their desired place.
Any city of Jammu and Kashmir could be visited by tourists with the domestic airports of the union territory. It’s a better option for tourists from other countries.
Tourists may opt for this option if they are not travelling from a long distance. JKSRTC busses are a good option for people from nearby cities.
Travelling to the destination, people often choose cabs. A convenient and budget-friendly cab is an option if tourists wish for privacy with their family.
Transportation in local
While travelling around, there are few options for tourists to reach from one place to another.
These rickshaws are the most convenient way to get around the city. These are easily available at anytime .
Most preferable way of locals to travel, these mini busses would reach to even remote places through few fixed routes.
Taxis are easily available in any region of Jammu and Kashmir and would take tourists to desired place at a very affordable fare.
Best time to visit Jammu & Kashmir
Weather and best time to visit Jammu and Kashmir:
MARCH TO MAY
The summer season is perfect to visit Kashmir. These months are the exact time when summers last. The temperature ranges from 13° C to 30 °C. During day time it’s moderately hot while it’s a bit cold when the evenings start. This weather attracts tourists to visit from different places and admire the beauty of the valley. Kashmir, Gulmarg, Patnitop and nearby places look beautiful during the summer season. While the region of Jammu is a bit hotter. The temperature may reach up to 40°C.
JULY TO SEPTEMBER
The season when monsoon begins to emerge its raindrops in the valley, makes the aura more pure. Tourists can visit Kashmir during this season. Monsoon season would compliment a peaceful walk in the gardens of the valley and activities like apple picking would be fun. Jammu region seems equally beautiful during the season. Light raindrops gives calm and cold vibes to boost enjoyment.
OCTOBER TO FEBRUARY
The beginning of winters when snowfall covers the entire Kashmir valley makes it the best time to visit. Temperature may drop down to 0°C or sometimes even -2°C to -3°C. Tourists who love snow and snowfall enjoy being in Valley and admire the scenic view. They can also enjoy adventurous winter activities. Jammu and nearby places during winters don’t observe snowfall but locals have a chance to admire visuals of snow-capped mountains.
Tips for j&K trip
Below are some suggestions that tourists must keep in mind while travelling to Jammu and Kashmir.
PACK ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER
If you wish to visit Jammu and Kashmir, keep the weather in mind. Pack according to the weather if it’s summer or winters. While travelling to mountainous regions like Kashmir, always remember to pack woollens along.
BEWARE OF MONKEYS
Travelling to places like Bahu Fort, Vaishno Mata and other local areas, cautious of monkeys that are likely to jump on you when they see eatables.
DO NOT FEED MONKEYS
While getting around, keep in mind not to feed monkeys as they would expect food from you every time. Also while travelling in cars, feeding monkeys would risk them as they are probable to get hit by any transport.
DO NOT CLICK AT HOLY PLACES
Don’t click pictures at holy places if you are not allowed to, as it may disturb the calm and peaceful atmosphere of the place.
Don’t VISIT WEARING LEATHER
Many temples and holy places restrict people if they wear leather. If you wish to visit these places, then don’t wear anything having leather.
KEEP YOUR IDs ALONG
It is advisable to always carry your Ids along while travelling to any region of J&K.