There is no dearth of natural beauty in Jammu and Kashmir, be it the Dal Lake in Kashmir, Betaab Valley in Pahalgam, Pangong Lake in Leh or Lolab Valley in Kupwara, every attraction promises to sway away the heart of the visitors at once.
No doubt why Jammu and Kashmir allures millions of tourists every year, the state houses some of the most revered shrines and monasteries. Vaishno Devi, Amarnath, Shankaracharya temple, Thiksey Gompa, Phyang monastery, Rozabal are some popular names in the list of must-visits in Jammu and Kashmir.
Walk through the colorful Mughal gardens of Kashmir, have a look at the beautiful palaces of Leh, explore the forts of Jammu and enjoy sightseeing at the valleys of Ladakh, explore every nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir.
When it comes to adventure, there is a wide array of options to choose from. Mountain Biking at Khardung La, White Water Rafting in Indus, Paragliding in Sanasar, Angling in Lidder, Sledding at Patnitop, Skiing in Khilanmarg, Camel Safari in Hunder, there is much to explore and experience.
The beautiful structure of the Hazratbal Mosque is entirely made of white marble. The alluring Himalayan Mountain Range at the backdrop of the mosque adds to its beauty. The mosque features a blend of Mughal and Kashmiri architecture. People can enjoy great view of the Dal Lake from the mosque.
Shikara Ride in Dal Lake
Also known as ‘Jewel in the crown of Kashmir’, Dal Lake is one of the most popular attractions of Jammu and Kashmir. Dal Lake is not only popular for its beauty and serenity, but also its colorful Shikaras. You really can’t miss enjoying a Shikara ride at Dal Lake.
The ride offers a soothing and relaxing experience to every tourist. Dal Lake is dotted with a number of Shikaras (long boats) which are beautifully decorated. These colorful boats offer an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Kashmir at its best as you sail through its most popular attractions. Shikara ride at the lake is a popular thing to do in Kashmir for those who wish to enjoy some time amid a soothing and pleasant ambiance.
One of the most popular Mughal Gardens in Jammu and Kashmir, Chashme Shahi is a beautiful garden known for its Mughal charm. The garden features Mughal architecture and also takes some influence from Persian architecture. The terraces of the garden are beautifully covered with colorful flowers. Beautiful waterfalls and fountains adorn this garden and make it more alluring.
The place is set at a picture perfect location which offers a number of views to capture in the camera. This is why, the place is a must visit for photographers. The star attraction of the garden is its freshwater spring which flows through the centre of the terraces into three sections: waterfall, fountains and aqueduct. The most popular feature here is the stream, rich in minerals and iron and has healing properties.
The garden remains open from 09:00 am in the morning till 07:00 pm in the evening. It is open all days except Friday. Entry fee to the garden is INR 10 per person.
What if you got to trek over a frozen river? Chadar trek is one of the most exciting and challenging treks. Covering a distance of 105 km, you will have to trek up to the Zanskar Valley which is beautifully nestled amid snow capped mountains. To reach the valley, you have just one way. Cross the frozen Zanskar River and enjoy every unique element of this trek, the unusual camping sites, picture perfect scenery and chilly weather. Test your trekking skills with this trek. Beat the extreme conditions and climb over the snow covered trails.
Shanti Stupa was built back in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. The stupa is located at a height of 4267 meter on a hilltop in Chanspa, 5 km away from Leh. Shanti Stupa safely preserves the remnants of the Buddha. Shanti Stupa was built with an aim to promote world peace and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. Also, the stupa acts as a symbol of ties between the people of Ladakh and Japan. The white-domed stupa offers a beautiful view of the surroundings. This is why, the place is a popular tourist attraction of Leh. The beauty of the place lies in its tranquility which offers a unique experience to every visitor. Shanti Stupa remains open for tourists from 5:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m.
Set at an altitude of 3600 meter in the Indus Valley, Thiksey Gompa is one of the largest monasteries in Central Ladakh. The Gompa is best known for its resemblance with Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The monastery is a 12-storey complex which houses a number of items related to Buddhist art, such as statues, stupas, swords and wall paintings.
The star attraction of the monastery is the Maitreya Temple which was built in the year 1970 to commemorate the visit of 14th Dalai Lama. The temple has a 15 meter high statue of Maitreya, which is the largest statue in Ladakh. Other than Maitreya temple, there are many more temples in the monastery which are dedicated to different guardians of the protector deity of Thiksey. The monastery offers a mystical ambience where people can spend some time in tranquility. Also, they can enjoy a panoramic view of the Indus valley from the monastery.
Thiksey Gompa remains open all days a week from 7 am to 7 pm. Entry fee per person is INR 20.
Taking its name from Bollywood super hit movie, Betaab, starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh, Betaab Valley is a popular tourist attraction of Kashmir. Set at a distance of 15 km from Pahalgam, the valley is set amid snow capped mountains and lush greenery. Pine and deodar forests surrounding the valley offer a soothing ambience to every visitor.
This beautiful attractions is a must visit if you wish to spend some time close to nature. Musical chirping of birds, sight of colorful flowers and strong breeze adds to the beautiful experience of visiting the valley. The panoramic view the valley offers promises to sway your heart away at once. Betaab Valley is a well-known camping site for trekkers.
Kheer Bhawani is a popular temple dedicated to Goddess Bhawani. The temple is constructed over a sacred spring. There is an unusual tradition of offering Kheer to the presiding deity, Goddess Bhawani. This tradition became a part of the name of the temple, which is why the temple is known as Kheer Bhawani Temple.
The water of the scared spring changes occasionally. When the water turns black, it is believed to indicate inauspicious times for Kashmir. The temple holds much importance for people following the Historical Vedic Religion in Kashmir, who are known as Kashmiri Pandits. People from all over the world visit the temple to seek the blessings of Kheer Bhawani Temple.
One of the most popular attractions of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheshnag Lake is located near Pahalgam. The lake is considered sacred and is believed that a serpent named Sheshnag dug this lake and made it his abode. People believe that the divine serpent, Sheshnag still resides in the lake. The lake is located on the pilgrimage route to the holy Amarnath Caves.
The sparkling waters and breathtaking sights of the snow- capped mountains leave every visitor mesmerized. The place offers a great ambience to photographers. There is so much what photographers can capture with a visit to this beautiful lake. The beauty of the lake is enhanced by the sprawling green pastures surrounding it. Sheshnag Lake is natural habitat of brown trout fish which is mainly found here.
The lake becomes inaccessible during winters as snow covered mountains feed it.To reach the lake, one needs to trek uphill from Chandanwari for which ponies are available. The best time to visit the lake is from the month of June till September, when the weather remains pleasant.
Gondola Ride in Gulmarg
Gulmarg boasts of housing the 2nd highest cable car in the world - Gulmarg Gondola. Gulmarg Gondola is an exciting ride which is Asia’s longest and highest cable car ride. The ride is a two-phase ropeway which carries 6 people at a time.
People are taken through two phases, the first one is from the starting point to Kongdoori valley and the other phase is from the Kongdoori valley to Apharwat peak. This 20- minute ride promises to every individual with an experience of a lifetime. Enjoy the breathtaking sights of the alluring Gulmarg valley and enjoy some great time with your friends and family. You really can’t miss this on your visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Mountain Biking at Khardung La
Khardung La Pass, set at an elevation of 18380 ft, is the highest motorable road in the world. What if you get a chance to enjoy mountain biking at Khardung La Pass?
Mountain biking at Khardung La Pass includes tons of excitement, fun and challenges. You get to ride through the high mountain passes which offer spectacular views of snow capped mountains, picture perfect landscapes and rugged terrains. Mountain biking tour through the pass covers the entire Ladakh Range as it is connects Leh city to Indus and Nubra Valley.
While you cross the Indus Valley, you get to enjoy beautiful views of the Zanskar Range to the southwest and the Karakoram Range to the northeast. To enjoy a great biking experience at Khardung La is to join the biking tours organized by several tour operators.
White Water Rafting in Indus
Originating in Tibet, the sparkling Indus river flows through Ladakh, Leh and then passes into Pakistan. Indus River offers with a great river rafting course where camps are set at different locations to meet the interests of every individual. Indus River rafting is commonly suitable for grade 2 and 3 trips. At some areas, it also matches with 4 and 5 grade rapids.
While you enjoy river rafting on Indus River, you get to enjoy captivating views of the beautiful landscapes of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. You also get to look at Buddhist monasteries set at high cliffs around Ladakh. People from all over the world visit Ladakh to enjoy river rafting at Indus River.
A variety of options are available for rafting lovers. River rafting expeditions range from a day to 2 weeks.
Built back in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal, Leh Palace is one of the major attractions of Leh. The palace is nine storey’s high, which used to accommodate the royal family. During mid 19th century, the palace was abandoned when Ladakh came under the control of Dogra forces. Today, the palace is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. One can enjoy panoramic views of Leh and surrounding areas from the roof of the palace.
There is a museum inside the palace which has a great collection of ornaments, jewelry, crowns and dresses. One can also find Chinese Thangka paintings which are around 450 years old. These paintings feature intricate designs and bright colors derived from crushed gems and stones.
Leh Palace is open all days a week from 7 am to 4 pm. Entry fees to the palace is INR 15 per person for Indians and INR 100 per person for foreign nationals.
Stok Kangri Trek
Considered one of the easiest 6000 m peaks in the world, Stok Kangri is the highest mountain in the Stok range of the Himalayas in Ladakh. Stok Kangri is one of the most adventurous treks in India. The place is a must visit place for trekking lovers. Stok Kangri Trek does not require any technical climbing experience but great physical fitness, confidence and strong determination. Stok Kangri trek comes with a number of challenges and most of them are related to thin air on high altitudes. This trek requires maximum 10 days.
You can assure yourself with a great trekking experience as it includes crossing glaciers and long stretches. On this trek, you get to enjoy the view of the beautiful Ladakh range, Leh city, Zanskar range and Indus valley.
Salim Ali National Park
Also known as City Forest National Park, Salim Ali National Park is a popular national park in Srinagar. Salim Ali National Park is considered a paradise for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Covering an area of 9.07 km2, the park is known to house a number of wildlife species like Himalayan Black Deer, Hangul, Leopard, Himalayan Serow and Musk Deer. Also, one can spot around 300 species of birds like Himalayan monal, ring dove, paradise flycatcher and Himalayan snow cock.
The park was converted into Royal Springs Golf Course in between 1998 and 2001 by Farooq Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
Salim Ali National Park can be visited throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the park is from the month of April to November.
Road Trip to Ladakh
A road trip to Ladakh is one of the most thrilling experiences across the world. Set at an elevation of more than 3000 m above sea level, Ladakh takes you through high passes, snow capped mountains, beautiful valleys and rugged terrains. The breathtaking views of the surroundings add to the road trip experience at Ladakh. The best way to explore the beauty of Ladakh, the land of high passes, is through a road trip.
When you travel to Ladakh by road, you get to enjoy spectacular sights of mountains of Greater Himalayas, Zanskar range and Monasteries. You really can’t miss taking a road trip to Ladakh which makes you discover the real you!
Gurdwara Pathar Sahib
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib was built back in the year 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev ji who was the founder Guru of Sikhism. The Gurdwara is believed to stand at a place where Guru Nanak defeated a demon.
According to the legend, the demon threw a large boulder on Guru Nanak who was meditating at the base of a hill. However, the rock melted and became soft and failed to cause any harm to Guru Nanak.
Gurdwara Pathar Sahib is set in Buddhist Ladakh and is worshipped by a number of Buddhists. Guru Nanak is worshipped as Guru Gompka Maharaj and Nanak Lama by Tibetan Buddhists.
The Gurdwara remains open all days of the week from 6 am to 7 pm.
Camping at Pangong Lake
Also known as the Drass War Memorial, Kargil War Memorial was built to commemorate the brave soldiers who lost their lives during Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1947, 1971 and 1999. On the walls of the memorial, there are names of all Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the wars. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of snow capped peaks from the memorial.
Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on 26th July in the Drass Kargil sector to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the wars.
Outside the memorial, there is a memento shop which sells coffee mugs, hats, T-shirts, designed in memory of the war.
Set in the northern district Kupwara of Jammu and Kashmir, Lolab valley is a place sprinkled with natural beauty, warmth and tranquility. The valley allures tourists from all over, who wish to explore Kashmir at its best. Locally known as ‘Wadi-e-Lolab’, Lolab Valley is famous for its springs, fruit orchards, lake and rice fields.
Lolab Valley is a must-visit for nature lovers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. You really can’t miss capturing the scenic beauty of the place in your camera. The valley is home to a number of Himalayan wild animals such as Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Brown Bear, Snow Leopard, Ibex, Markho and Hangul.
The best time to visit Lolab Valley is from the month of February to April and October to December.
The valley of old monasteries, Zanskar is one of the most popular attractions of Jammu andKashmir. Zanskar is the starting point of the famous Chadar Trek. Zanskar features sparkling rivers, snow capped mountains, picture perfect landscape and pleasing weather, which makes it a great attraction.
The unexplored beauty of the place leaves every visitor spellbound.
There are a number of monasteries in Zanskar which display exquisite architecture and work with an aim to impart spiritual knowledge. The place is a hot spot for adventure enthusiasts as it offers a variety of adventure activities like paragliding, trekking and river rafting. Zanskar remains accessible only from the month of April to August.
Great Lakes Trek
If you desire to explore the beauty of Kashmir and experience trekking at its best, then Great Lakes Trek is a must for you. Great Lakes Trek takes through high altitude passes, colorful meadows and turquoise lakes. As soon as you reach your starting point, Sonmarg, you will get an idea of what the Great Lakes trek has to offer. The breathtaking view of the snow capped peaks and thick pine forests promise to leave you mesmerized at once. Great Lake Trek has medium level of difficulty and is a cross over trail that covers a number of meadows and passes. The best time to take up the Great Lakes trek is from the month of June to September.
Camel Safari in Hunder
Camel safaris are a great way to explore Ladakh and take back some of the most memorable sights of the Himalayas. Nubra Valley, one of the highest deserts in the world allures tourists from all over the world.
While you are enjoying the shaky movements of the camel, don’t forget to have a look at those rugged terrains, remote villages and vast stretch of desert. The double humped Bactrian camel in Hunder will make you take back an experience like never before.