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Kashmir Travel Guide: Heaven on Earth ''Kashmir''

It is said that, if there is heaven on earth, it is on Kashmir and truly, no other words than ‘heaven on earth’ can describe Kashmir better. The word ‘Kashmir’ has been formed after two Sanskrit words ‘ka’ which means water and ‘shimira’ which means desiccate – meaning ‘dried water’ i.e., snow. This is because the valley is covered with snow during the winter season i.e., October to February. The valley of Kashmir is blessed with nature’s gift of beauty in the form of towering mountain summits, sparkling lakes and rivers, and lush green forests. Not only India but the incredible beauty of Kashmir is praised and enchanted all around the world. Every year the place witnesses thousands of tourists from all around the globe- who wish to experience its amazing beauty.    

The entire valley has a charm of its own and the breathtaking beauty of the place captivates your mind and takes you into another world.

The valley also has some famous forts and palaces which are of interest to historians. These forts and palaces are a piece of royal architecture from the Mughal era- mostly from the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and his son Emperor Shah Jahan during the 1600s and 1700s. Apart from this, the place is also of great interest to the film industry. Number of films were shot in the Kashmir valley, owing to its scenic beauty and charisma including big Bollywood blockbusters and hits- Aarzoo, Satte Pe Satta, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Rockstar and many more… One Hollywood movie ‘Razor’s Edge’ was also shot in Kashmir. Other than that some Bollywood movies are also made on the Kashmir valley- such as Kashmiri Files, LOC Kargil, Mission Kashmir, etc., including super hits Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Raazi, URI-The Surgical Strike, Haider, Roja, and Fanna.

If you are truly fond of nature’s beauty and want to experience it, then Kashmir is one of the best options, you can think of. In fact, there is really, no better option than Kashmir to experience and feel nature’s beauty and charisma.

So are you ready for the amazing journey!!

Here are some of the most amazing and beautiful places you should definitely visit during your trip to Kashmir- Ladhak, Aru Valley, Dal Lake, Betaab Valley, Doodhpathri, Shalimar Garden, Nishat Garden, Sinthan Top, and Bahu Fort, and Pari Mahal. There are many more… but these are among the best ones, you should definitely visit. 

So, are you ready for a short trip to these beautiful and lovely places!! 

Ladakh

Ladakh is situated on the eastern side of the Kashmir valley with Leh, the largest town and the capital. Ladakh is best known for its beautiful landscapes, highest mountain passes and Buddhist Monasteries. The place captures your heart and you get immersed in the beauty of the place as if it was not real but a dream. It is a must visit for adventure seekers because there are many exciting activities available for the tourists which include trekking, river rafting, jeep safari, skiing, and many more.

Aru Valley

Aru Valley is located in southern part of the Kashmir Valley at a distance of about eleven kilometers from Pahalgam district. The Valley attracts thousands of people every year. The place serves as a base camp for the Kolahoi glacier. The valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pine trees. One finds himself lost in the moment itself

Dal Lake

Dal Lake located in north-eastern part of Srinagar is popularly known as ‘Summer Capital’ of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is 7.4 km long and 3.5 km wide and is surrounded by Shankarcharya Hills on three sides. The lake is a famous destination for water sports and is thus an attraction for adventure and water sports seeker. Apart from this, the place is also known for its beautiful landscape. The heavenly view gives peace to mind and soul. 

Betaab Valley

Betaab Valley is located in Anantnag district and is about fifteen kilometers from far from Pahalgam district. It is on route to Amarnath Yatra. The place was named after the popular Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh Bollywood movie ‘Betaab’. The valley is an attraction for trekkers because the valley serves as a base camp. It is surrounded by snow-covered mountains and dense vegetation. The place is most crowded in summers when visitors enjoy the weather along with the scenic beauty of the place, both of which complement each other. 

Doodhpathri

Doodhpathri is a hill station in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir at an altitude of 2,730 meters. The valley is surrounded by snowy mountains, pine and deodar trees. The area becomes inaccessible in winters because of heavy snowfall and it is thus advisable to visit the place during summers. The picture perfect landscape gives soothing effect to one’s inner self.

Shalimar Garden

Shalimar Garden also known as ‘Farah Baksh’ or ‘Faiz Baksh’ is a Mughal garden located in Srinagar. The garden was a token of love from the Mughal emperor Jahangir to his wife Nur Jahan. It was built in 1619. The structure of the garden is similar to that of Persian Gardens. The layout is so royal and noble that will take you back in time, as if you have witnessed all the events that have taken place at that time. It is a must visit place for history and architect lovers.

Nishat Garden

Nishat Garden is also a Mughal Garden built on the banks of Dal Lake and surrounded by Zabarwan Mountains on its back. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The structure of the garden is similar to that of Persian Garden and the layout is royal. The most interesting thing about the garden, which adds to its beauty is that it has twelve terraces which are lined up with chinar and cypress trees.

Sinthan Top

Sinthan Top is a mountain pass in between Anantnag and Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. It acts as a link between the two districts. The place attracts large number of tourists every year because of the beautiful and picture perfect view. It is also known for its adventure activities such as skiing, mountaineering and trekking and the spot is thus of great interest to adventure seekers.

Bahu Fort

Bahu Fort is located in Jammu, on the banks of tawi river. The fort has a great historical importance and is an important depiction of the valley’s history because it is built by Bahu Lochan- the brother of Jambu Lochan, who is believed to be the founder of the valley. There is a temple built within the fort, which is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Seeing the architecture one can feels going back in time and experiencing all the events as if happening at the present moment. 

Pari Mahal

Pari Mahal, famously known as Peer Mahal or ‘The Palace of Fairies’ is situated on the tip of Zabarwan mountain range. The most interesting and fascinating fact about the palace is that it has seven terraces. The view of Srinagar and southwest of Dal Lake from the palace of the fort is really breathtaking and awesome. The palace is a piece of Mughal architecture from the period of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The place attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to know about the royal history of the palace and see the amazing landscape. 

Hey!! I hope you are not lost in the beauty and charm of the valley.         

In addition, to the spectacular and stunning landscapes, the people and food of the valley will also amaze and surprise you.  

Just as heavenly the place is, so is the food of the place. The Kashmiri food is a mixture of the Pandits and Mughals. Kashmiri dishes are among one of the most delicious and appetizing dishes, anyone can have in his or her lifetime. It is a guarantee that you would not have eaten such mouthwatering and delicious dishes in your entire life and you would never find them anywhere- except here, in Kashmir. From Rogan Josh to Kashmiri desert Shufta, these dishes will be there in your memories forever. Some Kashmiri dishes such as Dum Alloo are well known and famous in the entire country. 

I am pretty sure you are very much eager to taste them!!   

The Kashmiris are very friendly and will welcome you with warmth and affection. If there are any people you can never forget in your entire life, who will always be there in your memories- they are Kashmiris. The people of Kashmir have deep routed values of humanity and have a special bond among themselves. You will have your best time spent with them and remember their care and regard throughout your life. 

I know you are anxious and eager to meet them!!

Apart from being sweet Kashmiris are also very cute and lovely. They look really pretty in their traditional outfit- ‘Phiran’ or ‘Pheran’- which is made of wool- to keep oneself warm during the biting cold weather of the valley, especially during the winters. You will find the old descendants of the valley in their traditional outfit. If you see anyone wearing ‘Phiran’ you can quickly recognize that they are the old descendants of the valley.   

That is really interesting, isn’t it!!  

Not only the place and its people, but their language- ‘Dogri’ is also a very beautiful language. Most interestingly, it is not so difficult to learn unlike other languages, one can learn the basics of the language very easily in a short span of time.   

Isn’t that really fascinating!!

Don’t you want to learn this beautiful and lovely language!!

Just as beautiful the Kashmiri language ‘Dogri’ is, so is the Kashmiri classical music- ‘Sufiana Kalam’. The Kashmiri music is among one of the most melodious music anyone would have listened in his or her entire lifetime. The Kashmiri music gives peace and relaxation to the soul and mind. It is really famous and popular throughout the entire country.

Aren’t you eager to listen to the melodious and lovely Kashmiri music!!   

During the winter season i.e., between October to February the temperature ranges between -2ºc to 12ºc. The time period between December and January is known as ‘Chalai Kalan’ because of extreme weather conditions such as heavy snowfall and temperature going below the freezing point. During this entire period the valley can be seen covered in a blanket of snow.

Don’t you want to know when is the perfect time to visit this beautiful dreamland!!

The best time to visit Kashmir, however, is between March to June because the weather is perfect for sightseeing and adventure sports i.e., it is not too hot nor too cold. During this time there is onset of autumn in the valley and thus the weather pleasant and suitable for outing and excursions. On the top of it, the entire valley looks really beautiful during this time like a fairyland because flowers are at bloom and grasslands are the greenest. The temperature during this time ranges between 15ºc to 30ºc. However, one important point to keep in mind is that during this time the valley is heavily crowded with tourists because it is the peak season.

I hope you will keep my advice in mind!

Ever wondered, who said the famous quote ‘Heaven on Earth’ for Kashmir- it was the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. I hope now, having a wonderful description about this beautiful and charming place you will be able to connect why he said so.  

For those who want the most amazing excursion of their entire lifetime, should visit Kashmir. It is a guarantee that each and every moment of the journey will always be stored in your heart forever. The beauty and charm of the place will always be there in your heart and mind- because it is so stupefying, stunning, and amazing. It will be surely one of the best trip for anyone.

So, when are you planning the most exciting and memorable trip of your life!!

I hope you are planning it very soon!!

Goshmi Abrol

Travel Blogger and Author

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