Kashmir has always been the
synonym of paradise to all the nature lovers out there. I can feel the soothing
breezes and the sky kissing peaks whenever I close my eyes to cherish the
beauty of Kashmir. The soothing lakes and heart-taking views of valleys are
like a dream come true for me. I love its beauty in summers more as I have a
never-ending love for infinite greenery. Having all the package of being called
the ‘heaven on earth’, here is my list of favorite 4 places to visit in Kashmir
Gulmarg has emerged as a winter
sports capital in recent years. Its scenic beauty of snow-loaded mountains is
unbeaten. However, I adore this little Kashmiri town in the summers more.
Gulmarg is located 50 km northwest of Srinagar and just a half-hour drive away.
This place is undoubtedly Mother Nature at its best. The day starts with a
visit to the biosphere reserve and sees some of the endangered species of
animals and birds. Maharani temple is also one of the beautiful attractions of
the city. This little shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The temple is on a small hill enclosed in a wide valley. I would strongly
recommend visiting the strawberry valley which is a beautiful garden and still
untouched by many. I found tranquility in the meadows of this garden with the
sun setting in the clouds. A little picnic to Gulmarg Golf Course can also be
enjoyed in the afternoon or the evening and experience the beauty of the
highest golf course in the world. With having something for every season,
Gulmarg also tops in premium Kashmir tour packages by the travel companies.
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The capital city has to top my
list for some obvious reasons. It is the biggest city in the whole region (and
busiest as well). The dazzling views of Dal Lake on a shikhara are my first
picks to do on a sunny morning. I find the city a perfect mix of years old
traditions and the developing capital. The uncountable beauty of Shalimar and
Nishat Mughal gardens are something I can never forget. I was mesmerized by the
design of these gardens. Also, the efforts being made to preserve these
beautiful heritages of the past are truly unmatched. One more beautiful place
to visit on your wishlist while you are at Srinagar is the Pari Mahal. An
architectural masterpiece having a defied ambiance of nature and human
expertise. The Pari Mahal or the peer mahal is a seven terraced garden built in
the 17th century under the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jaha. This place is a
perfect match for peace lovers and honeymoon couples for its scenic beauty.
Numerous other things can also be done in Srinagar including shopping for authentic
Kashmiri shawls and saffron from Lal Bazaar, a visit to Hazratbal Mosque, A day
trail in Dachigam National Park, and a lot more.
Located in the Upper Kashmir
valley and around 80 km away from Srinagar, Sonamarg is a popular tourist place
to visit in Kashmir in the summer. Sonmarg won my heart for its beautiful and
dense alpine meadows all the way to my journey. I was touched by the thriving
peace of the town despite the number of tourists increasing every year. The
most renowned attraction of Sonmarg is the majestic Jojila Pass. This mountain
pass connects Dras and Suru valleys to Kashmir. My personal advice is to keep
your guts up if you wish to witness the thrill here. The drive to Zojila pass
is the epitome of adventure. Beyond it, enchanting views of Vishansar Lake and
Krishnasar Lake are a treat to the soul. Sonmarg is also known for its flare
with water adventure sports. White River rafting at Baltal is a perfect match
for the people looking for the extreme adrenaline rush. There are some
befitting trekking trails as well for the people who are keen on hiking and
mountaineering. Be it a beginner or a pro, Sonmarg has all the options for you.
While the Gangabal trek is a sacred journey for most, the Baltal valley trek is
preferred by college groups.
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Leh had always fascinated me
since my teen days. An ideal place to explore on the wheels. Thousands of
bikers visit Leh every year. Leh is connected by road from Srinagar and Manali
both. However, most riders prefer to reach Manali via the famous Rohtang pass.
Leh is situated in the heart of Ladakh, approx 420 km from Srinagar. Surrounded
by the spiritual divinity of monasteries, Leh has a divine atmosphere. The most
renowned point to visit in Leh is the Thiksey Monastery. This hundred-year-old compound is home to more than 500 monks. You can calm yourself by the teachings
of Lord Buddha here and forget all the tiredness of the journey. I also find
Pangong Tso Lake is very intriguing by its shining blue color and the fact that
the movie 3 Idiots was shot here. For more adventure, I would recommend you to
visit Nubra valley. You can see the spectacular view of the snow-capped
Karakoram Range if the weather is clear. One should never miss a chance to miss
a visit to Leh and Ladakh whenever he/she plans a trip to Kashmir.