Jammu and Kashmir, the Paradise of the Earth said the Mughal Emperor Jahangir; nobody can deny that this place is honored with dreamlike delighted excellence. It is the Northernmost province of India, imparting outskirts to China, Tibet, and Pakistan is additionally known for the grandest conditions of India. Kashmir has such huge numbers of well-known spots to visit and voyagers come here consistently, But there are some Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir that are celebrated and are gone to by off-track darlings.
Verinag is also one of the Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir Verinag is one of the fundamental wellsprings of River Jhelum and an underexplored explorer’s fascination in the Anantnag District. Set in the midst of plenty of sound chinar (maple) trees and facilitating spouting blue water at the store, Verinag is halfway between Pahalgam and Srinagar. Here’s the place you have your halfway chai earn back the original investment in case you’re adhering to the oft-voyage bit of Kashmir.
Yusmarg is also one of the Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir Yusmarg, or Yousmarg freely means ‘Jesus Meadow’. The basic folktale on which this one rests is that Jesus once halted in Yousmarg with his supporters amid his movements of the world. Not without reason, that as well! Moving green knolls with pines out of sight and an 11-kilometer trek that paves the way to a solidified lake, Yusmarg has sights and sounds that are deserving of summoning real craving for new experiences in your heart!
Kokernag is also one of the Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir Kokernag, Green glade fixed with falling crisp water springs – welcome to Kokernag; a name that actually means ‘Hen Shaped Springs’. Situated at around 80km from Srinagar, prepare to taste the regular excellence of this unique goal in Kashmir which will appeal to you with its entrancing charms.
A standout amongst the most surprising element of this remote place is that Kokernag is home to the biggest crisp water spring of Kashmir. Altogether, to pull in the consideration of travellers, Kashmir Tourism is giving guests the choice of angling here. Along these lines, all you folks out there who dribble over the negligible dream of angling in crisp springs, this is one place that you have to include your spring container list goals. Other Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir is Doodhganga and Neelnag.
Doodhpathari is also one of the Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir Doodhpathari A modified bowl of green in summers and white in winters, Doodhpathari is a verdant green knoll near Srinagar. The glade turns into a spread of white snow in the winters and has a stream coursing through it which dependably looks white at a separation. It is trusted that a cleric once supplicated in the glade of Doodhpathari, and jabbed the ground with his stick for water, however, the drain overflowed starting from the earliest stage. That is the place the glade inferred its name.
Experience the Authentic Valley dominated largely by long stretches of Scenic Mountains. The Valley covers an area of 224,739 sq km. The Great Himalayan range separates Kashmir from Ladakh, whereas the PirPanjal range confines it as a valley by drawing a border and separating it from the northern plains ideal destination for Kashmir Holiday Packages. We are highly recommended travel agents for customizing Kashmir Holiday Packages. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Srinagar is a unique city with a breath-taking physical environment, lakes, Mughal Gardens, springs , golf course, hills & mountains . Besides it is endowed with spiritual places , exquisite arts and crafts, and rich heritage. Srinagar is commonly done by bus or taxi another way of seeing the city , especially the lake area , is by Shikara . It is particularly pleasant to row over the waters of the Dal Lake to visit the Mughal Gardens and other lake side sites, including the famous Hazratbal mosque .The well- known sights in the city are Shankaracharya Temple .A top the hill called Takht-e-sulaiman , a 5Km climb from Nehru Park on a metalled road .The prominent spiritual places include Shrines of Makhdoom Sahib , Dastgeer Sahib , Shahi Hamdan , Hazratbal , Jamia Masjid.
Shalimar Garden: was built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir in the year 1619 AD and called it “Farah Baksh” (the delightful). Eleven years later Zaffer Khan the Governor of Kashmir during Emperor Shah Jahan’s reign extended the garden and called it “Faiz Baksh” (the Bountiful). The garden was graded in three sections. The outer garden is known as the Diwan-i-Aam, the central porrion the Emperor’s garden called as the “Diwan-iKhas” and the uppermost by far the best garden was meant for the Empress and her ladies. The romantic effect of numerous fountains in large tanks and central water channel, cascades, and monumental pavilions, mighty chinars, lush lawns laden with colour and fragrance speaks volumes for the taste of Great Mughal. The garden covers an area of 12.40 ha.15 kms from the TRC
Nishat Garden: the garden of Delight, the largest Mughal Garden on Dal-Lake was laid out by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir, in the year 1632 A.D. It is located on Dal-Lake about 2.5 Kilometers to the south of Shalimar and commands a magnificent view in the west and has a panoramic backdrop of mountains in the East. The garden had originally 12 terraces. Enchanting the central water channel, rippling fountains in large tanks and channels, and sparkling cascades amidst bountiful colors, lush lawns, and mighty chinars are principal features of this pleasure garden. The garden is spread over an area of about 20 ha.
This garden of the royal spring was built in 1642 A.D. by Ali Mardan Khan, the Governor of Kashmir during the reign of Emperor Shah ]ahan. It is a terraced garden situated 9 Km away from Srinagar and about 2 Km up from the main road in a mOllntain side over-looking Dal-Lake. Fountains play in the central water channel starting from the famed spring located in the uppermost terrace. It is famous for its pure, sparkling, and cool mineral water. To cope up with the ever-increasing tourist traffic the garden has been extended in recent years. It has also been lit recently with multicolored garden lights. This has proved an added attraction for tourists as well as 10cals. The garden extends over an area of 6.20 ha.
The name Pari Mahal appears to be a distorted version of “Peer Mahal” built by Prince Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Emperor Shah ]ahan in the year 1640 A.D. for his tutor Peer Mullah Shah. Once the royal observatory, it is a seven terraced garden located on the base of Zabarvan mountain range over-looking city of Srinagar and Dal-Lake.
The Mahal Built for the meditation and summer residence of Peer Mullah Shah is a replica of typical Mughal architecture in the garden layout, water now been restored to its glory with captivating terraced gardens, the motorable road up to the garden, and wonderful lighting effects which look marvelous and captivating at night. It covers an area of about 3.20 ha.
Chashma Shahi: has a tastefully laid garden in terraces, which commands a magnificent view of the Dal Lake below and surrounding mountain ranges. The cool water of the spring is highly refreshing and digestive. The original garden was laid out by Shah Jehan in 1632 AD. By the side of Chashma Shahi Garden are huts where some of the state government officials have their official residences to enjoy the luxurious stay while serving the Jammu & Kashmir.
On the hillside, south of the village of Harwan (19 km from the TRC)), remarkable remains of ancient ornamented tile pavements of the Buddhist period have come to light. The tiles depict the dresses of the people, such as loose trousers, Turkoman caps, or close-fitting turbans and large ear-rings which reveal Central Asian influence. It is an ASI site. This beautiful landscape garden took birth in the year 1969 on the enchanting Zabarwan mountain slopes near the famous Mughal Garden Cheshmashahi, overlooking the panorama of Dal-Lake. This pleasure garden complex extends over an area of about 80 hectares and consists of several styles of gardens with unending joy for seekers of solace on informal and undulated landscape. It comprises of four components- Recreational Garden, Botanical Garden, Research Section, and Plant Introduction Centre. A beautiful lake spread over an area of 17 hectares with joy riding boats is also the attraction of the garden. The garden provides a 3.5 Kilometer joyride, a pleasant water garden, inspiring colour feast of spring, fragrance and colour pageantry of roses, riot of colours in summer, changing autumn colours and captivating twitter of waterfalls. Over 1.5 Lakh ornamental plants, representing about 300 plant species have been planted in the garden.
Tulip Garden: previously named as Model Floriculture Centre, Sirajbagh, Cheshmashahi Srinagar, is spread over an area of about 30 ha situated On the foothills of Zabarwan Hills with an overview of picturesque world famous Dal Lake. This garden was conceived, conceptualized and created by Mr Gh. Nabi Azad, the then Chief Minister, J&K in the year 2006-07. The main aim of this garden is to boost floriculture and advance tourism in Kashmir Valley. Over 12 Lakh tulip bulbs of 68 varieties of different colours sown during Nov-Dec, 2007 presented a breathtaking view.
Dal Lake: is one of the most beautiful lakes of India and the second largest in the J&K state. Its three sides are surrounded by majestic mountains and a large number of gardens and orchards have been laid along the shores. The campus of the University of Kashmir is also located along the shores of the lake. Dal Lake is unique in having hundreds of houseboats, which afford an opportunity for tourists to reside on the lake in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
Nigeen Lake: is located just a small distance away from Dal Lake. In fact, both the water bodies are interconnected by a small water channel. In the summertime, the water is pleasantly cool. The lake is one of the best ions, which you can enjoy a captivating round of boating. Even in the middle of the lake, you can experience the thrill of shopping. There are boats that are full-fledged shops on the move. You can buy eateries exquisite handicrafts, even the famous Pashmina shawls, and if you wish, you can even make a call from the mobile phone booths, Srinagar has a wide variety of accommodation, including deluxe hotels, guest houses, and houseboats
The Dal is famous not only for its beauty but for its vibrancy because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is unique anywhere in the world. The houseboat and shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, and bakers Small boat or popularly known as Shikara ride are one of the most enjoyable experiences for tourists visiting Srinagar. You can get Shikara from various locations around Dal Lake. By the side of the lake, the rate chart is displayed. Usually, it will be a two-hour ride which is enough – you’ll see them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens. A shikara ride is one of the most soothing, Shikaras are long boats that crowd the Srinagar lakes They are used for getting back and forth from the houseboats or for longer tours.
The construction cost of one Shikara is almost one lakh and the life of one Shikara is nearly 20 years, Dal lake is a market itself, during your cruise on Shikara the boat man will offer you various other services offered by different vendors. You can take a photo with a traditional Kashmir dress and for this different boat man with all accessories are available, in between the lake they can take your photo and those photos will be delivered at your hotel or houseboat.
A floating garden in Dal lake
Villages by the side of Dal lake grows vegetables. Much of Dal Lake is thick with foliage, lotus patches, and large areas of cultivated vegetable gardens linked by channels and served by villages of stilted walkways. Here water level is low and you can see various types of vegetables on the small branches while traveling on the Shikara. There are shops selling traditional Kashmiri dresses and shawls. These shops are on water and openings are towards the lakeside. Before the 2014 floods, a great way to see these areas was by walking along with Chowdhary Bagh to a footbridge and causeway leading to the pumping station near Nishat Bagh Mughal Garden. However, the route has yet to be fully repaired so ask before setting it out this way.
Dal Lake is marked by an island that houses ancient and beautiful Chinar trees. Char Chinar, also sometimes rendered Char Chinari, Ropa Lank, or Rupa Lank, is an island in Dal Lake, Srinagar. The island located on the Bod Dal is known as Rupa Lank (Silver Island), it is marked with the presence of majestic Chinar trees at the four corners, thus known as Char-Chinari (Four Chinars). Murad Baksh, the brother of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, constructed the Rupa Lank. Dal Lake also houses 3 island 2 of which are marked with four Chinar trees at the four corners, thus are known as Char Chinar. The Dal Lake the prime attraction of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, actually consists of 4 lakes connected by an intricate network of canals. The 4 lakes are namely Gargabal, Bod Dal, Lokut Dal & Nagin. First, the Char Chinar island is located on the Bod Dal and is known as Rupa Lank (Silver Island). The second Char Chinar Island, known as Sona Lanka (Gold Island), is located on the Lokut Dal and overlooks the holy shrine of Hazarat Bal.
World Famous Dal Lake
Over 15km around, The Dal Lake is the most celebrated and important lake amongst all in Srinagar. Dal Lake is Srinagar’s jewel, a vast sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. It is home to carved wooden houseboats, vibrant shikaras, and floating gardens. The backdrop to this eight kilometers long lake is the Pir Panjal mountain range don’t forget to travel here early morning to see Srinagar’s famous floating market, Flotillas of gaily painted shikaras (gondola-like taxi boats) skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travelers to delightful houseboats and famous char chinar
The city of Srinagar is famous for a number of things, among which the Mughal Gardens deserve a special mention. Established during the Mughal era, these royal gardens of fine landscaping and intricate architecture blended with the ethereal beauty of nature. There are three such beautiful gardens in the city, which depict the inclination of erstwhile Mughal emperors towards nature and greenery. Inspired by the lavishly laid gardens of Persia, these Mughal Gardens mesmerize visitors with their scenic charm.
The largest and perhaps the most popular Mughal Garden in Srinagar is the Shalimar Bagh, which is situated along Dal Lake. It was laid in 1619 by Mughal emperor Jahangir for his beautiful wife Nur Jahan. Divided into three parts, this garden is lined with trails of chinar and carpeted with colorful flower beds. Shalimar Bagh is the largest Mughal garden in India located in the northeast of Dal Lake near Srinagar city along with another famous lake garden Nishat Bagh Exquisite arched niches called chini khanas to form the highlight of this garden.
Nishat Bagh, which was built in 1633 by Nur Jahan’s brother Asif Khan. It is known for the 12 terraced formations, which represent different zodiac signs of astrology. The rectangular pool in the middle of this garden was formed by changing the course of a mountain stream. it had to be remodeled to fit the topographic and water source conditions at the site chosen in the Kashmir valley. Today the Nishat garden is one of the historic and popular destinations of Srinagar Valley. The Garden of Gladness or Nishat Bagh is the second largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley located on the bank of the Dal Lake with the Zabarwan Mountains at the back and offers a magnificent view of Pir Panjal mountain range.
Chashme Shahi Garden is the smallest Mughal Garden but is equally picturesque and impressive as its counterparts. A fresh water spring, freshwater terraces, water pool and a large fountain makes it the most charming of the gardens near Srinagar along the banks of the Dal Lake, This garden earns fame for its natural fresh water, which was discovered by Rupa Bhawani a female saint from Srinagar. Emperor Shah Jahan laid this garden in 1632 and since then, it has never failed to impress visitors with its exceptional beauty. The gardens are the property of the Srinagar government and also known as the Worlds Beautiful High Altitude Paramilitary Camp.
The Hazratbal mosque is situated in Srinagar district, on the western banks of Dal Lake Situated near the Dal Lake, the only domed mosque in Srinagar is a place of serenity, a must-visit. Women are allowed only till the first part of the mosque. The Hazratbal Mosque lends a historical and divine appeal to Srinagar. As you walk down the corridors of this famous religious sanctum, you marvel at the intricate Persian and Iranian architectural influences. the mosque offers a spectacular view of the lake and the mountains, This revered shrine houses the Moi-e-Muqqadus (preserved sacred hair) of Prophet Mohammad. Public display of the hair takes place only on religious occasions. Some of the other names of the Hazrat Bal mosque are Assar-e-Sharief, Madinat-us-Sani, and Dargah Sharif. One of the most revered Muslim shrines, Hazratbal is an epitome of the love and respect of Muslims for the Prophet. The Subedar of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, Sadiq Khan, constructed Ishrat Mahal (Pleasure House), along with a garden at the site of the mosque in 1623. However, when Shahjahan visited the place in 1634, he ordered the conversion of the palace into a prayer house. But, it was only during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb that Moi-e-Muqqadus arrived in Kashmir in 1699. Initially, it was kept in the shrine of Naqashbad Sahib situated in the center of the city. However, the unparalleled huge rush of people that inundated the shrine to look at the Moi-e-Muqqades made the place seem quite small. Then, it was decided to shift the Moi-e-Muqqades to Hazratbal, The Hazratbal Mosque of Kashmir is a beautiful structure of immaculate white marble. The Muslim Auqaf Trust headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah started the construction work on this marble structure in 1968. The construction took about eleven years and the mosque was completed in 1979. The Friday prayers offered at Hazratbal attract the resident Muslim in huge numbers
The Shankaracharya Temple is also known as the Jyesteshwara temple or Pas-Pahar by Buddhists. Shankaracharya Temple was renamed as Takht-e-Suleiman (Throne of Solomon). The meandering road of the wooded Shankaracharya Hill has the 11th century Shiva temple on top. It is on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple boasts breathtaking views of the valley. The temple is at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the plain and overlooks the city of Srinagar, No cell phones or cameras are allowed inside the temple premises for security reasons. It is regarded as the oldest site in Srinagar and dates back to 250 BC.
The numerous lakes and gardens of the city lend it its famous charm. Nestled at the foothills of Zabarwan ranges in Srinagar, A small distance away from Dal Lake is the Nagin Lake where you can boat, swim and attempt water skiing, Nagin Lake is one of the prime tourist attractions in the city that must not be missed. Basically, it is an offshoot of the parent Dal Lake. Known as the ‘Jewel In The Ring’, Nagin is generally held to be the most beautiful of the Dal lakes. Its name comes from the many trees, which encircle the small, deep blue lake. Being surrounded by mountains-Hari Parbat on the west and Shankaracharya hill on the east, the location of the Nagin Lake proves to be an adoring sight. Just like the other popular lakes in Srinagar, popular houseboats like shikhara are a common sight here. Nagin is only separated from the Larger Dal lakes by a narrow causeway and it also has a number of houseboats moored around its perimeter
Jamia Masjid in Srinagar
Located in Nowhatta, Srinagar, Jama Masjid is the biggest mosque in Kashmir Valley. Many devout followers visit the shrines, mosques, and temples of Srinagar every year Jama Masjid is the main mosque built in the 14th century by Sikander Butshikan Architecturally unique, this monument has spires instead of domes and minarets. Interestingly, each of the 350 pillars of Jama Masjid is made from a single deodar trunk. A magnificent courtyard with 370 wooden pillars, the Biggest Mosque in Kashmir, is known as one of the sacred shrines of Islamic followers. The Mihrab of the Mosque is built of Kashmir glazed black stones with a picturesque Arch on which 99 inscribed Attributes of Allah surrounded by the inscription of sura Juma, The mosque was designed to hold 33,333 persons besides the imam at a single prayer congregation
Pari Mahal is a terraced garden situated to the southwest of Dal Lake, meters part Mahal, also known as the name of ‘The Abode of Fairies’, is a seven terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar. It is as much a monument as a garden and is just a five minutes drive from Chashmasahi. This beautifully landscaped garden covers a sprawling area that is 122 meters in length and meters in width. It comprises six terraces, which have separate water tanks that are filled through underground pipes. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s son Dara Shikoh built this garden in the memory of Mullah Shah Badakhshi – his tutor, who preached the Qadiri order of Sufi Islam. It was established in the mid 17th century on the remnants of an old Buddhist monastery. The monumental garden was used as an astronomical observatory and an important learning center for astrological science. An ancient Buddhist monastery located inside the garden has been converted into a school of astrology. Now, the garden has become a property of the government of Srinagar. The verdant and well-manicured lawn with colorful flowers and fruit trees adds to the overall appeal of this green space. A water spring also forms a part of this beautiful garden.
Sonamarg is situated at a distance of 84 km from Srinagar, on the Srinagar-Ladakh Road. The route passes through the picturesque town of Ganderbal (21 km), Kangan (40 km’s), and Gund of the SindhValley, before reaching the resort. Spectacular views of the Harmukh range dominate the horizon. The drive to Sonamarg is through the SindhValley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The SindhRiver that meanders through the valley abounds with trout. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months. Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take-off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the GreatHimalayanRange, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes. Sonamarg offers many adventurous routes with amazing green water & frozen lakes around and Thajiwas glacier is one such major tourist attraction in the region. Located 3 km from Sonamarg, it is an ideal spot for enjoying a sledge ride in the snow even in mid-summer. The nearby area is perfect camping site too. There are nearly 16 Climbing peaks in Sonamarg and adjoining areas apart from trekking peaks. The most popular trek is Sonamarg-Vishansar-Gadsar-Krishansar-Satsaran-Gangbal-Naranag-Srinagar, this trek takes around 7-8 days to complete with the most beautiful high altitude lakes to camp around. There are many other trekking routes from Sonamarg to other destinations like Pahalgam.
THE VALLEY OF SHEPHERDS
Sitauated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgham (2130m) , was once a humble shepherds village with breath taking views . Now it is Kashmir’s premier resort , cool even during the height of summer whan the max temperature doesn’t exceed 25c. A number of hotels & lodges cater to all preferences & budgets , from luxuries hotels to unpretentious trekkers lodges , including huts. Around pahalgham are many places of interest , and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills , it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking .Pony fares are posted and prominent locations. Pahalgham is situated at an altitude of 2133m a midst lofty deodars , fir, pine, junipers, and many other conifers. The places get lively during the tourist months of the summer . There is something about the pure and re-vitalizing air of Pahalgham . The town is at the junction of the Aru & sheshnag river and surrounded by soaring, fir-covered mountains with bare ,snowcapped peaks rising behind them. The Aru flows down from the Kolahoi glacier beyond Lidderwat while the sheshnag from Glacier along the great Himalayas .
This meadow, about 5-km from Pahalgam and 150m higher, provides excellent views over the town and the Lidder valley. Pine forests and the snowclad mountains surround the grassy glen. One can hire ponies for this trek from near the center of town.
The little village of Aru is actually the first stage from Pahalgam on the trek to Lidderwat and the Kolahoi glacier. It makes an interesting day walk from Pahalgam, following the Lidder river for Pahalgam, following the Lidder river for 11-km upstream. The main track, which also can be taken by car, is on the left bank of the river. There is also a less used, and more difficult path, on the right bank. At Aru, one will often find the Gujars, living in their log huts with their flocks of sheep and goats, en route to the higher sheep and goats, en route to the higher pastures for the summer. On Chandanwari Road, Lies a beautiful valley of DREAMS known now as BETAAB valley. It derives its name from Sunny Deol’s ( Action Hero of Hindi Cinema and son of another veteran Dharmendra) Movie
BETAAB was shot extensively in this area. The producer of the movie had also built two Huts for the Movie and stayed in the area for about 2 months to shoot. The Hut has been demolished and a lodge cum rest house has come up in the area. A beautiful garden and a bridge to cross the Shesh Naag river have also come up now. some more construction activity is in progress and Pahalgam Development Authority proposes to Develop this valley as a Beautiful Holidaying spot. The Valley is surrounded by Snow Covered Mountains Peaks, Dense Pine and deodar Forests With River Sheshnaag originating from Sheshnaag Lake flowing majestically through it. The river Moves to join Lidder just 7 Kms below At Pahalgam. Clusters of Willows tossing each other in wind are lined on the banks of the Sheshnaag river. Like Lidder (Ancient name Lambodhiri ), this river is also home to TROUT fish. For fishing, Anglers have to procure a proper permit from Pahalgam. A group of photographers are always there to take your snaps in this Picturesque valley. I was informed by some Gujjars in this valley that monkeys and Bears have been seen by them regularly near their DHOKS ( Temporary huts built by Migratory Gujjars ). Like ARU valley in Pahalgam, this area is now a favorite destination of Tourists from Europe and America who camp in this valley and trek the adjoining mountains.
What To Do
Ponies can be hired directly or through the Tourist Office. Tariff boards are displayed at all important locations.
Pahalgam has an 18-hole Golf Course, which is presently under up-gradation and is expected to be playable by the middle of 2010.
The environs of Pahalgam offer exciting trekking opportunities, the best known being Kolahoi Glacier, Tarsar Lake, Lidderwat. The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes. Pahalgam has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal.
Pahalgam Club, managed by J&K Tourism Development Corpn, is being rebuilt and will have a restaurant, auditorium, health club, open food court, amphitheater, and other facilities., Pahalgam, originally a shepherds’ village, is naturally known for products made of wool. Gabbas, Namdas, Chain Stich material, Shawls, etc can be purchased from local shops.
Yusmarg is a small meadow set in the heart of mountains to the southwest of Srinagar. It is an ideal picnic spot and the Nilnag Lake can be visited from here. A two-hour drive from Srinagar ( 47 km ) will take you to acres of grassy meadow ringed by forests of pine, and towering beyond them, awesome and majestic snow-clad mountains. Nearby are several peaks-Tatta Kutti and Sang Safed to name a couple of them. About 13 km from Yusmarg, a short detour away from the Srinagar road, is Chari- Sharief, the Shrine of Kashmir’s patron saint Sheikh Noor-Ud-din or Nund Reshi, now rebuilt after the devastating fire of 1994 which engulfed the entire building. Yusmarg is an ideal day-picnic resort. One can enjoy a pony ride in and around Yusmarg. Yusmarg is a valley which is a hill station which is near to Srinagar, it also has a water reservoir which adds to its beauty, the reservoir is used as a water reservoir to feed water to the nearby villages. There are tourist huts available in Yusmarg for overnight stays. Grassy pastures stretching to acres of land, the dense forests full of pine trees, with the backdrop of splendid snow-capped mountains leave you almost speechless. Within commutable distance from Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, Yusmarg is the perfect place to go for a picnic. It is possible that after reaching this place, you may want to even stay for a few days. Especially, for the lovers of long walks in picturesque locales, Yusmarg is the place to be.
You may a laid-back stroll amongst flower-strewn meadows. Another venue for the walkers is a river, known by the name of Dudh Ganga. Frothing and crashing on its way over the rocks, the river makes a little white foam, which gives it this name. A little ahead is a lake, Nilnag, embraced with hills. The hills comprise of a number of several peaks, namely Tatta Kutti, Sang Safed, etc. At a distance of about 13 km from Yusmarg in the Kashmir valley is the Charar-e-Sharief, the shrine of the saint Sheikh Noor-Ud-Din or Nund Reshi. Yousmarg mesmerizes tourists with its scenic meadows, a sparkling reservoir, and mountains comparable to European Alps. Situated amidst Sang Safed valley, Yousmarg is reputed for having some unique spring flowers. It also has some of the highest peaks in Pir-Panjal range like Tatakoti 4725m, Romesh Thong 5000m, and Sunset Peak 4746 m. The mighty river Doodh Ganga rises from these peaks and a dis-tributary of the same flows into the reservoir. Word “Yus” is said to be a short form of Youza or Jesus PBUH and a mark means a meadow, according to a belief the Jesus is said to have passed through this valley while traveling into Kashmir. There is a trekking route from Yusmarg to Sang Safed lake which is open through the summers. Trek to the mountain lake of Nilnag can be undertaken from Yusmarg or take a small trek to Doodh Ganga river. You can enjoy a walk around Yusmarg where you can meet the nomads and take a look into their culture and lifestyle.
Gulmarg reinforces its position as a PrimeWinter Destination( 2,730 m/56 km) from Srinagar. Gulmarg’s legendary beauty, prime location, and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of Asia’s premier hill resorts. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, Gulmarg was discovered in the 16th century by SultanYusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wildflowers. It was also a favorite resort of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Today, Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty but also the country’s premier ski resort in winter when it is covered in snow and takes on the appearance of a picture postcard. Gulmarg was first established as a ski resort by the British who had set up the Ski Club of India here in 1927. Skiing at Gulmarg had become very popular during the pre-independence years. The resort used to host two major skiing events, one each during Christmas and Easter. In 1938-39, about 500 skiers are said to have participated in Christmas and Easter ski races. Gulmarg’s atmosphere was identified with European ski resorts of the 1940s and 50’s – the ‘Alps of good old days’. It has good sunshine as well as good snow.
The skiing season usually commences just before Christmas (mid-December) and continues until the end of March. During 1998, Gulmarg hosted the first National Winter Games of India, for which the facilities were enormously improved and upgraded. Modern equipment like Kasse Bohrer Snow Beating Machines (for preparing skiing slopes) and snowmobiles were imported, as also the first phase of the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car was commissioned. The resort facilities were further improved and upgraded for the 4th National Winter Games, which were also held here during 2003-2004. Thereafter, every year national winter games are held at Gulmarg. Winter Games Federation of India has declared Gulmarg as the Winter Games Capital of India.
Gulmarg is well suited for learning skiing. It has some of the best slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers, all serviced by ski lifts and chair lifts. Most of the skiing activities are centered on these slopes, which have ski runs ranging from 200 to 900 ms. Good quality equipment including skis, boots, sticks, gloves, and goggles, are all available on hire from the Government-run ski shop. Trained instructors are on hand for guiding amateur skiers.
However, not all tourists who visit Gulmarg in winter come for skiing – some are simply there to watch the skiing or to enjoy a holiday in the snow. Many of them infected with the excitement of the skiers don their first pair of skis within a short while of their arrival.
Among the numerous slopes are some which are not serviced by ski lifts. These are quieter than those immensely popular with average skiers. Trained skiers take to these slopes and even trek in the snow for several hours to the top of the Apharwat range, to make a descent lasting no more than 30 minutes. And now with the setting up of the Gondola Cable Car, Gulmarg has become the highest lift-served ski resort in the world providing a downhill ski run of 5.2 km from a height of 14,000 ft in the Apharwat range. It is also the longest gondola served ski-lift in Asia.
Gulmarg also offers a host of other snow sports at this time of the year. The most popular among the tourists is riding a sled and being pulled along the snow-covered roads or gentler slopes. Tobogganing also does not require any skill – a flat wooden board is taken up the hill and then allowed to slide downhill. Snowboarding, another exciting winter sport is also being introduced and promoted here. Making a snowman and holding campfires around it amidst music and feasting is another popular activity indulged by the tourists. But the most enjoyable aspect of a winter sojourn in Gulmarg is the friendly atmosphere. It is like being in a family where everybody knows everyone else.
Heli-skiing was introduced in Gulmarg, for the first time in India during the mid-1980s in collaboration with the world-renowned French skier, Sylvain Saudan of Himalaya Heli-Ski Club of France. For this highly exciting sport, skiers are taken to the top of mountain ridges by helicopters from where they ski down the immense Himalayan slopes. Initially, the program was started at Apharwat in Gulmarg. Subsequently, other sites in the Kashmir Himalayas were also used for the purpose. The program was suspended during the 1990s, but now it is being revived again in collaboration with Sylvain Sudan’s Himalaya Heli-Ski Club. Gulmarg, the most exotic ski resort in the Himalayas, has been a favored winter destination for many years. The first ski club of India was set up by the British here in 1927. Gulmarg’s position as a prime ski destination has been reinforced at two functions held in the national capital recently. The Winter Games Federation of India, during its annual general meeting, declared Gulmarg as the winter sports capital in India. Coming from the apex body that organizes winter sports in the country, this is indeed a great honor for Gulmarg.