Kashmir Tourist Places

Kashmir Forts

Kashmir Forts

Hari Parbat fort

To the west of the Srinagar City is the much lower hill of Hari Parbhat, which is surrounded by a fort. On this hill is the temple of Sharika Devi believed to be a form of Durga Mata or Shakti. The Mughal emperor's fort crowns the peak of Hari Parbat hill. There is little of its former glory now, but the ramparts are still impressive and the old apartments within the fort, even though in a state of ruin, still convey at least a little of the grandeur of the Mughals summer retreat in "paradise". The forest was later developed by an Afghan governor, Atta Mohammad Khan, in the 18th century

 


 

Chenab Valley

Chenab Valley With Scenic Beauty Valley's Like Kishtwar Valley and Bhaderwah Valley.

Kishtwar is about 150 kms from Srinagar summer capital of state Jammu and Kashmir via Sinthan Top,and about 250 kms away from Jammu Winter capital of the state via Patnitop.Kishtwar is melange of towering peaks,turbulent rivers alpine meadows and highly venerated shrines,home to some of the highest peaks in the greater himalayas and intimidating river chenab,Kishtwar is an adventure enthusiasts delight. It offers tremendous opportunities for mountaineering,trekking,river rafting and other adventure activities peaks like the Brahma,Sickle moon,Eiger,Burmal,Shivling,all over 6,000 mts,have attracted mountaineers for years.
 
The river Chenab and its tributaries the Chandra and Bhaga pose the ultimate challenge for white water rafters.The Kishtwar Zanskar range is ideal for high passes like Umasi-la which is over 17,000 ft.Kishtwar is also known for important shrines and yatras,two of the most venerated shrines are the Shah Asrar-ud-din and Shah Farid-ud-din,which draw thousands of devotees.
 
The Machail yatra and the yatra to Sarthal Devi are the major religion events of this region.Poshal on the outskirts of the Kishtwar town is the only other area in the state beside Pulwama in Kashmir which grows high quality Saffron.

Bhaderwah Valley is an altitude about 1,613 metres or 5,292 feet above from sea level in Doda District.The festive mood in the district begins with the melting of snow in April and the sprouting of greenery all round.Predominantly a mountainous town situated about 80 kilometres from Batote.Kailash yatra is a pilgrimage of the area which is considered an important hindu pilgrimage.
Bhaderwah offers to the tourists a variety of beautiful landscape,colourful local fairs,important festival mood and unique mosaic culture,extremely and pleasant summer tempesture ranges from 18 degrees to 32 degrees,popularly called Chota-Kashmir,has bewitching natural beauty which enthrills any visitor,All the places of tourist-interest are at an arms length.A full and majestic view of Bhaderwah Valley with snow capped Ashapati and Kailash peaks in background makes a visitor wonder struck and amazed.One falls in love with Bhaderwah at first sight.

Aharbal

Aharbal gradually the distant rumble becomes a roar as one approach the waterfall of Aharbal.Which crashes down a narrow gorge.

Aharbal is more than just a waterfall. There several places to picnic in the surrounding areas,as well as delightful walks of varying lengths all over the hillsides.

Interesting treks one of them to high altitude lake of Kounsernag at 13500 ft above from sea level takes off from Aharbal.


Achabal

Achabal once the pleasure retreat of empress Nur Jahan,Achabal is altitude about is 1,677 mts above from sea level has a fine garden in the mughal style,with its own special charm and character.
It was in Kashmir that the Mughal Garden was brought to perfection,and Achabal is one such masterpiece.Situated at the foot of a hill with a row of majestic chinars framing it,the Mughal Garden is a visual delight with their stepped terraces,formal elegance ornamental shrubs,sparkling fountains and falling water.
 
 
Achabal is 58 kms from Srinagar via Ananthnag in south Kashmir.Chatapal Valley,About 20 kms from Achabal tourism department develop a new tourist destination namely Chatapal Valley tourist spot is a reviving experience the bracing mountain air,The solitude the densely clad hills,and beyond them snow covered mountains all contribute to Chatapal's mystique making it the perfect retreat.

Sonamarg

Sonamarg is a place of enthralling beauty. Three lakes viz Kishensar,Vishensar and Gangabal can be viewed from Nichnai Pass. 20 Kms east of Sonamarg is Zoji-La Pass at 3540 mtrs which leads into Ladakh Plateau.


Sonamarg is in Srinagar District on the Srinagar Leh Highway approx.110 Kms from Srinagar.The nearest Airport is in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India.The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with
India. Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxisply on this Highway. It Takesaround 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous road whichcrosses some beautiful spots andthe famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India. Bus service is available from Srinagar which leave at fixed time from the Srinagar Bus stand. Taxis and other sort of transport can be hired from Srinagar at pre-fixed rates. Assistance isavailable at Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar.

For all those adventure loving people who wish to enjoy camping at a hill station, Sonmarg is the ideal destination. Tourists flock to this small hill resort in heavy numbers to see the enchanting natural beauty and snow clad peaks. Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', Sonmarg is set amidst a valley of flowers and lakes. The word "Sona" literally means "Gold" in Hindi, and this golden beauty covered with white snow is most attractive in the spring. The exotic flora of the region is nurtured by the Sindh river. Sonmarg is the gateway to Ladakh.

The dense forests of Sonmarg comprise of sycamore and alpine flowers, silver birch, fir and pine. The place is frequently visited by nature lovers in the search of tranquil peace and soothing natural beauty. The stunning blue water lakes and grasslands are the other attractions. The enchanting beauty of the towering snow clad mountains is a real treat to the eyes.

Major Attractions

Enveloped by alpine trees, Sonmarg is a base camp for the holy Amarnath yatra. The yatra is organized during the month of July-August every year, and thousands of tourists are drawn towards Sonmarg.

While visiting Sonmarg, make sure you include a trip to Nilagrad, the confluence of mountain rivers with the Indus river. The most amazing aspect of this place is that the river water is pure red in colour, and is believed to have curative powers for skin ailments. People often take a bath in this water.

Krishnasar Lake, one of the most mesmerizing lakes in the chain of many Himalayan lakes, is a good spot for picnics. The place is surrounded by dense alpines and provides a cool and peaceful atmosphere at a height of 3801 m above sea level. People enjoy trout fishing and other water activities here. Vishansar is another popular lake.

Walk along the exotic grasslands of Baltal to explore the untouched beauty of Sonmarg. Situated at the foot of Zoji-la-pass (gateway to the Ladakh plateau, 3540 m from the sea level), Baltal is close to the Amarnath cave. Baltal grasslands witness a number of pilgrims during the Amarnath yatra.

Climate

The weather is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild, one can get by with thick cottons. But the place receives heavy snowfall in December-February. The best time to visit Sonamarg is during the summers.

Accommodation

You can find a number of Hotels and lodges of various types and budgets in Sonmarg. Most of these are operated in summers only. If you visit Sonmarg in winters, you can hire cottages or guest rooms.

Sonamarg has a number of Hotels and lodges of various types which are open only during summer months. Accommodation needs to be booked well in advance from Srinagar.

Sonamarg offers lots of recreational activities:Sonamarg mainly offers trekking adventure.Trekking can be undertaken to Thajiwas Glacier which is very beautiful.

Sledging at the frozen Glaciers is also offered by locals.Angling ( a license is required)You can take long walks in the jungles and explore rich lora and fauna.

Sonamarg is also the base camp to Amarnath Cave for the route of Bal Tal.

Alpine Skiing is also available at high altitudes.A Popular trek from Sonamarg to Pahalgam can also be undertaken.

Some probability of white water rafting is also available downstream from sonamarg.
Sonamarg is a wonderful destination for an intrepid traveler, who is looking for 'meadows of gold' (this is what Sonamarg means) and exciting places for adventure sports. Perched at an altitude of about 2,740 metres above sea level Sonamarg is a scenic tourist attraction located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sonamarg is at a distance of about 80 kilometres from Srinagar.

Tourist places in and around Sonamarg

At a time when mercury rises in the plains of India, it is soothing cool in the upper reaches. Sonamarg is a perfect tourist destination for summer. The lush meadows and snow capped peaks in the backdrop offer magnificent views. Sonamarg is a complete scenic destination in itself. There are a number of places that one can visit when in Sonamarg. There are a number of waterfalls in and around Sonamarg that you can visit. Gadsar Lake and Satsar Lake are two beautiful lakes that you can visit. The lakes are surrounded by tress and flowers. Nilgrad and Nichnai Pass are other two beautiful places that you can visit.

Some of the places around Sonamarg that you can visit are Thajiwas, Baltal, Zoji-la pass and Yushmarg.

Things to do

Sonamarg is not only about scenic beauty but the place also offers some wonderful treks and hiking opportunity. Sonamarg offers some of the finest treks in the area that take you to many beautiful spots. You can trek to Vishansar, Krishansar and Gangabal lakes from Sonamarg.

Sonamarg also offers wonderful opportunity for fishing. The Sind River provides a wonderful opportunity for trout and mahseer fishing.

Getting there and accommodation

One can reach Sonamarg by road through the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Srinagar is the nearest airport and the nearest railhead is Jammu.

Tourist lodges run by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation are ideal places to stay in Sonamarg. You may also stay at tourist bungalows and hotels in Sonamarg.

Things to keep in mind Woolen clothes are a must on your tour to Sonamarg. It is essential to gather information about the nearby areas and climate of the region. If you plan to travel to interior areas of Sonamarg, it is necessary to take permission from the authorities.





Gulmarg

Gulmarg Hill Station
Location : Gulmarg is located in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.

At an amazing altitude of 2730 meters above sea level the hill resort has a gently sloping topography. Gulmarg is 57 km southwest from the capital city of Srinagar and is close to the Indo-Pakistan border.
Altitude : 2730 meters
Major Attractions : Skiing
Best Time to Visit : Throughout the year


Gulmarg - the Skiing Paradise!

Gulmarg offers some magical skiing. A new Gondola takes skiers to the heights where crisp snow makes skiing a delight. Some of the best slopes in the country for beginners and intermediate skiers are available at Gulmarg. Skiing equipment is available on hire from the Ski-Shop. In winter Gulmarg's natural slopes and inclines turn into the country's premier skiing resort. Not all tourists who visit in winter come for skiing. Tobogganing, the most popular among them requires no skill. No skill is required - a flat wooden board is taken up the hill and is allowed to descend downhill. There are also snow scooters and snow bobbing.



In fact if one talks about skiing in J&k, it is only about Gulmarg as it has one of the most renowned skiing resort in Asia, when it comes to facilities and surrounding ecstasies. It also has the distinction of being the highest lift served resort in the world. Gulmarg is a great place for total beginners. They can learn to ski on the two Poma ski-lifts on the snow covered golf course. There are slopes that are apt for people with all levels of skills. You will see even young kids skiing on relatively easier slopes using a wooden board and professionals swarming on tougher looking tracks. Gulmarg was also the host to the first winter games in the year 1998.

To start your skiing pleasure, you can choose the height from which you are comfortable. If you think you are good enough, step into the gondola lift and roll up to the top of Apherwat mountain at about 13000 ft from where you can slide down. As and when you reach the top of the mountain, you will notice the instant difference, the place is unimaginably quiet, exquisitely lonely and chillingly cold. The winds exaggerate the feeling of biting in the air. But you probably won't mind it as you will be looking at the most spell-bounding scene you would have ever seen. Right in front of you are the twin peaks of Nun and Kun and to your left is an 8000 m plus mountain which is either K2 or Nanga Parbat. After being satiated just slide down the gentle but unpredictable slopes of Apherwat.

Skiing Facilities Available

The facilities that are available here are the best in Asia. There are skiing schools that train the beginners on how to handle the powdery snow and the precautions that one must take while skiing. There are shops that give the equipment required on hire. And the gears and sequipment provided is as good as you will get anywhere else in the world. There are good medical facilities as well in the region that takes care of any mishap that occurs on the slopes. Avalanche control facilities are also there but they need to be stepped up a bit.

Hail-Skiing

Other forms of skiing are also practiced on the snow-covered slopes of Gulmarg. The most famous of them is the Heliskiing. Gulmarg resort is the only resort in entire Asia that provides the facility of hail-skiing. In this, you will be dropped off on the tip of the hill from where you will ski downhill with a far greater speed than in normal skiing. This definitely is more thrilling and scintillating than ordinary skiing but the prospective dangers are also higher. A person who is new to this sport should best avoid it till he knows what skiing is all about.

It is unbearably cold here, so better dress yourself in the thickest woolen clothes and some waterproof material as well. The time to come to Jammu and Kashmir for a splendid skiing experience is from the month of December till March end. During Christmas and easter, the number of people that come here is simply astounding. And many of them are coming here for second or the third time. You might be coming here for the first time, but after your stint with Gulmarg and its snow, you too will be one of those who are making plans for their next skiing trip to Jammu and Kashmir.

Wular Lake


Wular lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for the annual floodwaters. The lake, along with the extensive marshes surrounding it, is an important natural habitat for wildlife. It is also an important habitat for fish, accounting for 60 per cent of the total fish production within the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is a source of livelihood for a large human population living along its fringes. The catchment area of the lake supports magnificent coniferous forests, alpine pastures and orchards, adding to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the wetland area.

 


In recognition of its biological, hydrological and socio-economic values, the lake was included in 1986 as a Wetland of National Importance under the Wetlands Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for intensive conservation and management purposes. Subsequently in 1990, it was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The lake along with its satellite wetlands, is a suitable wintering site for a number of migratory waterfowl species such as the common teal, pintail, shoveller, common pochard, mallard and others.It is an important habitat for fish and contributes about 60 percent of the fish yield of the Kashmir valley.

The lake sustains a number of endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna.

Flora

The Wular lake is densely populated with different macrophytic species. Three zones of vegetation viz. (i) emergent, (ii) rooted, floating - leaf type and (iii) submergent are distinguishable in the lake. All three zones are characterised by a specific type of life form embracing a distinctive assemblage of plant species.

The extent and occurrence of individual species is closely related to variations in water depth and its associated influences. A total of 82 species of phytoplankton have been reported in Wular lake fl ora. Overall, 50 species of zooplankton have been reported.

Fauna

The Wular lake is an important habitat for the fish fauna of the region. It provides about 60 per cent of the fish yield of the Kashmir region. The dominant fish species found in the Wular are: Cyprinus carpio, Barbus conchonius, Gambusia affinis, Nemacheilus sp., Crossocheilus latius, Schizothorax curvifrons, S.esocinus, S.planifrons, S.micropogon, S.longipinus and S.niger.

The Wular lake with its characteristic features sustains a rich population of avifauna. Terrestrial birds observed around the lake are the black - eared kite, sparrow hawk, short - toed eagle, Himalayan golden eagle, hawks and vultures, monal pheasant, chukar partridge, kiklas pheasant, blue rock pigeon, cuckoo, small cuckoo, alpine swift, Kashmir roller, Himalayan pied woodpecker, hoopoe, common swallow, golden oriole and others.





Nigeen Lake

 


Nigeen Lake (The Jewel In The Ring)- Leading from the Dal is the smaller Nagin Lake. Here too, the waters are edged by trees of willow and poplar whose reflection is mirrored in the lake. 'Bathing boats' here, as well as on the Dal, hire out water-skis and motor launches. The waters of the lakes are pleasantly cool from mid-May to mid-September. Shikaras can be hired from any of the steps called 'ghats' (jetties) leading to the lake. Some rides are fixed and their rates are posted at each ghat as well as opposite the Tourist Reception Centre. Shikaras are a refreshingly novel way of seeing Srinagar by day and at twilight, the gentle soothing motion of the boat, as it glides along the water, is unbelievably romantic.

Nagin lake lies to the east of the city at the foot of the Zabarwan Mountain. The Shankaracharya hill (Takht-i-Sulaiman) is to the south and Hari Parbat on its west. The lake is 6x3 km and is divided by causeways into four parts. Gagribal, Lakut-dal, Bod-dal and Nagin. Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, called Rup Lank or Char Chinari and Sona Lank, respectively.

Nice Getaway

If one wants to really get away from the chaotic city life all then Nagin is a good place to find a house boat and do it the surroundings are much more serene and isolated than on Dal Lake. One can rent rowboats from the camping site here - either to simply row around the lake or to look around for a houseboat.

Amusements

Since the water in Nagin is deeper and less polluted it's also good for swimming and there are fiberglass sailing boats available for hire and water skiing facilities. Motorboats are rather low powered for skiing although they make a valiant attempt. If one wants to try water skiing keep a wary eye out for swimmers. Likewise, if one is swimming watch out for the boat drivers.

The Nagin club, on the bank of the lake, has a bar and a tea pavilion. It is a branch of the Srinagar club and temporary membership is available to visitors.





Dal Lake


Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes and picturedque lake in India and the second largest lake the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Its three sides are surrounded by majestic mountains and a large number of gardens and orchards have been laid along the shores. The embankments of Dal Lake also have a number of mughal monuments and the campus of the University of Kashmir. Dal Lake is unique in having hundreds of houseboats, which afford an opportunity to tourists to reside on the lake in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
Areas of the Dal Lake are clustered with sloping roofed houses on islands, while other parts appear lush and green like well-tended gardens. As the eye travels onwards, houseboats, houses and vegetation cease abruptly, and two enormous sheet-like expanses of water, the Bod Dal & Lokut Dal, come into view.

The Dal is famous not only for its beauty, but for its vibrance, 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 - you'll see them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens.

Shikara

A shikara ride is one of the most soothing, relaxing aspects of a holiday in Kashmir. Shikaras are long boats which crowd the Srinagar lakes. They are used for getting back and forth from the houseboats or for longer tours. It is worth to take a pleasure ride around the lake in shikara. Shikara is a Gondola type light rowing boat. The two hour boat ride takes tourists on a relaxing sightseeing tour of interior parts of the calm and placid waters of Dal Lake, and be part of shopping- by-shikara expeditions. Because the Dal is so central to the landscape of Srinagar, many places of tourist interest have, over the ages, been built in its vicinity. Nishat and Shalimar gardens as well as Hazratbal mosque are directly accessible by shikara.

Shikara Ride

While giding on Shikara we can often observe white breasted Kingfishers (Halycon smyrnensis), large striking birds with robust bills perched on the branches of willow trees. These birds concentrate their efforts to hunting on the floating Gardens. These man made islands comprise of reeds, willow rods, aquatic vegetations and and held together with humus consisting of mud from the lake bottom. This is extremely fertile and provide rich source of food in the form of frogs,lizards,mice, grasshoppers and other insects to the Kingfisher.

Attractions Around Dal Lake

There are three islands in the lake; three real islands anyway, there are other sorts of islands joined by causeways. Around the lake are many of Srinagar's most interesting sights, in particular the pleasant Mughal gardens. It's also flanked by hills, particularly along its east bank. The Shankaracharya hill provides a very fine view over the lake.

Swimming

The waters of Dal Lake are amazingly clear. Nevertheless one is advised not to go swimming in the lake although the swimming houseboats, equipped with diving boards and chutes, are moored in a deeper part of the lake, 'upstream' from the concentration of houseboats. Swimming here can be quite refreshing, especially on a hot afternoon. One will undoubtedly be joined by a number of Indians, including Hindu women who swim in their saris.

Floating Gardens

The lake is probably at its most beautiful when the lotus flowers bloom in July and August. The floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, are one of the stranger aspects of Dal Lake. They're composed of matted vegetation and earth, which are cut away from the lake bottom and towed to a convenient location where they are moored. Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Melons all grow amazingly well in these gardens, if one look underneath one can see that they do literally float on the lake. One can also approach the floating gardens by road; the boulevard runs along the eastern edge of the lake, providing fine views all the way.

One will often see weeds being pulled up out of the lake - this serves a double purpose. The lake waterways are kept clear and the weeds are rotted until they form excellent compost for the gardens. The shallowness of the lake and its heavy growth of waterweeds is probably the main reason there are so very few powered boats on the water. Dal Lake would be nowhere near as pleasant if there were powerboats rushing back and forth across its tranquil surface.

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