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Kashmir: The Paradise on Earth

“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” (If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here)”: Mughal Emperor Jehangir on Kashmir.

It had been universally accepted that whoever visits Kashmir falls in love with its unparalleled natural beauty ranging from alpine peaks to snow-clad ranges. The stunning landscape had a mesmerising effect on  Mughal emperor Jehangir who called it the “heaven on earth”. Nature has blessed Kashmir with spectacular valleys of flowers, serene lakes and amazing trekking trails.

The majestic Pir Panjal ranges, thickly scented Kashmir cypress branches, the meandering rivers and verdant meadows further add to the grandeur of Kashmir. The stunning Chinar trees turn the entire valley yellow and red during autumns and the scenery becomes just awesome. Similarly, the white landscape and soft snowflakes falling on the stunning vistas is a sight to swoon over during winters.

Here're some of the most awesome places to visit in Kashmir:

Dal Lake: Situated in Srinagar, it is widely known as the “jewel in the crown of Kashmir”. Though the lake is a single body of water, it has the appearance of many different lakes and pools interconnected and divided by numerous causeways, buildings on stilts, floating gardens and houseboats. The floating gardens blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.

Shalimar Garden:  Known as the "Crown of Srinagar", Shalimar Garden was built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan, around 400 years back. It is  linked through a channel to the northeast of Dal Lake. It is a lush green garden which has been designed with terrace lawns, fountain pools and flower beds combined with mighty chinar trees and pavilions.

Nishat Garden:  It is located on the eastern side of the Dal Lake. Breathtaking Zabarwan Mountains in the backdrop add to the grandeur of the garden. Nishat Bagh was designed by Asaf Khan, the brother of Nur Jahan back in 1633 AD. The garden has 12 terraces, one for every zodiac sign and they keep on rising up the mountainside.

Gulmarg:  Better known as the ‘Meadow of Flowers’, Gulmarg is the snow paradise of Kashmir. The spread of vibrant flowers with snow-capped mountains in the background gives a majestic look to Gulmarg. It witnesses regular snow fall even during summer. It is also known as the adventurer’s paradise because of its vast options of skiing in the snow while enjoying the views around.

Sonmarg:  Famous as the Meadow of Gold’, Sonmarg has an endless stream of stunning flowers and undulated trekking routes are its attractions. With snow-clad mountains, green grasslands and ponies to ride on, this place becomes awesome in terms of scenery.

Pahalgam: Best known for its saffron fields, Pulwama is also known as the “city of color burst”. The region is surrounded by dense forests, beautiful lakes and meadows of flowers. A picturesque terrain, amiable weather and a rich culture, Pulwama describes Kashmir in its best form.

Kupwara: It is blessed with the thriving meadows, alpine mountains, and the gushing clear water. Known as the “Crown of Kashmir”, Kupwara has springs and lakes with water pulsating like quicksilver. Bangas valley, Lolab valley, Seemab valley, Sattbarren Kalaroos and Chandigham are other beautiful destinations in the region. 

Kishtwar: Better known as ‘The Land of Saffron and Sapphire’, Kishtwar gets majestic looks with its lofty hills, lush greenery consisting of pine and deodar forests. Saffron of purest quality is produced in the iron-rich soil at Pochhal, Matta, Lachdayaram and Hidyal areas of the region. Kishtwar serves as the base camp for trekking and mountaineering to various mountain peaks like Sickle Moon, Crooked Finger, Eiger etc.

Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary:  It is located 22 km from Srinagar. The Park harbors the last viable population of the endangered Hangul or Kashmir Stag. Himalayan Black Bear are visible in the lower reaches from spring to autumn and hibernate in winter. Long-Tailed Marmots are very conspicuous during summer in the upper reaches while Mouse Hare are active throughout the year. Other wildlife includes Leopard, Common Palm Civet, Jackal, Red Fox, Yellow-throated Marten and Himalayan Weasel.

Aru village:  Aru is a small picturesque village in the South of Kashmir. It is 12 km away from Pahalgam and home to around 500 villagers. It is surrounded by snow-covered mountains from all the sides, with a freshwater river flowing through the village, with many waterfalls.

Best time to visit Kashmir: The best time to visit Kashmir is the spring season from the month of March to early-May. However, the weather remains perfect for visiting the region until October.

How to reach Kashmir:

By Air: Srinagar airport is the nearest aerodrome and it is well connected to prime Indian cities.

By Road: National Highway 1-A connects Srinagar with Jammu and the popular Jawahar Tunnel connecting Jammu with the valley of Kashmir also falls on the way.

By train: Jammu Tawi Railway Station, situated at a distance of about 330 km, is the nearest railhead serving Kashmir.

Editorial Team

Copy Editor: U. Padma Latha

Editorial Board:

 

  • O. P. Ajmera
  • Manish Gulati
  • Manoj Sharma
  • Sanjay Sharma
  • Mohit Maheshwari
  • Jyoti Gupta

 

 

 

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