Mughal Emperor Jahangir once said about Kashmir that “if there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”. He recapitulated the magnetism of Kashmir in his own words but the saying goes true for everybody. Whosoever has visited Jammu & Kashmir till date, said the same thing maybe in different words. Tagged as ‘the heaven on earth in India’, Kashmir has been endowed with a mystic natural beauty. Being one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in India, Jammu & Kashmir is the most shining jewel in the crown of India. The tourist experiences from entire country are one side and Jammu & Kashmir is alone on other side. It alone beats every tourist place in the country. Incredibly enveloped in nature’s never-before-seen splendor, the state is bestowed with many tourist spots. So, let’s have a look at the places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir.
Leh & Ladakh
I think Emperor Jahangir must have said the above line after visiting this place. Whether you’re going for the honeymoon, family vacation, or for the adventurous trip, Leh & Ladakh will give you the unforgettable experiences. Draped in freezing snow from all around, the city melts the heart of visitors at the first sight itself. The majestic mountains, mystical landscapes, soul-stirring blue sky, divine monasteries, and soothing lakes write the tales of hypnotizing mystique of Leh & Ladakh. Being a blend of a romantic and spiritual gateway, Leh & Ladakh helps the lovebirds sparkle their love on one hand while on other hand, the unnumbered of grand monasteries give the people the vibes of serenity, spirituality, and inner peace. The city has rendered its mystical allure to many Bollywood movies including Tashan, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Bunti and Bubli, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and many others. Leh & Ladakh comes on the in the list of places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir.
Located close to the capital city of Jammu & Kashmir, Gulmarg is arguably the most fascinating hill station and one of the beautiful places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir. The hill station was given its name by Mughal Sultan Yusuf Shah who was highly impressed with the grassy slopes adorned with the meadows of wildflowers. If you’re an adventurous beast and are crazy for the trekking, snowboarding, motor biking, and the winter sports activities, Gulmarg will overwhelm you. Enwrapped with snow everywhere, Gulmarg is today one of the most-loved winter tourist destination of the country. The aromatic paddocks of multi-hued flowers, imposing hills interspersed with the evergreen greenery, frozen lakes, and beautiful trees sprinkled with snow make the tourists open their mouth with the amusement. Gulmarg is also famous for being the home to the highest green golf course in the world. Do a trekking of 2650 meters and have a glimpse of the highest green golf course.
Here comes the capital city of Jammu & Kashmir that has embraced the multi colors of the state and represents it beautifully altogether. Located on the bank of Jhelum River, Srinagar offers vibrancy and serenity at the same time. In Jammu & Kashmir, you generally won’t find any major places to party or for the sparkling night out experiences but Srinagar, being the capital city offers it all. If we talk about tourism in Srinagar, the sky-scraping mountains, heart-stirring lakes, diverse flora & fauna, and some consummate temples sum up the vibrant beauty of the city. The Shikara and house-boat ride in the pristine ‘Dal Lake’, a walk through the lush narrow lanes of Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, and some serene time in the Shalimar Garden, Hazrat Bal Mosque, and Shankaracharya Temple make the visitors go crazy over the city. In Srinagar, don’t forget to go on a shopping spree. The Kashmiri handicrafts, woolen cloths & artifacts will steal your heart. Srinagar is one of the famous places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir.
Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu
One of the most popular spiritual tourist destinations of the country, Vaishno Devi Temple is always thronged by the devotees. The divine shrine is located at the elevation of 5200 above the sea level in the spiritual city Jammu. Perched in the rocky terrain of Trikuta Mountain, Vaishno Devi Temple is held in high reverence in Hindus because it is one of the 108 sacred Shakti Peethas according to Hindu legends. Vaishno Mata is believed to be the manifestation of almighty Goddess Durga. This is another reason that people flock in huge numbers to offer their prayers. In order to reach the divine cave where the shrine is located, you have to trek around 13 km uphill through the steep slopes. So, visit this holy temple and seek the blessing of Goddess Durga Mata. Apart from the Vaishno Devi temple, Raghunath temple, Ranbireshwar temple, Mahamaya temple, and Peer baba are other places of interest in Jammu. No wonder why the city is tagged as ‘The city of temples’.
Pahalgam is a place solely for nature’s lovers. In Pahalgam, nature dances in many forms and in many facades. From the snowcapped mountains to the lingering vegetation, diverse wildlife, soothing lakes, babbling cascades, and green deep valleys, the hill town is brimming with the multitudes of touristic places. The dense forests of pine, a rafting experience in river Lidder, extremely varied flora & fauna, and undulating valleys make Pahalgam one of the much loved tourist places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir. If you want to get a glimpse of this fascinating hill town, watch the Bollywood movies Rockstar, Highway, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani. The fascinating charisma of Pahalgam made these films even more captivating.
Resting at the high altitude of 2740 above sea level, Sonamarg is yet another popular hill station from Jammu & Kashmir. Sonamarg literally means ‘meadows of gold’. It is called meadows of gold because when the sparkling sun rays fall on the snow-craped mountains, the mountain bamboozles as gold. The alpine flowers, glacier lakes, and a plethora of vivid sloppy valleys make Sonamarg an ideal destination for the excursionists and for nature enthusiasts. Brimmed with the glaciers and lakes, Sonamarg provides an unforgettable sledding and boat riding experience. Vishansar, Gadsar, and Krishnasar Lake are some of the most popular lakes of Sonamarg. The other reasons that Sonamarg is always frequented by the visitors are that it is the gateway to Ladakh and also the camping zone for the devotees of Amarnath Yatra.
Located 150 km from Srinagar, Amarnath is predominantly known for the Amarnath Cave. It is one of most high-revered pilgrim spots of Hindus. Millions of devotees flock annually to seek the blessing of almighty. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here. There is a naturally formed ice Shivalinga which never melts down. Generally, the entire cave is draped with the snow. In summers, the ice, in and around the cave, melts but the Shivalinga remains intact. The cave is believed to be 5000 years old and holds a very significant place in Hindu mythology. According to the legends, it is the place where Lord Shiva revealed the secret of immortality and life-cycle to his consort Goddess Parvati. The cave is located at the altitude of 3888 m and the path is also not very convenient, still, people flock in herds. Generally, the gate to Amarnath opens only in summers, so when you plan your trip, consider about the season. Amarnath is one of the top religious places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir.
The more you’ll explore this state, the more you’ll realize why it is called a heaven. Hemis would probably be the only city in Jammu & Kashmir which is not popular for its majestic valleys and awe-inspiring landscapes. Rather, it is famous for its colorful culture, grand monasteries, and never-before-seen wildlife beauty. It is one of the beautiful places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir. The city is tagged as ‘snow leopard capital of India’ and it truly justifies its tag. Hemis National Park is the only national park in India where you can a glimpse of snow leopard and Langurs. Hemis Monasteries, Gotsang Gompa, Stakna Gompa, and Shang Gompa are the central attractions in Hemis. Located on the bank of River Indus, the city is swathed in serenity and peace. So it offers a soothing holiday experience to its visitors.
Best time to visit Jammu & Kashmir
You can explore places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir all year long but some of the popular tourist destinations of the state are seasonal, so you would need to plan your trip accordingly. If want to revel in winter sports activities, visit in winters. You’ll find the entire Jammu & Kashmir dotted with the heart-melting ice. If you’re going for ‘Amarnath Yatra’ or for ‘Vaishno Devi Darshan’, visit in summers. The weather still be mild cold in the state but you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. If we talk about monsoon months, would you really prefer going for an outing in the rainy season? I guess, No. but if you want to relish the fun of boat riding in the flooded lakes or just want to sit and see the splendor of appealing waterfalls, monsoon months are undoubtedly the best time.
How to reach Jammu & Kashmir
Getting Jammu & Kashmir is as easy as getting any other tourist destination. The state has three major airports namely Jammu Airport, Aerodrome Airport, and Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. You can land in any of them according to your priority of tourist spots. These all airports are connected by regular flights to the major cities of India. If you’re going by rail, ‘Jammu-Tawi Railway Station would be the best possibility because it remains open throughout the year and also connects the almost every corner of India. And if we talk about the road network, I think, going Jammu & Kashmir by hired or your own vehicle isn’t a good idea. First, for the safety reasons and second because of obstacles caused by the heavy snowfall.
Jammu & Kashmir is a completely divergent facade of India. This article can only give you a gist of the state but the real splendor can be explored only after reaching there. It is all about places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir. So, plan your trip and witness the heaven on earth.