Kashmir: Heaven on Earth
Lovingly known as the ‘Heaven on Earth’, Kashmir is without a doubt one of the best vacation destinations you can visit. At least once in your life, you should visit this part of the world to witness some of the most picture-perfect natural scenes. The Kashmir valley is located in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The state of Jammu and Kashmir shares its borders with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Pakistan and China are the closes neighbors to Jammu and Kashmir.
The land of Kashmir is nourished by one of the main rivers of Jhelum, Ravi, Tawi, Indus, and Chenab. The land of Kashmir is very fertile and is capable of producing rich crops. Wool is another popular commodity that is produced in Kashmir. Textiles made out of wool are quite popular all over the world.
Jammu & Kashmir is majorly divided into three main regions. These three regions are Jammu, Ladakh, and the Kashmir Valley. All these regions have their own unique cultural identity and traditions. Jammu & Kashmir is blessed with beautiful valleys, temples, and meadows to make you cherish your vacation for years to come.
Suggested Read: Best Tourist Places To Visit In Kashmir
Dawn in Kashmir (image source: Wikimedia Commons)
If you are planning a trip to Kashmir through your Kashmir tour package, then you can customize your itinerary as per your travel needs. If you are a solo traveler or a spiritual seeker, then there are plenty of temples and spiritual shrines you can visit and offer your prayers. As an adventure tourist, you can find many adventure activities to engage yourself in. Kashmir is also a great honeymoon destination and couples visiting here consider it one of the most beautiful destinations to spend time with your loved one.
Whatever your reason to travel be, you can find something for yourself in Kashmir. If you are a nature lover or a photographer, you can find some of the best views and scenes to capture in your camera and your memory. Social Media has played an important role in making the Kashmir valley popular to the community of tourists. Every year, there are thousands of people who visit Kashmir from all over the world. However, due to the pandemic, tourist activities have decreased.
The second wave of Covid has declined significantly and the number of new Covid cases all over India has decreased. Due to this, ‘revenge tourism’ has started. The states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Goa have seen a sharp rise in the number of visiting tourists. We have prepared a Covid-19 travel guide to Kashmir which will help you stay safe and avoid any hassles while you travel to Kashmir after Covid.
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Post-Covid Travel Guide To Kashmir
Girl wearing mask (image source: Wikimedia Commons)
Tourism activities are the major contributors to the local economy of Kashmir and its people. It generates jobs and business opportunities for locals who are engaged with hospitality and transportation activities. The Kashmir valley is now open for tourism but Covid guidelines are in place and there are some requirements from the tourists before they can enter Kashmir.
As per the new guidelines, all tourists visiting Kashmir must be fully vaccinated with the two doses of the vaccine. Unvaccinated tourists will have to produce an RT-PCR test at least 72 hours before traveling. These measures have been in place for many other states of India and all popular tourist destinations. These rules will most likely stay in place for the upcoming months of this year. If the number of new Covid cases drops below a certain level, it is most likely that these guidelines will change and restrictions will be relaxed for the tourists.
Also, maintaining Covid appropriate behavior is expected from all the visiting tourists. For visiting certain restricted areas, special permits will be required. The issuing of these permits has also started recently. So, these were some of the Kashmir travel guidelines that you need to know if you are planning to visit Kashmir.
To summarize, the following are some of the main travel guidelines that you need to remember before you book your Kashmir tour package.
- Vaccination certificate must be produced by all travels visiting Jammu & Kashmir. The vaccination certificate should include proof of the administration of two vaccine doses.
- Unvaccinated tourists must produce a negative RT-PCR test to be done 72 hours before traveling.
- Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing needs to be observed while visiting popular tourist destinations in Kashmir.
Best Destinations To Visit In Kashmir
Kashmir has some amazing tourist destinations with gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayan range. If you are traveling to Kashmir then make sure that you check the most recent update on the Kashmir travel guidelines. Following are the 5 best places to visit while you are in Kashmir.
Famously known as the "meadow of flowers", Gulmarg is India's finest travel destination. It is a beautiful place to enjoy the picture-perfect natural scenes that are unforgettable. Gulmarg became popular because of the many adventure activities that are offered to the tourists.
Skiing is one of the most popular activities in Gulmarg. During the winter season, skiing enthusiasts from all over the world visit Gulmarg to take part in the Skiing events. The best time to ski is during the winter months starting from December until March. Tourists also enjoy the famous Gondola rides which are among the highest cable care tramway in the world.
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Sonamarg can be roughly translated into “the path of gold’. Sonamarg is the last place in Kashmir on your way to Ladakh. Sonamarg is among the top 5 destinations in Kashmir and it is quite popular because of its natural beauty. Every year, hundreds of tourists visit Sonamarg to witness the snowfall during the winter months.
Thajiwas Glacier is one of the best places to visit during the winters, Trekking to Thajiwas Glacier would take around 5 hours and can be done in a day. Adventure travelers visit Sonamarg for many such trekking trails. There are some amazing camping opportunities in this beautiful valley.
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Srinagar is a bustling city full of sightseeing opportunities and shopping options. You can some traditional Kashmiri textiles and souvenirs to take back home. One of the most popular destinations to visit in Srinagar is the famous Dal Lake. The houseboats selling various kinds of goods is a unique experience on its own. Tourists can also choose to stay in a houseboat and spend some time enjoying the ride.
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Pahalgam is popularly known as the "Valley of Shepherds” and it is one of the most popular destinations in Kashmir. For adventure travelers, Pahalgam is an ideal destination for trekking and adventure activities.
Betaab Valley is another famous place to visit in Pahalgam. This valley was named after a popular movie by the name ‘Betaab’ which was shot here. Sparkling crystal clear rivers and snow-capped mountains are particularly beautiful here. Other popular tourist activities include white water rafting, fishing, trekking, camping, and golfing.
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Popularly known as the "Valley of Milk", Doodhpathri is an off-beat destination that is slowly becoming more and more popular. The social media posts by the traveling community show the raw beauty of this great destination.
The beauty alone is a reason to visit Doodhpathri where you can breathe some of the cleanest air in India. It is truly heaven on earth. Trekkers and camping enthusiasts visit Doodhpathri to experience adventure in this valley of uncorrupted beauty. If you are traveling from a city, you will see a stark contrast that will bring a sense of self-reflection while you are in Doodhpathri.
These were the top 5 tourist destinations to visit in Kashmir. We have also compiled a list of the best tourist attractions in Kashmir. These tourist attractions include some of the most popular monuments, temples, national parks, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities. Following are some of the most popular tourist attractions to experience in Kashmir.
- Raghunath Temple
- Amarnath Cave
- Shankaracharya Temple
- Vaishno Devi
- Jama Masjid
- Dachigam National Park
- Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
- Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kishtwar High Altitude National Park
- Overa National Park
These are the top 10 tourist attractions worth visiting while you are in Kashmir. This Covid-19 travel guide to Kashmir will help you choose the most important places to visit in Kashmir as per your travel needs. Most temples and shrines have large crowds and if you have decided to travel to these sites, then make sure you stay safe. While you are visiting the temples and shrines, make sure to wear masks and maintain social distancing to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
Wildlife in Kashmir
There are several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks which are dedicated to the preservation of the bio-diversity of the Kashmir Valley. Some of the most amazing wildlife species such as Himalayan Marmot, Kashmiri Stag, Musk Deer, Leopards, Cats, and many rare species of birds and animals are found here. Nature lovers and photographers visit Kashmire to capture the beauty of these creatures.
Also, the species of plants and trees that are found here are quite rare. The preservation of these species is critical for the ecological balance of nature. If you are planning to visit Kashmir, make sure to visit any of the national parks. The scenic beauty surrounding these national parks and sanctuaries will leave you mesmerized.
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Art, Tradition & Culture of Kashmir
The culture of Jammu and Kashmir is a unique blend of many ethnic influences. The traditional festivals and events show a glimpse into the lives of the local people. The cultural influences of the Kashmiri people can be seen in their works of art and handicrafts. The dances and the music events portray the daily lives of the common Kashmiri people.
The traditional weaving methods and use of local textile materials are also quite popular in various textiles that are popular in Kashmir. These products include Carpets, Rugs, Shawls, Furniture, Fabrics, Jewelry, and Copper wares. Music and dance are also unique in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the most important festivals to attend in Jammu and Kashmir are the following.
- Hemis Festival
If you get to attend any of the cultural music festivals in Jammu & Kashmir, you will be able to have a unique experience of an amazing culture.
Best time to visit Kashmir
Usually, the best time to visit Jammu and Kashmir is during the months of the summer season. During the summer months, many areas of Kashmir are accessible. Also, you will be able to see the green meadows and gorgeous natural colors of the blooming flowers. Winters are also a quite popular time to visit. People visit Kashmir during the winter months to experience the snow or to spend time away from the tourist crowds.
For nature lovers, photographers, and honeymoon couples, springtime is the best time to experience the beauty of Kashmir. Weather during the summer season is quite pleasant and it is a great time for families to travel to Kashmir comfortably.
The Winter season starts from October till March and the temperature can fall -5 degrees Celcius. On the other hand, April till June is the summer season when you can comfortably travel to Kashmir without any hassles. Summer temperatures can be around 15 – 30 degrees Celsius. The monsoon months of July till September are particularly risky as the road conditions are quite bad during this time. It is wise to avoid traveling in monsoon months.
This was a brief post-covid travel guide to Kashmir. Before you start packing your bags, make sure to check on the latest updates on the political situation in Kashmir along with Kashmir travel guidelines. The travel guidelines are most likely to change as per the Covid situation in India. Maintaining Covid-appropriate-behavior will help you travel safely and avoid any unnecessary hassles during your vacation.