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Jammu & Kashmir: Poetry of Earth

By Richa

This time we are taking you to the bewitching Jammu and Kashmir under our series ‘offbeat destinations for romance.’ read on to be mesmerised by the enchanting honeymoon destination of India – which we proudly like to call ‘Paradise on Earth.’

Coronated as one of the most beautiful states of India, Jammu and Kashmir is jewel in India’s crown. A land of unmatched scenic beauty and rich culture, the valley shows a rich diversity in its landscape as people move from the south to the north. Low hills in the south, snow-capped peaks and velvety valleys in the centre and a barren, yet enchanting realm in the extreme north make up the state’s geography. The quaint state is known for its shades that it outcasts on the entire land. The beauty of the state endows some dazzling panoramas and the land encompasses a surreal elegance. Whether it is the mountains or the valleys, the place knows how to magnetize the visitors. Jammu and Kashmir is a cultural land that makes you fall in love over and over again.

Plan your honeymoon to this beautiful valley, often compared to paradise for an experience of a lifetime. With myriad landscapes, lakes, mountains and gardens there is a lot to see here. Have a look at some of the places to visit in Kashmir and pick out the ones that suit your trip. Filled with blooming flowers in spring and snow in winter, honeymoon in the valleys of Jammu & Kashmir is like a dream coming to life for couples. From skiing in Gulmarg, trekking through the breathtaking mountains lakes, trout fishing in Sonmarg and a romantic stay in cedar panelled houseboats in Jhelum River there is no end to things to do in Kashmir Valley. For a snow-clad honeymoon, plan your trip in February end or in March. However, if you are expecting a pleasant honeymoon, you can visit between April and June. 

Here is a list of honeymoon destinations of Jammu and Kashmir that you will surely not want to miss.

Pahalgam— The Expanse of Exemplary Magnificence

Pahalgam, the heaven on Earth, is a small but developed town of the Kashmir Valley. The green meadows that stretch up to the foothills of the mountains that can be seen at a distance, the scintillating blue skies and the smiling conifers, Pahalgam is a residence of such a mesmerising landscape. Apart from being the base camp of the Amarnath Yatra, the place is also famous for the scenic charm that spell-binds you. Betaab Valley, Tulian Lake, Baisaran, Aru Valley, and Sheshnag are some of the most popular tourist spots of the area. One can rest in laziness of can trek through the conifers both options giving a worldly experience.

Gulmarg— Picturesque Adventure

‘The meadow of flowers’ as its name translates to; Gulmarg is one of most tranquil locations. While the snowy effect of winters makes it a Skiers love the summers and the springs let you walk on the path covered with flowers. Its enchanting beauty is beyond comparison and leaves a deep impression of the days spent in the laps of nature. At Gulmarg, one can visit Frozen Lake, Khilanmarg, Bota Pathri and Gulmarg Gondola. For adventure lovers trekking, mount biking and snowboarding are available. The view from the Apparwath peak will make you spend the entire day gazing at the horizon ahead.

Sonamarg— Freshness Overload!

Sonamarg, as the name suggests, is famous as the ‘Meadow of Gold’. An endless stream of stunning flowers and undulated trekking routes are its attractions. Sonamarg has to be in every visitor’s list of places to visit in Kashmir for its mesmerising aura and breathtaking views. The valley is home to a variety of peaks like Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Sirbal Peak. The place is about 85 km away from Srinagar but the drive is absolutely worth it because beautiful Himalayan peaks surround you while you chase the snow-capped mountains. Places to visit while you are in Sonamarg - Vishansar Lake, Nilagrad River, Zoji La Pass, Thajiwas Glacier, White River Rafting at Shutkari Bridge, Krishnasar Lake, and Baltal Valley. Blessed with many lakes, fresh water or otherwise trout fishing is one of the things to do here and you should not miss out on the experience.

Baramulla— Best Strokes on Nature’s Canvas

The district of Baramulla is munificently blessed with natural endowment. Plan an excursion in Kashmir ala the locals by going bird watching at Manasbal Lake and taking a drive to Uri for a simple picnic. Also visit Wular Lake which is considered Asia’s largest fresh water lake for some breathtaking views.

Srinagar— A Surreal Paradise

Sitting on the banks of Jhelum it provides a variety of options for things to do in Kashmir. Take a ride on the whimsical Shikaras or go water skiing on Dal or Nagin Lake, watch migratory birds in Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, walk through the beautiful Mughal gardens and visit the old city monuments like the Hazratbal Shrine, Jama Masjid and the Shankaracharya temple. You are sure to be mesmerised by what it has to offer. A must visit - Chashme Shahi Garden, meaning ‘The Royal Spring’, which is situated at the foothills of Zabarwan Mountains in Srinagar. The highlight of Chashme Shahi Garden is its natural spring of freshwater, which has mineral content.

Kupwara— The Crown of Kashmir

The thriving meadows, alpine mountains, and the gushing clear water make Kupwara a must visit destination in Kashmir. This city epitomizes the beauty of Kashmir. Among the many tourist places in Kupwara, Lolab Valley and bungas valley have special significance.

Kathua— The City of Sufis

For the history lovers willing to have a glimpse of Kashmir’s past, Kathua should be on your list of places to visit in Kashmir. Situated on the banks of a river, Kathua offers scintillating views and serene atmosphere. The word ‘Kathua’ is derived from the word ‘Thuan’ in Dogri which means ‘Scorpions.’ Some believe that its name is derived from the name of Rishi Kashyap who disguised himself as a tortoise (Kachua) for strong meditation. Kathua is also called ‘the city of Sufis’ owing to the presence of large number of Sufi Shrines of Pirs.

Hemis— The Region Of Rarity

Hemis, an unexplored destination, is a small village known for its monastery and national park. It is a must visit in summers if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Rare species like the snow leopard and bharals find shelter in the national park here.

Udhampur— The History of Beauty

Set amidst lush green surroundings and fringed by eucalyptus trees, Udhampur is a delight for history buffs. The city offers many relics dating back to the time of epic of Mahabharata in addition to other attractions like the Ramnagar fort, Moungri Cave shrine and Sudh Mahadev temple. With an overwhelming view of the Shivalik Range, fringed by dense tall pine and cedar trees Patnitop is definitely one of the places to see in Kashmir. For those into adventure, one of the things to do in Kashmir is indulging in paragliding and Patnitop offers ample opportunities for this along with rappelling, rock climbing and camping. Those who are a little meek of heart can take a walk along the trails and visit the mountain springs known for their medicinal properties.

Yousmarg— Mother Earth’s Miracle

If you are on a honeymoon in Kashmir, make sure that you take a trip to Yousmarg. A meadow two hours southwest of Srinagar, it is lined with numerous apple and pine trees, the alpine meadow of Tosa Maidan and the Dudh Ganga River making it a beautiful day excursion. Yusmarg in Kashmiri means The Meadow of Jesus. It is believed by the natives that Jesus came to Kashmir and stayed at Yusmarg for some time. A trek of 4 km leads to a small lake. Another 10 km trek leads to the frozen lake in Sang-e-Safed valley, which is mostly covered by ice even during the summer. Other tourist activities include horse riding, fishing, skiing during winter and photography.

Anantnag— Music of Nature

Of all the places to see in Kashmir, Anantnag is truly a paradise within paradise. The sparkling spring of Verinag, the beautifully laid garden in Kokernag is nothing if not spectacular. In addition, visit the ruins of Martand temple and the lush forests of Daksum truly which make for some of the best attractions in Kashmir Valley. The district consists of many tourist places, viz., Verinag, Achabal, Kokernag, Daksum, Pahalgam, Dandipora(under process), Chatabal, Martand and Sinthan top. Of these places, Pahalgam and Kokernag are the most famous places just 50 km from Anantnag Town. Amarnath Temple, a famous shrine in Hinduism dedicated to Shiva is located in Phalgam. It is the site of an annual pilgrimage, Amarnath Yatra.

“It is always highly recommended to follow the political situation in Kashmir before travelling. However in most cases it is extremely safe to travel to Kashmir. The local people are very kind and hospitable and accepting of tourists, both Indian and foreign. In case of any trouble they will go out of their way to ensure the tourists safety and well being. However, don’t go unplanned – there are limited options in terms of hotels so it is always advisable to pre book your trip. And do not travel when there is any socio-political disturbances since then your movements will be highly restricted at these times,” suggests Viren Batra, Nirvana Excursions’ co-founder.

“Kashmiri culture is an amalgamation of Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist philosophies and has evolved a composite culture based on the values of humanism and tolerance which is collectively known as Kashmiriyat. The cuisine which is known as Wazwan has a variety of meat based dishes with some vegetarian options as well,” he further concluded.

Jammu and Kashmir can never disappoint anyone. The place itself is a garden where no amount of time spent can ever be enough (trust me, we spent 10 days there honeymooning but it feels like we might just have explored 10% of the valley). But surely, the place leaves some lasting impressions that will compel the couples, year later to come and renew the vows of the old romance that they developed here.

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