Kashmir – Paradise on Earth

Kashmir in India is often called as paradise on earth due to the mesmerising nature’s beauty it is engulfed with. Chilled green valleys, crystal lakes and the snow-capped mountains of Kashmir have sheltered the inhabitants of the hot Indian plains from the times of the Mughals and continue to do so. While the rest of India experiences summer, Kashmir experiences a real spring season – with beautiful tulip gardens, fresh green valleys and chirping birds. It is often said that Kashmir looks entirely different and equally beautiful in all the four major seasons – summer, autumn, winter and spring. The capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, is the largest city of the state. Most popular places of interest for tourists in Kashmir are Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam.

One can plan a decent trip to Kashmir for 4 to 5 days. Here goes my itinerary and experience of the spring of April 2015 in Kashmir.

Day 1 & 2 – Arrive at Srinagar airport and visit local points of interests. Discover history and heritage with a stroll through the ancient Mughal gardens of Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh. If you are visiting during spring season, then you can also visit the famous Tulip garden. Thousands of tulips in all possible colours so neatly adding beauty and charm to the garden amidst the lush green hills. Chashme Shahi is yet another beautiful garden located nearby on the top of a hill. Spend some time in each garden and enjoy the tranquility of the place. Shankaracharya temple also attracts tourists and devotees being located on the topmost point of a hill. The view from up there is simple amazing and you would not wan to miss it. Another famous attraction of Srinagar is Dal lake. Spend a night in a luxurious wooden crafted houseboat in Dal lake. Also take a shikara ride in the Dal lake and experience shopping in the floating market. While doing so, don’t forget to bargain! The shopkeepers often quote very high price at the floating market.

While the city is often in news for the curfews and religious/political/terrorism related riots, it’s important to confirm about the current situations before visiting. With more than 70% of the population of Kashmir being Muslims, there are ample options for non-vegetarian food. Having said that, pure vegetarians will also not get disappointed and can find few veg restaurants in the heart of the city. During the day you will have to face the bright sun but it tends to get quite chilly in the evening with temperature dropping to less than 8 degrees celsius.