Jammu and Kashmir is India’s northernmost state and perhaps also its most beautiful one. Home to snow-clad peaks, breathtaking valleys, majestic rivers and wonderful people, Jammu and Kashmir lives up to its sobriquet of ‘Heaven on Earth’. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into three divisions – Jammu division, Kashmir division and Ladakh. Each of these divisions is home to some spectacular destinations that are worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. (DO SEE Top 17 places to visit in India in 2017) One of the prime attractions of the Kashmir division is the stunning Kashmir Valley, also called the ‘Vale of Kashmir’. Abundant in natural beauty, and home to splendid weather that will make you want to stay for ever, the Kashmir Valley has a number of priceless gems that are a delight to travelers. Here are the best places to visit in the Kashmir Valley.
Located at the confluence of Lidder river and the Sheshnag lake in the Kashmir Valley, Pahalgam is a scenic hill station with breathtaking views. Imagine taking a vacation in the midst of thickly wooded pine forests, lush green meadows and the snow-clad Himalayan mountains. Pahalgam is just that and more!
Kashmir Valley’s most popular tourist spot is the capital city of Srinagar known for its beautiful Dal Lake with its colorful houseboats, the marvelous Mughal gardens and the revered religious centers – Hazratbal mosque and Shankaracharya temple. It also has an intriguing history with evidence of human settlement here dating back to 3000 BC.
Asia’s premier skiing destination, Gulmarg offers stunning expanses of white snowy slopes making it the heartland of winter sports in India. The Gulmarg cable car is a special favorite among tourists and the world’s highest glf course also fascinates many a traveler. Few other places in India provide such a fine blend of scenic beauty and adventurous activities. ALSO SEE 5 best Gulmarg skiing packages that are worth every penny spent!
The hill station of Sonamarg is known for its astonishing landscapes of green mountains against the backdrop of snow-clad peaks. The name Sonmarg literally translates to ‘meadow of gold’. The Sonmarg valley attracts tourists on account of its easy accessibility from Srinagar. The drive to Sonmarg along the Nallah Sindh, a tributary of the Jhelum, is extremely picturesque and makes for a great getaway.
One of the lesser known hill stations in the Kashmir Valley, Yusmarg is located in the western part of the valley, around 47 km south of Srinagar. The name Yusmarg translates to ‘meadow of Jesus’ as it is believed that Jessus came to India and lived in this area for some time. Breathtaking pine and fir forests surrounded by snow-clad mountains make Yusmarg a delightful tourist attraction.
Pilgrims at the Amarnath Yatra
One of India’s most popular pilgrim centers, Amarnath temple draws a number of devotees every year. The Amarnath yatra is a pilgrimage that is on the bucket list of most followers of Hinduism. The trek to Amarnath takes you through extremely scenic vistas making it a trip to remember. The temple itself is in a cave with a linga-shaped snow formation as the main idol of worship. CHECK OUT Amarnath Yatra 2017: Photos of Amarnath Pilgrimage Show Why Its The Most Beautiful Hindu Pilgrim Site in India
Anatnag falls on the route of the revered Amarnath Yatra. It is home to mesmerizing high-altitude lakes like the alluring Sheshnag Lake which is a pit-stop for the pilgrims. It also forms the main business center of the Kashmir Valley. The name Anantnag translates to ‘countless springs’ as this region is home to several springs like Nag Bal, Manik Nag and the main spring at the center of the city – Ananta Nag.
This picturesque valley gets its name from the Bollywood movie Betaab that was shot here in 1983. Like most parts of the Kashmir Valley, Betaab Valley too is home to lush green meadows surrounded by snow-clad mountains. It falls on the Amarnath Yatra route and makes for a great place to rest, click pictures and just soak in the beauty of nature.
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