Jammu and Kashmir is often called heaven on earth. It is arguably India’s most beautiful destination. With some of the most spectacular landscapes ranging from green valleys to snow-clad mountains and rugged terrains to mesmerizing lakes, Kashmir has it all. It is considered as an excellent summer getaway for people in India.
With the Manali-Leh highway and the Leh-Srinagar highway closing down for winter on account of snowfall, riders and road trippers only visit the Ladakh region during summer. Many tourists also avoid other parts of Kashmir during winter due to the cold weather. However, you will be surprised at how marvelous Kashmir can be during the winter.
The snow turns several slopes into skiing delights and the frozen rivers make for great trekking opportunities. Whether you are looking for an adventure or a peaceful getaway, Kashmir in winter is a treat. So bring on your warm layers of clothes and embark on a trip of a lifetime to these awesome winter destinations in Kashmir:
Gulmarg is renowned to be India’s best and Asia’s 7th best skiing destination. It has steep skiing slopes right in the middle of spectacular mountain views. The skiing area, called the Gulmarg ski resort, is known as the finest powder destination in the world. Hiking and cable car riding are other fun activities to indulge here. The Khyber Himalayan resorts and spa is worth considering for a memorable stay.
The Zanskar region is an absolute marvel during winters. The frozen Zanskar River, which provides an access route to the Zanskar Valley, is the venue for the famous Chadar trek which is also called the Frozen Zanskar trek. This trek is both dangerous and beautiful as it involves crossing the frozen river. Winter is the perfect time to complete this 20-day trek as this is when the river is in its most frigid state.
Pahalgam, another fine gem of Kashmir, is primarily known to be a gateway for the popular Amar Yatra pilgrimage. Called the Valley of shepherds, Pahalgam is blessed with rivers and dense forests with pine trees on all sides. It is located at the confluence of the Lidder River and Sheshnag lake and during winter, the landscapes just become magical.
One of Kashmir’s most popular spots, Srinagar is a delight all year round. A shikara ride in the Dal lake during winter will take you through stunning views of the area. Gardens like Shalimar Garden, Nishant Garden, Chashmeshahi Garden, Nehru Garden and Tulip Garden will take your breath away.
And then there is Sonamarg, the meadow of gold (translation of the name). Located at a height of 2730 m, Sonamarg serves as the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes like Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. The Dachigam National Park located here is home to the critically endangered hangul or the Kashmir stag. Whether you like to quietly admire nature or get active and go trekking, Sonamarg is the place for you!