Kashmir is a beautiful Himalayan valley with breathtaking mountain scenery, clear lakes, lush vegetation and magnificent forests. The capital city Srinagar is famous for its canals, houseboats and Mughal gardens. The valley is home to a rich biodiversity including a large number of birds species, many of which are unique to Kashmir. Enough has been said about Kahsmir,thanks to media and social groups Kashmir is always in the news calling it unsafe and disturbed. But today I wish to highlight 10 reasons why Kashmir should be in your bucket list and why it is safe for your travel.
- Kashmir is the epitome of tourism in India. With high alps and soft snow it is indeed comparable to the Swiss landscapes. Picturesque and pristine Kashmir is breathtakingly beautiful. Often refereed to as the “paradise on earth” or “heaven on earth”, Kashmir justifies all such metaphors.
- The warmly spiced kahwa is sure to warm your heart. Kahwa is a special green tea served in every household in Kashmir consisting of cardamom, cinnamon ,saffron and other herbs aiding digestion and providing comfort from the harsh winters.
- Silver jewellery , pashmina shawls and hand made carpets available in Kashmir are a sure winner in each house. Intricate and delicate they depict craftsmanship and luxury. Handicraft industry thrives on local craftsmanship and provides employment to many. Handicrafts is an integral part of Kashmir’s economy attracting tourist and foreign trade.
- Kashmir has around 96% Muslim, 2% Sikhs and 2% Hindus. Urdu is the language commonly spoken. They have Tehseeb and respect on their dialect. Tourism and handicrafts are the two most prevailing occupations in Kashmir employing 100%local people. Their hospitality is worth mentioning leaving no stones unturned for the comfort of the tourists.
- Skiing is the most popular sport attraction in Kashmir. The perfect slopes and the soft snow make it ideal for skiing. Skiing schools and resorts are always full in the winter season. Sonmarg , Pahalgam and Gulmarg are popular skiing destinations here. Nevertheless the children also tried skiing in the Gulmarg slopes.
- Kashmir is a place for all seasons. Snowfalls and white mountains in winters to purple coloured fields in spring. Valley of flowers in summers to shedding Chinars in autumn. From frozen lakes to high alps. Beautiful valleys to lushing fields Kashmir has it all. A trip in winter gives you enough reasons to come back in summer and a visit in summer leaves you thirsty for the snow.
- Believe me when I say that your holiday in Kashmir will be full of experiences. Gulmarg gandola is the highest operating cable car in the world which takes visitors to a height of 13780 ft. A shikara ride on the dal lake or a night in the houseboat is bound to leave you mesmerized. For the brave hearts you could try white water rafting and paragliding at Sonmarg or Pahalgam valleys .
- The valleys which are snow covered in winters bloom tulips in the spring. The apple orchards bear their juiciest fruits in summer while the saffron fields flare up in the autumn filling the air its divine fragrance colouring the earth purple. Walnuts and almonds are cultivated in abundance in Kashmir as well. Pears, peaches and cherries are among the popular fruits. lotus stem is a local favourite crop which grows in the dal lake.
- Kashmiri cuisine has rice as its staple dish. Kashmiris eat meat voraciously. In the Kashmiri language, waz means ‘cook’ or ‘cooking’ and wan means ‘shop’. The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the royal wazwan. Of its thirty-six courses, between fifteen and thirty can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight under the supervision of a master chef called a vaste waze. Guests are seated in groups of four and share the meal out of a large copper platter called the traem. Kashmiri food is spicy and delicious. Vegetarian options are limited but when it comes to taste ,they are soul satisfying.
- No topic on Kashmir is complete without talking about its safety.
Kashmiris are hospitable people, and tourism is an important industry and source of income for them. Hence, they will go out of their way to make sure visitors are safe. Even the mainstream separatist groups have nothing against tourists and say they must be left alone.
Writing of Kashmir makes me nostalgic,reminds me of every minute I spent there in December of 2018 with family and friends. One of the best 4 days of my life. Choosing to stay at the Highlands Park , Gulmarg over Khyber was one of the best decisions we made. And the snow fight at Gulmarg was epic, everytime I think of it,i find myself grinning ear to ear.
Looking forward to hear your Kashmir stories, Sending you some snow cheer, happiness and sunshine.