Jammu and Kashmir was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019, constituting the southern and southeastern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India, Pakistan and China since the mid-20th century.
Some places are traveled, some are explored, and some are lived. But Jammu & Kashmir must be felt. It’s beauty and allure will be etched in your memory for a long time. To see the best of this heaven on earth, however, you must not just visit and stay.
That is the only way to see what these amazing valleys have tucked in their basket of goodness.There is no place in the state that is not blessed by Goddess Nature. But there is much more to J&K other than sightseeing and beautiful places. If you like to give your trip a distinct feel then engage yourself in the varied activities offered by the state. Listed below are some popular activities that travelers must do during their trip to this pristine state of incredible India.
1. Shikara Ride
Capturing the beauty of Srinagar in lens on the slow movements of Dal and Nagin Lakes through Shikara rides is one of the most relaxing aspects of holidays in Jammu and Kashmir. The views of colourful houseboats and shikaras on the banks of lakes add hues to the surrounding charm and tranquility. No smoke or sound of the vehicles, no high-pitched angry crowd, nothing. Just the soft sound of the boatman’s oar breaking the surface of the water and the touch of the cold water as you trail your hand on the surface of the lake.
Where To Try: Dal Lake in Srinagar and Manasbal Lake near Sonamarg
Timings: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm; all days of the week
Cost Per Person: INR 150 – INR 250
2. Gulmarg Golf Club
This is one of the offbeat things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gulmarg Golf Club is coveted as one of the largest and highest 18-hole golf courses in the world. Playing golf in this ‘Meadow of Flowers’ is, indeed, one of the most fun-filled activities to do in Jammu and Kashmir. The golf course of Gulmarg is estimated to be the most elevated golf course in the world.
Shopping is one of the favourite things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. The state is known world-wide for its handicrafts, dry fruits and textiles, especially shawls and carpets. The shopping itinerary also includes Kashmir silk, copper and silverwares. And then there are flowers, fruits, and vegetables sold on the shikaras in Dal Lake. More than what you buy, how you buy will be the reason for your excitement here.
White river rafting is one of the most adrenaline rush giving adventurous things to do in Kashmir. Amid the breathtaking natural allure of the state lies a treasure of adventure in its many forms. One such thrilling form is rafting. The famous rivers where adventure seekers can try this challenging activity are Indus, Lidder and Zanskar. Cutting through various mesmerizing landscapes, deep gorges and mountains, these roaring rivers give ample thrill to rafting lovers.
- Short Lidder River Rafting: 3 km (Pahalgam) | Yarganpal to Yaneed Bridge | Grades II & III
- Medium Sindh River Rafting: 8 km (Sonamarg) | Mamar to Satrun Margund | Grades II, III, & IV
- Long Sindh River Rafting: 28 km (Sonamarg) | Mamar to Wayul Bridge | Grades II, III, & IV
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5. Camel Safari
If you link camel safaris with Rajasthan only then think again. Camel safaris are a major attraction in the cold and barren Ladakh region. This place is famous for its double hump bactarian camels. The safari starts in nubra valley from Hundar Village to Diskit and ends at Panamic village. Riding on the back of a camel through the is an experience of a lifetime which every tourist heading to Ladakh should try. The best time for this exciting safari is from July to September.
Fee: INR 500 for an hour (it takes about two hours for the ride to complete)
When we talk about the best places to enjoy winter sports in India, Jammu and Kashmir invariably makes its way to the top. Kashmir is a cold region, with snow-capped mountains and freezing – cold river streams, and to experience it at its best. This is one of the best things to do in Kashmir in Winter. With the onset of winters, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Gulmarg are entirely covered in snow.
Skiing Organizers: Powerhounds (Gulmarg) | Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (Pahalgam)
Adventure Seekers Can Also Take A Beginner Level Ski Course At Pahalgam:
- Cost Per Person: INR 5,600 onwards*
- Dates: 30th January to 2nd February and 5th February to 8th February
- Contact Number: +91-99069678430
*Package inclusive of instructor, skiing dress, equipment, food, and stay
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7. Wildlife Tour
Jammu Kashmir has an exciting panorama of flora and fauna that awaits nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. It will bring you great pleasure to watch many rare, indigenous animals and birds during a wildlife tour in the state.
Snow leopard, musk deer, brown bear, Marmot, red fox, Himalayan black bear, golden eagles, Monal pheasants, and griffon vultures are some of the rare species that are found in this region. You can also go bird watching at one of the 24 wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir where over 500 different species of bird find a home. Gharana and Surinsar regions in Ladakh are ideal places to spot migratory birds. You would get to see Black-necked crane, European blue whistling thrush vulture, falcon and bar-headed geese.
8. Houseboat Stay
And it is not just the shikhara rides in Dal Lake, this is one of the best offbeat things to do in Srinagar. Spending a night at the houseboat docked at the Dal Lake jetty is also among the top things to do in Kashmir. Be it honeymooners, families, or solo travelers; a night stay at one of the houseboats in Srinagar is something that you simply can not miss. The houseboats have Wifi and airport transfer facilities available. You can also avail of the facilities of the meal provided by them. Houseboat stay facility in Jammu and Kashmir is the best to experience if you are here with your family, a group of friends, or with your partner.
9. Gondola’ Cable Car Ride
Riding the Gondola cable car is one of the exciting and fun things to do in Kashmir for people of all ages. Tourists prefer to travel via cable car to enjoy the best views of the snowcapped mountains. Taking a Gondola ride is one of the best things to do in Kashmir in May because during this month, the summers are coming to an end and the view is really great.
The ride takes place in three phases.
- Phase 1: Gulmarg to Kongdoori
- Phase 2: Kongdoori to Apharwat Peak
- Phase 3: Kongdoori to Mary Shoulder [Chair Lift]
Timings: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Ride) | 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (Ticket sale); all days of the week
Cost Per Person: INR 600 (Phase I) | INR 800 (Phase II) | INR 300 (Chair Lift) | Website
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10. Pony Ride Excursions
Pony is a common mode of transport in the valleys of Kashmir. Taking a short pony ride in the beautiful valleys is another interesting thing to do in Kashmir. Pony rides in Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Yusmarg, and Gulmarg are very popular. Pony rides are more common in places where transport cannot be motorized. Taking a pony ride is a great way to enjoy the real lifestyle of Jammu and Kashmir.
With mountains generously covering the landscape of Jammu and Kashmir, trekking has become one of the best things to do here. Though in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, trekking in Ladakh is more famous. There are short treks and hikes that tourists can take in the valleys of Kashmir. There are many high altitude alpine lakes in Kashmir, such as Vishansar Lake, Tarsar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Alpather Lake, and Satsar Lake.
Since these beautiful lakes can only be accessed after scaling the hills, trekking has become one of the best things to do in Kashmir for the nature lovers and adventure seekers. No matter how long the trek is, the final view from the top is definitely going to be breathtaking. Make sure you wear a comfortable and grippy pair of footwear to the trek. Carry enough water to drink, and wear you sunscreens too.
12. Hot Air Ballooning
Jammu and Kashmir have countless options when it comes to adventure activities and they are not just limited to land and water. The vastness of the landforms here and the beauty of the scenic views make it a perfect destination for Aero sports too. Just like paragliding, hot air ballooning is also gaining popularity demand. The mesmerizing sight of the lush-green and floral hills, deep valleys, snow-covered mountain ranges, milky – white streams and those signature-style slope-roofed houses, from the top will really want you to extend your stay in this heaven on Earth. Valleys of Suru and Zanskar are the popular spots in Jammu for enjoying hot air balloon rides. The ride takes to a height of around 3,000 feet and lasts for about 2 hours. Winter months are the best time to experience this activity.
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13. Ladakh Buddhist Monasteries
Of the numerous places to visit in Leh Ladakh, the Buddhist monasteries are the rarest gems of Jammu Kashmir tourism. An exploration of these Gompas is one of the most religious things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the most popular monasteries (gompas) of Ladakh are:
- Hemis Monastery: Constructed by Stagchen Raschegn during the 17th century, the monastery is most popular for its masked dance during the Hemis festival.
- Thiksey Monastery: Home to over 500 monks, the monastery houses many items of Buddhist art like wall paintings, statues, thangkas and swords.
- Likir Monastery: Believed to be the first monastery to be erected by Tibetan monks, it was founded by Lama Dhwang during the 14th century. The monastery houses many Tibetan artifacts.
14. Amarnath Cave And Vaishnodevi Temple
Taking a pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave & Vaishno Devi Cave Temple is among the most religious things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. The Amarnath Yatra is done to worship the ice stalagmite Shivalinga. It is said that Lord Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to Goddess Parvati. The pilgrimage takes place during July – August. This 45-days Shravan Mela is dedicated to Shri Amarnath Ji.
The Vaishno Devi Yatra is a pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi. The Trikuta mountain, where the shrine is located, has one base but three different peaks. A similar structure is seen inside the cave. The three heads are said to be of Mata Kali, Mata Laxmi, and Mata Saraswati – Hindu goddesses. This yatra, too, takes place in the months of July and August.
15. Mountain Biking
Ever thought of exploring the green valleys, snow-capped mountains, gushing rivers and still-clear lakes on a bike? If this has been your idea of fun then there is no better place than Jammu and Kashmir. The location, the scenery, and the terrain make this destination ideal to enjoy mountain biking activity. If you like smoother rides then Kashmir Valleys are apt but if like an off-roading experience then Ladakh’s rugged terrain is the best. The challenging treks during your cycling journey would raise the bar of thrill too. The popular cycling routes include Srinagar to Sonamarg, Sonamarg to Manasbal lake, Srinagar to Gulmarg, Gulmarg to Pahalgam, and Pahalgam to Srinagar. And if you want to meet the mighty Himalayas, take the Srinagar – Leh highway route that goes through ten mountain passes.
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For all those adrenaline junkies, there is also an option to go for paragliding. The majestic beautiful valley beneath is a sight to behold. The unique view of the green valleys makes paragliding one of the most thrilling things to do in Kashmir. Paragliding options are available in Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Bhaderwah, Sanasar, and Harwan (Srinagar). Of these, paragliding in Harwan is most easily accessible as it lies on the route of the tour of the Grand Mughal Gardens.
17. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Your visit to Kashmir is incomplete without visiting this beautiful tulip garden. Called the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, it is one of Asia’s largest tulip garden. Apart from tulip there are many other species of garden – hyacinths, daffodils and ranunculus. The best time to visit this garden is from March to May. Every year in April, tulip festival is celebrated in which tourists can enjoy the mesmerizing views of the garden at its full bloom.
Location: Jammu and Kashmir, Cheshma Shahi Road, Rainawari, Srinagar
18. Old Srinagar Heritage Walk
They say, walk more to know more. And the same is true with Srinagar. Taking a stroll is one of the best things to do in Srinagar. With some structures over 4 centuries old and gardens that are no less than a paradise, the city has an architecture that is influenced by 3 different styles and 3 different religions. Walking through the old town is one of the peaceful things to do in Kashmir. Visit the marvelous structures including Jamia Masjid featuring 370 pillars made of the Maple tree. Take a walk through the lanes of the old Srinagar that has old markets of spices, dry fruits and threads.
The three regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh have numerous trekking spots making it a wonderful place for an activity like camping in Kashmir. Camping in Kashmir allows visitors to feel the ambiance of the beautiful place. Pahalgam is the ultimate destination to go for quaint camping. Other places include remotest valleys of Chatpal, Daksum, and Karnah.
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20. Kashmiri Cuisine
Like in any other destination across the world, trying the local cuisine is one of the most important things to do in Kashmir. We all have heard about the Kashmiri Kahwa (tea) and Lamb Mutton Rogan Josh. But the cuisine has many more sumptuous dishes. These include Nadroo Yakhni (yogurt based Kashmiri curry with lotus stems), Paneer Chaman (fried paneer simmered in tomato sauce and flavored with spices and fennel seeds powder), Dum Aloo, Matschgand (minced meatballs cooked in spicy red gravy), and Gushtaba (minced mutton cooked in flavorful yogurt gravy and spices).
Best Restaurants: Alchi Kitchen, Stream Restaurant, The Habit – Cafe & Grill
21. The Kheer Bhawani Temple
The Kheer Bhawani Temple is the most famous temple in the district of Srinagar. It is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kheer Bhavani constructed over a sacred spring. There exists a small marble temple within this spring. Devotees offer milk kheer on eight days of the full moon in May. It is said that the Goddess changes the spring’s color.
Location: Tulmulla – Dangerpora Link Rd, Tulmulla, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Be it a family tour, honeymoon, or an outing with friends, no one would want to miss the beautiful attractions of Kashmir. Of the various places to visit in Kashmir, Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg are the most popular ones. Heading to explore these cities is one of the most popular things to do in Kashmir.
Places To Visit In Srinagar: Dal Lake, Nehru Park, Floating Post Office, Shankaracharya Hill Temple, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Zain-ul-Abidin’s mother, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Hari Parbat Fort are the key attractions of Srinagar.
Places To Visit In Gulmarg: Maharani Temple, Ziarat of Baba Reshi, Khilanmarg, Apharwat peak, and Strawberry Valley are some of the places to visit in Gulmarg.
Places To Visit In Sonamarg: Thajiwas Glacier, Manasbal Lake, Ganderbal, Khir-Bhawani temple, and Narang temple are the major tourist attractions of Sonamarg.
Places To Visit In Pahalgam: Lidder River & Amusement Park, Deer Park & Zoo, Mamleshwar Temple, Betaab Valley, Sheshnag Lake, Aru Village, Matrand Sun Temple, Saffron fields, and Anantnag Sulpher Springs are some of the attractions of Pahalgam.
Note: We don’t make any guarantees if the above-stated facts are not correct. If you think any information provided by us is wrong then contact us.