Who doesn’t want to taste a little piece of heaven in their lifetime? That is exactly what you will get when you visit the mesmerizing mountains of Kashmir. Only after visiting I got to know why it is known as “Paradise on Earth.” 

Me and my family have been planning to visit Kashmir for a long time now, but it was not happening due to the political unrest that constantly disrupts the peace and tranquility of the valley. And this is not just me or my family, but most people are scared to travel to Kashmir fearing this.  

But what I have seen is that, since majority of Kashmir’s economy depends on tourism, they welcome tourists and understands the true meaning of “अतिथि देवो भवatithi devo bhav,” which means “Guest is God.” 

So, if you are planning to visit Kashmir you should do that without any fear in your mind, since it is a once in a lifetime experience to visit Kashmir. All you must do is keep an eye on the news for all updates about Kashmir.  

Well now that you have decided on planning a trip to Kashmir, let me tell you all you need to know from my experience. I think it is going to be very helpful for your upcoming trip to Kashmir. 

Plan The Season You Want to Go

The most important thing that you need to know is there are overall four tourist seasons in Kashmir, and Kashmir has different looks for each of the seasons. These seasons are, 

1. Spring: A Blossoming Symphony (March – April)

Spring_ A Blossoming Symphony (March - April)

As the snow-covered valley starts melting, Kashmir awakes from its 3 months of hibernation, with a new look and color for the spring.  

This is the season when me and my family decided to visit Kashmir, our trip lasted from 19th April to 28th April. During this time, the valley is bursting with colors of pinks and violets and white.  

With cherry blossoms decorating the whole valley with its beauty. And the famous Tulip Garden of Srinagar is in full bloom along with the beautiful apple flowers are also blooming. 

If you visit Kashmir in this season, you will see the most beautiful flowers blooming covering the whole valley, still with a hint of snow here and there.  

2. Summer: Emerald Meadows and Alpine Retreats (May – July)

Summer_ Emerald Meadows and Alpine Retreats (May - July)

Summer is the time when Kashmir lets go her floral cape and adorns a beautiful emerald gown. The remnant of snow is thawing too, leaving behind a serene view of the valley with tranquil lakes, beautiful alpine forests and picturesque mountain scenes.  

For those who don’t like snow or cold, summer season in Kashmir is the perfect time to visit. In the summer you will find a totally different look of Kashmir, which is also a sight to behold.  

3. Autumn: A Tapestry of Gold and Crimson (August – November)

Autumn_ A Tapestry of Gold and Crimson (August - November)

As the Autumn arrives, it seems like someone spilled orange and crimson color over the valleys and meadows of Kashmir. The whole valley turns orange and red, with warmer tones of gold color creating a rustic experience.  

The iconic Chinar (Maple) trees give a mesmerizing rustic aesthetic throughout the autumn season. If you visit Kashmir during this time, the famous saffron fields of Pampore are thriving, along with the apple orchards since it’s harvest season.  

And when you are enjoying a Shikara ride on Dal Lake or staying in a houseboat, the surrounding view with the snow-capped mountains just looks stunning with the rustic overall aesthetic.  

4. Winter: A Snow-Clad Wonderland (December – February)

Winter_ A Snow-Clad Wonderland (December - February)

During winter the temperature of Kashmir drops drastically, and a thick blanket of snow covers the valley into a winter wonderland. So, if you can tolerate that amount of snow and cold then Kashmir in winter is a whole different experience altogether.  

The snow-capped mountains, gardens and valleys are a sight you can never forget. Living in a houseboat on the frozen Dal Lake is something you can only experience here in Kashmir during the winter months.  

Select The Places You Want to Visit

Select The Places You Want to Visit

After you have chosen the season you wanna visit Kashmir then the next thing that you should plan are the places that you wanna visit. Jammu & Kashmir is one of the largest Union Territories of India and it is larger than most states as well.  

So, you need to do proper research on all the tourist destinations that Jammu & Kashmir has to offer, the number of days you are staying, and the season you are going. And only after that can you decide on the places you wanna visit.  

Here are a few places that me and my family chose keeping in mind the above-mentioned things.  

1. Jammu


Our first stop was Jammu, although it would be wrong to say our first stop was Jammu, since we didn’t roam around Jammu. From Kolkata we took the Himgiri Express to Jammu Tawi, the railway station in Jammu.  

We didn’t make a stop at Jammu, but you can easily make a stop at Jammu and travel to Vaishno Devi temple. It is one of the Hindi Pilgrimage Sites located at Katra, which is also a Shakti Pitha.    

2. Patnitop


Our first destination of the trip was Patnitop, it is a beautiful hill station in the Udhampur district of Jammu. It took us about 3hrs to reach by road on NH44. This stretch of the highway has a lot of tunnels and especially the famous Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel, it is the fourth longest tunnel in the country.  

🌸 Sanasar Lake

Sanasar Lake

We stopped at Patnitop for a day to see a few of the lesser-known tourist places such as Sanasar Lake and Natha Top. Sanasar lake is a beautiful hilltop lake with an adjoining Tulip Garden. If you are visiting during the spring season, then you will see a garden full of Tulips of various types and colors.  

It is true that the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar but being one of the most popular Tulip Gardens in India, it is a huge tourist attraction. And because of that the whole experience or watching the Tulips gets ruined.  

So, if you wanna watch the beautiful Tulips come to Sanasar lake, here you will get the chance to get a private viewing of a beautiful Tulip Garden. After staying there for 45 mins we went towards Natha Top.  

🌸 Natha Top 

About 30 mins from Sanasar lake, Natha Top is a flat-top mountain top in the Udhampur district. It is a small trek to reach the gorgeous mountain top, from where you can see the whole Kishtwar range, and the Brahma Massif peaks from the top.  

After spending some time there and clicking pictures, since it was quite cold and windy, we headed off to Srinagar as it was going to be a 5 hrs. Drive, considering the roads are clear.  

3. Dal Lake

Dal Lake

Although it was supposed to take about 5 hrs. to reach Srinagar according to Google Maps at least. But it took us about 8 hrs. to reach the city due to roadblocks. We reached Srinagar at night almost around 10pm.  

That night was exciting since we finally boarded the famous houseboats of Dal Lake and take my word for it that you need to experience living in a houseboat on Dal Lake. But avoid living in a houseboat during winter, since it gets very cold as the Dal Lake freezes during Winter.  

The night in the houseboat felt royal, since all the furniture is of royal caliber. The next day a stunning view of Dal Lake and the mountains was awaiting us. It was a wonderful view with the open lake, with reflection of the Zabarwan Range on the lake, where multicolored shikaras are just gliding on the water.  

 After having breakfast on the deck of our boat, we got ready for a shikara. Whilst we were having our breakfast, different vendors on shikaras were coming to us to sell us things. That is when we first tasted the famous Khawa of Kashmir.  

🌸 Shikara Ride

Shikara Ride 

After finishing everything, we boarded our shikaras. Since we were 7 people, we took 2 shikaras, mine had four people and the other one had three people. It will take a few seconds at first to balance yourself on the shikara then it would be a smooth sailing.  

I have been to a lot of boats, but this shikara ride will be my all-time favorite. Sailing smoothly with a majestic view of the Zabarwan Range ahead of you is an experience of a lifetime.

🌸Meena Bazaar  

While on the shikara ride there are two different sections of the lake you can bend towards, one is a garden and the other one is a market, namely Meena Bazaar.  

Well since we were already visiting a lot of gardens, we chose to go towards the market. It is such a beautiful market floating on top of the lake.  

You can get off the shikara and visit the shops, as there are decks made of wood. There are a lot of floating snack shops for you to snack on while floating around.   

4. Srinagar


After reluctantly finishing our shikara ride, we checked out from our houseboat, it was time to check in to our Airbnb and explore Srinagar. Since Srinagar was a bit on the warmer side, extra layers of clothing were not required.  

Keeping our luggage at the Airbnb, we went out to have an early lunch at this restaurant we had reviewed earlier. The food here was delicious, there I had the bets butter chicken of my life, super creamy and buttery. I would recommend everyone travelling to Srinagar to stop and have a bite here at Ahdoo’s hotel.  

Completing a fabulous lunch, we headed off to certain tourist places in Srinagar. It is better to have a heavy lunch before you start sightseeing because while travelling you might lose track of time and forget to eat. And not all the places out of the main city have good food options for lunch.  

🌸Pari Mahal

Pari Mahal

The first place that we went to was Pari Mahal or Peer Mahal, which translates to “The Palace of Faries.” It is a seven-tiered Mughal Garden, overlooking the entire city of Srinagar located on top of the Zabarwan range.  

The garden grounds and the mahal depicts Islamic architecture of that time. It was built by Prince Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, in the mid-1600s. He used the palace as his library and residence.  

The Garden and palace had a beautiful view of the city, but the garden’s beauty is gorgeous. Since it was spring, all the flowers were in bloom, so no matter which floor you are on, you will see flowers everywhere, creating a magical experience.   

If you wanna have a photoshoot here, there are a lot of places you will get to click amazing pictures. And it would be better for the pictures if you wore something flowy and floral, which is what I opted for.  

🌸Nishat Bagh

Nishat Bagh

After enjoying well over an hour in Pari Mahal, we headed towards our next destination of the day, Nishat Bagh, the second largest Mughal Garden in Kashmir. Also, known as “Garden of Joy,” Nishat Bagh was designed and built by Asif Khan, Nur Jahan’s elder brother.   

The Nishat Bagh has a stunning view of the Dal Lake in the front, with a backdrop of the Zabarwan range. In the front, you can see the snow-capped mountain range of Pir Panjal. The garden has twelve tiers or beautifully sculptured gardens and fountains.  

It is full of chinar and cypress trees so you can imagine how it will look in the autumn months. We went there during sunset, so we got a stunning view of the Pir Panjal range, overlooking the lake.  

Here in Bagh, you can roam around and explore all the levels as long as possible. Here you can click photos by wearing traditional Kashmiri outfit and click photos.  

Nishat Bagh has twelve tiers or terraces; each terrace has something special to give. The terraces were written on the Bagh, which were.  

The Twelve Terraces of Nishat Bagh
The Twelve Terraces of Nishat Bagh
  • The first terrace is a water collection chamber that is also linked to the side flow from the garden.” 
  • The second terrace is accessed through a gate. This terrace has five fountains that is supplied water from the third terrace, from where it flowed to the lowest terrace.” 
  • The third terrace has a different design. The water chute has five arched open niches in the front and similar niches on the sides. A pavilion (baradari), a two-storied structure, which existed here when it was originally built, has since been dismantled. Stairways, on either side of the channel lead to the third terrace, which has a square chamber with five fountains. Moving up the flight of steps (four steps) on either side of the channel leads to the fourth terrace.” 
  • The fourth terrace has two levels namely, a water channel and a square pool. Stairways with 7 steps lead to the fifth terrace.” 
  • The fifth terrace, where a stone bench is provided across the channel to enjoy the scenic beauty. This also has a square chamber with five fountains.” 
  • The sixth terrace is two levels with five fountains and distinctive paving pattern.” 
  • The seventh terrace, where the same pattern continues.” 
  • The eighth terrace is only a water channel or chute.” 
  • The ninth terrace, at the end of two stairways, there is an octagonal bench, The pool in this terrace has nine fountains.” 
  • “The stairways to the tenth terrace are along the side retaining walls where only the water chute with fountains is provided.” 
  • “Engraved paths lead to an impressive eleventh terrace, which has twenty-five fountains in a pool. Up from this dramatic terrace is the last one.” 
  • “The zenana chamber, the twelfth terrace, is covered in the front by 5.5 metres (18th) high wall with a facade of blind arches. Only one arch in this blind facade provides an opening to the twelfth terrace. Two small octagonal towers on either side of the retaining walls provide views of the lower-level terraces. A two-storey pavilion here is surrounded by a lovely garden with lush plantings.” 

🌸Lal Chowk

Lal Chowk

It is one of the most popular marketplaces of Srinagar, if you wanna experience the nightlife of Srinagar. Saying it as ‘nightlife’ might be a bit overstepping, since everything closes within 10-10:30 at night. But till then the market life has been quite good.  

Here you can visit the shops and buy beautiful Kashmiri handicrafts and handlooms, and at the same time enjoy street food, such as different types of kebabs and tandooris. With a chill in the air, we were shopping and eating delicious street food.  

5. Doodhpathri


The second day of our two-day stay at Srinagar, we took a trip to an offbeat destination named Doodhpathri, or the Valley of Milk. It is slowly becoming a popular tourist destination, because of its ice-cold river and vast green meadow. 

It was a 2hrs drive till Doodhpathri from the city of Srinagar, and you need to wear multiple layers since it will get cold and without enough layers you will definitely feel cold. Half an hour before you reach Doodhpathri, you will come across a small town, from where you can rent gumboots and overcoats.  

Depending on the season you are visiting you will need overcoats, but you should always rent boots. Since the area near the river can be very muddy and filled with horse poop.  

You can take a horse ride from the first parking area, or you can take your car till you reach the river. After going down till then you will understand why the boots were important. Since the water is extremely cold, you must wear boots if you wanna go up the rocky river.  

After spending a quiet bit of time there you should stop at the meadow and be mesmerized by the scenic beauty of the valley. Then while returning you will find street vendors selling Makki di roti and Sarson da saag, along with special khawa. You should try it out since their livelihood depends on the tourists.  

6. Pahalgam


After spending two beautiful days in Srinagar, it was time for us to drive along NH 44 beside long stretches of mustard fields towards Pahalgam. Before you even reach Pahalgam there are a lot of things that you can see.  

Firstly, you can easily stop your car on the highway and click pictures on the mustard fields, and if you do then wear something contrasting color so that you are visible.  

Secondly, after driving a while towards Pahalgam, you will see the area where cricket bats are made from willow trees. You can personally visit the factories and see the whole process of how bats are being made and processed.  

Thirdly, on the way to Pahalgam you will find what Pahalgam is famous for – it’s apple orchards. The season you are going to Kashmir depends a lot on whether you will get to see apples or not. If you are visiting during autumn, then you have a very good chance of seeing apples hanging from trees.  

Now if you are going in the Spring season, like we did, then you won’t find any apples, but you will find all the apple blossoms blooming. And as a bonus, even if you don’t get to see apples, you will get fresh apples juice there and other apple products like jams, jellies and sauce made from fresh apples. That is a wonderful experience on its own, and you should see it.  

Lavendar Park

Lavendar Park

After all the detouring on the way towards Pahalgam, we finally reached the main market area of Pahalgam. Now the thing about Pahalgam is even though you have a vehicle, you have to book a separate car.  

In Pahalgam they don’t allow tourist vehicles to travel to these tourist destinations. After booking a car for the whole family, we went to our first destination, the Lavendar Park. Although spring is not the season for Lavendars, but still the park full of cherry blossom flowers compensated for that.  

We spent about half an hour in the park we moved on since there were a lot of places still left to see, so after clicking quite a few pictures, we went to our next destination, which was Betaab Valley.  

Betaab Valley

Betaab Valley

If you have seen the Bollywood film Betaab then you will recognize this picturesque valley, since the valley is named after this valley.  The valley is famous for its lush greenery, vast meadows and snow-capped mountains. It is a huge tourist attraction here in Pahalgam and that makes it a must visit.  

We spent quite a while here in Betaab valley, exploring the whole place, since it’s quite huge. If you are someone who loves to click pictures, then you are going to have a blast, since you have beautiful backdrop to click pictures in front of.   

Since everyone shops for souvenirs while traveling, you will get quite a few vendors selling things inside the valley gates. It is better to buy these souvenirs from these vendors rather than big shops.  



Leaving back the beautiful valley of Betaab behind, we climbed up the mountain even more to hunt for snow here in Pahalgam. That led us to Chandanwari, about 7.5 km from Betaab Valley, which is a very popular tourist destination since this is the place from where pilgrims start their journey to the Amarnath Temple.  

Here at Chandanwari we finally found snow and all our Kashmir checklist was ticked off. We had a blast playing on the snow and throwing snowballs at each other. Although it was not fresh snow, at least it wasn’t muddy snow either, or that’s why we could enjoy the snow.  

We played on the snow till we were freezing, that is when we got out of the snow and went to a cafe to eat something since, we were very hungry. After spending a wonderful day in Pahalgam, we were so worn out that we went to our hotel, which was also on top of a hill and came with an amazing view of the mountain right from the rooms.  

Well, that concludes all the places that we have been to in the beautiful paradise that is Kashmir. But just by saying this I am not concluding since there are a lot of things that you need to know while you are planning your trip to Kashmir.  

Book Your Transportation Ahead of Time

Book Your Transportation Ahead of Time

When you are planning a trip, it is important to plan all your transportation ahead of time, since there is no guarantee, you will find any transport after your arrival. And that is exactly what we did as well. We prebooked all our transportation about 2-3 months ahead of time. 

There are many possible ways you can travel to Kashmir; you can get a flight and reach Srinagar. You can fly to Delhi and travel by car from there, but it will be quite a hectic journey. Or you can take the train, which is a very popular option for most people, since it’s cost effective and less strenuous.  

We opted for a train as well, since we live in Kolkata, West Bengal, we took the Himgiri Express, which was to Jammu Tawi. Himgiri Express takes about one and a half days to reach Jammu Tawi and it is often late by about 4-5 hours at least.  

From Jammu Tawi you have a few places that you can pick, you can travel to Vaishno Devi temple. Or you can do what we did and prebook a car and go towards Patnitop. The journey from Jammu Tawi to Patnitop is not more than 2 hrs.  

We had the car with us the whole time starting from Jammu and returning to Jammu again. But more than having a good car, it is much more important to have a good driver.  

And unfortunately for us we had a driver, who was traveling to Kashmir for the first time as well, and knew nothing, neither the roads nor the places, our only hope was Google Maps. An incompetent driver can really put a damper on the whole journey. So, if you are booking a car, make sure that the driver is someone locally from Kashmir, or at least knows the place.  

Book Your Hotels After Reviewing Them Properly

Book Your Hotels After Reviewing Them Properly

It is a no brainer that you should always review your hotels properly before you book them. And when you are going to a place like Kashmir, where there are an endless number of viewpoints, pick a hotel with a great view.  

While we were looking for hotels, it was a long process since we had to make sure the hotels that we were booking had all the amenities that we might need in Kashmir.  

When we went to Patnitop, the hotel was on top of the mountain and had a beautiful view of the mountains from the balcony. It was quite cozy for all of us.  

The next “hotel” that we stayed in was a houseboat on Dal Lake, though not a proper hotel per says, it had the amenities like a 5-star hotel. So, we were very comfortable staying in the houseboat.  

For our two-day stay in Srinagar, we booked an Airbnb so that we could stay without any restrictions and freely. When you are booking an Airbnb, always check out the location from the main city. And, whether the apartment has all the amenities.  

From there our next hotel was at Pahalgam, and the hotel there was something out of the picture. Perhaps not the hotel, but the view was picturesque. And that made up for the fact that half the time there was no light.  

Keep Updated on All Recent News About Kashmir

Keep Updated on All Recent News About Kashmir 

Since we all know that Kashmir is always in a disturbed situation, it is either climate conditions, landslides or the most obvious one that is terror attacks. We are always quite apprehensive about planning a trip there, knowing all this.  

But that doesn’t mean you are not gonna visit Kashmir ever, so what you can do is be updated on all the news related to Kashmir till you are traveling, even then you should be well-updated.  

If you know what is going on there, then you should have no reason to be afraid to visit. And you need to be well updated about the climate conditions. Especially if you are going during the months or late autumn since the chances of snowfall are relatively high.  

Pack Your Clothes According to The Season

Pack Your Clothes According to The Season

When you are packing for a trip, it is important to do thorough research on the place that you are visiting. Because packing clothes depends on a few things like the climate, temperature, and how you wanna look in the pictures.  

Here in Kashmir, you are going to feel a chill in the air even if it’s spring season. And if you are going to any other season like autumn or winter, you must pack heavy.  

But for our trip since it was spring we didn’t have to pack much layering, as not all the places were cold and chilly. When you are packing for cold weather, it is always best to pack a fleece top and bottom set as you can wear it under anything, and you will stay warm.  

Carrying a semi-heavy jacket with you when you travel towards higher altitude is perfect, other than that you are good to go with a knitted sweater and jeans. I took with me three knitted sweaters and two pairs of jeans and a denim skirt since I was feeling fashionable.  

In terms of footwear, I only took a pair of boots with thick soles and nothing else, that was enough for me, so if you are comfortable with boots then you can take one as well and it will be best for you the entire trip.  

Well, there goes clothing, the second most important thing that you need to carry is proper skincare. Probably not a lot of products but sufficient for cold and dry weather, since your skin will require mid to heavy moisturizing to survive the entire day.  

Other Things That You Need to Know

Other Things That You Need to Know 

Whenever you are visiting a place for the first time, you should always be aware of what goes on there with tourists. Luckily for us, we watched a lot of vlogs on YouTube by others who have traveled to record every problem they faced. So, let me share a few with you too.  

1. Tourist Scams 

The one problem with tourists everywhere is scamming, and Kashmir is no different. There are street vendors in very tourist destinations in Kashmir and they will say the most ridiculous price for any souvenir worthy thing.  

So, when you are visiting places like Dal Lake, there will vendors in shikaras getting up on your houseboat to sell you things, it is best that you don’t buy from them if it’s the initial days of your trip, you will get plenty of other opportunities to buy things 

Another scam that we have encountered was at Doodhpathri, there are two separate parking areas about 1 mile apart, from the first spot, you will get horses and ATV bikes, the cost starts from Rs 500 and above.

These people are going to crowd you and say things that your car won’t go any further than this, but it is false, you can take your car till the very end till you reach the river.  

2. Travel Time is More Than What It Shows in the Map App 

Since Kashmir, like any other mountain area is prone to landslides, it can cause roadblocks for a long time, than you might anticipate. And that is exactly what happened to us.  

To travel from one point to another, everyone had to take the highway, which is NH 44. Due to heavy rainfall at the time, landslides caused roadblocks.  

While we were traveling from Patnitop to Srinagar, it was supposed to take us about 4 hrs. according to Google Maps, but due to roadblocks it took us 8 hrs., to reach Srinagar.  

And the worst part is people are so used to this, they will just wait there for hours and do nothing to clear the roadblocks. At the same time, there is no highway patrol or police to clear the roadblock.  

3. Hire a Local Driver  

If I had to choose the one thing that put a damper on the whole trip it would be our driver. If you are going to someplace new, for the first time you should always hire a local driver. Even if you book the car from a travel agent ask them to give you a local driver.  

There are a lot of benefits of hiring a local. Firstly, they know all the places and won’t depend on us to help him with the directions, like what we had to do with our driver. 

Secondly, a local driver would take you to certain offbeat places in the area, and not just stick to the tourist places. Having a proper local driver, you will be able to enjoy your trip better and smoother at the same time.  

4. Bargain is the Key 

When you are visiting any touristy place, it is possible that you would go to the market to shop for souvenirs. So, when you are in Kashmir, it is main that you know how to bargain since taking advantage of tourists is quite common.  

You can easily bargain in any type of shops, whether it is street vendors or proper handicraft shops, bargaining is a common practice here. Even when you are on the highway, you will find people selling shawls and other things by the side of the road, with them you can do heavy bargaining.  

Wrapping Up! 

Kashmir is a place you should visit at least once in your life, since it truly is Paradise on Earth. So, when you are planning a trip to Kashmir, I hope my experience will help you with your planning and traveling.

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Nabamita Sinha

Nabamita Sinha loves to write about lifestyle and pop-culture. In her free time, she loves to watch movies and TV series and experiment with food. Her favorite niche topics are fashion, lifestyle, travel, and gossip content. Her style of writing is creative and quirky.

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