Ahh, the beautiful region of Kashmir! The land of raw, untouched lush, pristine nature among majestic mountainous ranges, there’s simply nowhere else in India like Kashmir ? With its untainted nature, it’s no wonder the place was referred to as “paradise on earth” by the Mughals!
To have the most unforgettable experience in Kashmir, don’t miss out on these activities you never knew you could do here!
1. Go mountain biking among the hills!
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From the slopes of Kashmir Valley to the rugged gravel of Ladakh, Kashmir is the perfect place for the adventurer in you who just loves to go out into the wild. The popular route for cycling enthusiasts starts from Srinagar to Gulmarg, Gulmarg to Pahalgam, Pahalgam to Srinagar, Srinagar to Sonamarg, Sonamarg to Manasbal Lake and then back to Srinagar ?
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This activity requires a lot of stamina and overall fitness so beginners should either join cycling tours or embark on only part of the trail. Do ensure that you're fully equipped with a good quality bike, first aid and the appropriate biking safety attire when going for this!
2. Ski on snow-white peaks like in the Alps!
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From mid-December to mid-April, skiing season is in session in Gulmarg! Ride a gondola from Gulmarg to Kondori and enjoy a 3km downhill slope! Other than the gondola ride, beginners and even children can enjoy frolicking in the golf course spaces with its gentle slopes and open area. Of course, where you can ski you can go toboggan-riding too!
Credit: Kashmir Heliski on Facebook
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try heli-skiing from Kashmir Heliski! Introduced in 2011, the heli-ski experience is where you’re dropped from a helicopter which will definitely get your heart pumping. Compared to contemporary ski experiences, you’ll get to ski on higher altitudes with steeper inclines on heli-ski ?
3. Free-fall against a spectacular Himalayan backdrop on paraglide!
Off to the skies we go! The thrill of free fall, the breathtaking view of valleys and mountains, the snow all around makes paragliding in Kashmir an experience you'll never forget! Run by experienced pilots guiding the whole process, paragliding here is suitable for beginners of all age groups ?
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According to your preference, you can also request to the pilot for a gentle decline or some acrobatic acts on your way down ?
Credit: Paragliding in Kashmir on Facebook
All you need is adventure and you’re good to go! For more information on paragliding in Kashmir, check out this website!
4. Trout Fishing at Lidder Valley
If you prefer to take things slow, try your hand at trout fishing at Lidder Valley in Pahalgam! A fisherman’s paradise, rainbow and brown trout are aplenty here so you’ll almost-definitely get a catch ? While biding your time, bask in the pure splendors of crisp mountain air, crystal clear lakes and the lush meadows around.
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This activity is perfect for some quality time and bonding with your loved ones! Most angling tours can last anywhere between 4 to 7 days, suited to your preference. Check out a sample of a tour itinerary here!
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5. Raft through the river rapids of Kashmir
There’s no better way of experiencing Kashmir’s valleys than to go river rafting! Two popular routes for rafting here are either the Lidder water rafting in Pahalgam or River Sind rafting in Sonmarg. At both destinations, there are different routes of varying lengths and rapid strengths ranging from beginners, intermediate to expert-levels.
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Amateur rafters usually join as part of a group with an experienced guide. Do pay attention to the short safety and pedal training by the guide and make sure you follow their signals during the ride!
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#HHWT Tip: Remember to bring a change of clothes as you'll get drenched! Also, keep your valuables in a waterproof bag or leave them behind as they'll get wet too.
6. Bask in the majestic Himalayan scenery on Shikara and Houseboats!
Cruise down Dal Lake on a Shikara as you enjoy the scenery of the deep blue waters and the mountain valleys around you. Shikaras are the long wooden boats specifically found in Jammu and Kashmir as transportation and can transport around four at a time. A leisurely ride for an hour costs about 400 rupees and you can bargain on this too!
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These intricately designed house boats now make excellent guest houses for romantic getaways or some quality time with loved ones and often come with butlers who'd be happy to assist!
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A houseboat usually consists of a few shared rooms but you also have the option of having the whole houseboat to yourself, but at a higher price of course ☺️
7. Treat your taste buds to Kashmiri cuisine
Food in Kashmir is mostly meat-based so meat lovers out there, time to rejoice! Muslims in India are primarily meat eaters compared to the rest of Hindus in India which tend to follow a vegetarian diet. From mutton balls cooked in curd and meats grilled for hours on end, the food in Kashmir has tons of spices and flavour!
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Be sure to try the wazwan, which is the traditional multi-course platter and the pride of Kashmiris! Almost all the dishes of the wazwan are based on lamb or chicken and as connoisseurs of meat, they are always cooked to perfection either in spicy or curd-like gravy.
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On the streets of Kashmir, you’ll also find vendors making kulcha (a type of bread) or different type of rotis to be eaten with different gravies.
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8. Camp in the great Himalayan outdoors
Camping is yet another way to enjoy the breathtaking landscape that is in the land of Kashmir. Cooking over a slow fire, late-night barbecues and lounging in a tent – these are just some of the ways you can enjoy a camping trip up close in the nature of Kashmir
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There are multiple sites for camping depending on your scenery of choice from lakes, to meadows and mountain cliffs. Check out this website for a sketch of the different camping experiences Kashmir has to offer!
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9. Scenic road trips for the eyes (and soul!)
The Leh-Ladakh, Leh-Srinagar and Manali-Leh Highways are known for being one of India’s most spectacular routes with unparalleled views of clear blue skies and mountain range, bringing you through mountain passes at high altitudes.
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Road trips in Kashmir are not for the faint hearted though as the dirt-gravel terrain can get both winding, narrow, slippery and rough (sometimes simultaneously!) so do make sure you go with experienced riders or drivers!
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The highways are only seasonally open usually according to snow conditions, so do check for the yearly date when planning for your trip. The best time is usually between June to October when the weather is best. Take note that petrol kiosks are not readily available once you enter the highway, so make sure you have a clear plan before embarking on the route. The routes usually take about 3-4 days depending on the pace of drive ?
10. Explore Nubra Valley on a camel ride
Enclosed by surrounding mountains, Nubra Valley is a cold desert with white sand that’s another gem in Kashmir! Imagine sand dunes in the midst of mountain range where you can catch the best sunrise and sunsets and go star-gazing at night ? One other experience in Nubra is camel-riding through desert terrain while you take in the sights and sounds of nature in its full glory. Let the pictures speak for themselves!
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For faster mode of transportation, you can travel around the sand dunes on an ATV ?
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11. Get your hands on some Kashmiri specialties!
Silky-soft shawls, hand-woven carpets, hand-woven wicker, dry fruits, and pure saffron – these are just some of the specialties of Kashmir that can be found nowhere else!
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The quality of these goods in Kashmir are unbeatable and are in its purest form as they are usually either handmade or from small family-run businesses.
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So there you have it, a guide on how to make the best of your time in Kashmir and create unforgettable memories ? Don’t wait too long, your best adventure begins now!