KASHMIR "About & History"

Once you have crossed the mighty Pir Panjal range and entered the beautiful valley of Kashmir, there are two things that occur. You are at first overwhelmed by the abundance of life-giving earth and the absolute and enchanting beauty of your surroundings, secondly, you will note the distinct cultural & physical shift that occurred, until you could almost be mistaken in thinking you have reached central Asia.

The landscape of Kashmir is stunning and thus has been captivating Kings, Travelers, Scholars & Saints for lifetimes. As a destination, it has been entertaining tourists for nearly 200 Years. But, Kashmir has much much more to offer beyond the famed Houseboats & Shikaras (traditional Kashmiri water transport) of Dal Lake, the ski slopes of Gulmarg, and the pleasure gardens of Mughal Kings. The “old town” of Srinagar is a virtual open-air museum of architecture and material culture. The Bazaars are filled with copper smiths, cloth merchants, spice dealers, halaal butchers, traditional wood-fired bakeries, tailors, and embroiders. Situated around the river Jhelum, the mighty river which flows into Pakistan, are Mosques, Shrines, Temples & Tombs indicative of the rich religious heritage of Srinagar. Head out of the city and into the mountains you will find small gorgeous villages, nomadic people life-giving glaciers running into life-sustaining rivers, high altitude meadows, world-class ski runs, wild animals, and mighty peaks waiting to be summited.

if you locate Kashmir from a geopolitical perspective the history of not only India but the entire Central Asian region can be meditated through her. The history of Kashmir, with its subsequent layers of rites, rituals, and rulers has created the culture of today. In the time of methodology, Kashmir was an enormous lake, and the first dwellers were people of water. No religious history is at this time. But what is recorded is that located near the Wular Lake (about 2 hours drive from Srinagar) which is considered the contemporary remain of the first giant, there are giants iron hooks solved into the sides of the mountains that were used by these first water dwellers to Moore their boats; dwelling in the mountains that surrounded the lake was Naga Tribe, worshipers of the serpent. As the lake drained due to conflicts between the Gods and Men, Rishis, and Bhramens came from the Indus Valley to live there and reclaimed the land. It was here Hindu Religion 1st came to Kashmir like neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Buddhism became the next religion to captivate the people and to flourish. King Ashoka “The Great” was responsible for the propagation of Buddhist belief (around 250 BC.) at first named Ashoka “the cruel” for his predilection of torture and violent solitary, he reperformed his ways after a particularly messy battle which saw him embrace the teachings of non-violence and respect for all parts creatures. Hindu religion popped up again with the reigns of his son and grandson, but Buddhism returned for the next 200 years with the Kushan empire (1st/2nd century A D) the Kushans were a collection of people from the very west of china who swept through Central Asia, down into India and across to the Bay of Bengal. They created to trade with the “Silk Route”, peace with Buddhism, and stability with coin. Kashmir and its surroundings became the seat of Buddhist learning and religious scholarship.

Shaivism worship of the God Shiva and a form of Hinduism dominated the valley after the decline of Buddhism. In Kashmir Shaivism all things are manifestations of universal, consciousness and the goal of Kashmiri Shaivism is to merge in Shiva or universal consciousness or realize one’s already existing identity with Shiva. The most famous Shaivite of Kashmir was Lalleshwari, (Lal Ded). She was a mystic and poet and she created some of the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language which now hold an important position in the canon of Kashmiri Literature. she inspired many of the later Sufis of Kashmir including the patron saint of Kashmir, Nundrishi.

Islam came to Kashmir in the very beginning through the Ladakhi King Rinchen (widely known as Rinchen Shah) who was ultimately impressed by the simple teaching of Sufi Islam from Bulbul Shah, beloved poet of Kashmir and the first Muslim faqeer to visit the valley, converted to Islam to consolidate his reportedly otherwise week position as a foreign ruler of the kingdom of Kashmir. The Sufi teachings which were spreading east from Persia through modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and into India, resonated with the local Buddhist and Hindu populations. They taught that man should strive to be with God (Experience God directly) and have no attachments to this world. Sufism became the common ground between all, promoting the unity of all being and all religions. If were to be a single man that influenced the culture of Kashmir and Kashmiri Islam it would be Mir Syed Ali Hamadani. The Persian Sufi, to avoid persecution in his homeland, move to Kashmir with 700 followers during the reign of King Shahab-uddin (1354 to 1373). in Kashmir, Hamadani started to preach Islam in a peaceful and organized manner and with his followers built many Mosques in the Valley. The beautiful Papier Mache, mosque Shah-i-Hamdan, in the old town is dedicated to his memory.

Islam continued to separate through the mouths of a holy man in the valley, and a series of great Islamic Kings from Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin in 1420 to the famed Mughal rulers who reigned throughout northern India from 1586 to 1753, consolidated Islam as the state religion. After the Mughals, the Afghans (1762–1819), the Sikhs (1819–1846), and then the puppets rulers of the British, the Dogras from the next Kingdom of Jammu ruled Kashmir, until the time of the partition of India in 1947. After 1947 Kashmir’s status remained disputed with the UN. the 2 newborn states, India and Pakistan claimed it to be theirs. this led to 3 wars and later in 1990, a mess uprising took place which claimed thousands of Kashmiri Lives. This political uncertainty over decades severely impeded Kashmiri's development and unbelievably it still remains a seriously electricity-deficient region though situated in a hydropower potential zone. The dispute over Kashmir has been the cause whether directly or indirectly of all major conflicts between the 2 countries with the exception of the Bangladesh war of 1971.

Up to the present Kashmir remain a major Muslim State, Administrated by 2 states Pakistan and India. the conflict over Kashmir remains unresolved. not only was Kashmir’s religion imported and molded through various rulers over the centuries, but particularly influential has been Persian Culture which is still obvious from such examples as the sweet and spicy Kehwa Tea to guests to the majestic chinar trees living in the valley. Among the 700 followers who accompanied Mir Syed Ali Hamdani to Kashmir, many were men of the arts and crafts. They popularized shawl making, Carpet manufacturing, cloth weaving, pottery, and calligraphy. from the 1400 century, the Persian Language exerted enormous influence on the intellectual elite and was the official court language. For 500 years hereafter Persian was a primary medium for literary production in all fields of learning and poetry.

Continuous efforts to develop Persian at that time the availability of locally produced, high-quality paper and the constant influx of Iranian Scholars earned Kashmir the title Iran-E-Sagar “Little Iran”. Persian was replaced by Urdu in 1889, and Urdu remains to this day as the official state language.


GULMARG "Medow of Flowers"

It may be possible to take a tourist map of Kashmir and replace it with a picture of Gulmarg. Gulmarg is the Kashmir valley’s most famous and primary tourist destination, especially in the winter when the temperature is low and the snow is soft and powdery. Gulmarg is the location for all the adventure activities from skiing, heli-skiing, and snowboarding, to high-altitude golf, trekking, and riding the world-famous gondola.

Gulmarg is an open meadow surrounded by lovely thick pine forests and in the spring the grassy slopes are covered with wildflowers, bluebells, daisies, forget-me-nots, and butter cups. Gulmarg lies under the majestic Mount Apharwat (4511m) in the northeast of the Pir-Panjal range about 55 km from Srinagar. The beautiful valley of Gulmarg is about 3km in length (meaning you can easily walk to most places), crescent-shaped, and just less than 1km wide. The drive to Gulmarg itself is beautiful, passing through avenues of poplar trees and rice fields until you begin your steep ascent through majestic pines. Gulmarg can be enjoyed on a day trip with a picnic and a ride in the gondola. Or come here to relax and ski, and with the opening of the second phase of the gondola in 2005, it is now a world-class destination for skiers of all abilities. Others come to hike from Gulmarg to other lush locations in the Kashmir valley such as the famous and most beautiful meadow of Tosamaidan. When both stages of the gondola are operational you can journey up to the Apharwat station for amazing views and photo opportunities of the valley and the Kishtwar and Himalayan ranges.

The French firm Poma designed the gondola and at 12992ft is considered the highest in the world. The beauty of all the white snow piling up around the trees and hills is a beautiful sight and should not be missed if you are in Kashmir in the winter.

Gulmarg Sky Gondola

By far and away the most famous attraction for tourists is the Gulmarg gondola taking you through snow and magnificent forest to the top of the world. Prices for the first phase are INR 740 per ticket and INR 940 for the second phase, INR, 1690 for both.

Winter Activities

The best months for skiing in Gulmarg are December to February. Although snow does come from mid-November and can last to the first weeks of April. The G4 station of the cabal car (gondola) takes you up to the height of 3850m. From here you can either ski down to Gulmarg or Tamgmarg. The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering offers 14-day ski courses in the winter for INR 10,000

Heli Skiing in Gulmarg Started in 2010, heli-skiing in Gulmarg can become a lifetime experience, taking you anywhere in the 20000 sq. km of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. The freshest and most daring adventure in the Indian Himalayas awaits you! There is only one company operating at Gulmarg and all the information is on their website.

Hot Air Ballooning

The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering also offer Hot Air Ballooning packages for INR 9000.

Summer Activities Hiking to frozen Alapathor Lake, Alapathor Lake is around an hour’s uphill climb from G4 station, (the top of the second stage of the gondola), situated at the foothills of the majestic Apharwat peak (4500m).

The lake remains frozen till the end of June, so the best time to visit the lake is from July to early November, an early encounter is not recommended. The turquoise blue color of the lake under the blue sky is a jewel and looks simply divine. Up at this altitude with the wind, snow, and looming mountain peaks, you are simply left in awe at the beauty of God and nature.


Located 6.5 km from Gulmarg, there is another beautiful meadow, Khilanmarg, lying at 2000ft higher than Gulmarg at the foot of Mt Apharwat. During the ascent, you will be greeted by fresh wildflowers the small beauty welcoming you as you walk. From this place, the magnificent panorama of the inner Himalayan range can be enjoyed. To the north the colossal Nanga Parbat, the east Mt Harmoukh, and Mahadev, the mighty guardian of Srinagar. You will also be able to spy Kolohai rising over the Lidder Valley and maybe even the royal couple of the Suru Valley, Nun, and Kun.


Golfing was brought to Gulmarg by the British, who used this location as a summer getaway and you can feel their influence even today. See Golf in Kashmir’s section.

You can reach Gulmarg directly from Srinagar airport by taxi (INR 4000).

Trekking in Gulmarg

Tangmarg to Tosamaidan (12 km) and Poonch

Duration: 4 days

Grade: Moderate

Highlights: Beautiful meadows and landscapes

Best Time: June to October

Day 01 Srinagar to Drung (average driving time of 2 hours) Drung can be reached by taxi or bus from Srinagar. Buses usually stop at Tangmarg and from here you can take a shares taxi for both Gulmarg and Drung. It is advised to visit the tourism office in Gulmarg for permission and assistance for the Trek’s Drung has a beautiful camping ground near the stream.

Day 02 Drung to Danwas (average walking time of 2 hours) The trek starts by walking along the Ferozpore Nallah from Drung, past the army camp where you need to show your identification. After crossing the stream, the trail takes you up through a gentle walk and this same track leads to the camp at Danwas. It is a beautiful green ground that is used as grazing ground by the Gujjar shepherds in the summer ideal for camping.

Day 03 Danwas to Basam Gali to Tosamaidan (Average walking time of 5 ½ hours)

The morning walk starts by walking towards the Basam Gali (13000 ft). Strictly follow the beaten trial as there can be unexploded shells if you walk away from the trial. Head towards Jamiya Wali Gali or Chor Panjal Pass which are near the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. After crossing the Basam Gali you reached the beautiful meadow of Tosamaidan. Tosamaidan is one of the biggest and most beautiful alpine meadows of the Kashmir valley. It is covered with colorful wildflowers and it also has a water channel on its north. It is also one of the best sources of medicinal herbs in the Kashmir valley. The meadow provides a magnificent view towards the east. From here, one can reach the Poonch district of Jammu and it is also said that the famous Chinese Traveller Hieun Tsang took the same route to visit Poonch in 633 AD.

Day 04 Tosamaidan to Chinnag Gali and Poonch (average walking time of 8 ½ hours) From here start walking toward the southwest. Near the Chinnag Gali, there are a few beautiful lakes to admire and enjoy. After crossing the Gali. The trail takes you directly to Poonch. There are guest houses and hotels in Poonch where one can stay overnight. From Poonch, you can go to either Srinagar via Mughal Road or Jammu.


PAHALGAM "The Village of Shepherds"

One of the most famous and beautiful destinations in all of Kashmir Valley is Pahalgam “the Village of the Shepherds”. It is located 96km (about 3 hour’s drive) from Srinagar.

Originally a sleepy wee village of Shepphards (more rumors abound that Jesus passed some time here amongst his flock!) Pahalgam has exquisite scenery of majestic pines, and blossoming high-altitude meadows looking up to snowy peaks and down into beautiful blue rivers. It is possible to enjoy a day trip to this location to get out of noisy Srinagar but the beauty of Pahalgam does not lie around the small bazaar, hotels, and parks of Pahalgam town but in the mountains past Aru.

Pahalgam Town

The journey from Srinagar itself gives- you a taste of what lies ahead. Noisy congested streets give way to poplars and rice fields, where flashes of color from the pink or green of a woman’s head scarf to the golden grain reflect the sunlight.

You know Pahalgam is approaching when you spy the rushing and refreshing Lidder River starting to turn and gurgle. When you hit Pahalgam town, there is quite a noisy bazaar reminiscent of Dal gate selling the usual Kashmiri handicrafts and shawls. If only stay for the day there is a number of parks where you can relax and enjoy a picnic.

You can also take a pony ride or a small walk up the hillsides. The best option would be to take the beautiful drive from Pahalgam to Aru (11 km). Shared jeeps leave the main bazaar frequently to Aru and the drive is simply stunning as you slowly wind your way up the mountain, the lush green valleys, snowy mountains, small villages, and that ever-ravishing Lidder calling you to come and explore. To reach Pahalgam take a shared taxi to Anantnag (Islamabad) taking around 2.5 hours from the Dal Gate Taxi Stand located between the Dal Gate Bazaar and the Petrol Pump. From Anantnag Taxi Stand (the first taxi will drop you here) take another shared taxi to Pahalgam, around 1 hour costing INR50, this will drop you in the main bazaar, Pahalgam. You can also take the SRTC Bus leaving from the TRC at 8:30am every morning in the summer, and returning in the evening. The ‘deluxe’ 19-seater costs INR369 and the ‘high-tech’ 36-seater costs INR289. You can also hire a private taxi or take the local bus leaving frequently from the Batamaloo Bus Stand (again first to Anantnag/Islamabad then Pahalgam).

Pahalgam is another tourist destination with a wealth of hotels and guesthouses for every budget. There are plenty of big hotels in the main bazaar and many gorgeous small guest houses on the Lidder River about 2km on from the main bazaar on Chandiwari Rd. If you wantbudget accommodation in a beautiful location right next to the Lidder, make your way to Chandiwari Rd, and you will find rooms for INR500–1500. There are also some beautiful guesthouses in Aru where it is recommended you stay if you want less bustle of the main town and a beautiful calm surround. You can also camp in Pahalgam and Aru. As usual, prices vary with occupancy and season.


It is from Aru that you can begin to glimpse the real beauty of the area. Aru is the last stop of supplies, restaurants, tea stalls, and guest houses before you begin the trek into the mountains. You can also pass time happily here with walks, pony rides, and lunch if just stopping for the day. If you leave the main hustle and bustle of Aru Village and venture over the ridge on foot or by pony you will find Gujjar Huts built into the mountainside, and if you are lucky, you will also see the Gujjar men and women attending their flocks and daily chores. It is in Aru that most people will first see Gujjars in their natural habitat. If you are in Srinagar at the right time of year, you may have already glimpsed the strange sight of shepherds herding their flocks of sheep down Boulevard Road early in the morning. These are the Gujar the “Shepherds of Paradise”. Willows grow around the Gujjar huts surrounded by branch fences. Their fields produce buckwheat, maize, and potatoes. You can camp just above Aru under huge shady fir trees, next to the beautiful flowing stream. There is a legend that in the Amin Valley, the mountain flanks give rise to three springs, the water clearer than glacial water, which, when drunk in moderation under the midday heat of summer, provides a “natural champagne”.

Aru Wild Life Sanctuary

Aru wildlife sanctuary is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Kashmir. It has got stunning mountain ranges, beautiful meadows, deep valleys, silver line river, and streams. Spread on 32 sq. It is home to many exotic species of animal birds and medicinal plants. Mammals like Leopard cats, Musk deer Himalayan black bears, Hangul, etc. Can be spotted in this area.

Gujjars and Bakerwals

The Gujjars and Bakerwals are the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribal peoples of Jammu and Kashmir (they are also found in Pakistan). They spend the winter months in Rajouri and Poonch on the western flank of Jammu and in the first weeks of April pack up their families and houses onto horses and begin the long walk-through valleys and over treacherous mountain passes to the high-altitude meadows of the Kashmir Valley to graze their cattle. “The Bakerwals move in extended family units and set up camp in tents, staying in places for one to two days, and in some others for weeks. They do not wander randomly; their path is well-defined based on hundreds of years of experience moving through the mountains. The huts that you see as you walk through the mountains around Pahalgam belong to the Gujjars, in these huts, the family sleeps alongside the cattle.

The Line of Control running between Kashmir and Pakistan has sliced their grazing lands in two reducing their ability to graze their flocks competently, this has resulted in the overgrazing of meadows in the Valley, it remains to be seen what kind of impact this will have on the herders. They are recognizable by their colorful headgear; the men wear long beards dyed with Henna and Khan dresses with checked turbans and generally a blanket draped over their shoulders. The women wear a simple salwar kameez, a large shawl, and large silver jewels, particularly big nose studs, and the Gujjar women wear a colorful woven cap. Both men and women are recognizable by their hardy mountain appearance and dark eyes. Like all traditional tribal people, the younger generation is restless after being introduced to the desires of the modern world. As grazing lands, forests, and water quality in the mountains diminish, formal education is becoming more relevant for children.


From Aru, begins the trek to Lidderwat, a stunning natural meadow home to the Gujjar and Bakerwal tribes. It’s from Lidderwat that one can make treks to the Sonmarg, Tsar Mar and Kolohai glaciers. Crossing the ridge from Aru, you begin to experience softness and silence of the mountain air, and begin to feel amazing sensations as if you are entering into God’s own private garden. Dark green luscious pine forests close over you as you follow the well-worn path of many Travellers over the many years. The path then opens out as you cross meadows dotted with horses, huts and human life and you look to the snowcapped mountains around and to the rushing river below. It is actually glorious. The walk to Lidderwat (11km) is straightforward and moderate, it is entirely possible to do this walk without horses or a guide. If you are wanting for anything once you reach the Lidderwat Valley you only have to communicate with the Gujjar folk and you can buy or trade with them, or send one of the more ambitious young boys back to Aru to bring you supplies. The path to Lidderwat runs along the left bank of the Lidder, and a bridge across to the right bank leads to a tourist hut for the weary traveler, who wants a solid roof of tin over their head for the evening. Lidderwat itself is green and open, surrounded by majestic trees and stately peaks, it is a place of incredible beauty, relaxation and rejuvenation. Lidderwat is the junction of three roads, on the west to Sonamarg, the east to Kolohai and the south returning to Pahalgam. It is entirely possible to spend a week camping at this location and each day completing small hikes to various destinations of your choice. The other option is to camp here for the night and then continue.

Trek from Pahalgam to Tar-sar and Mar-sar Lakes

Duration: Min 5 and max 7 days

Grade: Moderate

Best Time: June to October

Highest Point: Mar-Sar Lake

Major Highlights: Beautiful meadows, shepherds and shepherds’ huts, snowcapped mountains, colorful wild flowers and high-altitude lakes.

Day 01 Srinagar to Aru valley,


Pahalgam can be reached by share taxi which leaves from Datgate petrol pump to Islamabad/Anathnag from here you have to take another share taxi to Pahalgam. There is a bus that leaves from the SRTC bus stand near the TRC Tourist Reception Centre. The drive to Pahalgam is 3.5 hours drive from Srinagar. On the way you pass through Pampore saffron city. 20 minutes after Pampore, you reach Avantipur the grand stone temple built by ancient King Avantivarman, the ruins of which are still standing. On the way, you can also get a glimpse of Aishmuquam Ziarat high on the mountainside and the final resting place of one of Kashmir’s greatest saints The drive from Aishmuquam Ziarat to Pahalgam is very pleasant, as you drive parallel to the lively Lidder River. Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Seshnag and Aru rivers. The last village in the valley is Aru, 11 km from Pahalgam at an altitude of 7900 ft. Overnight stay in Aru, either camping or staying in one of the many lovely guest houses available.

Day 02 Aru to Lidderwat (Lidder Valley)

After breakfast, you can go look for a pony man or arrange your trek through a travel agency (Ahanger HOBO is recommended). The charge of a horse or pony for a day is INR900. Take all your ration from Aru. The trails take you up a ridge that is steep and tiring once you cross it the rest of the trail to Lidderwat is flat through a deep enchanted forest, dancing silvery streams, and Gujjar (nomadic) settlements. Aru to Lidderwat is 11km, and is situated on the junction of three roads; the east goes to Kolohai, the west to Sonamarg and south goes to Pahalgam. After walking for 3 to 4 hours, cross the wooden bridge to reach the beautiful camping side in Lidderwat. There are two small alpine huts here with basic accommodation if you don’t feel like tenting for the night.

Day 03 Lidderwat to Tar Sar Lake

Today we have to cover around 16 km (10 miles) and a river crossing. Tar Sar is a calm and quiet place that gives a sharp edge to the appetite. Start the day by climbing the small ridge which is the backdrop of the camping site. Once you cross it you reach a plain ground that will take you near the Gujjar huts at Sekiwas. Cross the River from a convenient point to reach the other side of the river. From Sekiwas, the trail on the right side takes you to Yamhar Pass (4091 m) into Kulan Sonamarg. Keep the trail on the left side until you reach another Gujjar hut situated on a slope. From here the trail becomes a little steep and tiring. Follow the trail across and it will take you to the top from where you get the first glimpse of the crystal-clear water of the lake. There is a wonderful camping site on the shore of the lake. Overnight stay in a camp on the banks of Tar Sar Lake.

Day 04 Tar Sar Lake (3849m) to MarSar lake (3995m) Just two hours walk from Tarsar lake is Marsar Lake. The silvery streak of water from Tarsar goes to Dachigam valley. There is also a trail from the meadow around the lake which goes all the way to Dachigam valley and into Srinagar. You need a special permission from the Wild Life Department to go beyond this point. You can camp here or go back to Liddarwat via the same route.

Day 05 Lidderwat to Aru and Pahalgam

Start the walk from the beautiful Lidderwat via the same route you reached Aru. Either stay the night here, or take a shared taxi to Pahalgam, and from there you can take a taxi or bus to Srinagar the left side trail from Lidderwat takes you to Sat Lan Jan, and from the base of the Kolohai glacier one trail takes you over Kolohai pass to the village of Sarbal in Sonamarg and the other takes you to the main Kolohai glacier followed by the Kolohai climb.

Aru to Sonamarg Trek (Sindh valley via Yamhar Pass)

Duration: 4 days

Grade: Moderate

Best Time: June to October

Highest Point: Yamhar Pass

Major Highlights: Beautiful meadows, Lidder river, nomadic life, mountain peaks, lush valleys.

Day 01 Srinagar to Aru valley,


Pahalgam can be reached by share taxi which leaves from Dalgate petrol pump to Islamabad/Anatnag from here you have to take another share taxi to Pahalgam. There is a bus that leaves from the SRTC bus stand near the TRC tourist reception center. The drive to Pahalgam is a 3.5-hour drive from Srinagar. On the way you pass through Pampore saffron city. 20 minutes after Pampore, you reach Avantipur — the grand stone temple built by ancient King Avantivarman, the ruins of which are still standing. On the way, you can also get a glimpse of Aishmuquam Ziarat high on the mountainside, and the final resting place of one of Kashmir’s greatest saints. The drive from Aishmuquam Ziarat to Pahalgam is very pleasant, as you drive parallel to the lively Lidder River. Pahalgam is situated at the junction of the Seshnag and Aru rivers. The last village in the valley is Aru, 11 km from Pahalgam at an altitude of 7900ft. Overnight stay at Aru, either camping or staying in one of the many lovely guest houses available.

Day 02 Aru to Lidderwat (Lidder Valley)

After breakfast, you can go look for a pony man or arrange your trek through a travel agency (Ahanger HOBO). The charge for a horse or pony for a day is INR500. Take all your ration from Aru. The trails take you up a ridge that is steep and tiring once you cross it the rest of the trail to Lidderwat is flat through a deep enchanted forest, dancing silvery streams, and Gujjar (nomadic) settlements. Aru to Lidderwat is 11km, and is situated on the junction of three roads; the east goes to Kolohai, the west to Sonamarg and the south goes to Pahalgam. After walking for 3 to 4 hours, cross the wooden bridge to reach the beautiful camping side in Lidderwat. There are two small alpine huts here with basic accommodation if you don’t feel like tenting for the night.

Day 03 Lidderwat Yamhar Pass Base

Start the day by climbing the small ridge which is at the backdrop of the camping site. Once you cross it the valley broadens and you will reach open ground taking you near the Gujjar huts at Sekiwas. From here the right trail takes you to Yamhar pass (4091) and the left takes you to Tarsar lake. Continue walking on the right-hand trail before you reach the pass. Overnight camp near the base of the pass.

Day 04 Camp to Zaiwan (4091) We start the morning by climbing the pass. The climb is stiff and tiring so fill your water bottles from the stream before approaching the pass. The view from the top of the pass is mesmerizing. Descend to reach Khemsa, from here the trail gets divided into two trails. The left goes to Gund and the straight trail goes to Ziawan and then into Kulan. An overnight stay can be done in Kulan or you can drive to Sonamarg — there are frequent sumo and bus services to Sonamarg and Srinagar from here. There is an alternative route on Day 03…

Halt at Sekiwas and camp there for the night.

Day 04 Sekiwas to Sumbal (average walking time 7 hours)

In the morning, leave west for Sonmoos pass. The ascent is steep and takes time. Once you reach the top and descend, you cross Surfarow and then to Sumbal. Sumbal is in Sonamarg. You can take a shared taxi from here back to Srinagar.

Kolohai Glacier

Another trek leaving from Lidderwat is to the Kolohai Glacier. From Lidderwat camping ground, walk on the right-hand side valley for three hours, just before you reach Sat Lan Jan you have to cross a stream at seven points. At Sat Lan jan there are Gujjar huts, where you can camp.

The next morning follows the trail straight for around 2 hours walk from Sat Lan Jan (seven small streams), crossing the Kolohai valley is the mouth of the Kolohai glacier, the major source of river Lidder. Once you reach Kolohai glacier, on the left side a well-defined trail takes you up a path and after a steep climb you reach the top.

Once you reach the top walk straight and you will get the top view of Doodh Nag. It is a circular shape lake with milky-colored water. On one side there is a cliff above a glacier that feeds the Doodh Nag. The other side of the lake is covered in beautiful wildflowers and herbs of different kinds. There are another two trails from the base of the Kolohai glacier. One trail takes you over the Kolohai pass to the village of Sarbal in Sonamarg and three other takes you can go to the main Kolohai glacier followed by the Kolohai climb.

The Beautiful Ice-bound Lake of Tulian, Pahalgam

Duration: 1 night 2 days

Grade: Moderate

Best Time: June to September

Highest Point: Tulian Glacier Ridge at 3700m

Major Highlights: Beautiful meadows, shepherds and shepherd’s huts, snowcapped mountains, and a high-altitude lake.

Day 1: Pahalgam to Tulian meadow

(Average walking of 6 hours)

The morning starts with walking towards the taxi stand. Just ahead of the taxi stand is the stand for horses where you can hire horses for the trek, usually, they charge INR1000 INR per horse per day. Don’t be surprised if you get bombarded by twenty to thirty horsemen, trying to convince you to hire his horse. Go with your instinct and choose your horseman who can also be your guide for the rest of the trek. Once you know them, then it’s very interesting to travel with them. Get all your rations from the market because you don’t get any ahead, though there is a small restaurant at Baisaran 5km ahead, your first halt after you start from Pahalgam. Once you cross the horse stand, you walk up into the forest on a very well-defined footpath taking you to Bhaisaran. It is a huge flat charming grassy glen in the middle of the pine forest. The view of the surrounding mountains is phenomenal. You can take tea or snacks here and plan the further trek.


SONMARG "The Medow of Gold"

Sonamarg the Meadow of Gold and is located 84 km from Srinagar. Sonamarg can either be reached by road or by trekking from Pahalgam. By road, Sonamarg is the last stop with tea houses, accommodations, and restaurants before you cross the Zoji-La and enter Ladakh. Sonamarg is Kashmir's most famous meadow, named for the time when, under the afternoon sunlight, the meadow turns to gold. The slopes and meadows are layered with mountain flowers, and the surrounding forests are thick with firs, sycamore, and birch, creating that sumptuous mountain aroma! Today the main bazaar of Sonamarg, like Pahalgam, has become crowded by opportunism. So please venture beyond the main road and let yourself dive into the magical mountain surroundings. If just visiting for the day there are a few activities you can explore. Pony rides and picnics are most popular with the locals. You can also try trout fishing for INR50 per fish. The best thing to do on a day trip is to walk to Thajiwas, 1/1.5 hours walk from the main bazaar, you can also take a taxi halfway and then a horse. Thajiwas is a small and lovely side valley and is located at the foot of the Sonamarg glacier. It is an amazing location, for at least five glaciers come cascading down the mountains to meet at this point! If you would like to stay the night and enjoy the mountain peaks and glaciers, there is a tourist hut and also an awesome camping ground. Another longer, walk, would be to Baltal, which is a base camp for the Amarnath Yatra. It is located 15km north of Sonamarg and is a small lovely valley at the base of Zoji La, you can make the walk but it is also possible to drive. You can camp here next to the bank of the river. If you are lucky, you will spot Gujjars and their herd being dwarfed by the snow-covered peaks, also by groves of fir and poplar trees. The Sonamarg meadow used to be a popular grazing ground for the Gujjar cattle herders, unfortunately, use and development have rendered it unsuitable for grazing their livestock anymore. Note that Sonamarg is another great starting point for exciting mountain treks. You can reach Sonamarg by SRTC Bus leaving at 8:30 am every morning during the tourist season. The 'deluxe 19-seater is INR351 and the 'high-tech' 36-seater is INR271. There are no real budget hotels in Sonamarg during the summer season, everything is priced at INR 4000 and above. If you have a tent a good option is to camp at the Thajiwas glacier camping ground.

Sonamarg to Gangbal Lake and Naranag

Duration: Min 5 and max 6 days

Grade: Moderate

Best Time: June to October

Highest Point: Kishan Sar Pass (4190m)

Major Highlights: Five major high-altitude lakes, shepherds and shepherd huts, snowcapped mountains, an ancient Hindu temple, and very colorful wildflowers. This 65km trek is considered one of the most beautiful treks in the Himalayas, offering the most spectacular views of mountains, high-altitude lakes, and colorful wildflowers.

Day 01 Sonamarg to Table Top (average walking time of 4 hours) After purchasing the ration from Sonamarg one can look for a horseman in the main bazaar. Usually, they charge INR1000/2000 per day depending upon the pilgrimage season (July/August). Day one includes walking from Sonamarg to Table Top camp side. The trail is very well-defined and takes around 4 hours. It is a beautiful campsite with a commanding view of Sonamarg.

Day 02 Tabletop to Vishen Sar (average walking time of 5 hours) The morning starts with walking through the forest and the trail remains along the Nichnai stream. Walk along the defined trail to the pass. Cross the pass and you descend into a green level meadow; from here walk along the trail which leaves from Nichnai pass and where it merges with a stream coming from the west. There is a beautiful campsite near the Chopan hut (Kashmiri shepherds). Vishen Sar Lake is 15 minutes walk from the campsite. The view of the lake in the morning is breathtakingly beautiful and if you have a permit for fishing then the lake has a good population of trout fish.

Day 03 Vishen Sar to Gad Sar (average walking time of 6 hours) In the morning the walk from the campsite starts towards the west which will take you to a ridge and after crossing the gentle ridge, you walk for a few minutes to reach Kishan Sar Lake. From the shore of the lake, the trail goes up to the pass. From the top of the pass, you get great views. Descend down into the Gad Sar valley and further down to Gad Sar Lake. It is a small beautiful lake with lovely fresh wildflowers around it. You can camp here.

Day 04 Gad Sar to Sath Sar and Gangbal (average walking time of 8 hours) Follow the trail which will take you to the shepherd's hut from here turn left and reach a beautiful meadow followed by the Sat Sar pass (the Sat Sar pass has seven lakes, hence the name, sat seven, sar-lake). Once you cross the pass you reach a meadow and from here you ascend to Zaji Gali, from the top you have a commanding view of Harmoukh Peak and its lakes inviting to host you. Descend and you reach the wonderful and famous Gangbal lake. Camp and fish at the smaller Nudhkohl Lake.

Day 05 Gangbal Lake to Naranag (average walking time of 6 hours) The trail from the Nudhkohl lake goes down across the open meadow. The trail is very well-defined and after walking for an hour you reach the Gujjar huts. From this point, it takes 5 hours to reach Naranag. At Naranag you can spend one more night on the stream bank or if you prefer, you can camp up in the village. There is a beautiful temple at Naranag which is a must-visit. The temple is a Shiva Temple from the 8th Century.

Day 6: Drive from Naranag to Srinagar (2 hours) Take a shared taxi to Srinagar from Naranag. Relax and enjoy the really wonderful drive back down to civilization.


This village can be the base camp for trekking to Gangbal Lake or to summit Mt Harmoukh. Visiting this village and its surroundings in itself is beautiful and it is possible to either camp here for the night or stay the night with the local villagers. It is also a base for the treks to Gadsar, Vishansar, and Krishansar lakes, although these require more time around 5 to 7 days of walking. The drive to Naranag from Srinagar (2.5 hours) is gorgeous and as you ascend through the valleys and see the flashes of tin roofs, baby mosques, signs of simple village life, and verdant green, you will be glad you took the opportunity! If you drive through the afternoon as the sun is on its descent, the whole world turns a warm bronzy gold, which is just champagne for a photographer or videographer.

Naranag is a popular tourist destination for its proximity and ease from Srinagar, its luscious surroundings, and the mysterious ruins of a large Hindu temple.

Achabal | Kokernag | Verinag


Achabal is a quite possibly the most gorgeous of the Mughals gardens and it was said to be Empress Noor Jehan's favourite pleasure retreat. Like other Kashmiri gardens, it is located on a hillside with its water source at the top but unlike other Kashmiri gardens it is the only Mughal Garden which is situated as an extension of the forest, it is located in the middle of the tiny Achabal town near the taxi stand, 64kms from Srinagar and 10km from Verinag. In the days of Noor Jehan, she had kept hamam on the back terrace of the garden, which was always warm and filled. After the Mughals, the people were unable to fathom the mechanism for keeping it warm so they opened the hamam and found a huge candle, which, in their clumsiness, extinguished and never relit. Today, only ruins remain. The garden is well laid out and houses the ubiquitous yet majestic Chinar. Cascades and fountains erected by Mughal Emperors enhance the beauty of the spot. A mosque standing in the garden believed to have been constructed by Mughal Prince Dara Shikor. You first must reach Anatnag by bus or sumo and then take a taxi to the garden. It is not recommended you stay here but continue further up the road to Verinag.


This charming lake, located at about 70kms from Srinagar (between Achabal and Verinag), is shaped like a right foot - with five toes and a heel and thus in ancient times was given the name of Vishnu Pad. In the distance you can spy the sacred Brahma Shakri peaks, and at the same time enjoy the beauty of the water, which is said to have healing and digestive properties. "Koker", in Kashmiri means chicken, and as the water pours forth from a forested hill and divides into channels, it is said to resemble a claw-foot of a chicken, thereby giving it its more modern name of Kokernag. Trout fishing in Kokernag is the most popular activity.


Lying at the north-western foot of the Banihal pass is Verinag, the largest spring in Kashmir (78kms from Srinagar), which is said to never dry up or overflow. It lies in a beautiful and peaceful garden with an octagonal pool in the middle, which Emperor Jehangir had converted from a circle to fit with the Mughal style. It is said he would rest here for weeks after crossing the Pir Panjal from the Punjab. And it is indeed a place to relax and enjoy, the most perfect picnic spot in the Kashmir Valley. The pool which emits a clear sparkling stream is said to be Nila Nag the son of Kashyap Reshi, who was made King of the Kashmiri Nagas (nag snake worshippers). There are beautiful carvings on stones in Persian on the walls surrounding the spring tellinghow this great source of underwater spring is contained. There are guest houses here and also a tourist bungalow in which you can pass a relaxing night, before returning to Srinagar or continuing back over the Pir Panjal to Jammu. There is a Shaivite shrine located just outside the complex that draws pilgrims every year who come for a ritual dip on the first day of the year according to the Hindu lunar calendar. Verinag is also said to be the source of the Jhelum River, the blood that flows through Kashmir's body. To reach Verinag, first you must take a shared sumo from the Dalgate petrol pump to Anatnag (Islamabad) from the jeep stand here take another car to Verinag.

YUSMARG "Medow of Jesus"

Yusmarg is a beautiful cluster of meadows surrounded by majestic pines and fir, 48km from Srinagar. Yusmarg in Kashmiri means The Meadow of Jesus. The word Yus' is said to be the short form of Youza Jesus) and marg means meadow. According to local belief, Jesus is said 

to have passed through this valley (and may have even stayed here for a while) while traveling in Kashmir. The drive itself winding up from Kashmir is stunning. it is much higher than drives throughout other parts of the valley and you really feel elevated both physically and spiritually. The drive will lead you past the town of Char-i-Sharif, with its famous shrine of Noor-ud-Din. You turn right off the main road and hit Yusmarg, another great place surrounded by mountains to humble you. Yusmarg is filled with gorgeous juniper bushes, and many colorful flowers, a real springtime retreat!

A trek of 4 km leads to a small Lake named as Nilnag surrounded by pine trees. Another 10 km trek leads to the most interesting lake the frozen lake in Sang-e-Safed valley, a big chunk of this lake is covered by ice even during the summer. There are plenty of enchanted walks through these hills and meadows to make you feel as if you are communing with the nature spirits. Yusmarg is also known for a profusion of flowers that are used in herbal medicines. For accommodation, there are tourist huts and a camping ground.

There is also a small bazaar for basic items, but it is recommended that trekkers should carry tents and supplies. Besides trekking, you can also take horse rides, go parasailing, have a go at the Zorb ball can even ski in the winter. You can only take shared sumo to Char-i-Sharif leaving from Iqbal Park near Lal Chowk, after that you must hire a private taxi to take you to Yusmarg (around INRl000 for the whole taxi) or if you are patient you can wait for some locals to help you fill the car.

Pahker Pora

Beautiful, views of the Yusmarg mountain, a wonderful old paved bazaar with back streets, visit here if on a day trip to Char-i-Sherif or Yusmarg. Here is also one of Kashmir's most famous Sufi Healers. He is said to have treated everyone from Indira Gandhi to the current chief minister's family. When you reach the taxi stand ask anyone for "peer Baba", his residence is located near the hospital, and a local will show you. Bring a translator as he speaks only the local languages.


The Old City of Srinagar must be visited before you can even get a glimpse into what traditional Kashmiri life must have been like. The old town is situated around the river Jhelum and can be divided into sections along with its famous bridges. Before the Islamic rulers came, there was no bridges of the old city, small boats were moored at either side to provide cross river water transportation. The people of the old city are inquisitive and kind, you will be stared upon, approached and usually invited in for chai, "chai chakha/chai pyoo". The sights of the old city are many and varied.

Old City

There are two ways to discover the old city, by land or by sea, if you have enough time, it is suggested you experience both! You can take a Shikara or motorboat from Dal Lake, Nageen Lake or the Bund behind Lal Chowk. Prices will be negotiable, anywhere from INR800 up, entirely depending on the season, the distance, time and the temperament of the Shikara wallah. Shikara wallahs can also provide lunch, tea, snacks and other items if you so desire. Seeing the old city by the water, you can really get a feeling of the geography, as well as the former glory of Srinagar. The first thing you will notice is that the Kashmiris are people of the water as much as they are peoples of the mountains. Their lives were and still are shaped by the bends of the river, the Jhelum particularly has been a place of agriculture, trade, worship, life and death. You will get to see how the old city of Srinagar has been situated around the river Jhelum, with bridges spanning the river at intervals and connecting the two sides, and how many of the old temples and shrines are located right on the banks. You will see glimpses of former magnificent houses of wood and mud and official buildings constructed by the Mughal rulers bordering the river and begin to understand how much of the body of Srinagar was run by the blood of the Jhelum. There are a few ways to reach the old city on foot. You can enter from the Dal Lake by walking straight through Khayam (take the Dal Gate bridge and walk away from the bazaar and the Boulevard) and just keep walking (you can also take the bus from the Dal Gate bridge heading away from the Bazaar). You can take a rickshaw from Dal and get dropped at Habba Kadal (approx INR50) and move from there. A third and most interesting walk is to start from near the Mahkdom Sahib Shrine and wander down the streets just under, where there lives a collection of folks who have made their homes in this place.

The best way to approach navigation of the old city is either to follow the river as much as you can and Criss cross the bridges at your fancy or turn into the city and enter into the alleyways and simply get lost. Inside you will discover the trades, products, food and architecture of old.

Suggested Old City Walks (for further information on the buildings refer to the section of the religious places of Kashmir)

Walk One (2 hours)

Shah-I-Hamdan; Pather Masjid;

Copper Bazaar; Jamia Masjid

The walk begins at Shah-I-Hamdan. The best way to reach here is by auto rickshaw which should cost INR100 from Dal Gate

Number 1.

At Shah-I-Hamdan also called the papier-mâché mosque, you will see exquisite papier-mâché as well as wood carving, two very important crafts in the Kashmiri art idiom. From here you can purchase beautiful smelling rose water from the shop at the corner opposite. It is a very old shop and worth the visit. Here you can also see the tilla (needle work) on the colored pherans (the gown that both men and women wear, although tilla is only done on the female pheran). As you leave via the stairs from Shah-I-Hamdan, take a left. Keep walking and from the junction you will see a bridge, cross to the other side and turn left and you will reach Pather Masjid.

This is a beautiful Mughal style stone mosque, which is very unique in Kashmir and also very peaceful. You can relax and enjoy yourself in the garden. From Pather Masjid recross the bridge and turn left into the bazaar. Walk through here and enjoy the old architecture, be sure to look it up. Here is the spice market and also the colorful thread market. Turn right and you will reach Copper Ware Road (Zaina Kadal). You can see the copper smiths at work to the left and you can purchase the fines wares also. You will reach Bud Shah's tomb (local name for Zain-AlLUb-Din). Be sure to look for the ruins of the old stone Hindu temple that this tomb was built on. The tomb is quite possibly the most stunning example of Mughal architecture. Take the same way back and hit the main road. Once you hit the main road walks straight up through the narrow market to reach Jamia Masjid. Here you can take tea and relax and also wander in the bazaar Walk Two (2.5 hours) Jamia Masjid, Nowhatta, Mukdoom Shahib, Akhund Mulla Shah, Gurdwara, Hassanbad.

The walk begins from Jamia Masjid, either continue on from the first walk or take a INR150 auto rickshaw from Dal Gate. The Jamia masjid is located in Nowhatta the beating heart of the old town and is the largest mosque in Kashmir. From Jamia Masjid take a left from the main entrance and walk straight, before you reach another four-road junction, from there turn right and walk straight for around 15 minutes and you will reach the stairs of Mukdoom Shahab Shrine. Remove your shoes and take them with you. Climb the stairs and when you reach the main entrance there is a place to keep your shoes. Enjoy watching the pilgrims inside the shrine but be sure to walk through to the other side to feed the pigeons and enjoy the amazing view of the old city. Collect your shoes but take the alternate set of stairs leading out of the back of the shrine, when you hit the bottom turn back in and visit the small Mughal style stone mosque underneath, this is Akhund Mulla Shah. Retrace your steps and then walk straight through the old fort gate, keep walking and you will reach the lovely large white Gurdwara, Chatti Padshahi which was built in the 1950s. After visiting the Gurdwara, take a left along the main road, before crossing the bridge take a right, walking through the small streets until you reach Hassanbad colony and Hassanbad Imambara. Here enjoy the centuries old Arabic and Persian calligraphy on the headstones in the graveyard and the peaceful and quaint outdoor shrine. You will need to see the caretaker to enter the Imambara, but he is more than happy to help.

The Walk Three (3 hours) Hassanbad; Gurdwara; Badam Wari; Tibetan Muslim Refugee Colony; Mizra Akmal-ud-Din Shrine; Alamgiri Bazaar; Madini Shrine; Jalali House Hassanbad is close to Nageen Lake and an auto will charge you INR100 from Nageen and INR150 from Dal Gate. You can begin this walk fresh or at the end of walk two. After Viewing the Imambara and lovely graveyard at Hassanbad, leave this section by taking a right out through the colony. Once you hit the main road take a left and walk towards the late white Gurdwara. Take a right up the road (a small hill) past the Gurdwara and enter the stone gate (if you have just completed walk two you will be briefly retracing your steps), and walk straight, you will reach the psychiatric hospital (don't stop here), keep walking and you will reach Badam Wari the beautiful almond garden (INR10 entry). Once leaving this garden keep walking up (don't head back), this will take you to Hawal and the Tibetán Muslim Refugee colony. Wander through this lovely calm and quiet colony to get a glimpse of libetan faces and culture. These refugees fled Tibet after the occupation by China, they came to Kashmir as their ancestors were originally from Kashmir around some 800 years ago. After completing a circuit of the colony head back out (Through the stone arch) and take a left to the main road. Walk right and you will come across the lovely Mizra Akmal ud-din Shaib shrine, the disciple of Mukdoom Sahib. The shrine marks the start of the Alamgiri bazaar, here are located many artisans that you can watch and admire while they work and also buy products directly from them (no middleman!). From here the first road takes you to the exquisite 14th Century shrine of Madani Sahab. The second road will take you further into Alamgiri bazaar and the wonderful Jalali house. Jalali House: Located in Alamgiri Bazaar is the famous 'Jalali House', perhaps one of the only houses in all of Srinagar that has been maintained in its former glory by the Jalali family.

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LOLAB Valley, GUREZ Valley and BANGUS Meadow

Lolab Valley

At present, the Lolab Valley is still a new tourist area. The wide oval shaped valley, blessed with lush forests and streams lies in the north-west corner of the Jammu and Kashmir state, 114 kms (about 70.84 mi) from Srinagar. It is a magnificent area full of trees that stretch low down into the plain; the villages grow delicious apple, pear and walnut trees. It is said that the prettiest girls in Kashmir come from this Valley. Besides its natural geographic beauty, the Lolab valley is famous for the centuries old Kalaroos caves and Satbaran monument (seven doors of carved stones). It has been discovered that some finds at the cave site indicate that the area must have been an important Buddhist or early Hindu pilgrim site.

At present there are moves to carbon date the site to discover its age and establish its links with other archaeological finds in the region. Locals believe that a tunnel through a cave in Kalaroos leads to some Central Asian countries, saying that the first two kilometres of the tunnel can even be covered on foot. As of October 2012, the Government has decided to market these caves for attracting tourists, the government has also suggested that it will act responsibly in this particularly fragile area and promote "eco-friendly" activities like homestays, fishing, and trekking, as from here it is possible to complete a trek to the famous Wular Lake. Located west of the Lolab Valley, in the northern mountain region of Kashmir is the extensive and beautiful meadow of Bangus, which has the potential to be the next Gulmarg. Now located near the Line of Control in Kupwara, it is opined that this place will also open to tourists soon. To reach Lolab you first take a shared sumo or bus to Kupwara from JVC Bus stand, and from there you can make your way to Lolab by private taxi, or with the locals.

Gurez and Tulail Valleys

The Gurez Valley, the northern frontier of Kashmir, is located not 15kms (about 9.32 mi) from the Line of Control with Pakistan and is the last post of Kashmiri culture/first post of Batlic culture, before you can travel no further on your Indian Visa. To access Gurez you must get a permit (at no charge) from the Banidpora Police Station. Forms for the permit are available in the main Bazaar from all Photostat Shops and require a passport sized photo. To reach Gurez (123 kms (about 76.43 mi) from Srinagar) you must first travel to Bandipora by taxi or bus from the JVC Taxi Stand. You can either stay the night in Bandipora, there is one guest house located above the Kashmiri Wazwan Restaurant in the main bazaar or push to Gurez. Taxis for Gurez leave with some frequency from the main bus stand which is small dust block about 2 kms before the main bazaar. The journey too Gurez will take you straight up. It is a slow wind through the pine trees Overlooking Bandipora town. You will then pass through many army cantonments. With some of the most magnificent views. You will be stopped here maybe more than once for identification and purpose enquires. The Gurez Valley itself is spacious and open, about 2 km across, surrounded by lovely peaks and at the base of the valley is situated the very charismatic Habba Khaton mountain glowing almost purple all the while calling you to come and visit it! Dawar is the name of the main village and is easy to negotiate as it has one street running through the centre of the valley. There is a very comfortable tourist bungalow to stay in with basic cooking facilities, a restaurant serving veg and non-veg, tea stalls and a bazaar with basic vegetables and packaged goods. Potatoes are the staple food of the Gurezi's.

Gurez is important historically because it was the ancient Dardish capital. The Dards are the Indo-Aryans that came from the north and settled in the Kargil/Kashmir region (there is more on the Dards in the Kargil section) and could arguably be the original in habitants of the region The Gurezi's still speak Shina which is the language spoken in the now Pakistani controlled areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. The people of Gurez have a mixture of Kashmiri and Balti culture running through their land. Kashmir, being the major centre of the region for so many hundreds of years, has not failed to leave its mark. Yet in Dawar Village the faces start to resemble more of their Northern neighbours of Baltistan. The road to Gilgit runs from Gurez, and the valley falls along the ancient Silk Route, which connected the Kashmir Valley with Gilgit, before continuing further to Kasgar. Archaeological surveys in valleys north of Gurez have uncovered carved inscriptions in Kharoshthi, Brahmiand Tibetan. Kharosthi being anancient Indic script used by the Gandhara (Buddhist) culture of ancient Northwest South Asia (modern-day Afghanistarn and Pakistan). These carvings provide a wonderful insight into the history of Tibetan Buddhism that was an early religion of the region and into the ancient Kashmiri people. The main river that flows through the Gurez Valley is the Kishen ganga. And for all those who like scenic fishing, there is a wealth of fish (snow trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, shuddgum) to be discovered under this rushing river. Whereas still beautiful with a wealth of small hikes and stunning scenery to enjoy, the Gurez Valley itself has become victim to modern infrastructure incursions, therefore the Tulail Valley (located further along the road) with its rugged villages and village faces, is another stunning worthwhile excursion while you are in the area. Either catch a sumo from Dawar Bazaar or hitch a lift, the mountain road is bumpy, so hold on! Here you will again travel through amazing mountainous Country and pass through villages straddling the mountains and the river. You can travel just shy of the border in over an hour and work your way back. You will be the only people travelling by the mighty Kishenganga exploring small muslim villages on the mountain side, with their variety of faces, chang in gonce again from the more European Kashmiri looks to the Central Asian Balti tribes. Witness another piece of the puzzle in South Asian human migration and expansion fall into place.

A trip to Gurez is worth your time for those who desire to explore the different culture and lifestyle of the Kashmir region, which remains sun distracted by tourists and opportunism. These people are well educated thanks to an army goodwill programme, and not cut off from modernity as Gurez holds the special title of more army to civilians in any civilian settlement in the world.

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The Kashmir Valley has bountiful natural assets, and whilst it is entirely possible to enjoy a relaxing and indulgent holiday in the valley, it is also too possible to go to the extreme side of recreation and try out the following sports in some of the earth’s most stunning locations.

Kashmir offers snow skiing and snowboarding, trekking, motor biking, mountaineering, white water rafting, water skiing, parasailing, and paragliding. Most of these activities can be accessed from Pahalgam or Gulmarg. Pahalgam has the most beautiful rivers for water sports and mountains for trekking whilst Gulmarg is the snow bazaar, with all snow-related activities on offer. Motorbiking between Srinagar and Leh, Ladakh is quite possibly the most breathtaking ride you could possibly hope for, scenically stunning and slightly scary! Enquire at the TRC in Srinagar.


Ever since the British introduced and populated the Kashmir Valley with trout, they have literally taken fish to water and have established themselves as vital colonies in the mountain stream that flow from the Pir Panjal and Himalayan ranges.

The beauty of fishing in Kashmir is that you can choose a beautiful and easily accessible location that is within two hours drive of Srinagar, or you can take fishing to the next level and combine fishing in high-altitude lakes with an adventurous trek. Catching a big one is almost guaranteed.

The fishing season is open from April to September, but like everything, this is in nature’s hands and may lengthen or shorten according to conditions. You are permitted to fish from sunrise to sunset, only fly rods are to be used and no live bait is permitted. Only two rods per beat per day and 6 fish (including local breed) is the bag limit. You can fish almost anywhere and in the most sublime locations around the Kashmir valley, there are tourist huts and private accommodation orangler’s lodges. It is not necessary to bring your own equipment because it is available in Srinagar, although the quality of the equipment may not meet your high expectations.

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Kashmir Golf Courses by Ahanger HOBO

Kashmir Royal Springs Golf Course

Chasma Shahi, Srinagar opens every day from dawn till dusk.

As you come in off Boulevard Rd from Dal Lake, all the noise and distractions just drop away. To enter Royal Springs is to enter a huge peaceful private garden where you can just think and relax and focus on your game. The golf course, laid between the mountains and the water, is like a natural gem hidden from public view. It has all the necessary facilities: a driving range, pro golf shop, ladies and men’s salon, gift shop, gym, sauna, pool, bar, games rooms, and a windowed restaurant overlooking the rolling green and the stunning Zaberwan mountain range. You can also take accommodation here if you so desire. It is possible for non-golfing members of the public to use the facilities and enjoy the clean and modern buffet-style restaurant. The course was designed by Robert Trent II and has beautifully utilized the terrain of the foothills to create a wonderfully aesthetic plus competitive golfing experience with 18 holes and a 6445-meter course at par 72. There are two small tea huts for rest and recovery at holes 5 and 15. The major golf tournaments which are held here are the Greater Kashmir Autumn Golf Festival which is a 3-day golfing tournament held concurrently every October at Royal Springs, Lidder Valley Golf Course, and Gulmarg Golf Club. The other major tournaments are the Panasonic Cup and the Kashmir Open.

Kashmir Golf Club MA Road, Srinagar

Open every day from 7 AM to 8 PM.

Surrounded by Chinars and the Dal to one side, this is Kashmir’s oldest and most accessible 18-hole golf course. Situated in the heart of Srinagar on 52 acres of lovely green, you can play cheap uninterrupted games in the peaceful garden surroundings. Tournaments are the Club Championship, Kashmir Open, and the Greater Kashmir Open.

The Lidder Valley Golf Course Palahgam

Open every day from 9 AM to 6 PM

Closed winters due to snowfall.

The Lidder Valley is one of Kashmir’s most fresh and beautiful locations. Enjoy a 9-hole round of golf between the rushing river and superb snow-capped peaks. Pahalgam is 3 hours by road from Srinagar and is absolutely famous for its natural beauty, fresh soft mountain air, and friendly folk. If You are wanting to stay the night, there is accommodation to suit every taste and budget, and also a wealth of restaurants and coffee houses to try. You can also include your golf game, small hikes, horse rides, adventure sports, and fishing.

Gulmarg Golf Club “The World’s Highest Golf Course “

Gulmarg is Open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM.

Closed from December to April due to snow.

The famous Gulmarg Golf Course was first built by the British in 1904. Recently redesigned and reopened, the greens are designed to fit the natural landscape with undulations and contours merging with the surrounding area. Enjoy your game of golf surrounded by majestic pines and gorgeous wildflowers carpeting the meadow. The 18-hole, par 72 Gulmarg Golf course is quite hilly, so it can be challenging. The course has a long dual-sided driving range of over 600 yards, there is a large practice green at the clubhouse, and a learning academy with three holes. The Gulmarg Golf Clubhouse has table tennis and billiards and a restaurant, serving tea, snacks, and meals. Please note that while accessing the course in your car.

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Geography of Kashmir by Ahanger HOBO

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The geography of Kashmir primarily comprises mountains and water bodies. In the spiritual context, the Himalayas are considered to be the abode of Gods, and its religious traditions involve cosmic creation.

It was a time before 80M years ago, at that time the Indian subcontinent breaks up into parts from Gondwanaland and drifts northward to merge with Asia and emerge in the formation of the world’s highest mountain range, the Great Himalayan Range. Tibet’s Mt. Kailash is worshipped as the holiest mountain in the Himalayan range, representing Lord Shiva’s abode and the spiritual center of the universe. As per some sayings Kailasa is believed to be the best place in the three worlds, the Himalayas, and Kashmir Valley. The Indian subcontinent is broken up from the Tibetan plateau by the main Himalayan range, which stretches for over 2000km from Nanga Parbat (Nanga Parbat is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous, for Climbing in History. Worlds in the west to the mountains that border Sikkim and Bhutan in the east.

A Little over about Ahanger HOBO Ahanger HOBO has actual history and the best knowledge about Kashmir, not only that but gives you “the best hotel accommodation”. Ahanger HOBO always believes in the best services.

East of Ladakh is Aksai Chin, the border India shares with China, and the site of the region’s biggest glacier, the Siachen glacier, considered the world’s highest, costliest, and coldest battlefield. Sixty of the 327 major Himalayan glaciers is located in Kashmir, which contributes to 75% of the water in the Indus Water Basin, crucial for sustaining life and agriculture in the region and the Indian planes.

The Kolohai glacier in Kashmir is among the largest and most vital sources of water for southern Kashmir. The Kashmir Valley is an ancient lake basin spanning 140 km in length and 32 km in width, with an average elevation of 5300ft above sea level. The mighty Western Himalayan mountains surrounding the Valley rise up to 16000ft in some places. To the south of the main Himalaya and the Kashmir Valley lies the Pir Panjal range, with an average elevation of 5000ft.

To enter the valley, one must cross the Banihal pass, where Pir Panjal meets the ridge line separating the Kashmir Valley from the Warvan Valley of Kishtwar. Geographically, Kashmir referred to the area between the Pir Panjal and the Greater Himalayas before Jammu and Kashmir’s political creation. The region is home to three major rivers, namely the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum, with their tributaries forming the principal drainage system in the Western Himalaya, and the latter two are revered as the lifelines of Kashmir.

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