29 Best Places to Visit in Kashmir

Well, a person who does not travel is like a person who reads only one page of a book. If you want the whole taste and versatility in life, then you must have a bucket list of places to visit in India in your lifetime. This post will shed light on the Kashmir region. You will know places to visit, which are rated highly by thousands of tourists.

To satisfy your curiosity, we will show you places in Kashmir, which are worth spending every second. So, you must keep reading further.

Kashmir Valley is rich in history, culture and natural phenomena on one side and is a political controversy on the other side. The spicy taste of the indigenous cuisines, the different types of teas, the trekking, the stays in the barges and the visit of many sacred sanctuaries are things favorable to the tourists. Native textiles and crafts are quite famous and so shopping is good.

Srinagar is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in India, not to mention Kashmir. During your stay in Srinagar, you can indulge in many activities like trekking, bird watching, boating or water skiing. It is a popular honeymoon destination in India. Although the place can be visited throughout the year, the snowfall that occurs between December and January gives a special serenity and beauty to this beautiful place.

It is one of the most natural and famous tourist spots to visit in Kashmir. The vast and well-kept gardens of Srinagar, which date back to the Mughal era, are full of flowers and breathtaking views. Start with Shalimar Bagh. Then, visit the Nishat Mughal Garden, which borders Dal Lake. Head to the gardens of the historic Pari Mahal palace for fabulous sunset views of Dal Lake and Srinagar.

On the way, you will pass through the Botanical Garden, where the famous Tulip Festival and the Chashme Shahi Gardens are celebrated every April. Naseem Bagh is spectacular during autumn and fall, when the leaves of its thousands of Chinar trees turn orange and red. Do not miss the less known and quiet Badamwari Garden, especially during the spring (since mid-March) when its almond trees are in full bloom.

This article will explain the beauty of the list of tourist places in Kashmir to visit that also explain the culture and history of these destinations as well as photos that will make your trip happy.

1. Dal lake

Dal Lake is one of the most famous lakes of Kashmir and is actually composed of three lakes. It is a huge maze of water body with waterways, channels, houseboats, and floating islands and looks like a group of islands in a water body. Houseboat stay on Dal Lake is a truly fascinating experience and a coveted to-do in the Kashmir itinerary.

Dal lake in Srinagar gives the tourists plenty of experiences of exploring islands, staying in houseboats, enjoying floating gardens and Shikara rides and shopping from floating markets. The lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides and offer captivating scenic views.

2. Mughal Gardens

The dazzling Mughal Gardens of Kashmir is a grand creation and expresses the inherent love of Emperor Jahangir for Kashmir and beautification and also the contribution of his son Shah Jahan to its beautification. Jahangir wisely chose the site for the garden and laid down the basic requirements for building it. The Garden was laid at the foot of the Himalayan ranges.

The sources of water in the form of refreshing streams or springs were carefully harnessed. The terraced garden layout is an example of brilliant Mughal engineering skills and aesthetics of channelizing the maximum available water resources in a mountainous terrain. A pleasure garden of Kashmir, Mughal Gardens is tucked between a lake and the hills.

The garden draws heavily from the Persian style of architecture. The garden has an overwhelming beauty arising out of the shady trees, flowers, fruits and aromatic grasses along with the fountains, canals and pools of running water.

3. Nishat Bagh

Nishat Bagh was conceptualized and laid out in the 17th century by Mirza Abul Hasan. It is one of the most popular gardens laid by the Mughals in India. This garden is situated along the eastern bank of the famous Dal Lake of Kashmir at the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range. The garden occupies a rectangular region of area measuring 116.70 acres.

Nishat Bagh also has a terraced layout and the concept of streams and fountains merging into a water cascade, the views it offers and its ecology. There are twelve terraces in the garden that is believed to symbolize the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The lowest terrace is connected to the Dal Lake and offers charming views of the lake. A historic bridge across the lake named as Oont Kadal is an inherent part of the lake architecture and shifts the views to the Hari Parbat Fort, which lies in the upper regions of Srinagar across the lake.

The Nishat Bagh exemplifies the famous Chahar Bagh concept of Islamic style of architecture. During the glorious reigns of Jahangir, he had developed an unfathomable love for Kashmir and that resulted in the construction of some of the most splendid attractions of Kashmir, including Nishat Bagh.

4. Nagin Lake

Nagin lake is located in the eastern part of Kashmir on the foothills of the mountain Zabarwan. The lake is lined by a series of willow and poplar trees that add to its charm. Shikara rides form the main attraction of visiting this lake.

Apart from this you can even hire houseboats for the ultimate romantic experience. Enjoy the taste of fresh fruits, nuts and baked goods; fragrance of fresh flowers, beauty of woollen shawls, silk carpets, leather goods and other materials being sold on the boats. Shankaracharya Hill is south of the lake and Hari Parbat is to the west. It is famous for water skiing, launches and boating. Lake Naga is one of the most wonderful places in Kashmir to visit.

5. Shalimar Bagh

The Shalimar Bagh Garden dates back to the 16th century and is another enchanting creation of the Mughal era and this time the creator was the mighty Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The lower garden of Shalimar Bagh was built by Emperor Jahangir in around 1620.

The construction carried on and was supervised at a later stage by Prince Khurram and then also by Shah Jahan. Shalimar Bagh has also been developed keeping in mind the traditional Chahar Bagh concept.

The garden follows the double division concept of Mughal architecture that comprises the lower portion consisting first three terraces known as the Diwan-i-Aam where public used to gather and the upper two terraces exclusively reserved for the Royalty and his courtiers called the Diwan-i-Khas.

There was also built a screened private zone for the Empress and her female retinue. Shalimar Bagh is mesmerizing with the pavilions, pools and water cascades. The garden is blessed with unprecedented natural beauty. The papier mache ceilings, the carved columns, brackets and stone railings add to the intricacy of designing.

6. Wular Lake

Wullar Lake is significantly one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia measuring 10 by 24 kilometres. The lake yields approximately 60 percent of the fresh water fish production of the region. The lake is beautifully located between the cities of Sopore and Bandipora and overlooks the majestic hills on one side and the steep valley faces on the other side.

Wullar Lake receives its water from River Jhelum, which is located at a distance of 60 kilometres from Srinagar. Miles away from well-traveled areas Watlab will unfold before you. Also Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, a paradise as far as bird watchers are concerned, is also situated near the Lake. Located in the Bandipora district, the lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia that delights travelers as they sail across the lake in a shikara or on a boat. And the beauty is impressive. It could not be better for a nature photography enthusiast!

High on a hill stands the sanctuary of a Muslim mystic Baba Shukur Din Sahib. Here, the Wular extends as far as the eye can see, bordered by picturesque villages, terraces and breeze stirred the rice fields in a rampant explosion of color. Watlab is a resting place amidst extensive forests of apple orchards, permission to remain in which has to be requested to the Forest Department Office of the Sopore district headquarters.

7. Achabal Bagh

Achabal Garden was built by Nur Jahan in 1620 AD, around 58 kilometres away from Srinagar. The garden is surrounded by majestic chinar trees. During the autumn season, this garden dons the gorgeous shades of various different hues when the leaves of all the trees turn golden and red.

It occupies a vast area of 9.7 acres and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of Mughal gardens in Jammu and Kashmir. The spring flowing through the Achabal Bagh Garden was known widely for its curative values.

8. Chashme Shahi

Chashme Shahi is the smallest of the three Mughal gardens in Kashmir. The garden is located above the Nehru Memorial Park and its name means Royal Spring. From the garden you can see the beautiful Dal Lake and the surrounding mountains. The gardens also have many terraces and fountains and are built across the center.

The garden was developed by Ali Mardan Khan in 1632, during the rule of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The garden was conceptualized keeping in mind a gushing spring emerging from the slopes of Zabarwan Mountains. The spring waters are cool and have rejuvenating qualities. It is major tourist attraction of Kashmir tourism.

9. Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid in Nowhatta is one of the most visited mosques in Srinagar, the capital. The mosque was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 and was later extended by his son Zain-ul-Abidin. The mosque has 370 wooden pillars and Indo-Saran architecture. Fridays are full of thousands of Muslims on Friday because it is considered the holiest day to worship.

10. Hazratbal

Hazratbal is a famous Muslim sanctuary and believes that a lock of hair, kept in the sanctuary, belonged to the prophet Muhammad. It is located to the left of Dal Lake and is one of the most sacred places in Kashmir. The best time to visit this sanctuary is between March and October due to the favorable climate. Hazratbal is one of the ideal and historic places to see in Kashmir, which will give a lot of tranquility.

11. Swat

Situated 12 kilometers from Mingora city, you will find a white building standing tall in a valley. This palace is a historic building constructed in 1941. The specialty of this palace is the building stone, which is the same as the stone used in the Taj Mahal. To get in touch with history and nature, you should visit the White palace in Swat.

12. Sonamarg

Sonamarg is to be reached by the Sind Valley and it shows a different country atmosphere of Kashmir, which is not very common. It is located at an altitude of 2730 m and its name means the meadow of gold because of its mountainous landscape with its pure sky. The Sindh River runs through the valley and ponies are often hired to visit the site. Sonamarg is one of the most beautiful places of Kashmir to visit.

When it comes to natural beauty, Kashmir's valleys are unbeatable! Sonmarg is a new favourite hotspot and a drive through its Zojila pass will help you understand why; terrific and terrifying, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. The nearby Gangabal lake can be enjoyed in several ways. Some choose to make a day trip out of it, others try the eight-hour long guided trek and the most adventurous just camp out for the night, nothing but the stars and their lover keeping them company.

There's absolutely no such specific timing to visit. It depends on what you want to experience. Also it might vary from region to region slightly for example, Srinagar is warmer than Pahalgam. Pahalgam and Gulmarg records temperatures lower than -10 degrees C.

If you want to see patches of green everywhere - amazing green meadows, stunning flowers and pine trees, then it's going to be post March preferably April to June, but if you want to experience only snow with frozen lakes, then it's going to be January or February. Upside of going in winter is less crowded regions and readily available accommodation whereas in Summer, there would be long queues everywhere in the touristy places in the valley.

In January, it snows hard with lot of powdery snow making it great for winter activities like skiing and snowboarding and in February the snow starts to settle which is still good for these activities as well but also great for driving around, horse riding and taking great pictures. Be ready with good amount of warm clothes during the winter months from November through March where actual temperature is low and feels lower, as it lies in the lap of the mighty mountains.

13. Hunza

There is no denial in the fact that Hunza is full of free, helpful, and hospitable people. Visiting the place will be like residing in the company of nature. You can explore the captivating streets of Hunza and interact with the locals there.

14. Gurez Valley

The cycling route of the Gurez Valley is the quietest and one of the best and most adventurous cycling routes in Kashmir. The route has less traffic. It is an incredible journey to enter with the magical and remote Kingdom of Gurez. While pedaling along this route, we visit beautiful lakes (Mansbal and Wular), remote mountain villages and high altitude grasslands such as Tragbal.

There are the ruins of many fortresses and castles, some built in some rather improbable places! It is a fairly long route, which crosses the Razdan Pass at 3500 m and has the excellent objective of visiting the most remote villages of Gurez.

15. Dachigam National Park

Dachigam National Park is located about 22 km from Srinagar and covers an area of about 141 square kilometers. The park is famous for its endangered animals, like the red deer. The park is present in a deep valley with steep slopes of wood. The national park is located at an altitude of 1600 m to 4200 m as in the mountainous area. This national park is one of the most famous places in Kashmir for adventures.

16. Kupwara

Kupwara is also known as the Kashmiri Crown. The beautiful green meadows, mountains and clear streams make Kupwara one of the best places to visit in Kashmir. Due to its picturesque landscape, this place is a must visit if you plan to make a trip to Kashmir. Kupwara illustrates the beauty of Kashmir in many ways. Sheikh Baba Behram, the Lolab Valley and the Qamar Reshi Sahib Shrine are must-see places.

17. Kathua

If you have ever been attracted to Sufism and are inclined to it, Kathua is the place for you. Kathua is also known as the city of Sufis. It portrays the beautiful history of Kashmir's past and is one of the most beautiful places in Kashmir. If you are passionate about history, do not miss the Jasrota fort. Kathua offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere to all who visit.

18. Shivkhori

Shiv Kori is a cave located in a hillock and extending for about a kilometer. The cave is known to have a natural Shiva Lingam and is over 100 years old. Tourists are impressed by the carved Sheshnaag ceiling of the cave. Khana-e-Mola is one of the oldest Muslim shrines in Kashmir. The sanctuary was built by Sultan Sikandar and has been beautifully carved inside. It was made in honor of Muslim preacher Mir Syed Ali Hamdani.

19. Yusmarg

It means meadow of Jesus. The natives believe that Jesus lived there for some time. Near the Pakistan border and 47 km. from Srinagar. By car, it takes 2 hours. The whole area is very militarized, I was quite impressed, because you think that at any moment they are going to start firing. Once there you can enjoy with thousands of activities such as horse, fishing, skiing, etc.

A very nice walk is to go to the Sang-e-Saged lake, which most of the time is frozen, even in summer. From this valley you can see the Pir Panjal peaks of the sub-Himalaya mountain range , one is the peak of the Sunset and the other the Tatakooti. On the way back to Srinagar we found ourselves on the road with this surprise.

20. Patnitop

Jammu's own hill station, Patni Top is located at 6,640 feet, the highest point along the Jammu-Srinagar road. If you wish, there are rental ponies, and most places can be reached by car. Chinar Garden, Picnic Spot (with swings and slides) and Skating Garden are the three must see places in the standard itineraries. Take a trip to Patnitop for some solitude and to enjoy the breathtaking views of Chenab Gorge and its pines!

There are two excursions from Patnitop with one to Madha Top, the ridge in front of Patnitop, and the other to Sanasar, a meadow covered with grass and fir trees, with the nickname of mini Gulmarg. Sanasar is a center for various adventure activities, including paragliding and jungle camps. Nag Temple in Ishadhari is located within Patnitop.

Just outside of Patnitop is Shudh Mahadev ka Pahad. A little further away is Mantalai, with its apple and citrus orchards. Near Mantalai, Krimchi is the site of the oldest temples in the Jammu region. Patnitop is one of the few areas that receives snowfall in winter. In winter, there is a thin layer of snow that covers Patnitop, thin, but enough for enterprising locals who run a ski school, strictly for beginners with options of sledges, snowmen and snowball fights!

21. Bhaderwah

Bhaderwah is a green valley at 80 Kms from Batote and 162 Kms from Katra and more than 200 kilometers from Jammu. Bhaderwah has been compared to the Kashmir valley for its scenic splendor and is also called Chota Kashmir. The high parts of Bhaderwah have fine alpine meadows such as Jai, Padri, Seoj Dhar.

22. Naltar Valley

The colorful lakes with transparent water surface will greet you when you step foot in Naltar valley. It is located at a 2.5-hour drive from Gilgit. The local population is famous for its traditional cultivation techniques. This valley is famous for the world’s tastiest potatoes. You can have a bite or a full meal if you talk to local men.

And it will never cost you a fortune. You will also witness the rare combination of trees and shrubs. Moreover, the taste of cold fresh air will surprise you.

23. Neelum Valley

Near the line of control when you cross the Chela Bandi bridge, there is a 240 KM stretch where you can find the tallest pine trees sped around mountain train. All mountains are covered in green. And you will find Neelum river passing through the valley in the shape of a large spindling snake.

Tourists tell tales after visiting this valley and always mention the intensity of calmness they experience.

24. Skardu

People who love beauty, serenity, and wilderness have visited Skardu and stayed in Shangrila resort. Situated in the center of Gilgit division, you will find resorts as a home where your hermit nature can find solace and peace for a few days. Tourists escape from busy life and come to Skardu to enjoy absolute peaceful days in leisure.

With the genuine hospitality of locals, you can witness spots hidden from the modern world. It will lure you into a sight of pure wilderness that is simultaneously stunning and nurturing to the soul. A grassland located near one of the base camps at the Nanga Parbat in Gilgit-Baltistan, Fairy Meadows is where the time stops and fairies tread. The valley mostly remains covered under snow in winter, but when it melts, the sensuous hilly contour and the luxurious vegetation become a magnet to all and sundry.

A place with Turquoise waters, amazing people, towering mountains, and incredible lakes is what defines Skardu. Enjoy the view of sunrise and sunset by visiting the Indus Valley. Shopping and staying in Skardu is mandatory and you can surprise your loved ones with gifts. You haven’t discovered the place completely if you haven’t visited Deosai National Park and Satpara lake.

25. Gojal

Situated on the borders of Afghanistan and China, you will find Gojal covered in snow almost all year. For a few months in a year, you will find Gojal shining under the blazing Sun. And you must visit Gojal in shining days to witness the colors of nature appearing out of the soil and making the landscape an unforgettable scene.

The Karakoram highway passes through the valley and you can extend your trip to Khunjerab Pass, which is a few miles from Gojal. The most important reason being getting to Attabad Lake is much easier riding on the super smooth Karakoram Highway. The colors of the lake is quite vibrant.

26. Deosai Plains

There is no place on earth, which is more than 4000 meters high from the sea level and has plane terrain with lakes and beautiful greenery. You will never find anyone selling something there. So, you must take your necessities with you. The best place to visit in Deosai is Sheosar lake, which is huge and kind of unique in the world.

You will find an amazing place all covered in flowers when you visit Deosai Plains in summer. If you visit in winter, then all the areas will be covered in snow. You will spend the rest of your life talking about your visit to Deosai Plains.

27. Rama Meadows

It is a plain area situated 11 kilometers from Astore. You will find cows grazing in lush green grounds. From the meadow, you will witness the unforgettable scene of Nanga Parbat. The killer mountain is standing right in front of Rama Meadow telling tourists that I am the mighty stone and do not try to conquer me. Plenty of pine trees will also provide you the freshest and pure oxygen than you can breathe.

28. Payee Lake

The only place that has an influx of tourists all year is Siri Paye in Northern Kashmir. The green plateau is a tourist’s attraction is because of the clouds and fog that engulf the area and make it like a fairyland. Nature plays at its peak in Siri Paye. There are several small ponds with absolutely clean and refreshing water.

Some tourists claim that the water in Paye has a stunning effect, which you cannot feel elsewhere. The overall theme of Siri Paye is a mix of green grass and yellow flowers. You will find other rare purple colors present in wild berries. But you must not eat them because these berries are poisonous.

29. Chitral

If you are looking for calmness and solitude, then you should visit Ayun and Bhamburat valley. It is located near Chitral. You will have to travel 11 kilometers from the populated area. Then you will find lush green terrain with a smooth breeze that will refresh your soul. People come back from Ayun and always mention the picturesque beauty of the Ayun district.

This valley is also the home of Kalasha people who are descendants of Greeks and follow ancient traditions. They look Greek, speak an Indo-Aryan language and practice a mixture of ancient Greeks and Vedic traditions. They are believed to be descendant of Greek soldiers who came with Alexander the Great but never left.

They practice a pantheistic pre Zoroastrianism and an ancient form of Hinduism as their religion although many of them have converted to Islam in recent years. You must not take pictures of Kalasha people because it is restricted by the authorities but you can photograph the landscape.

If you visit Kashmir during summers and think about places to visit in Kashmir, Ladakh is the place for you. The high mountains and lakes offer breathtaking views of the picturesque landscapes. The beauty of Leh hypnotizes everyone who visits it.

It is also an ideal place for those who love bikepacking, mountain biking and trekking. However, if you want to go to Leh for motorbiking, summer is your time because after November, many trails are closed due to heavy snow.

Engaging in these activities will give you a lifetime of memories and many stories to tell your grandchildren. We have described a few best places to visit in Kashmir. And we think that our list will fill your bucket list. But we advise you to plan a trip with all the precautions because you will never find modern amenities in all the places that we have mentioned.
Kalyan Panja