Kashmir,known the world over, because of the constant political debates between India & Pakistan, is in fact one of them most scenic states in India. Located in the north western region of India, Kashmir lies between the Great Himalyan and the Pir Panjal range of mountains. These mountains are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valley that has lush greenery & blossoms of rainbow colour flowers of the rarest varieties. Flower beds with pansies, primroses, hyacinths and daffodils all over and fruits like almonds, cherrys, apples & strawberries in abundance.
The Mughals called Kashmir " Paradise on Earth". The modern day Indians call it " Switzerland of the East " & why not? This abode of the gods, rich of natural resources have flowing rivers, lakes, snow-caped mountains, dense forests & Hill stations is apt to be called " Heaven on Earth " !
Kashmir has distinct four seasons each with its own peculiar character and distinctive charm. spring, summer, autumn & winter.
Spring mostly from March to middle of May is the time when it briefly rains. The weather varies between pleasant to chlly ( 23 Degree to 60 degree ) but bestows the valley with a millon blosomms of various hue and colour, literally to feast ones eyes & senses
Summer sets in from Mid May until the end of August. The temperature varies between 25 degrees to 35 degrees. This is the best time to stay in Houseboats that ply the Dal lake & the waterways of Srinnagar. This is also when the valley errupts in a mosaic of shades of green in rice fields & meadows
Spring & Summer seasons are perfect to visit the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies. Golfing at 2,700 m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats.
Autumn, the loveliest season begins at the end of September, changing the landscape from green to gold, to rust and red. A feast of colours ! Day temperatures in September are around 23 degrees and night temperatures dip to 10 degrees by begining of October, bringing out the woolens.
Winter sets in from November to the beginning of March, offering bare, snow-covered landscapes. Perfect for skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. It is also the time when families gather round the warmth of a fire and look out to a different world. A joy that cannot be described to anyone who has not experienced it. People walk about the streets with the ‘bukharis’, a typical Kashmiri stove kept alight with embers of wood, quite effective in the winter.
Places of Interest in Kashmir
Srinagar :The Jammu and Kashmir’s Summer capital is more than 2000 years old . Called the " Venice of the East " it spreads out on both sides of Jehlum river.
Pahalgam : 95 km. east of Srinagar & at 2400 mt. above sea level is a popular holiday resort. It is called “Shepherds village” & considered as the best place for trout fishing. Apart from angling , Pahalgam is also the starting point for trekking & Pilgrims route to Amarnath Cave.
Gulmarg : Gulmarg is located about 56 kms from Srinnagar and takes about one and a half hour journey to reach. At 2690 mts above sea level, it is known as the “Meadow of flowers”. Gulmarg is famous for trekking, golfing and pony rides in summer. In good weather, one can see the high mountain tops of Naga Parbat (In Gilgit) 7650mts high, Kolohi and Harmukh which are 5425 and 5124 mts high. Gulmarg has the world’s highest green golf course in the world. In winter, one can ski by taking the cable cars that ferry the tourists up to the height of 3095 mts. (Gondola)
Yusmarg : Located 50 kms southeast of Srinagar, it is about an hour and half hour journey through beautiful pine and fir forests. On the way, visit the shrine of famous Kashmiri sufi saint (Sheikh Noor-ud-din ) popularly known as Nunda Rishi. Yusmarg is also famous for its Neel Nag Lake, considered to be one of the sources of Jehlum River.
Sonmarg : Sonmarg is about 87 km. from Srinagar and at 2800mts above sea level. Known as " Golden meadow” it takes about 43 hours journey by card to reach. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and glaciers, Sonmarg is the base for treks to Harmukh range via Nichnai, Vishensar Lake, Gangabal and to Nara Nag . It is also the Pilgrim route to Amarnath Cave, which can be done in one day from here. Another place famous for Trout fishing.