Tourism

Jammu and Kashmir Tour

Chashma Shahi (The Royal Spring)

This garden, smallest of the gardens, nearest to the city was laid out in 1692 by Ali Mardan Khan. It measures 108 by 38 meters and a central channel flows through it like those of other gardens. It has three terraces. Recently it has been extended and new terraces have been added to. The spring, from which the garden derives its name, it credited to possess medicinal properties. It is the only garden where the visitor must pay for admission.

Khir Bhawani

25 km. from Srinagar and 5 km. from Ganderbal is a marble shrine with gold plated dome in the middle of a pool formed by spring waters which change colors from time to time, know as Khir Bhawani. the personal guardian Goddess of the Kashmiri Hindus. Hundreds of them visit to holy shrine to pay their respect everyday.

Mansabal Lake

32 km. from Srinagar on the circular tour of Wullar Lake, is Mansabal lake named after the famous Lake Manasarover. This panoramic lake, lotus laden in summer, is a bird watchers’ paradise. The lake abounds both in fish and aquatic birds and also has very fine camping grounds on its shores. Its crystal clear, placid water make it a much sought after peaceful heaven.

Acehabal

Situated at the altitude of 1,677 meters at the foot of a wooded hill, Acchabal is 56 km. from Srinagar via Anantnag. This spot of immense beauty has lovely garden designed by Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jehan, in 1620 AD. The water of a spring flows through the stone lined three canals over three terraces and the same number of cascades having several fountains. There are Tourist Huts and Tourist Bungalow and also a cafeteria which serves tea and snacks.

Verinag (The Source of Jhelum or Vitasta)

Verinag, the source of Jheluni or Vitasta, is famous for its copious spring. The legend is: Once Lord Shiva prevailcd upon his consort Parvati to appear in the form of a river, and thrust his trident into the earth. Immediately a stream gushed out in a span or Vitasta’, the name Jhelum was known in the ancient times. Verinag is also known as Nil Nag and was sacred to Naga king of this name. The Octogonal pool of deep blue waters and the surrounding arcade were begun by Jehangir but were completed during Shah Jahan’s leign. Down the stream, in the east, are remains of a royal pavillion and baths. The steam is an angler’s paradise, as it abounds in fish.

Kausar Nag (The Vishnu Pad)

This delightful lake, formed like a foot with toes and heel, at 3658 metres height, is fed by snow fields around it. It is 50 km. south from Srinagar. The Panjal peaks, looming large over it, add to its majestic glory.

Aharbal & Kungawatan

Amidst picturesque environs, the gigantic Aharbal fall coming down from u height of 24 meters, makes a glorious sight in the morning, when the rays of the sun transform the spray into a rainbow spectrum. This glorious pleasure spot, 50 km. south of Srinagar has a Tourist Bungalow and a Rest House. Kungawatan is breath-taking meadow. The entire lone is trekkers paradise.

Dachigrain

Originally a royal game preserve, Dachigram Wildlife Sanctuary, rich both in flora and fauna, is 21 km. from Srinagar ahead of Harwan. Such wild animals as the Himalayan black bear, brown hear, musk deer, the hangul or Kashmir stag and panther haunt its wild expanse. Tourists are required to obtain spiced permits from the Chief Wild Life Warden to enter the sanctuary.

Daksum

A serene and beautiful forest retreat, girdled by mountains, Daksum is 85 km. south-east of Srinagar. There is a cafeteria and catering arrangements are also available, from here one can trek to Kishtwar through the Simthan Pass.

Ganderbal

19 km. from Srinagar on Srinagar Leh route, on the banks of the river Sind, at the height of 5,200 feet is Ganderbal. it provides excellent camping grounds with its stately chinars and turfy banks.

Martand

This is a sun-temple, situated 6 km. to the east of Anantnag and 64 km. from Srinagar. This temple was built by King Lalitaditya MuktaPeeda, a well-known warrior king (669-739 A.D.). These massive construction and architectural design inspire a beholder with awe and wonder.

Yusmarg

Forty km. from Srinagar Yusmarg is a beautiful small valley in the hills of Pir Panjal range. The way to this pleasure spot is lined with giant pines with fires on either side. There are Tourist Huts and Rest Houses. Ponies are also available for trips to nearby places. As a base for many short treks, Yusmarg is becoming increasingly popular it is said to be the place where Christ Once came.

Wular Lake

Wular Lake, the largest fresh water lake in india, is 60 km. from Srinagar. 19 by 10 km. in area the lake is situated amidst picturesque 5 with high mountains making it a big pond. Jhelum passes right through its heart. Rich in legend and lore, the lake gets stormy at times. A wonderful bubbling spring in the lake around which the lake waters swirl gently, is a rich experience. Zaina Lank, a small but a picturesque island adds to the fascination of the lake.

Srinagar has a variety of accommodation suiting to all purses and preferences. The reservation for the accommodation in the adjoining area (excursions) could be had through the Dy. Director, Tourist Reservations Deptt., Srinagar. Besides, scores of good hotels and lodges, Srinagar has many houseboats for tourists’ stay. A stay in a houseboat is a rare experience. A trip to Kashmir is said to be incomplete without such an experience, however short it may be., There are thousands of houseboats including Deluxe ones, which are luxurious like five star hotels, first class and economy class as well. They provide both boarding and lodging. The houseboats on Dal and Nagin Lakes, with all the modern amenities and conceivable luxuries, offer a perfect aquatic holiday to those who chose to live in them. There you have your own cook, an expert in Kashmiri cuisine, to provide you with the mouth-watering and filling Wazwan’, Rista’ and ‘Gustaba’, ‘Kahwa from gleaming samovars’. Vendors visit you in shikaras, a floating emporium ladden with fruits, flowers, shawls, pherans, poots, carpets, jewellery and various attractive and useful articles to handicrafts.

A Trip to Gulmarg

Gulmarg or ‘the Meadow of Flowers’, is charming hill station, situated at 2,653 meters, amidst tall pines, gigantic firs and snow-capped mountains shining in their pristine glory. It is 51 km. from Srinagar. In spring its slopes get a flowers’ carpet with daisies, forget me notes, butter cups and blue bells spreading a riot of colors. The Mughal Emperor Jehangir is said to have once collected as many as 21 different varieties of wild flowers. Its previous name was Gaurimarg, which was changed to Gulmarg by King Yusuf Shah, who roamed about here with his mistress 1-labba Khatoon. In winter it is covered with thick velvet snow, transforming its gentle slopes into a paradise for skiing, skating and tobogganing. The resort has a 2000 meters long ropeway to lift the skienthusiasts. Another 180 meter ski-lift is also there on the training slope. Training facilities are available and the equipment can be hired. The resort has also one of the finest and the highest green golf course in the world. It has been recently relaid by famous Australian Golfer, Mr. Peter Thomson. The Gulmarg Golf Club holds spring and autumn tournaments. The golf season begins from May and lasts up to mid-October.

The road to Gulmarg from Srinagar passed through paddy fields and scenic avenues till it reaches Tanmarg (2,255 meters). From here a steep, narrow foot path as well as a metalled road winds through blue pines to Gulmarg. From Tagmarg one can also hire a pony. The buses go directly up to Gulmarg in summer and in winter also provided the roads are clear. There are tourist huts, Chalet type hotels and tourist bungalows, for accommodation in the Govt. controlled lodges/rest houses, advance reservation can be had through the MD, Tourist Development Corporation, Srinagar. An 11 km. circular walk girdling Gulmarg, runs through pine scented woods which offers panoramic views of Naga Pavbat across the vale in the north. Harmukh and Sunset peaks, Apharwat ridge and the rugged slopes of Ferozpur.

Khilanmarg

At the foot of Apharwat Mountain, 4 km. from Gulmarg, Khiianmarg is just 40 minutes walk from Gulmarg. The meadow l by 365 meters in area and carpeted with wild flowers, offers- a superb view of the gigantic Naga Parvat. Colossal Harmukh and other peaks as well as of the wide expanses of shimmering Wular and other lakes.

Alpather Lake

Alpather, set in an alcove under the Cover of main Aphrawat Peak, is 13 km. from Gulmarg and at the altitude of 4,51 1 meters. The lake flecked with floating ice, can be reached by a well graded pony track. It is advisable to visit in only summers as the route becomes dangerous in winters on account of slippery snowy tongues.
Licnniarg, Ningal Nallah and Ziarat ofBaba Reshi are other places of tourist interest around Gulrnarg.

Sojourn in Sonamarg

Sonamarg, or the Golden Meadow, strewn with wild flowers and surrounded by lofty mountains, at a height of 2,740 meters, is 84 km. distant from Srinagar. An all-weather highway connects both these places. Nestled in the beautiful valley carved out of the River Sindh, this picnic spot is also an excellent base for trekking. The Sonamarg Glacier is just 3 km. south of Sonamarg, and midway are a Rest House and a Tourist Hut. The charming side valley of Thajiwas at the foot of Sonamarg glacier offers grand camping sites. The mountain slopes are covered with fir, birch pine and sycamore. Glacier blankets the whole mountain range and water from falling into the camping sites. The road to Ladakh also passes through Sonamarg. There are tourist buses to Sonarnarg from Srinagar run by the JK Road Transport Corporation.

Pahalgam (The Village of Shepherds)

At the junction of Lidder and Seshnag streams, and amidst lofty deodars, fir, pine, junipers and many other conifers is Pahalgam at an altitude of 2.133 meters. Originally small and sleepy village of shepherds, Pahalgam has grown into a major tourist centre because of its many scenic attractions. A stay in Pahalgam is a totally exhilarating holiday from routine life for trekking and mo enthusiast, the spot is an ideal base and starting point. This is also a base for the pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.

Pahalgam is accessible by road and there is daily bus service from Srinagar. JK RTC also operates sight-seeing coach services from Srinagar to Pahalgam and Anantnag. In Pahalgam there are a number of Tourist Huts, a Tourist Bungalow and dormitory complex besides a good number of private hotels with all the modern facilities including central heating.

The Amarnath Pilgrimage

16 km. from Pahalgam, at Seshnag’s confluence with Austam Marg Stream, is Chandanwari at an altitude of 2,896 meters. Famous for its snow bridge, it is the first camping ground for the tourist going to Amarnath cave. Trek then passes over a steep ascent called Pissoo Ghati (3,377 meters). Above is Zojipal, the glacial terrace. Further up is the emerald lake Seshnag, reflecting the silvery glaciers. This lake is also rich in legends. Panchatarani is the last camping ground. The desolate plain here is drained by the river Panchatarni and surrounded by Snow Mountains. The river is fed by five streams and the glaciers. From Panchatarni the climb is steep along the Amarganga tributary and through the mountains.

The holy cave of Amarnath is situated inside a steep cliff at at altitude of 4,000 meters. A massive ice-lingam inside the cave waxes and wanes with the phases of moon. The legendary pair of white doves sit besides the shrine. Legend says that it was here that Lord Shiva explained the secrets of creation and salvation to his consdrt Parvati, and the doves overheard them.

The return journey to Srinagar can be via Sonamarg. Trek from Baltal to Sonamarg is just 15 km. Baltal is a small idyllic valley and it is here that the Amaravati stream from Amarnath joins the river Sindh. Baltal is at foot of Zojila Pass. There is a Dak Bungalow.

Trekking

Kashmir is a paradise especially for those interested in trekking. Passing though the breath-taking pulchritude of nature, unpolluted by modern, synthetic life, is a unique experience. Owing to the charms of idyllic trekking hundreds of people come here. The Govt. have also provided quite a number of facilities on the treks. Trekking equipment can also be hired at reasonable rates. Some of the popular treks are:
Pahalgam-Kolahai glacier; Tarsar & Marsar Lakes; The Trek to Sindh Valley; Sonamarg-Gangabal Trek.

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