“Heaven on Earth” is what people call Kashmir. The princely state lies in the north most part of India residing in the lap of Himalayas. You cannot just visit and see places in Kashmir, you need to feel the beauty and experience them to get the true essence of this place. If you find yourself in Kashmir for the first time, just follow this itinerary to experience every inch of the heaven.
Day 1: Houseboat, Temple visit & Nature walk
Morning: Take an early morning flight from New Delhi to the summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar. To experience the local essence, a 2-day stay in a houseboat is a must. The only way to reach your houseboat is a Shikara ride that costs around 200 INR. The houseboats on the Dal Lake look like mini floating villas are one of the best things to experience in Kashmir.
Afternoon: After luggage quick rest, take a Shikara ride back to the land and head to the famous Shankaracharya Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located at a height of 1000 ft. To reach the temple, you need to climb 284 steps. From the top of the temple, you get a 360-degree view of Srinagar city and is worth it!
Evening: Time for some royal experience? Head to the Nishat Bagh, located on the eastern side of the Dal Lake. This heaven-like garden is second largest in the city and has a terrace style design with twelve terraces surrounded by beautiful flowers. You also get a glimpse of the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. After treating your eyes with breath-taking scenery head back to your Houseboat for delectable Kashmiri Wazwan.
Day2: Brunch, Pahalgam & Floating Market
Morning: After all that binge eating last night, you must be thinking of skipping your breakfast, Don’t you? But there’s nothing to worry, you can find many local bakeries on your way to Pahalgam that serve amazing Bakarkhani. Passing through the saffron and mustard field, you reach Pahalgam which is 2 ½ hours away from Srinagar. After brunching at Haldirams, a famous Indian food chain, you start your pony back ride from Aru to Baisaran.
Afternoon: As you climb up the Lidder and Sheshnag River and the view of the valley and peaks gets more picturesque. A 12km pony back ride takes you to your final stop, Baisaran plains which are called the Switzerland of Kashmir. Spend some time here strolling around, taking pictures of the snow-capped mountains and sipping cinnamon tea.
Evening: Spend some time exploring the floating market on the Dal Lake. You’ll find elusive boatmen selling homegrown vegetables and household stuff like biscuits, ready-to-eat snacks. Along with houseboats selling handicraft, Kashmiri shawl and dresses. Rest the day with some soothing Kashmiri local music and delicious food.
Day 3: Gulmarg, Gondola Ride & Sports
Morning: After a relaxing evening, we have an adventurous day planned for you. Starting the day with Gulmarg, which is 2 hours away from Srinagar. Its a pristine town in Kashmir known for its snow-capped mountains. If you are visiting during summers, you can explore the Gold course, which remains covered under snow during winters. Visit the shrine of Lord Shiva located on top of a small hillock. After paying a visit to the shrine, head to the Gondola booking office to buy tickets for your gondola ride that will take you to level 1 & 2.
Afternoon: Take the gondola to reach level-1, which remains covered in snow throughout the year. Try your hands at winter sports such as snow bike, skiing or you can just make snow angels. Head to level-2 in a gondola to get a stunning view of the valley.
Evening: On the way back to Srinagar, visit the Cricket bat factory. Fuel up with some Kashmiri Kahwa and indulge yourself in a shopping spree at the Lal Bazaar.
Day 4: Gardens, Shrines & Final Farewell
Morning: After an adventurous time, start the day in the lap of nature. Visit the Badamwari (almond garden) which is a must for the first-timers. The garden is located on the foothills of Koh-e-Maran and displays a wide variety of flowers like tulips, lavenders, daffodils and many more.
Afternoon: Once you’re done exploring the garden, head to famous Muslim shrine Hazratbal. It is said to be the holiest place among the Muslims in the city, an epitome of love and respect for Prophet Muhammad. Then head to the holy shrine of Goddess Kheer Bhavani, which is built over a sacred spring.
Evening: There is no better way of ending the trip than visiting the most famous and the largest garden in Srinagar, Shalimar Bagh. Built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Noor Jahan, it is also called the crown of Srinagar. This Persian style garden is a feast to the eyes. Head to the final stoppage of the trip, the garden with mystical water Chashme Shahi. It is said that the spring water in this garden has healing powers. Enjoy the setting sun behind the Dal lake, a perfect way to end the trip.
How to reach Kashmir?
To reach here you need to take a flight to Srinagar. Alternatively, you can also take a bus or train to Udhampur and hire a taxi till Srinagar.
Got a spare day? Visit the Alpine valley of Sonmarg & explore the lakes and glaciers of the region.