If you are a 90’s folk, then we are pretty sure that the first thing that comes to your mind on hearing Kashmir is the beautiful track from late Shammi Kapoor’s movie,”Yeh chand sa roshan chehra”.
A year-round-magnet, Kashmir certainly knows how to keep its visitors happy. There is no denial that this slice of paradise is brimmed with places worth visiting, but considering the urge of travellers to see-something-new-something-different has led to a lot of off-beat destinations in Kashmir stealing the limelight from the otherwise clichéd tourist hot-spots.
So, all you folks out there waiting for those perfect less-seen-less-heard places to reveal the wanderer in you, we have a surprise for you! Here are the best, hand-picked offbeat destinations in Kashmir that will make you believe that if there is paradise on earth it is here in Kashmir.
1Hemis – the land where the wild cats rule
While most of us know this stunning place as home to a 1000-year-old Buddhist Monastery and for Hemis National Park. However, this might be a shocker to a few, but this colossal national park is one of the largest in South Asia and one of the highest protected areas in India. Nestled at a distance of around 40 km from Ladakh, Hemis is the only place in the entire world where snow leopards can be easily and frequently spotted in their natural habitat
If you are nature lover and a photographer by passion, this place is a promising retreat that will surely soothe your eyes and will provide you with some of the best clicks that you have been waiting for so long.
2Kokernag – bathe in the postcard perfect beauty of this place
Green meadows lined with cascading fresh water springs – welcome to Kokernag; a name that literally translates to ‘Hen Shaped Springs’. Located at around 80km from Srinagar, get ready to sip the natural beauty of this off-beat destination in Kashmir which will allure you with its mesmerizing charms.
One of the most remarkable feature of this remote place is that Kokernag is home to the largest fresh water spring of Kashmir. In order, to attract the attention of tourists, Kashmir Tourism is providing visitors with the option of fishing here. So, all you guys out there who drool over the mere dream of fishing in fresh springs, this is one place that you need to add in your spring bucket list destinations.
3Chatpal – witness this unsaid intimacy, where the sky touches the earth
Chatpal, no doubt is one of the most off-beat places to visit in Kashmir, an awe-inspiring beauty which will leave you stunned! The colossal white peaks and the clear blue sky above seems to be playing hide and seek with each other throughout the day. The lush-green meadows and crystal clear waters further makes trekking here one of the best experience that you will ever have!
During sunset, the entire sky appears as if orange colour has been spilled on this otherwise blue palate, further enhancing the grandeur of this place. Unwind yourself in the raw beauty of this place. Forget your phones and laptop; just enjoy the silence of this place in an experience like never before!
4Doodhganga and Neelnag – the milky tides echoing their story in the wilderness
The milky tides of this mesmerizing tributary of River Jhelum – Doodhganga making its way through the wild thickets of Yusmarg offers a view that needs to be visited in order to believe it. Untouched by majority of tourists, further, provides a virgin appeal to this idyllic offbeat destination in Kashmir.
Within its close proximity, lies another enthralling point of attraction – Neel Nag, a sleepy lake that is known for transforming all the wanderers into story tellers. If you still feel a little sceptic about the beauty of this place, then, we suggest you to avail the best possible Kashmir tour packages and begin your exploration of this dreamy land which will keep you stunned throughout your journey.
5Lolab Valley – the unending green blanket
Lolab Valley also known locally as “Wadi – e – Lolab” derives its name due to its rich green blanket of rice fields, fruit gardens, mesmerizing crystal clear lakes and streams further adorning the beauty of this place. Located around 9 km from Kupwara, this place has been honoured as the centre of beauty and love in history as well.
Potani, Brunai and Kalaroos are three small valleys that combine form Lolab – the evergreen meadows, cascading spring – Lavnag and Gauri springs are two best tourist hot-spots that makes this a worthy mention in offbeat places to visit in Kashmir.
6Tulian Lake – where the silence speaks for itself
Just 15km from Pahalagam, Tulian – a freshwater lake, is crowned at a soaring height of 3500 km. Embraced by snow-capped peaks from all sides, this lake is hidden in the enclosures of alarming ranges. The beautiful lining of the pine trees on one side of the lake and white peaks on the other ends provides a beautiful fusion of green and white in this otherwise rugged palate.
Even though the lake remains frozen in the months of November – February, yet Jammu and Kashmir tourism is seeing a vast inclination of tourists to this remote place in the recent years.
7Yusmarg – a mini oasis in the heart of heaven
If you ever dreamt of visiting those warm, cosy hill-stations as depicted in movies or in novels, then, get ready to pack your bags. Yusmarg, a place that is believed to be once visited by Jesus Christ is a stunning hill station located at around 47 km from Srinagar.
The Tatakooti Peak, Sunset peak and the mesmerizing blanket of pine meadows wrapping this little hamlet from all sides offers a view that will certainly get imprinted in your memory for a lifetime. An idyllic destination for couples, friends and family – it is, however, advisable to avoid this offbeat destination in Kashmir during winters due to heavy snowfall and harsh weather conditions.
8Pulwama – saffron fields nurtured by the water of innocence
Pulwama also known as “Dudha – Kul of Kashmir” derives its names not for its unexplainable beauty but owing to its high produce of milk. This place will take you to the sets of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayaenge’ as the entire land is brimmed with saffron fields.
Rembiara Nallah making its winding course through Pulwama is a sight to behold. Kashmir tourism has seen a huge impetus of tourists in this area. Almond orchards, mustard and cherry fields will leave you bewildered with its rainbow coloured beauty and prevailing silence.
9Sinthan Top – the land of the winding curves and eternal beauty
Sinthan Top, a tiny hill station is the centre that joins Kashmir valley and Jammu province. Nestled at a height of around 3800m remains covered with snow throughout the year. Another remarkable feature of this place is that Sinthan Top has no inhabitants except a few shepherds and tourists who stay in tents.
Get ready for thrilling road journey that provides you with delightful panoramic views of the surrounding snow kissed peaks and few patches of barren land playing hide and seek with the snow. Away from the humdrums of the city life, this offbeat destination in Kashmir is one rejuvenating place that will no doubt thoroughly revive you.
10Hanle – adventure begins here
Hanle, is well known for its two major tourist hotspots – Hanle Monastery and the Indian Astronomical Observatory. However, reaching this land might be a tricky affair as special permission is needed from the Government owing to its proximity to the Tibetan and Chinese border.
So, if you are looking for a quick getaway from the cobwebs of the city and routine life, Hanle awaits you. However, we still advise you to do a thorough research as reaching this place might be a herculean task.
Whether you are looking for a solitude or just wishing for a quick getaway – these 10 offbeat places to visit in Kashmir will give you more than you expected! Something that all these place have in common is abundance of untouched natural beauty. Drink water straight from the streams, stroll through saffron fields, witness the beautiful sky touching the sleeping earth and breathe the pine scented air – capture as much memories as you can while here after all someone has rightly said, “If there is paradise on earth, it is here in Kashmir”.