The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Enchanting Kashmir in 2023!

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Discover, explore, and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Kashmir. This extraordinary destination will leave an indelible mark on your memory. However, a mere visit and stay won’t suffice. To truly experience the wonders of these mesmerizing valleys, you must embark on a thrilling journey of the most incredible activities that Kashmir has to offer. This comprehensive list comprises 23 essential experiences divided into three sections: the top things to do in Kashmir, the top adventure activities in Kashmir, and spiritual activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Each activity provides detailed information to help you plan an unforgettable holiday in Kashmir.

A shot from the Bollywood movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan showing Anushka Sharma enjoying a shikara ride

Optimal Time for a Kashmir visit

KennyOMG for Wikimedia Commons

Kashmir undeniably ranks as India’s most exquisite destination. If you desire a taste of heaven on Earth, then Kashmir is the place to be. To make your vacation extraordinary, you must choose the right season to visit. The spring season, from March to early May, and the summer season, from May to August, offer heavenly weather and an opportunity to explore, while the gentle breeze embraces your senses. Therefore, the ideal time to visit Kashmir is between March and August, ensuring a truly memorable trip.

Best Time To Visit Kashmir

Unmissable Activities in Kashmir

Nestled predominantly in the Himalayan ranges, Kashmir presents an array of captivating experiences that are exclusive to this splendid destination. Indulge in the following exciting activities and embrace the unique location and terrain of Kashmir. Prepare to be enthralled!

1. Enchanting Shikara Ride

Relax and immerse yourself in the beauty of distant mountains as your boatman guides you through a serene ride across the lake. Escape the chaos of city life and embark on a captivating shikara ride, which tops the list of must-do activities in Kashmir. Drift away from the noise of vehicles and the clamor of crowds, and embrace the gentle sound of the boatman’s oar caressing the water’s surface, while the cool touch of the lake soothes your senses.

Shikhara Ride in Kashmir

Recommended Locations: Dal Lake in Srinagar and Manasbal Lake near SonamargOpening Hours: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm; open every dayPrice Per Person: INR 150 – INR 250

2. Unforgettable Houseboat Stay

And it’s not just about taking shikhara rides on Dal Lake, this is actually one of the most unique activities to experience in Srinagar. Spending a night on a houseboat docked at the jetty of Dal Lake is also among the top things to do in Kashmir. Whether you’re on your honeymoon, with your family, or traveling alone, a stay at one of the houseboats in Srinagar is an absolute must. These houseboats offer amenities like Wifi and airport transfers, and you can also enjoy a meal provided by them. If you’re in Jammu and Kashmir with your family, a group of friends, or your partner, staying on a houseboat is the best way to experience the region.

Houseboat in Kashmir

Make sure to read: Explore the Rich Kashmiri Culture through these 10 Festivals in Jammu and Kashmir.

3. Thrilling ‘Gondola’ Cable Car Experience

Taking a ride on the Gondola cable car is a renowned activity for visitors of all ages in Kashmir. Tourists choose this mode of transport to marvel at the breathtaking views of the snow-covered mountains. One of the best things to do in Kashmir in May is to experience the Gondola ride, as the summer season comes to a close, offering an exceptional view.

Winter view of Gondol ride

The Gondola ride consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Gulmarg to Kongdoori
  • Phase 2: Kongdoori to Apharwat Peak
  • Phase 3: Kongdoori to Mary Shoulder [Chair Lift]

Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Ride) | 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (Ticket sale); open every day Ticket Prices: INR 600 (Phase I) | INR 800 (Phase II) | INR 300 (Chair Lift) – Visit the website for more details.

4. Gulmarg Golf Club

This is one of the lesser-known activities in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gulmarg Golf Club is recognized as one of the largest and highest 18-hole golf courses globally. Playing golf in this picturesque “Meadow of Flowers” is undeniably one of the most enjoyable things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. The natural golf course in this destination allows you to indulge in the game amidst the lap of nature.

Operating Hours: 08:30 am – 10:00 pm Entrance Fee: INR 800 for Indians | INR 1200 for Foreigners

A tourist ready to tee off at the Gulmarg golf course

5. Kashmiri Gastronomy

Immerse yourself in the local gastronomic wonders of Kashmir, just like in any other location around the globe. Familiarize yourself with the renowned Kashmiri Kahwa (tea) and Lamb Mutton Rogan Josh. However, the culinary heritage of this land extends far beyond these classics. Indulge in the savory delights of Nadroo Yakhni (yogurt-based Kashmiri curry with lotus stems), Paneer Chaman (fried paneer cooked in tomato sauce with a blend of spices and fennel seed powder), Dum Aloo, Matschgand (spicy minced meatballs in a red gravy), and Gushtaba (minced mutton cooked in a flavorsome yogurt gravy with aromatic spices).

A bowl full of delicious Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh

Finest Dining Establishments: Alchi Kitchen, Stream Restaurant, The Habit – Cafe & Grill

Planning your holiday but unsure about your destination? These travel narratives will guide you to your ultimate vacation!

6. Tourism Hotspots

Whether it’s a family trip, honeymoon, or an escapade with friends, the captivating attractions of Kashmir must not be missed. Among the plethora of sightseeing destinations in Kashmir, Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Sonamarg reign supreme. Embark on a journey to these cities and discover the most sought-after activities in Kashmir.

Exploring the Charms of Srinagar:

Srinagar is home to a multitude of captivating attractions that will leave you in awe. Allow us to introduce you to the must-visit places in this enchanting city.

Venture to Dal Lake, Nehru Park, the Floating Post Office, Shankaracharya Hill Temple, Jama Masjid, the Tomb of Zain-ul-Abidin’s mother, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, and Hari Parbat Fort. Each one of these destinations holds its own unique appeal and will provide you with unforgettable experiences.

Discover the Wonders of Gulmarg:

Embark on a journey to Gulmarg, where breathtaking sights await you at every turn. Uncover the magic of Maharani Temple, the Ziarat of Baba Reshi, Khilanmarg, Apharwat peak, and Strawberry Valley. These stunning locations are sure to leave you mesmerized and craving for more.

The terraced Mughal Garden of Nishat Bagh in SrinagarTTmain-logo.png

Unveiling the Splendors of Sonamarg:

Get ready to be enchanted by the treasures of Sonamarg. From the majestic Thajiwas Glacier to the serene Manasbal Lake, Ganderbal, Khir-Bhawani temple, and Narang temple, these remarkable tourist attractions will leave you in awe of the natural beauty found here.


Exploring the Marvels of Pahalgam:

Experience the wonders of Pahalgam, a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Admire the splendor of the Lidder River & Amusement Park, Deer Park & Zoo, Mamleshwar Temple, Betaab Valley, Sheshnag Lake, Aru Village, Matrand Sun Temple, Saffron fields, and Anantnag Sulpher Springs. These captivating sights will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

7. Unravel the World of Shopping:

Kashmir offers a plethora of shopping experiences that go beyond the ordinary. Indulge in the exquisite craftsmanship of Kashmiri handlooms and Pashmina shawls, marvel at antique copperware like samovars, discover the beauty of Namda hand-woven carpets, and immerse yourself in the local garments known as Ferins. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant markets where you can find a plethora of flowers, fruits, and vegetables sold on the shikaras in Dal Lake. The way you engage in these shopping experiences will add a new level of excitement to your journey.

8. Embark on Pony Ride Excursions:

In the valleys of Kashmir, pony rides are a popular mode of transport. Take a leisurely pony ride through the picturesque valleys of Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Yusmarg, and Gulmarg. These rides offer a unique perspective and allow you to immerse yourself in the authentic lifestyle of Jammu and Kashmir.

A little shop selling all kinds of decorative art and stuff at Srinagar

9. Immerse Yourself in the Old Srinagar Heritage Walk:

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Srinagar with an old city heritage walk. As you wander through the historic streets, marvel at the architectural wonders and soak in the cultural significance of this captivating city.

Tourists riding ponies in the valley of Sonamarg

Suggested Read:

If you’re interested in exploring more shopping delights, don’t miss our guide to Shopping In Jammu: 10 Top Places To Buy The Best Pashminas, Papier Mâché & Other Handicrafts.

Make the most of your time in Kashmir by immersing yourself in these incredible experiences. Each destination offers a unique blend of beauty, history, and culture that will leave you with treasured memories of your journey.

The concept of gaining knowledge through walking applies to Srinagar as well. Exploring the city on foot is one of the most enjoyable activities to engage in. With its centuries-old structures and breathtaking gardens, Srinagar showcases architectural influences from three different styles and religions. Taking a leisurely stroll through the old town is a peaceful experience that should not be missed while visiting Kashmir. Marvel at the magnificent structures, including Jamia Masjid, which boasts 370 pillars made of Maple trees. Wander through the lanes of old Srinagar, where ancient spice, dry fruit, and thread markets await.

A shot of the old structures in Old Srinagar

10. Wilderness Expedition

Wildlife Tours in Jammu & Kashmir

The snowy peaks and dense forests of Jammu and Kashmir harbor some of the world’s most exquisite and rare flora and fauna. Safeguarded within the boundaries of seven wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Jammu and Kashmir, these extraordinary species can be explored by visiting remarkable places like Hemis National Park, Kishtwar National Park, Dachigam National Park, Kazinag National Park, and Salim Ali National Park.

Snow leopards, musk deer, brown bears, marmots, red foxes, Himalayan black bears, golden eagles, Monal pheasants, and griffon vultures are just a few examples of the rare species found in this region. Bird enthusiasts can indulge in bird watching at the 24 wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir, where over 500 different species of birds call home. The Gharana and Surinsar regions in Ladakh are ideal spots for spotting migratory birds such as the black-necked crane, European blue whistling thrush, vulture, falcon, and bar-headed geese.

11. Indira Gandhi Remembrance Tulip Garden

Your trip to Kashmir would be incomplete without a visit to the enchanting tulip garden. Known as the Indira Gandhi Remembrance Tulip Garden, it stands as one of Asia’s largest tulip gardens. In addition to tulips, the garden boasts an array of other beautiful flowers, including hyacinths, daffodils, and ranunculus. The best time to visit this garden is between March and May when it is in full bloom. Every April, the tulip festival takes place, providing tourists with the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing views of this majestic garden.

Tulip garden in kashmir

Location: Jammu and Kashmir, Cheshma Shahi Road, Rainawari, Srinagar

Exciting Adventure Activities in Kashmir

Kashmir offers a multitude of experiences and sights to behold. For those seeking unique and unconventional activities that deviate from the traditional tourist routes, here are some offbeat adventures to partake in while exploring this heavenly destination:

12. Whitewater Rafting

River rafting in Lidder River is one of the most adventurous things to do in Kashmir

Kashmir offers a plethora of exhilarating activities for adventure enthusiasts, and one of the most thrilling experiences is white river rafting. The rapids in the region are categorized as easy to moderate, ensuring that rafting here is not overly challenging. If you’re seeking a rafting adventure near Sonamarg, there are options available. However, the most renowned destination for white water rafting is the Lidder river in Pahalgam. During your rafting excursion, teamwork and coordination are crucial, and it is essential to adhere to the safety instructions provided by the experienced instructors.

Here are the specific details of the rafting experiences:

– Short Lidder River Rafting: This route spans 3 kilometers, starting from Pahalgam, from Yarganpal to Yaneed Bridge. The rapids on this route are categorized as Grades II and III.

– Medium Sindh River Rafting: Covering a distance of 8 kilometers, this route commences from Sonamarg, running from Mamar to Satrun Margund. The rapids on this route vary from Grades II to IV.

– Long Sindh River Rafting: For those seeking an extended rafting adventure, this route stretches across 28 kilometers. Starting from Sonamarg, it takes you from Mamar to Wayul Bridge. The rapids on this route are also Grades II to IV.

Many views of paragliding that is one of the best things to do in Kashmir

For all the adrenaline junkies out there, paragliding is another thrilling activity worth considering in Kashmir. Soar high above the majestic valley and witness the breathtaking beauty of the green valleys below. Paragliding options are available in various locations, including Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Bhaderwah, Sanasar, and Harwan in Srinagar. Harwan is particularly accessible as it falls along the route of the Grand Mughal Gardens tour. Visit the website for more information about paragliding in Harwan. Additionally, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try paragliding and hot air ballooning in Sanasar.

A tourist takes a trek to Sonamarg

Trekking is an excellent way to explore the scenic landscapes of Jammu and Kashmir, which are adorned with magnificent mountains. While trekking in Ladakh is a more popular choice, Kashmir also offers short treks and hikes in its valleys. The region boasts several high altitude alpine lakes, including Vishansar Lake, Tarsar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Alpather Lake, and Satsar Lake. These sparkling lakes provide a rewarding view, but reaching them requires a trek through the hills. Nature lovers and adventure seekers will find joy in this activity. Remember to wear comfortable and sturdy footwear, stay hydrated, and apply sunscreen during your trekking adventure.

Last but not least, skiing and snowboarding are thrilling winter sports activities you can indulge in. Kashmir provides ample opportunities for both skiing and snowboarding, ensuring an exhilarating experience amidst snow-covered slopes. The provided can give you a glimpse of the excitement that awaits.

People try skiing and snowboarding at Pahalgam

Make the most of your time in Kashmir by participating in these adrenaline-pumping activities.

Kashmir, renowned for its icy mountains and frigid river streams, truly unveils its splendor during the winter season. Exploring this winter wonderland is an absolute must. Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Gulmarg transform into snowy paradises, offering the perfect backdrop for thrilling winter sports. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, skiing and snowboarding are the ultimate highlights. If you’re interested in discovering the wonders of Gulmarg, skiing should be at the top of your list.

Looking to embark on an exhilarating skiing adventure? Here are the organizers you can trust:

– Powerhounds (Gulmarg)

– Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (Pahalgam)

For novice adventurers, Pahalgam also offers beginner-level ski courses. Here are the details:

– Cost per person starts from INR 5,600*

– Course dates: 30th January to 2nd February and 5th February to 8th February

– Contact number: 91-99069678430

*Package includes instructor, skiing attire, equipment, meals, and accommodation.

If you’re interested in exploring Ladakh, make sure to check out our suggested read: “8 Tourist Circuits Of Ladakh To Cover The Best.”

For those who crave the thrill of mountain biking, Jammu and Kashmir offer the perfect playground. Pedal through lush valleys, snow-capped peaks, rushing rivers, and serene lakes for an adventure like no other. If smooth rides are your preference, navigate through the enchanting Kashmir Valleys. But if you crave an off-roading experience, Ladakh’s rugged terrain awaits. Prepare for challenging treks that will amplify your excitement. Popular cycling routes include Srinagar to Sonamarg, Sonamarg to Manasbal Lake, Srinagar to Gulmarg, Gulmarg to Pahalgam, and Pahalgam to Srinagar. To witness the mighty Himalayas, embark on the Srinagar-Leh highway route, passing through ten mountain passes.

Mountain Biking in J And K

Hot air ballooning is another exciting activity that allows you to soar above Jammu and Kashmir’s breathtaking landscapes. The vastness of the landforms and the beauty of the scenery make it a dream destination for aerial adventures. Witness the lush-green hills, deep valleys, snow-covered mountains, and charming slope-roofed houses from above. The valleys of Suru and Zanskar in Jammu offer fantastic opportunities for hot air balloon rides. Ascend to heights of approximately 3,000 feet and revel in a two-hour flight that will leave you in awe. Winter months provide the best conditions for this incredible experience.

Hot Air Ballooning in J And K

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Kashmir and create unforgettable memories through these thrilling activities.

18. Hit the Golf Course 

Engaging in a round of golf at Pahalgam is undeniably one of the most sought-after activities in this city. Renowned as the ‘Plateau’ among locals, Pahalgam’s 9-hole golf course boasts captivating scenery, lofty altitudes, and an assortment of amenities. Golf enthusiasts visiting this region can avail themselves of the course by paying an hourly fee. The surrounding vicinity of the Pahalgam Golf Course provides breathtaking photo opportunities. Don’t miss the chance to capture your memories at this popular spot.

Entrance Fee: INR 1200

19. Embark on a Camel Safari

Among the various activities to engage in, camel safaris stand out as one of the most popular attractions in Ladakh. This region is renowned for its unique double-humped Bactrian camels. The safari commences at Hundar Village in the Nubra Valley, proceeds to Diskit, and concludes at Panamic Village. Riding atop a camel’s back through this mesmerizing landscape is an unforgettable experience that every tourist venturing to Ladakh should partake in. The optimal time to embark on this exhilarating safari is between July and September.

camel safari in ladakh

Fee: INR 500 per hour (approximately two hours for the entire ride)

20. Immerse Yourself in the Bliss of Camping

The splendid regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh offer a plethora of trekking spots, rendering it an idyllic destination for camping enthusiasts in Kashmir. Camping in Kashmir allows visitors to truly absorb the essence of this beautiful place. Pahalgam is the ultimate haven for a tranquil camping experience, while other options include the remote valleys of Chatpal, Daksum, and Karnah.

camping in ladakh

Spiritual Pursuits in Jammu and Kashmir

If you assumed that the allure of Jammu and Kashmir solely lies in its awe-inspiring natural beauty, allow us to surprise you. If this land is considered heaven on Earth, then surely it must also house the abode of the divine. Here are some of the must-visit temples, shrines, and monasteries in Jammu and Kashmir that should not be overlooked during your visit:

21. Amarnath Cave and Vaishnodevi Temple

People on pony and on foot making the climb to the Vaishno Devi Shrine

Pilgrimage to the Amarnath Cave and Vaishno Devi Cave Temple ranks among the most sacred endeavors in Jammu and Kashmir. The Amarnath Yatra involves worshipping the ice stalagmite Shivalinga. Legend has it that Lord Shiva imparted the secrets of life and eternity to Goddess Parvati within these divine caverns. This pilgrimage occurs during the months of July and August. The 45-day-long Shravan Mela is dedicated to Shri Amarnath Ji.

The Vaishno Devi Yatra refers to a sacred journey to pay homage to Mata Vaishno Devi. The shrine is situated on the Trikuta mountain, which consists of a single base and three distinct peaks. A similar configuration can be found within the cave, where three heads symbolizing Hindu goddesses Mata Kali, Mata Laxmi, and Mata Saraswati are worshipped. This pilgrimage takes place during the months of July and August.

22. Serene Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh

Among the countless captivating destinations in Leh Ladakh, the Buddhist monasteries stand out as remarkable jewels in the crown of Jammu Kashmir tourism. Exploring these Gompas is an immensely spiritual endeavor in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the most renowned monasteries (gompas) in Ladakh include:

  • Hemis Monastery: Constructed by Stagchen Raschegn in the 17th century, this monastery is especially famous for its mesmerizing masked dances during the Hemis festival.
  • Thiksey Monastery: Housing a community of over 500 monks, Thiksey Monastery boasts an impressive collection of Buddhist art, including wall paintings, statues, thangkas, and swords.
  • Likir Monastery: Considered the first monastery built by Tibetan monks, Likir Monastery was established by Lama Dhwang in the 14th century. It houses various Tibetan artifacts.

kheer bhawaniA distant snap of the Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh

23. The Divine Kheer Bhawani Temple

The Kheer Bhawani Temple, located in the district of Srinagar, is the most renowned temple in the area. This temple is a place of worship dedicated to the Goddess Kheer Bhavani and is built above a sacred spring. Within this spring rests a small marble temple. Devotees offer milk kheer during the eight days of the full moon in May. It is believed that the Goddess changes the color of the spring.

Location: Tulmulla – Dangerpora Link Rd, Tulmulla, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 

Additional Reading: Indulge in a Captivating Journey: A Trip To Kashmir

Undoubtedly, this place is a paradise on Earth. How can one afford to overlook the wonders of Jammu and Kashmir? Plan a trip to Kashmir and immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of nature, while exploring these enticing attractions. Make sure to experience all the aforementioned activities, so that when you return home, you carry a piece of Kashmir with you. “Nair khaudaayas havaal!” (‘Have a good journey’ in Kashmiri.)

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Activities in Kashmir

What kind of activities can we engage in while visiting Kashmir?

There is an array of activities to explore in Kashmir, some of which include mountain biking, skiing, taking a gondola ride, enjoying a shikara ride, and playing golf.

What are the recommended dos and don’ts for visitors in Kashmir?

Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind when traveling to Kashmir:

1. Always carry warm clothing, regardless of the month you visit.

2. Choose hotels that provide room heating facilities.

3. Take essential medications with you.

4. Avoid carrying excessive amounts of cash.

5. Only hire authorized guides for your travel needs.

6. Dress appropriately when visiting holy places.

Considering the current COVID situation, is it safe to visit Kashmir?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Kashmir as long as you take necessary precautions and receive both doses of the COVID vaccine before your trip. Adhere to all government guidelines, such as wearing masks at all times, maintaining social distancing, and regularly sanitizing your hands, to prevent the spread of the virus.

How can I reach Kashmir?

To reach Kashmir by air, you can fly into the Srinagar airport, which is conveniently connected to major Indian cities. Alternatively, you can access Kashmir through a network of state and private buses. If traveling by train, the nearest railhead is Jammu Tawi Railway Station, which is approximately 330km away. From there, you can hire private taxis or take buses to reach the beautiful region of Kashmir.


Which is the best month to visit Kashmir?

The ideal time to visit Kashmir is between March and October. During this period, you can experience the three out of four basic seasons that Kashmir witnesses – spring, summer, and autumn.

How can I reach Kashmir by train?

The nearest railhead to Kashmir is Jammu Tawi Railway Station, situated about 330km away. From the railway station, you can hire private taxis or take buses to reach the enchanting destination of Kashmir.

Are tourists safe in Kashmir?

Absolutely, Kashmir is a safe destination for tourists and frequently attracts visitors from all over India.


What is the famous cuisine in Kashmir?

One of the most renowned dishes in Kashmir is Dum Aloo.



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