Jammu and Kashmir tourism has thrived by 100% in the past two years due to the lack of international trips. But it has been a boon to the Indian tourism sector, which has made India allot a 70% additional budget this fiscal year to improve Jammu and Kashmir tourism. It also means the state's destination, accommodation, and transportation will be much more traveller-friendly and efficient.
If you are planning a trip to Jammu and Kashmir, and this is your first time, ensure you visit the following places to experience the best of the region.
Dal lake, shikaras, beautiful golden sunsets, and mesmerizing full moon nights – Srinagar is a mini-heaven in the divine Kashmir. Visit the Mughal gardens, carpet weaving factories, floating vegetable and flower market, and the local flea market for shawls, walnut wood carvings, and handicrafts at reasonable prices.
Other sites to visit in Srinagar: Hazratbal shrine, Tulip Garden, Chasm e Shahi gardens, Dachigam National Park, and Shankaracharya temple.
Sonamarg serves as the entryway to Ladakh, the adventure-tourist centre in Kashmir. Sonamarg received its golden name due to its lush meadow of gold and pure red-coloured water of the Nilagrad river. Things to do and visit: Gadsar lake, Gangabal lake, Thajiwar glacier, Gaddi tribal hut campsite, and Baltal valley trek.
Gulmarg is famous for snowboarding and skiing. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, fir and poplar trees, and Apharwat peak, Gulmarg is surreal. Other places to visit in Gulmarg are Rani Temple, St. Mary's Church, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, Alpather Lake, and Single Nallah.
A perfect honeymoon spot with lush green meadows, pine-covered mountains, and exotic Lidder River, Pahalgam is a lover's sonnet in the disguise of a hill station. Whether you are looking for a pilgrimage, a trekking adventure, or a couple's retreat, Pahalgam is the spot for you. Tarsar lake river rafting, Aru valley wildlife safari and trekking, Dabyan valley, and Malaleshwar temple are some places to visit here.
If you are a true patriot, you won't be able to resist Kargil Ranbhoomi, where the Kargil War took place in 1999. Today it has become a peaceful and historical tourist destination. Kargil is also the entryway to Leh, and therefore, you will come across several beautiful monasteries here. You can also visit the Kargil War Memorial and stay at the Military base camps amidst war heroes for the additional kick.
So, what are you waiting for? Kashmir tourism calls you.