7 Experiences That Makes Winters In Kashmir Irresistible
Kashmir is the best thing ever happened to India! For all the enchantress that this piece is paradise is, one must plan an extensive excursion of the Himalayan beauty. There are times when Kashmir flourishes with maple in the fall, green pasture in the summer but winter in Kashmir is really special. Nothing in the world looks prettier than the way top tourist places in Kashmir like Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, and Srinagar appear; all cast in the snow. It is called heaven on earth for a reason, the paradise is worth all your time and money. There are hundreds of tourist places that one can visit but Kashmir indeed has something in its air, something that holds you there and doesn’t leave you even when you get back to your monotonous life. Nobody can define Kashmir. No word can justify its beauty. So if you wish to know what it really feels like to be in Kashmir read the blog, pach your bags, pick up your cameras and leave!
1. A Shikara ride in the partially frozen Dal Lake
This is the most impeccable part of Kashmir. Dal lake has its own paradise of beauty. For sure you can stroll around the markets in Kashmir buying those intricately woven Pashmina shawls, and carpets but don’t forget to go for a boat ride. The joy of taking a romantic boat ride in the beautiful lakes of Kashmir or staying in the best houseboats in Kashmir is incomparable. A boat ride in Kashmir is the mother of all the romantic experiences when you are on a Kashmir holiday.
As the mercury experiences a remarkable dip even the lakes become partially frozen. Plan a Shikara ride and nothing is more enchanting than it. This exquisite tour will definitely leave you in bliss and if ever you can find solace, it is here in Dal Lake.
2. The best of snow camping & trekking
If you are one of those you loves camping but are not very fond of crowd, Kashmir is the aptest place to plan a winter camping. With not too many people around, camping always makes for a peaceful retreat amidst nature. And when you think of camping in Kashmir there is nothing like this one incredible experience. Mount Nun Kun Camping, Mount Harmukh Camping, and the Trek to Sankaracharya are the most popular of them all. This trekking experience would be indeed very adventurous yet beautiful trek of your life.
With dark grey and gloomy conditions around, and weather presenting bone-chilling conditions, camping is one of its kind experience in Kashmir. Living in a tent on a bed of snow is an experience that would invigorate the adventures in you. Also do check our ‘how to be a pro camper and hacks for camping’ to be best prepared for whatever comes on your way. Consider these popular places while planning to go camping in Kashmir.
1. Sonmarg, Nichinni, Vishansar, Gadsar, Gangabal, Naranag
2. Pahalgam, Aru, Lidderwat, Kolahoi, Chandanwari
3. Manasbal Lake
4. Tsomoriri Lake, Tso Kar, Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Shargol (Ladakh Region)
Camping in Kashmir during winter isn’t possible until you have the basics in place. Consider these things before making up your mind to go camping:
2. Sun protection
3. Insulation (extra clothing)
4. Illumination equipments
5. First-aid kit
6. Fire essentials
7. Repair kit & tools
8. Extra food
9. Extra water
10. Emergency shelter (in case of emergency)
* Always avoid the avalanche-prone zones!
3. Skiing, cable car ride, and hiking in Gulmarg
Skiing was my dream since I was 8 and when I had my first skiing experience it was more like a dream. Blissful, I still cannot articulate what I felt after that and skiing is Kashmir is something that no one should miss. Make sure you choose winters for your trip if you are really looking forwasr to ski. Of all the adventure activities that you can take during winter in Kashmir, Skiing is the most popular. Gulmarg and Sonamarg are the popular destinations for adventure enthusiasts who brave the sub-zero temperature to make the winter a memorable one. There are quite a few local operators in Gulmarg who make arrangements for adventure sports.
Riding a cable car in Gulmarg is truly an incredible experience. Hot air ballooning, skating, and heli-skiing is some other popular activities to take up while planning a trip to Kashmir in Winter. These experiences gets out the best in you and you in return get the best of your trip. An adventure loving soul just cannot miss these experiences so if you haven’t been to Kashmir yet, it’s time to call for a trip!!!
4. Walking the Chadar – the frozen Zanskar river
Chadar is one of the most adventurous trek that I know. There are times when you don’t find adventure but the adventure finds you. As you step into the world that looks nothing less than the ice age, there are daunting trails awaiting you into the deep embrace of nature. Zanskar river, flowing to the south of Leh across the Hemis National Park, is the perfect place to explore in winter. The river turns into a thick sheet of ice in winter thus forming a perfect platform for the Chadar Trek – one of the most thrilling treks in the world. Call it ice age or the Narniya saga, the vibe you are going to get here is not less than a lucid dream. Chadar Trek is a popular attraction of Kashmir in winter.
5. Beholding the best of snow mountain valley in Sonamarg
An hour drive from Srinagar takes you to Sonamarg (80 km from Srinagar). It is often said that Sonamarg remains inaccessible in winter because of the heavy snowfall and avalanche but with the able help of locals, one can maneuver the tricky trail well. Sonamarg is one place in Kashmir that will take your breath away. The beauty of Sonamarg is unparalleled with golden beauty turning into a sea of white. It breath taking yet a paradise. If you have ever wished to feel what heaven feels like, Sonamarg is a living example for it. The avalanche indeed makes it an offbeat location but if you can ever make it here, trust me you are going to witness another level of beauty. Maybe some atomic level? If ever there’s a term like that. Jokes apart, Sonamarg justifies the name it carries that is sona = gold; marg = path. It is indeed no less than a golden mountain,if ever the gold were white, goldmines had be called as Sonamarg.
Thajiwas Glacier and Zero Point are the most beautiful of all thus making for popular places to see in Sonamarg. Embrace the beauty the land of golden meadows has its own charm in the fudgy winter. Guarded by the great Himalayan mountains, Sonamarg, one of the most popular places to visit in India in summer, is a must-visit.
6. A pony ride, white water rafting and more in Betaab Valley, Pahalgam
Ever since I had learned the pony tail in grade 2, I had promised myself neither would I take somebody’s pony for a ride nor will I give mine to anyone (if I ever had it) but as soon as I stepped in Kashmir, the pony’s stole my heart and I did what spiderman taught me, uhh well ‘promises are meant to be broken, those are the best kinds’ so I broke mine too and rode the cutest. Winter would never be easier in Kashmir without ponies. When the unknown trails become difficult to walk, it is the ponies who guide you through the valley carrying you on their backs. The fact that winter in Kashmir is considered an offseason for tourism makes the travelers prone to make the higher payment. Negotiate is the word. To experience the glaciers in Kashmir at its best a horse/pony ride is a must. Stay cautious, even animals fumble sometimes.
7. Unbelievable discount & cheap stays up for the grabs
As you plan to stay in a resort or a hotel in Kashmir there are higher chances that you might land up a good discount. Winter is an offseason and this makes a stay in Kashmir a cost-effective option. Don’t forget to compare prices online, you never know when you might land up an exciting deal or for a better chance pre book for a few days and go around places and enquire to get the best deal. Not known by a lot of people but online mediums often charge hotel some percent of the booking amount. So if you directly book from a hotel you have better chances on avoiding those charges and additionally you can choose any location that soothes you better and this can be the cheapest holiday destination in India A trip just cannot get better right?
Things to keep in mind before planning a winter in Kashmir
Be prepared for the delay in flights because of extreme weather.
Roads aren’t as comfortable to travel on as it seems. The closures are frequent because of heavy snowfall.
Enquire about the roads and weather forecast well in advance.
A budget hotel might not be equipped with the electric blanket while deluxe hotels give you the facility of an electric blanket. Enquire about it in advance.
Pahalgam is easy while Gulmarg won’t be easy to travel. Anyway, snow clearing machines ensure that roads are in the perfect condition to travel.
Shops are mostly opened lest there is a curfew situation in the valley. You may chance upon some great deals in shops during winters.
Book a prepaid car well in advance for your entire trip. Local transport isn’t good during winters.
You might find Dal Lake frozen. It depends upon the amount of snowfall.
Carry your best winter clothings and gears. -10 degrees isn’t easy to deal with.
With beauty as bewitching as Kashmir, even the challenges of making it there becomes insignificant when you marvel at the snow-swept views. Book a Kashmir tour package now! Here’s a link that gets you the cheapest yet the most amazing Kashmir tour I found after thorough research http://www.traveldglobe.com/tour/kashmir-great-lakes-trek . You can thank me later.
What’s the ideal time for winter in Kashmir?
December to February is the best time to visit Kashmir in winter. While maximum temperature occasionally touches 10 degrees Celsius the minimum temperature comes down to -8 degrees Celsius. The period of 40 days from December 21 to January 31st, also known as Chilai Kalan, is considered as the most crucial when if it snows the condition gets even worse. Surroundings become duskier and the bone-chilling cold can make you numb.
Visit Kashmir and experience skiing in Gulmarg, trekking through the breathtaking mountains lakes, trout fishing in Sonmarg and a romantic stay in houseboats in Jhelum River. Book packages inclusive of airport transfers, cab, resort, sightseeing, and meals
Food In Kashmir –
There is a lot of things to do when you are looking to spend few days of winter in Kashmir and Kashmiri food is certainly worth a mention. Kashmiri Pulav, Kehwa, dum aloo, Yakhni, and Kebabs are some of the most popular and lip smacking delicacies to try but it’s the Harissa that hogs the limelight. Harissa is the local Kashmiri food that everyone must try. The non-vegetarian delicacy that takes almost 12 hours to prepare is a staple diet of Kashmiris in winter. Lamb and rice are the primary ingredients of Harissa. Also there are number of local dishes worth trying so if ever you find yourself in Kashmir do not forget to try all of these famous, delicious, mouth watering delicacies.
Winters are down times for Kashmir. In fact winter in Kashmir is challenging. Kashmir thrives in a dreamy surrounding. The entire valley is covered with a blanket of snow. Life comes to a halt during winters as one can’t find too many people around. Stunning escapades loom largely bejeweled with imposing mountain peaks in the backdrop, and partially frozen pine trees cut the picture of a mesmerizing sight around. Maybe it is a downtime because not everyone can absorb how beautiful Kashmir turns in winters. These combination on adventure, solace, silence, breath taking moments, fear, happiness, peace is all what a man is made up of and if you can feel all these emotions together, welcome to Kashmir my friend!