Floating Markets To Gondolas: A Guide To Kashmir

Stunning landscapes, rich heritage, exquisite handicrafts and culinary delights are bound together in this "Paradise on Earth"
Dal Lake, Srinagar
Dal Lake, SrinagarShutterstock

Kashmir, located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, is often referred to as "Paradise on Earth" due to its breathtaking landscapes, including snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, pristine lakes, and rich cultural heritage. The place has served as the location for numerous Bollywood film shootings including “Haider,” “Fitoor,” and “Kashmir Ki Kali,” among others.

We have curated a destination guide with all the information you need to plan your trip to this stunning region, including when to visit, how to get there, things to do, places to see, and more.

Places To See


Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar
Shalimar Bagh, SrinagarShutterstock

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is renowned for its scenic Dal Lake, charming houseboats, and exquisite Mughal Gardens such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. During the Mughal era, Srinagar was a favoured summer retreat for royals who left behind picturesque gardens. Then came the British, who were not allowed to buy land here. Hence, they made local boats into the now legendary houseboats. Make sure to experience a shikara ride on the Dal Lake and explore the local markets during your visit. And do not miss the floating gardens, or ‘rad’, on the Dal. These are a mix of matted vegetation and earth that are used to grow vegetables.

Famous sites: Khanqah-e-Moula and Shankaracharya Hill.



Gulmarg, the meadow of flowers, is ringed by fir trees and snowy peaks with nature walks, pony rides, the gondola cable car, and skiing. A year-round destination, it offers tourists stunning views of the Himalayan mountains and a variety of outdoor activities, such as trekking and skiing during the winter. The town's serene atmosphere and picturesque landscapes make it an ideal retreat for relaxation away from the monotony of city life. For some stunning views, take the Gulmarg gondola all the way up to Affarwat station.

Famous sites: Gulmarg Gondola and Baba Reshi Shrine



Pahalgam is surrounded by stunning landscapes, offering a variety of outdoor activities for travellers such as trekking, golfing, and trout fishing. Travellers are enchanted by the beauty of Betaab Valley and Aru Valley, which are must-visit spots on any itinerary to Pahalgam.

Famous sites: Tulian Lake and Mamaleshwar Temple



On the road from Kashmir to Ladakh, just below the Zoji La pass is Sonamarg, a high-altitude meadow next to the Sind River. Known as the "Meadow of Gold," it serves as the gateway to some of the most breathtaking treks. Here, adventure seekers can marvel at the stunning views of glaciers and alpine lakes that adorn the landscape.

Famous sites: Zojila Pass and Gangabal Lake

Things to Do

Trekking: Discover stunning trekking trails in the region, including the Great Lakes Trek and Tarsar Marsar Trek.

Skiing and Snowboarding: Winter sports enthusiasts can have a delightful time in Gulmarg and other snow-covered areas.

Cuisine: Enjoy the taste of authentic Kashmiri dishes, such as Rogan Josh, Wazwan, and Kashmiri Pulao.

Cultural Experiences: Experience the rich culture of Kashmir through traditional music and dance performances and village visits.

Things To Buy

Pashmina shawls
Pashmina shawlsShutterstock

Kashmir is a must-visit destination that offers an outstanding experience focusing on exquisite handicrafts and textiles. You can explore the local markets to find authentic Pashmina shawls, hand-knotted carpets, papier-mâché art, and intricate Kashmiri embroidery. Additionally, quality saffron, delicious dry fruits, traditional jewellery, and fine fabrics are also available.

It is common to bargain while shopping in Kashmir, but purchasing from reputable shops is essential to ensure authenticity, particularly for pricier items like Pashmina shawls or carpets.

Remember, shopping in Kashmir is not just about acquiring souvenirs; it's a cultural journey and an opportunity to bring home a piece of this rich artistic heritage.

When To Visit

Spring (March to May): This is the perfect time to witness the blooming tulips in Srinagar and enjoy the pleasant weather.

Summer (June to August): Summers are generally calm and pleasant, which makes them ideal for engaging in outdoor activities such as trekking.

Autumn (September to November): The season is marked by colourful leaves, which makes it an excellent time for photographers to capture stunning images.

Winter (December to February): Winter is an ideal time for snow enthusiasts to indulge in skiing, snowboarding, and exploring the stunning landscapes.

Getting There

Air: The Srinagar International Airport has excellent connectivity with major cities in India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. 

Road: You can reach Kashmir via National Highway 44 from cities like Jammu. The journey takes about 8-9 hours.

Rail: The Jammu Tawi railway station has excellent connectivity to other parts of India.

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