Tucked away in the mountains: Offbeat Kashmir

“Gar Firdaus bar roo-e zameenast, hameenasto, hameenasto, hameen-ast” – Us travellers have believed and acted thereon couplet of Firdaus for way longer than I can remember! looking for that heaven, the summer holidays see an insane exodus of families parking themselves in Kashmir, year over year. The crown state of India, Kashmir is one among the foremost sought-after destinations in India, and yet, the surreal great thing about this land is usually lost in travelling the beaten path!

We decided to ransack and dig out places in Kashmir that are still unchartered with their intrinsic peace and quiet still intact. And we did find some amazing treasures! If you discover yourself in Kashmir in future and are unable to seek out a hotel in Betaab Valley due to the mad rush like I did, head to those beauties instead. Trust me, “if there’s paradise, it’s here”.

1. Verinag
Verinag – Origin of Jhelum
Verinag is one among the most sources of River Jhelum and an underexplored traveller’s attraction within the Anantnag District. Set amidst a plethora of healthy chinar (maple) trees and hosting gushing blue water at the reservoir, Verinag is nearly midway between Pahalgam and Srinagar. Here’s where you’ve got your midway chai, if you’re sticking to the oft-travelled little bit of Kashmir.

How to go: You’ll visit Verinag by taking either a cab or a state transport bus from Srinagar.
Where to stay: There are a variety of hotels to pick for your stay in either Srinagar or Pahalgam or in Verinag itself
What to do: One of the simplest places to go to in Verinag is Mughal Garden.
2. Kokernag
Home to the most important trout fishery of Asia, Kokernag may be a hidden gem within the Anantnag District; 25-odd kilometres faraway from Anantnag and 80 kilometres from Srinagar. It forms an enormous cascade of springs thanks to its unique ‘hen-like’ structure. a 1-day stay in Kokernag is amazing if you’re a non- vegetarian and a lover of fresh trout and mountain air!

How to go: By air – Kokernag is found at a distance of 76 kilometres from Srinagar airport. you’ll either take a bus or book a cab to succeed in this breathtaking place
By road – A variety of buses ply from Srinagar to Kokernag. Kokernag is well connected with major places in Kashmir
By train – The closest station to Kokernag is Jammu Tawi
Where to stay: There are a variety of hotels and guest houses available to pick from for your stay in Kokernag
What to do: You might visit Kokernag waterfall, arboretum, Achabal.
3. Chatpal
Untouched hills and woods, a virgin spring snaking through the valley and therefore the crisp cold mountain air almost makes Chatpal an in-depth cloning of Pahalgam, but only better! If you propose to vacation during this bit of paradise, you’ll desire the sole inhabitants of the valley, and isn’t that just what we’d like at times?

How to go: There’s no regular transport available to succeed in Chaptal. One has got to book a taxi or a cab to succeed in here.
Where to stay: There’s no accommodation available in sort of hotels or resorts. But there are two government guest houses where you’ll stay.
What to do: There’s a brief trek available from Chaptal to the valley, you’ll also enjoy the natural beauty and ask locals to understand their side of the story about the place.
4. Nubra Valley
140 kilometres from Leh, Nubra Valley is one among the foremost beautiful places within the Leh region of Jammu & Kashmir. Shyok and Nubra rivers, red gold monasteries, landscapes that look nothing in need of a painting, all structure the lesser-known wonder that Nubra is.

How to go: The closest airport is at Leh which is 150 kilometres far away from the valley. you’ll take a bus or book a cab from Leh to the valley.
Where to stay: Holiday campsites and a couple of hotels are available for booking a stay in Nubra valley
What to do: You’ll visit Khardung La, Diskit Gompa, Zimskang museum, Hunder Gompa, and a statue of Chamba while you’re within the valley.
5. Bangus Valley
Like most of Kashmir, Bangus Valley may be a big meadow that consumes all of your visual vistas, with its beautiful pine and deodar forests. During summer, the valley turns into a carpet of little flowers. you’d need the Army’s permission to raid the Bangus Valley, but it’s worth browsing all that trouble, because, Bangus is a tremendous campsite if you enjoy sleeping under a blanket of stars!

How to go: This valley is situated at about 150 kilometres from Srinagar. It is often reached through two ways from Srinagar, one is thru Handwara through Satkoji and therefore the other through Chowkibal through Malasari.
Where to stay: The valley isn’t yet developed for tourists so either you’ll stay in Srinagar or search for a homestay in any local’s place
What to do: You’ll visit Dodkol (which is known for its sweet and cold water)and Bangus spring (hot water spring)

Kashmir’s surreal beauty is at an entirely different level once you see yourself exploring these hidden bits of the state. And now, with a spike in direct flights to Srinagar and Leh, Kashmir has never been closer! What are you waiting for?

 

About the author:

A workaholic startup founder and a crazy bookworm, who loves to paint the whole day long. This lady runs on coffee and, she absolutely loves the mountains and rainy days.

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