The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is a saga of nature complete with rugged mountains, blossoming valleys and pristine forests. Often referred to as the Switzerland of the East, Kashmir owes its natural beauty to the rugged mountains, which restrict mobility however, especially during the winters, when the mountain ranges are covered with a thick blanket of snow. Here, we are presenting some popular excursion points of the region.
One of Asia's largest fresh water lakes, Wular Lake changes character
with every few miles. There are the calm waters of Manasbal Lake, a bird
watcher's paradise, sporting Shikaras that take you on a ride through
the tranquil waters. To the right of the Wular Lake, is a delightfully
laid out Mughal Garden and one may also see old women picking water
chestnuts and deftly navigating the weeds in flat-bottomed skiffs.
Miles way from well-traversed areas of Kashmir, lies Watlab, where
there is a shrine of a Muslim mystic, Baba Shukurddin, atop the hill. It
is from here that the Wular Lake stretches away, surrounded by
picturesque and colorful villages and terraced paddy fields. At Watlab,
there is a Forest Rest House nestled amidst sprawling apple orchards
basking in the sheer natural opulence of the spectacular countryside.
The erstwhile pleasure retreat of Empress Nur Jehan, Achabal is
situated at a height of 1,677 m. 58 km from Srinagar, it has a fine
garden laid in the Mughal (Persian) style and oozes with its own charm
and character. Kashmir sports the best of the Mughal gardens of India
and perhaps, Achabal is the best. Fringed by stately Chinar trees, it is
situated at the foot of a hill and is a visual treat with its stepped
terraces, formal elegance, ornamental shrubs, sparkling fountains and
Amidst the breathtaking splendor of the springs at Kokarnag, Daksum is
tucked away in a densely forested gorge with the Bringhi River passing
through its heart. At an altitude of 2438 m, Daksum is a walker's
paradise with coniferous trees, gurgling brooks, the music of flute of
the shepherds tending their flock and the grassy meadows where sheep are
taken to pasture. It has everything to rejuvenate the visitors with its
bracing mountain air, solitude, densely clad hills and snow-covered
mountains in the backdrop that lend to the Daksum's mystique and make it
a perfect retreat.
Situated in the heart of Bringhi valley, Kokernag is situated at an
altitude of 2,020 m. 70 km from Srinagar, Kokernag is set amidst
sprawling gardens with its air full of fragrance that owes itself to the
thousands of flowers blooming in the region. The Kokernag Spring bubbles
at seven places at the foot of the forested mountain and its water is
famous for its medicinal and digestive properties.
47 km from Srinagar, Yusmarg is a vast grassy meadow fringed by forests
of pine with awesome and stately snow clad mountains in the backdrop. A
favorite picnic spot, it boasts of walks of every sort, from a leisure
stroll amidst the flower-strewn meadows to the mighty river of Dudh
Ganga foaming white and crashes its way over the rocks. It has a
beautiful lake called Nilnag, which is cradled by hills. There are
several peaks nearby such as Tatta Kutti and Sang Safed and Charari-
Sharief, the Shrine of Kashmir's patron saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din or Nund
Reshi is a short distance from here.
The roaring waterfall of Aharbal crashes down a narrow gorge and is the
highlight of the place. Several picnic spots surround the area and an
excellent trekking point; it has delightful walks of varying lengths all
over the hillsides. One of the most interesting treks is the
high-altitude lake of Kounsernag at 13,500 ft above sea level has its
starting point in Aharbal.
80 km from Srinagar, situated at an altitude of 1,876 m, Verinag boasts
of a spring, which is believed to be the chief source of the River
Jhelum. Mughal Emperor Jahangir started the construction of the
octagonal base of the spring and the arcade around it, which was
completed during the reign of his son, Shah Jahan. To the east of the
stream, lie the remains of a Mughal pavilion and baths.
Explore various excursion options in Jammu and Kashmir.