Places To Visit In JK

Explore India’s Heaven On Earth

Delhi Sultanate’s court poet and sufi singer Amir Khusrau aptly described Kashmir as the ‘Heaven on Earth’. Whether embraced by verdant green landscapes or snow-capped peaks, the ‘Crown of India’ radiates its beauty throughout the year. If a visit to Jammu and Kashmir is on your horizon, our curated list of some of the most beautiful places in this popular destination might be useful.

From majestic forts and temples steeped in historical significance to stunning lakes nestled amidst breathtaking vistas of pine trees and mountains, and from perfectly manicured gardens to rivers gracefully meandering through lush green meadows, Kashmir’s diverse terrain beckons travellers from near and far to immerse themselves in its exquisite beauty.

In fact, it’s not only Indians but also foreign nationals who are drawn to Kashmir, enamoured by its timeless charm. Let us delve into the allure of the country’s paradise.

Enrich your itinerary with the top beautiful places to visit in Kashmir


Image credit: Deepanshu Nayak

A proud member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network since 2021, Srinagar owes its renown not only to its eternal beauty but also to its rich culture and exquisite handicrafts. Whether indulging in a surreal shikara ride on Dal Lake, strolling through the enchanting Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden during the Tulip Festival, experiencing the charm of a laid-back stay on a houseboat, exploring the bustling markets of Lal Chowk, or savouring authentic Kashmiri delicacies like nadru yakhni, gustaba, haak saag and the quintessential rogan josh, Srinagar offers a diverse range of experiences. For those yearning for waterfalls, a visit to Aharbal Waterfall, approximately 72 km away, is highly recommended — a gem among the most beautiful places in Kashmir. Spiritual seekers can find solace at the Shankaracharya Temple, offering a serene retreat for moments of peace and introspection.

Key attractions: Shri Raghunath Temple, Mughal Gardens and Manasbal Lake
How to reach: Srinagar Airport is approximately 10 km from the city centre

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Yusmarg, translating to ‘Meadows of Jesus’, is the pride of Kashmir valley. Situated in the Budgam district, Yusmarg is a picturesque landscape characterised by rolling hills and lush green pastures. Home to some of the highest peaks in the Pir Panjal range and the mesmerising Sang-E-Safed valley, Yusmarg is one of the most beautiful places in Kashmir. For enthusiasts of local cuisine, a visit to the quaint dhabas and eateries in Charar-e-Sharif, located near Yusmarg, is a must after exploring its holy shrine. This charming hill station is also renowned for its exceptional variety of flowers, adding to its allure and making it a unique gem in the Kashmir valley.

Key attractions: Pakherpora Shrine, Doodhganga and Nilnag Lake
How to reach: Yusmarg is approximately 50 km from Srinagar

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Nestled amidst majestic hills and dense forests in the Anantnag district, Pahalgam offers an abundance of breathtaking vistas and scenic spots. The ever-popular Betaab Valley, named after the Bollywood film Betaab (1983), is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with lush green grasslands, stunning meadows lined with pine trees, and a river cutting through it. Other gorgeous places include Baisaran Hills, Lidderwat and Pahalgam Golf Course. Pahalgam is indeed a haven for trekkers and hikers, transforming into a snowy paradise in winter.

Key attractions: Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, Lidder Amusement Park and Panchtarni
How to reach: Pahalgam is approximately 90 km from Srinagar

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Gurez Valley

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Exploring the lesser-known Gurez Valley in Jammu and Kashmir offers a unique offbeat experience. Situated at an elevation of 2,400 meters (7,874 feet), 72 km from Bandipora, Gurez Valley is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, enhanced by the presence of the Kishanganga River. The simplicity of Gurez Valley, coupled with the warmth of its local people, adds to its timeless allure. Home to the Dard Shin Tribe, one of the oldest tribes in Kashmir, who speak Shina, it’s a haven for avian enthusiasts with abundant bird sightings. It is one of the best and most beautiful places to see and visit in Kashmir.

Key attractions: Visit Dawar Swamp, Wular Lake and Razdan Pass
How to reach: Gurez Valley is approximately 126 km from Srinagar

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Known as ‘The Land of Saffron and Sapphire’, Kishtwar owes its popularity to the Kishtwar National Park, spread across 2,000 sq km, and home to various species of mammals and birds. Steeped in historical significance, Kishtwar, believed to be the abode of sage Kashyap, dates back to the Mahabharata period when it was called ‘Lohit Mandal.’ With Naginshiru Peak in the north and the Chenab River to the south, Kishtwar mesmerises with natural wonders. Indulge in local delicacies like tabak maz, rista, and namkeen chai with kulcha. Explore the ruins of the old fort in Bhandarkoot, approximately 12 km away, for a taste of Kishtwar’s rustic charm.

Key attractions: Chuharnag Lake, Neel Khanth Mahadev Mandir and Shrine of Shah Farid ud Din Bagdadi
How to reach: Kishtwar is approximately 208 km from Srinagar, with Udhampur Railway station being the nearest (approximately 146 km).

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No list is complete without mentioning the crowd-favourite Gulmarg, a year-round destination that transforms into a winter wonderland. Home to one of the world’s highest green golf courses, Gulmarg is one of the best places for golfers to visit in Kashmir. Just 16 km from Gulmarg, the Durung Waterfall entices adventure enthusiasts, especially during winter when it freezes into a white spectacle. Experience Gulmarg’s true beauty by hopping on the gondola and testing your skiing skills at Seven Springs.

Key attractions: Shrine of Baba Reshi, Strawberry Valley and Khilanmarg
How to reach: Gulmarg is approximately 52 km from Srinagar

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In the Anantnag district, Verinag stands out for the Verinag spring and the Mughal garden commissioned by Emperor Jahangir in 1620. The octagonal stone reservoir in the garden is believed to be the primary source of the Jhelum River. Legends connect the Goddess Vitasta with this location, where she initially intended to emerge. Verinag’s charm is further enhanced by towering Chinar trees, creating a picturesque setting.

Key attractions: Verinag Spring, Mughal Gardens and Martand Surya Temple
How to reach: Verinag is approximately 85 km from Srinagar

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Approximately 108 km from Jammu and 45 km from Udhampur, Patnitop is a beautiful town surrounded by pine forests. Sanasar Lake, one of the most picturesque lakes in India, Shanta Ridge and Shank Pal with rolling hills and alpine meadows are must-visit attractions. The steps of Billoo Ki Powri exude an old-world charm, and Nathatop, a popular ski destination in winter, adds to the allure. Visit the ancient Bahu Fort and Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali, and the Naag (Corba) Temple when in Patnitop.

Key attractions: Baglihar Dam, Buddha Amarnath Temple and Shiva Garh
How to reach: Patnitop is approximately 166 km from Srinagar

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(Feature image credit: Deepanshu Nayak)

Related: We’re Dreaming Of Kashmir

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What makes Kashmir a popular destination for travellers?
Kashmir qualifies as one of the best and most popular destinations for travellers to see and visit owing to its diverse landscape, ranging from lush meadows and rolling hills to majestic mountain peaks and pine forests, as well as its rich cultural heritage.

What is the best time to visit Kashmir?
The best time to visit the tourist places in Kashmir is between March to August. However, if snowfall attracts you, then visiting during the winter months is recommended.

Are there any famous gardens in Kashmir?
Yes, there are many famous gardens and places to see in Kashmir like the Mughal Gardens and Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden.

What are the major lakes in Kashmir that one should visit?
One should definitely visit Dal Lake and Sanasar Lake. Alternatively, one can go on a trek covering most of the lakes here — Kashmir Great Lakes Trek.

Can I experience snowfall in Kashmir?
Absolutely. One can see snowfall in various places of Kashmir during December and January.

Are there any adventure activities available in Kashmir?
Yes, Kashmir offers many adventure activities like trekking, skiing, rafting and paragliding.

What is the significance of Gulmarg in Kashmir?
Gulmarg is one of the most picturesque places to see in Kashmir, offering an abundance of tourist attractions.

Are there any historical sites in Kashmir?
Yes, there are many historical places to see in Kashmir such as the Amar Mahal Palace, Bahu Fort, Mughal Gardens and Mubarak Mandi Palace.

How can I reach Kashmir?
Srinagar Airport is approximately 10 km from the city centre and Jammu Tawi Railway Station is approximately 50 km from Katra. You can reach Srinagar by flight or Jammu by train and carry on with your journey further.

Are there houseboats available for accommodation in Kashmir?
Yes. Houseboats are available for accommodation in Kashmir, but prior booking is advisable to avoid a rush.

Can I buy traditional Kashmiri handicrafts in the region?
Yes. You can buy traditional Kashmiri handicrafts from the local vendors and craftsmen in Kashmir, but researching the correct price before heading to the markets is advisable.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publication.
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