Advice for the first-time traveler to Kashmir

A comprehensive guide and insights on where to stay, shop, and savour the best of the Valley.

Blog Home | Surbhi Mishra | 27-07-2022

Kashmir, a valley famed for its mesmerising beauty and epic landscapes, is not without its share of conflicts. Having been contested by nations and states over the ages, Kashmir has also acquired an almost mythical status – as will be clear after vibing with the enigmatic aura of the Valley which is home to many natural wonders but also a location where nature lovers can retreat from the trials and tribulations of everyday life!

As easy as it is to navigate the lanes and alleys of land known as the Paradise on Earth, it can be as hard to understand Kashmir. This is a contested space where both reality and what we imagine feel quite uncomfy sometimes. When travelling to the Valley, be ready to explore more and beyond what you have known up until now about Kashmir.

Whether you’re driving down the winding roads, hanging out by a gushing river or sipping tea beside a historical monument, there’s no better place to travel than Kashmir. And if this is your first time, more so the reason to go through this Travel Guide to Kashmir.

How to Plan Kashmir Trip

How well do you know your way around a valley known for being the Heaven on earth? Stepping into the Valley of Kashmir can be like stepping into a land without maps–You get lost in the scenery. But before that, this is how you are going to arrive here:

By Air:

The most popular and convenient way is to reach by air. Srinagar Airport (Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport) is connected to all the prime cities of India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bangalore, etc.

By Road:

This is a cost-effective but time-consuming way of arriving in Kashmir. Private and State Road Transportation Buses run from the major cities and drop you off in Srinagar. Regular and deluxe buses run from cities such as Chandigarh & Delhi, which will take you to Srinagar.

By Train:

There is no direct train to Srinagar. Jammu Tawi Railway Station (257 km away from Srinagar) or Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station (225 km away from Srinagar) are the only two options to arrive at Jammu. From there on, you will have to hire either a bus or cab to go around the city of Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, etc., in Kashmir.

Best Time to Visit:

March to August cover the season of Spring and Summer, which is the best time to visit Kashmir. The spring season lasts from March through May, and summer lasts from early May through late August.

Things to be Noted for Kashmir Trip

The mesmerising beauty surrounding the Valley, the captivating charm of sky-high mountains, gushing lakes and streams flowing right through it are all well-known. And so naturally, exploring the Vale of Kashmir with a staycation fascinates many, especially travellers. 

Where to Stay

As per your liking, you can either stay in Hotel, Houseboats (a floating dream), or camp alongside a river for a stargazing experience. Dal Lake in Srinagar is a popular tourist spot for a magical stay on Houseboats. The glacial river in Pahalgam is where you can go camping and pitch a romantic tent for a starry night. 

Recommended Read: These Kashmiri Houseboats provide for a dreamy stay.

What & Where to Shop

Renowned for handwoven Pashmina Shawls, high-quality Saffron spices, excellent designs carved on Walnut woods, and elaborate Papier-mâché products, all you need to know is where to shop these royal beauties.

  • Sunbeam, Polo View, Srinagar – Decor your home with Kashmiri wooden art and woven carpets. Also, to buy souvenirs for friends and families.
  • Asian Crafts House, Dal Lake, Srinagar – Buy the finest Pashmina Shawls. 
  • Ahmad Complex, Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir – Shop for the Kashmiri Jewellery
  • Asia Crafts, Bund Road, Srinagar – A must-go place to shop for Kashmiri art and aesthetics.
  • Royal Kashmir, Dal Lake, Srinagar – for dry fruits

Know the specialities of Kashmir cuisines

Travel and food make for the best companion. When in Kashmir, it goes without saying that you will want to savour the best of Kashmiri delicacies. Know the most notable dishes of the Valley. They are:

Wazwan – an elaborate 14 to 36 dish marking the big festivities mood in the Valley.

Hokh Syun – Sun Dried Vegetables such as Wangan Hachi, Ale Hachi, Gogji Aar, Kashmiri Ruwangan Hachi, Bamchoont Hache, etc.

Vegetarian Dish – Haakh, Nadru, Dum Olav, Lyodur Tschaman, etc.

Specialities – Kulcha, Sheermal, Non Chai, Kahwa, Lala Shangram, etc.

Know in detail about them here.

Important Tips for Kashmir Travel

  • Pick the right agency for your Kashmir travel tour packages.
  • Keep essential documents such as id proofs, driving licence, visas, etc.
  • Bring along the travel essentials from sunscreen, power bank, woollen clothes, moisturiser, etc. 
  • Carry ATM debit, credit card as well as sufficient cash with you.
  • Don’t forget to keep the first-aid kit and medicines for emergency situations.