Jammu and Kashmir is a paradise on land. It has been so well crafted by Mother Nature. Each nook and corner of the place is worth watching. The greenery surrounds you in almost all the places. Silence on the roads leading to Leh is surreal. But there is a lot more to be done in Jammu and Kashmir.
Some activities have been shown in the Bollywood movies since ages; now it is your turn to try them out for yourself. Don’t just stick to the age old famous tourist destinations only. There is much more to be seen and done. So here are a few we have listed out for you.
Here a list Top Things to do in Jammu & Kashmir
1. Shikara ride
who doesn’t know the famous Shikara? It is a canopy shaped boat. Best enjoyed on the still waters of Dal Lake. The experience itself is so romantic. This ride has been showcased in many movies time and again. The interesting fact is that there is an entire market floating on these Shikaras. You can shop of almost everything when on your ride. You can buy fresh flowers, vegetables, even clothes and shoes for all you know. The slow pace of these boats reminds you to step back and relax a little in the fast paced life. These colourful boats add a flavour of happiness to the lake and life around. These Shikaras are a major source of income for the local people.
If you are a hale and hearty person, physically fit then you must go for trekking on the mountains of Ladakh. Depending on the availability of your time you can select long or short trips. But trekking on these snow clad mountains is worth a try at least once. When you will step foot of the snow and breath in the fresh air as you trek, we are sure you will feel refreshed from within. The view surrounding you will help you stay focused to reach a top and see the awesome scenic view from up there. But never do this alone. Always take a guide along and wear proper gear for trekking, as these are not armatures’ playing zone.
Skiing has slowly emerged as a favoured activity in Jammu and Kashmir lately. There are world class facilities provided for you to enjoy safely. Gulamarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam are a few hot destinations for skiing. Government has also been taking steps to promote tourism in this sector so there are accommodation facilities for the skiers at Patnitop, Sanasar and Kud. You can hire gear and clothes required to enjoy Skiing on hourly basis. So even if you are on a short trip; do indulge in skiing and feel the adrenaline rush inside when you go down the slope on a sky. If you are new, never mind there are lesser steep peaks for you to try.
Along with skiing you may undertake snow-boarding in the slopes of Gulmarg. Some of the best peaks are found in this region, so do not let this chance go. Have utmost fun while you are here.
5. Mountain Biking
When you are in Ladakh you can also do bicycle riding. It will help you cover more than on foot. On riding through the rough terrain of these valleys you shall come across crystal clear lakes and breathtaking views. The energy flow from within will make you a better person as you will be tired and relaxed at the same time. Tired of cycling maybe but relaxed from within. Your soul will thank you for taking up the journey go on and find a new you.
When you are in Jammu and Kashmir one more place you must visit is the world’s highest golf course. Yes it is the only in the world here at Gulmarg, so do take out time to get the feel of snow clad peeks surrounding you as you play golf. Even if you do not know how to play golf you must visit for the sake of this mesmerizing experience which you will not get anywhere else in the world.
Who doesn’t want to fly like a bird? But this is not a good idea at all places. But here in the valleys of Sonamarg, Baderwah, Harwan, Sanasar and Gulmarg you can fulfil this wish. You can undertake this adventurous activity alone or with a professional as per your comfort level. When you paraglide you will be able to see meadows and green valley below from a birds view. This aero sport is very popular as you can enjoy even if you have never done it before with the help of a well trained professional; who ensure your safety.
Many people come to the Jammu and Kashmir for the sole purpose of mountain climbing. There are magnificent peaks of different heights and difficulty levels. So the mountaineers choose according to their expertise and comfort level. The peaks in Jammu and Kashmir are Harmukh, Sunset, Kolahoi, Tattakutti, White Needle, -1, Z-8< Bobang, Nun-Kun, Stok Kangri, Kang Yatey, Gulap Kangri etc. They all demand different set of skills so choose wisely and after you have consulted an experienced mountaineer of this region.
9. Fishing And Angling
With its vast network of freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes Jammu and Kashmir is an Ideal destination for the activity of angling and fishing. The variety of fish found in these waters makes it even more interesting. The most priced catch is a brown or rainbow trout. Dal lake can be chosen for fishing but a better option would be Pahalgam or Lidder River. It is a very relaxing activity when you want to spend some alone time or enjoy it with family and friends. You can set up a bon-fire on the river side and enjoy while catching some fresh fish. But please do take prior permission for this activity in Jammu and Kashmir.
10. Bird watching
Since Jammu and Kashmir is abundant in natural beauty there are many sorts of bird you can get to see. It is interesting to know that there are around 24 wet lands that are home to approximately 500 species of birds. You can indulge in bird watching in any season. The natural habitats are so vivid that you will be able to see local and migratory birds both alike. The most popular birds to be noticed are Black Headed goose, Black necked Crane, Falcon and the European Blue Whistling Thrush Vulture. Though the count of vultures and eagles has fallen tremendously across the world, but you can still be lucky to spot a few here. The best places for this activity would be in the Ladakh region, especially Surinsar and Gharana wetlands.
11. River Rafting
When there are roaring rivers amidst you how can you not go for river rafting? Covering the course through deep gorges and steep peaks it is an adrenaline rush each time the river falls or turns with vigour. But when you chose to go with an experienced team you can make the most of the natural beauty, rarely found in the world. Rivers like Lidder, Zanskar and Indus are used for this activity and the fun part is the ever chilling waters of these rivers as they are coming for high peaks of ice. While enjoying rafting you will also be able to see those parts of Jammu and Kashmir which are otherwise not accessible to humans.
12. Water Skiing
Those who find river rafting too risky too to take up do not need to be disheartened. You can always try a similar activity in the lakes. Mansbal lake is the deepest lake of the region so this activity of water skiing is offered here and at Nagin lake and Dal lake. You can chose water sports provider for the water surfing and have fun.
It is a wonderful thought of spending time in the lap of nature when in you are in Jammu and Kashmir. Yu must not let go of this chance and grab it. There are many safe camp sites like Pahalgam, Yusmarg, Nubra Valley, Aru Valley, Pangong Lake, Sonamarg and Gulmarg. You can set up a camp and a bon-fire and enjoy time with family gossiping away. Trek around a little to enjoy the natural beauty at its best. If you come here in summers you will surely be able to see many flowers specific to this region. But do take prior permission and take all supplies needed before hand as it may be difficult to go out to buy anything in these woods. Also beware of animals at night and be prepared for it before-hand.
14. Monastery Tour
Buddhism is prevalent in the Ladakh region and you can visit some of the very famous Buddhist monasteries here. You will witness Indo-Tibetan culture in and around the monasteries. Gompas or these settlements are like mini Tibet in India. You can enrich your knowledge about Lord Buddha and also find inner peace. Meditation at these Gompas is a must do. The architecture and paintings are so beautiful. The depiction of Lord Buddha is very narrative in itself. You can learn self control and many more virtues just by observing the simple life lead by the monks that live here.
15. Hot Air Balloon Ride
A new kind of activity which is picking up pace in the valley is the hot air balloon ride. You can sit in this ride and see the view from above. It is not as fast as paragliding and you will feel much safer. The fun part is that it can be enjoyed by children too. You will have to be extra cautious and then also take assistance from a proper professional. The mountains and river below look so mesmerising from above. On a clear sunny day you can see long distances and so the backdrop is covered with snow covered mountains.
16. Horse riding
Another very popular way of exploring the region is by horse riding. As you shall notice that in most interior parts there are not accessible by roads. The untouched flora and fauna can be experienced the best by horse riding. You can hire a horse and go around the area or if you wish just for a small stroll around with the horse owner if you do not know how to handle the horse alone by yourself.
It is an inevitable part of the trip. You will get original Shawls made of yak wool, Pashmina wool. The warmth of the winter clothes found is perfect for very low temperatures too. Carpets can be bought here as well. You will get papier mache and wood carved products for home décor and gifting purposes. You should not forget to but fresh dry fruits and saffron. When added to a dish they shall give out a signature taste which shall impress all your guests.
When in Jammu and Kashmir do not miss out trying some of the signature dishes of the region. The foods maybe spicy for you; so please enquire before you indulge in eating. The Rogan Josh, Yakhni Pulao, seekh kabab and many more delicacies wait for you to try them out. For the vegetarian people also try Dum Aloo, Cottage cheese preparations or famous Jammu Rajma. You should try out khamiri roti, it is a fermented bread like Indian bread usually served with Indian side dishes.
So we hope you have got an idea that there is so much more to Jammu and Kashmir rather than just sightseeing. You must plan accordingly; so that you can make most of the time you stay. Choose a season to come according to the activities that you want to do. If you want to do ice skiing or snowboarding then come in winter, but if you want to do paragliding or hot air balloon then come in winters. Also please arrange for all the permissions before–hand so that you do not waste time waiting rather than enjoying. Have fun and enjoy your stay.