Stunning Offbeat destinations In Kashmir
As we all know Kashmir is truly a heaven on earth and the mountains and rivers are the major attractions of this paradise in India. Offbeat destinations in Kashmir are in plenty and this blog lists a few of the numerous offbeat places in Kashmir.
Well visiting all of these places is impossible in a lifetime. In a single trip it is impossible to cover such magnificent offbeat places in Kashmir. So I am noting down some of the best offbeat places in Kashmir in my blog which I have covered in the month of April. Come join me in this marvellous journey in a true paradise on earth.
A true heaven on earth covered with snow and the road to amarnath yatra ,chandanwadi got its name due to the beautiful valley beside the lidder river and the magnificent landscape it offers to any tourist visiting here. Surrounded by pine trees there is a single sandalwood tree on the top of a snow capped mountain peak and according to the locals the place got its name from the lone the sandalwood tree which in Hindi means “chandan” and “wadi” means valley.
As you will enter the valley you will be mesmerised by its utter beauty. You can hire photographer who will charge 150 INR per photo with both soft and hard copy. Sledges will charge 1000 INR person for people going to further most point of the valley towards amarnath trek. The beauty of lidder river flowing from the snow capped mountains,its crystal clear blue turquoise water fits just perfect with the stupendous natural beauty of the surroundings.
Chandanwadi is at a distance of around 18 kms from pahalgam and the roads are pretty good and well maintained. One needs to hire a local taxi from pahalgam taxi stand with fixed government charges. All along the route one gets to see the lidder river flowing in the form of rivulets with patches of snow in the grasses. The high snow capped mountain peaks will accompany you all the time with pine trees giving a subtle touch of green that soothes ones eyes.
Betaab valley- Cinematic offbeat destination in Kashmir
Famous for the Bollywood movie Betaab this place is incredibly famous among the tourists visiting Pahalgam. Surrounded by various types of trees and snow capped mountains, one thing that makes Betaab valley different is the slow portion of Lidder river that unusually forms small banks along the valley.
Lidder river is of two forms here. On one side it is fast flowing rapids and on the other side it is slow and gentle. Small streams flow in between the valley and the beautiful wild flowers of white and pink in colour acts as a catalyst. Betaab valley is just 8 kms from Pahalgam and again one has to book a local cab from the local government taxi stand to reach this place.
Betaab valley has entry fee of 100 INR per adult which is taken to maintain this beautiful place. Betaab valley has an avenue of trees with thin branches and brown leaves that adds to the romantic essence this place offers. Here also sledges are available to go to the farther most point of this place.
Also you may read Srinagar Blog of our website.
Aru Valley-The Silent Valley
Filled with herds of white sheep and wild horses this is one of a kind valley that denotes paradise on earth. Aru valley is situated 18 km from Pahalgam but it takes more time than Chandanwadi as the road condition is very bad. Aru valley has caves and river banks surrounded by pine trees all around. It is more of a silent valley with no signal of mobile and less hotels in the area.
On the way to Aru valley there are numerous parks like Lidder valley park and Dua park that sits just beside the highway. Visit to these parks are must as they are situated on the free flowing river banks of Lidder river and this clean parks has natural grasslands covered with various colours of local flowers. One can hire horses for travelling further in Aru valley to visit the caves.
In fact visiting these parks and Chandanwadi alongwith Aru and Betaab valley can only be done by hiring cabs from local taxi stand. I hired an eco car for 3200 INR for a whole day tour and likewise you can hire other cars but at higher rates. Visit these valleys when you are in Pahalgam to count your lifetime memories.
Baisaran-Mini Switzerland as offbeat destination in Kashmir
Famous for its vast meadow in the backdrop of snow capped mountains this is known as mini Switzerland of India. One has to reach this place by trek or by a horse ride that charges 2200 INR per person. On the way to Baisaran one will come across a view point where the a glimpse of the Pahalgam valley can be seen which is worth a visit for a picturesque moment. The roads are pretty narrow and one will feel the adrenaline rush while sitting on the back of the horse.
Horse riding through extreme treacherous roads makes the trip adventurous. The rivulets crossing across the meadows of the Lidder river ,a tributary of Jhelum and the waterfalls makes the trip even more mesmerising. On reaching Baisaran you have to enter the meadow by an entry ticket of only 24 INR per adult.
Several photographers with DSLR camera roam around the place with kashmiri traditional dresses for clicking pictures of the tourists. They charge 150 INR per picture along with soft and hard copy. Baisaran is green at the time of April with tall pine trees in the background. A true nature’s delight this heavenly place is a must visit for everyone travelling to Pahalgam.
Kokernag and Verinag-Unique offbeat destination in Kashmir
Kokernag and Verinag both are small towns situated in Anantnag district known for gardens and pristine water streams. Kokernag means water streaming down from the foot of a hen. The water stream flows from a nearby mountains hill that forms channels which resembles the claw foot of a hen so it got its name Kokernag where koker means hen and nag means water stream. This botanical garden is a delight for every traveller and is neatly maintained by the J and K tourism. The garden has beautifully carved out trees and various flowers. All this makes it a colourful journey for people visiting this place.
The water streams beneath the tall green trees and branches forming canopies over the water streams make it a delight for a perfect picturesque moment. Verinag is half an hour journey for Kokernag where there is an ancient Mughal garden inside a park. There is a pond of green colour water which forms the source of the water stream. Here too there are colourful trees and flowers that decorate the garden in a beautiful way.
The depth of the pond is 54 feet and it was built by Jehangir the Mughal king. No one knows the source of the water due to its huge depth and it’s a mystery. Both Verinag and Kokernag is perfect weekend getaway from Srinagar and is famous among the local people. The entry fee to both this parks is 24 INR per adult.
Awantipora ruins-Historical offbeat destination in Kashmir
On the way to Pahalgam from Srinagar ,before entering Anantnag district we visited this archaeological site which is a wonder of its own. The Hindu temple ruins was built by the king Avantivarman in 9th century and is dedicated to lord Vishnu and lord Shiva. The ruins were however discovered in 20 th century and is now a protected monument of archaeological society of India. The temple is an architecture of engineering genius and depicts the fond of the Utpala dynasty towards art and culture of the then Hindu society in Kashmir.
It is a rare sight in Kashmir to see such Hindu art and sculpture in Kashmir and that also depicting a rich civilisation of 9th century. A visit to this rare wonder is a must visit as we take a road trip from srinagar to pahalgam. People prefer kashmir as a place of natural beauty with meadows and valleys ,but such historical marvels has its own significance. The temple has a nominal entry fee and opens from 7 a.m every morning. Several CRPF jawans can be seen guarding the temples which is a common site in every protected monuments of kashmir and in famous tourist spots of this state.
Yousmarg- Heavenly offbeat destination in Kashmir
The meadow of Jesus is what Yousmarg is famous for. This place is like heaven in purest form. Yousmarg is not as crowded as the other tourist places in Kashmir so the pristine beauty of this place still remains untouched. Surrounded by meadows and pine forests ,one should trek into the forests or take a pony ride to explore more. Inside the forests you will find lots of cherry trees and flowers that adorn the grasslands. Small rivulets can be seen bisecting the meadows and the colour of the water is turquoise blue. You can just imagine how beautiful the scene can be.
Sheeps and horses are a common sight in the place and these combinations makes this place heavenly. The pony ride costs 2400 INR per person for 1.5 hours.
Doodhpatri-A magical offbeat destination in Kashmir
This is another mesmerising place near Srinagar. It takes around 3 hours to reach this place. Doodhpatri is a vast meadow with lots of sheep and horses grazing around the place. The river stream flowing across the meadow is like the colour of the milk and it was believed that milk emerged from the ground which later turned into drinking water.This is how this place got its name.
As soon as you reach Doodhpatri the scenery changes with lush green meadows surrounded by high deodar trees.On reaching this tourist horsemen and local guides offers the tourists to go to further places to explore more of Doodhpatri. Even in the summer season this place is very cold and the water is chilling. We went further towards the meadows and drove down to the banks of shaliganga river. the feeling was magical on the banks of the fast flowing river. There was snow on the other side of the banks with rocks and boulders creating a magical scene. There are several trekking routes that starts from here.
Kashmir is not just a paradise. It seems like the road to heaven. Not only because of it’s natural beauty , but there are many other factors that make Kashmir a heaven on earth like – it’s people ,their hospitality,its architectures,historical palaces,food and local organic products etc. All these make Kashmir the most attractive tourist destination in Asia.