17th Century Mughal Emperor Jehangir rightly regarded Jammu & Kashmir as “Heaven on Earth” when he set his eyes on the Kashmir Valley. A state, which was once war torn is now a tourist paradise. Flourishing in commodities like fruits and other natural resources, Kashmir is flocked by an enormous number of tourists each year.
This northernmost state of India is situated in the Himalayan Mountains, while sharing its borders with Pakistan and China. With the most commonly used languages being Kashmiri, Urdu and Hindi, majority of the population is Muslim in this region. Although, it does receive a high number of Hindus for pilgrimage.
Jammu-Kashmir has a deep history too right from its Independence in 1947, to various wars like Kargil. Currently, a part of the state is with Pakistan, and a part by China too.
With the temperatures dropping below 0 degrees in winters, the summers there are pleasant too; Kashmir is an excellent holiday avenue for all tourists. With various parks, Mughal architectural buildings, religious shrines and naturally existing abundant resources, Jammu-Kashmir is truly a ‘Heaven on Earth’.
Here are 101 things one must do when in Jammu and Kashmir:
1. Visit to Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Also known as Model Floriculture Centre, this garden is spread over an area of about 12 hectares in Srinagar. This ‘largest Tulip garden of Asia’ is ought to watched, as it has more the 70 species of trees.
2. Stay in a House Boat on Dal Lake
Srinagar being the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, regards Dal Lake as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir”. A couple’s dream, one can rent a houseboat for a stay with a loved one.
3. Islamic Architecture at Pari Mahal
The Fairies Abode or Pari Mahal is a seven-terraced garden located on top of the Zabarwan Mountain. One should see the beautiful architecture of the era of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
4. Visit to Shalimar Bagh
An expression of love from Mughal emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan, this garden has an Islamic layout similar to Persian gardens. One could visit this exquisite garden and see the different varieties of flowers.
5. Walk at Nishat Bagh
Nishat Bagh, which rightly means “Garden of Joy”, is one of the most beautiful places to see the sunset. It is located on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar.
6. Shikara Ride
Shikara is an authentic Kashmiri boat used to ferry passengers across rivers like Dal. Its thatched roof appearance and constructions are a treat for any tourist.
7. Pay Respects at Hazrat Bal
Located at Srinagar, Hazrat Bal is a shrine which consists of a hair of the last prophet of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad. For peace and serenity, one must go to this place that is considered as one of the holiest Muslim shrines in Jammu and Kashmir.
8. Water sports at Wular Lake
Wular Lake, situated at the Bandipore district of Jammu and Kashmir is the largest fresh water lake in India. It is also one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. One must indulge in water sports and water ski acitvities on the banks of this lake.
9. Religious visit to Shankaracharya Temple
Located around 1000 feet above Takth-i-Sulaiman plains, this sight is believed to be constructed by Emperor Ashoka’s son, Jhalok. People visit this temple to see the Persian inscriptions that trace its origin back to Emperor Shah Jahan.
10. Multiple religious shrines at Hari Parbat
Hari Parbat is a hill over looking the city of Srinagar. The beauty of this place is that it has both Muslim and Hindu shrines. The Shakti temple is on its western slope, and Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib and Akhund Mullah Shah on the southern slope. There is a Gurudwara too on the southern side of the outer wall.
11. Experience fresh cool breeze from Lakes at Rajauri
The small town of Rajauri has several small lakes like Sukh Sar, Akal Darshini and Nandan Sar. One can visit this place along with their families to indulge in some quality time.
12. Visit to Baba Ghulam Shah Baadshah University
One of the biggest universities in Rajauri, visiting this one is a must to understand the education progress in this state. Once a war torn state, it is a must to see its development in the educational sector.
13. A glimpse of the Black Water Lake
The Akal Darshini Lake at Rajauri has a speciality that the water appears Black in color, rather than the usual color Blue. The sight is also considered holy for Bakerwal’s, who stop and pay their respects whenever they pass it.
14. Camping at Ravi Walli Marg group of Lakes
Descend down due west from Katori Sar in Rajauri, and one reaches Ravi Walli Marg, which is a coalition of 4 lakes. Camping on the banks for a night is an amazing experience for adventure lovers.
15. Skiing at Gulmarg
Gulmarg is located 52 Kilometers away from Srinagar, and is filled with snow capped mountains. It is one of the best Skiing sites in India, and if one visits Jammu and Kashmir then one must Ski at Gulmarg for sure.
16. Cable Car ride at Gulmarg Gandola
If you visit Gulmarg, you must take a ride on Aisa’s largest and longest cable car. It ferries about 600 people per hour to and fro from Kongdoori Mountain. This is a joint venture project of the Jammu Kashmir Tourism board, and the French firm Pomagalski.
17. Outdoor Sports in Summer
Gulmarg in summer is equally tourist friendly as the winters. One can participate in a wide array of outdoor sports too. Gulmarg has a golf course for Golfing, and Great Mountain peaks for trekking and Mountain Bike Riding.
18. Trekking at Apharwat Summit
Apharwat Summit is a 13,780 feet mountain summit, which world’s best climbers visit to conquer in Gulmarg. It is a treat for every adventure lover to try and scale Apharwat Peak.
19. Prayers at Baba Reshi’s Shrine
Another place at Gulmarg, Baba Reshi’s shrine, is a must visit in order to experience Muslim architecture.
20. Boating at Alpather Lake
This lake located at Gulmarg is an extremely romantic one for couples. In summer, the boating activities are in full swing.
21. Camping at Baltal
A camping ground for pilgrims, Baltal is at the Sindh river base at the Zojila pass in Jammu and Kashmir. People usually visit Baltal in order to see the valley, which is only a day’s journey away.
22. Religious visit to Gangabal Lake
Situated at the foothills of Harmukut Ganga, this place is considered as pious as Haridwar for Hindu pilgrims. A visit to seek solace from sins at this place is a must when you visit Jammu and Kashmir.
23. Pony Ride
During summers, one can hire a Pony to take a ride up to Thajiwas glacier in this state. It is an amazing activity to do on your trip with family to later on indulge in a day long picnic.
24. A ride on Zoji La
Zoji La Pass is a high mountain pass, which connects Srinagar and Leh. While travelling, one should pass through this route to experience the scenic beauty on both sides.
25. Religious visit to Vaishnodevi temple, Udhampur
If one visits Jammu – Kashmir, they must visit the temple of goddess Shakti – Vaishnodevi. Pilgrims from all across the country visit it to seek blessings from the holy goddess.
26. Cave visit at Shivkhori
Situated at Udhampur, Shivkhori caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva. These ethnic caves speak of Shiva’s religious history in deeper detail.
27. Hill station visit at Patnitop
Patnitop is a hill station at Udhampur district. With river Chenab flowing in close proximity, Patnitop is an extremely famous place amongst tourists. Amazingly peaceful and serene, it is a must visit location in Jammu & Kashmir.
28. Adventure Activities at Patnitop
Situated at a hill station, which is at an altitude of 2024 meters, one must experience Paragliding activities conducted by the Patnitop Development Authorities.
29. Extreme Himalayan Adventures at Sanasar
20 Kms from Patnitop, Sanasar is another kingdom of adventure for tourists. There are various different activities like Paragliding, Camping, Trekking, Abseiling and Nature Walk avenues.
30. Patissa at Kud
Closer to Patnitop, Kud is a small town where there are several small sweet shops, which make Patissa. Patissa is a sweet dish, which melts in one’s mouth instantly.
31. Rajma at Batote
Batote is a small town situated near Patnitop. One must try the Rajma dishes this small town has to offer. It is well known for its Rajma Chawal.
32. Visit to Bhimgarh Fort
Located at Reasi, a small town, which is 64 kilometres to the North West of Jammu, it is an architectural heaven for those who appreciate it. It is made of Baluka stones with Rajastani carvings.
33. Holy Bath at Karua Jheel
Karua Jheel situated near Karua village is a holy place for Hindus. Known for Lord Shiva’s famous journey and Baba Dhansar’s prayers, a bath downstream is believed to wash away sins.
34. Visit to Alchi Monastery
Situated at Alchi district of Leh Village, this Buddhist monastery is one of the only ones in Jammu & Kashmir. One could visit this place for its architecture.
35. Attend Matho Gompa’s Annual festival
Visit Matho Gompa’s Annual Festival to experience beautiful ceremonies performed by Monks.
36. Visit to Manjushri Temple
Another place to visit and check out the exemplrary architecture, Manjushri Temple has extremely well carved wooden doors.
37. Golfing at Pahalgham
Although a foreign sport, if you like golfing, then you must visit Pahalgham forit. This region is buzzing with outdoor sports activities, mainy during summer.
38. Stopover at Lamayuru Monastery
Situated at Ladakh – Kargil road, Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest and largest Monasteries in Ladakh. It houses around 150 monks. One must visit it to seek blessings.
39. Excursion at Mansar Lake
Lake Mansar is a beautiful lake fringed by forest covered hills. It becomes the perfect destination for a day long excursion with family and loved ones.
40. Visit to Achabal
This famous tourist destination is well known for an ancient spring, surrounded by a terraced garden. It is located 8 kilometers away from Anantnag.
41. Fresh water springs at Kokernag
Trout streams and the largest fresh water stream in Kashmir, Kokernag is well known for the curative properties of its hot springs. So head there to look for a cure or just to enjoy the comfort of a hot spring.
42. Deep Blue Springs of Verinag
This rare shaped spring at Verinag has deep blue water, which issues from the bottom of a high scrap mountain spur. One can also see the garden and pleasure house, built by Emperor Jehangir himself.
43. See Flora and Fauna at Daksum
Situated on the Anantnag-Semthan-Kishtwar road, Daksum is extremely rich in flora and fauna in terms of fishes, forests, mountains, etc.
44. Adventure Sports at Pahalgam
For all adventure lovers, water skiing and canoeing at Pehalgam is a treat. If you love adventure and water than this is the place to be.
45. Water trekking along Jhelum river
Water Trekking is a 3 – 4 day trip, along with camping gear in a Shikara. Aru and Pehalgam are extremely famous for these activities amongst adventure lovers.
46. Watch Bhand Pather Perform
Bhand Pather is a form of traditional folk theatre art. It is a play and dance performed by about 10 to 15 artists. One can find this at Pehalgam.
47. Listen to Chakri Music
A form of folk Kashmiri music, one must listen to Chakri music when in Jammu & Kashmir. Folk in nature, these songs depict beautiful Kashmiri culture.
48. Pin Your Ears To Sufiyana Music
A genre of Kashmiri music, which originated in the 15th Century, one must listen to local artists that play Sufiyana music. These artists use several different musical instruments like tabla, sitar and santoor etc. in their performances.
49.Watch a Hafiz Nagma Performance
A song and dance performance, Hafiz Nagma is a dance form accompanied by Sufiyana music. In these performances, the males play the musical instruments and the females perform their dances.
50. Trip to Nubra Valley
A trip to Nubra Valley, which is 150 km north of Leh, consists of rivers like Shayok and mountain ranges like the Karokarama. Ranging from sightseeing to adventure activities, one can do everything here.
51. Bactrian Camel Ride
Unlike any other camel, Bactrian Camels have two humps. Taking a ride on one such animal would be a memory of a lifetime.
52. Visit to Thiksey Monastery
Situated 19 kilometres east of Leh, it is the largest monastery in central Ladakh. One should visit this to experience the striking resemblance of this monastery to Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
53. Visit to Spituk Gompa
Spituk Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district. Over 100 monks reside here, and it is known for the giant statue of Kali.
54. Shop at the Tibetan Market
Leh has a Tibetan market, which flourishes in exports from Tibet. It is a treat for those who love upholstery.
55. Purchase Cricket Bats
Kashmir Willow is famous all over the world for its light weight structure. Cricket bat markets can be found all over Jammu & Kashmir, as it is one of its major exports. One must purchase a bat from here for themselves or their little ones.
56. Kashmiri Carpets
The carpet industry in Kashmir is a flourishing one. On your visit, you must purchase a Kashmiri carpet for its soft wool and fine work.
57. Visit to Jama Masjid
One of the most beautiful mosques in Leh, Jama Masjid is a treat for those seeking peace and solace. This Muslim prayer house is extremely well constructed.
58. Experience Gravity Hill
Situated at Ladakh, the gravity hill produces an optical illusion wherein a downhill slope appears uphill. It’s an experience of a lifetime to see a visual like this.
59. Shopping from Zanskar Arts
Zanskar Arts are one the premier shopping dealers in Leh region. One can shop here and purchase all sorts of things like Shawls, Carpets, Gold, Diamond and Silver Jewellery.
60. Chant at the Prayer Wheel
Visit Leh and make a trip to the ‘prayer wheel’. Chant the verses “Om Mani Padme Hum” while rotating the wheel, which is believed to have the same effect as orally reciting the prayers.
61. Holy visit to Raghunath Temple
Dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shri Rama, Raghunath temple is a place of pilgrimage for most Hindus. The speciality of this temple is that its inner walls are covered with gold on three sides.
62. Visit to Mubarak Mandi Palace
One should visit the Mubarak Mandi Palac,e as the architecture has three different styles, Rajasthani, Gothic and Mughal. It also has a famous Sheesh Mahal segment.
63. Meet Muslim Saints at Peer Baba
Peer Baba is one of the only places in Jammu & Kashmir to meet Muslim Saints. It has a special prayer on Thursdays, where people from all religious sects come and pray.
64. Trekking at Zanskar
Trekking at Zanskar in winters is an adventure lover’s paradise. In winter, the Zanskar River freezes up and gets converted into an adventure trek. People from all across the world visit Zanskar.
65. Create a Snow Man in Jammu Kashmir Valley
Indulge in some kiddy fun with your toddlers by building a snow man right from scratch. With abundant snowfall each year, this is one of the best ways to spend time with your kids and have fun.
66. Celebrate Bakri Eid the Kashmiri way
Every year the Muslim festival of Bakri Eid is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the state. Since goats are not prevalent in Kashmir, they sacrifice various different animals on this day. For someone who likes Muslim culture, this festival is a learning experience for them.
67. Visit to Lake Tsomoriri
A high altitude lake, Lake Tsomoriri is open to tourists only in summers. This place is a must visit, for the scenic view it offers on such a high altitude.
68. Authentic spices
Kashmir, which is extremely rich in natural resources, is rich in spices too. One can shop for spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and saffron.
69. Try Wazwan at Kashmir
Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian, Wazwan is extremely famous in Kashmir. With rice being the staple diet, Wazawan food at street stores, like the ones at Lal Chowk are a treat to the taste buds.
70. Experience Gur Gur Chai
A speciality at Ladakh, one must try Gur Gur Chai in winters. Its buttered salty taste helps provide warmth to one’s body.
71. Binge on Jammu Cuisine
Jammu is extremely famous for its food. One should try Morel (Gushi) Palov, Madra (lintel cooked in curd), Oria (Patato/Pumpkin in mustard sauce), Maani, Khameera, Katha Meat (Sour Mutton), Shasha (raw mango chatni), Kasrod and Timru-di-Chatni, Shiri Pulav, Mitha Bhat (Sweet Rice) when there.
72. Street Food treat in Jammu
One can indulge in street food, which is at the end of Jammu City. Delicious food like Gulgula, Pakora, Puri Chola and Aloo Tiki can be tried there.
73. Try Jammu Chocolate and Puga
Jammu has its own traditional sweets like Jammu Chocolate and Puga. One must try these at any famous sweet mart like Pacci Dhaki, Pahalwan-di-Hatti, Gandhi Nagar and Bari Brahmana on National Highway, and Amritsarian-di-Hatti, Raghunath Bazar etc.
74. Try Sheermal and Baqerkhani
One must try Sheermal and Baqerkhani for breakfast. These traditional breads complete every form of breakfast and can be found at any restaurant.
75. Angling at Srinagar
An adventure activity, Jammu & Kashmir is an angler’s paradise. With a network of glaciated streams and rivers, Angling can be easily performed in this state.
76. Bird watching on wetlands
Jammu & Kashmir has several wetlands, like the Gharana wetland. These are homes to several migratory birds from all across the world. It is a treat for nature lovers.
77. Horse Riding at Gulmarg
Horses are available in abundant in Gulmarg region of Jammu Kashmir. One can indulge in some family fun over a ride, or hire a horse to carry luggage and equipment.
78. Mountain Cycling in Kashmir Valley
Kashmir is naturally blessed with many valleys. One can perform the adventure of Mountain Cycling at Banihal Pass, Zojila Pass, Margan Pass, Smithan Pass.
79. See the Tulip Festival
Every year in the month of April, with an overview of the beautiful Dal Lake, the state of Jammu & Kashmir celebrates the Tulip festival. At this festival, one can see all varities of fully bloomed tulips.
80. Participate in Baisakhi celebrations
The harvest festival is celebrated mid April each year. Jammu and Kashmir celebrates this with great gusto. One has to participate in the celebrations to experience the local culture and celebrations.
81. Celebrations of Khir Bhawani Festival
Khir Bhawani Shrine Tulmulla Ganderbal, in which Hindu devotees participate in scores, has “Maha Yagna”, a traditional offering. One can contribute in this festival in the month of June.
82. Gurez Festival Celebrations
One can take part in this festival in the month of July. This festival showcases the traditional folk dances and songs by the Gurez locals. Besides white water rafting is held in the Kishenganga river and a camp site in the scenic Dawar valley of Gurez. The charm of Gurez in its traditional form is tempting.
83. Gulmarg Snow Festival
Adventure lovers can head to Gulmarg in the month of January and February. Participate in the winter games, and have a lot of fun!
84. Observe Monastic Events
Each year in Ladakh, all monasteries have an event to celebrate birth anniversaries and achievements. People visit this to seek religious merit and for entertainment.
85. Watch the Chhams Dance
This is a choreographed dance form one can witness in the Monastic festival. It is the core event of the festival, which is directed by the dance master of the Monastery.
86. Participate in Lohri Celebrations
Celebrated on the 13th of January, the festival of the onset of spring brings great joy in both Jammu and in rural areas. A dance called ‘Chajj and Hiran’ is performed on this day.
87. Visit the Purmandal Mela
Celebrated on the occasion of Shivratri, Purmandal Mela celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva to goddess Parvati. Thousands of people visit the festival each year.
88. Visit Baba Chamiyal Mela
Illustrious in the memory of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas every year in June, in the village of Chamliyal, on the Indo-Pak border 40 kms from Jammu. The unique attribute of this mela is that Baba Chamliyal is revered by people on both sides of the international border, and is celebrated in unison by them, which makes boundaries irrelevant.
89. Celebrate Jhiri Mela
Held in October – November, Jhiri festival is held in the village of Jhiri near Jammu. It is the celebration of the martyrdom of Baba Jitto, who laid down his life in protest against a landlord.
90. Dance during Navratra Festival
During the months of September – October, the festival of Navratri is celebrated in great spirits. One should participate in these celebrations all across Jammu and Kashmir.
91. Sip some warm Kahwa
One must try the traditional green tea of Kashmir – Kahwa on their visit there. It is not only effective in winters to provide warmth, but also has many refreshing properties.
92. Picnic at Jhajjar Kot
Well developed by the Jammu Kashmir Tourism Department, Jhajjar Koti is a serene location for picnickers. The place also has tourist cafeterias, bars and a bungalow.
93. Dinner at La Pizzeria
Leh’s most attractive restaurant, La Pizzeria has amazing tandoori dishes to offer its patrons. One could have dinner in the terrace garden restaurant.
94. Buy Souvenirs at Ladakh Art Palace
Leh has many souvenir stores; at Ladakh one must purchase amazing things like Thangkas, Ladakhi caps and other Tibetan artefacts.
95. Meal at Tibetan Kitchen
Located at Leh, Tibetan Kitchen is the premier Tibetan cuisine restaurant in the region. Many patrons flock this restaurant, such that evening tables need to be booked from afternoon.
96. Pay respects at Makhdoom Sahib Shrine
When visiting Srinagar, one must visit the Makhdoom Sahib shrine, as he helped the spread of Islam in the region.
97. Visit to Ladakh Community Centre
Situated at Leh, the Ladakh community centre is a must visit for all tourists. It helps understand the ancient Ladakhi society by the medium of an hour long documentary film.
98. Visit to Sir Pratap Singh Museum
One of the places where one needs a passport to enter, Sir Pratap Singh Museum is a treat for history lovers. A vast collection of weaponry and traditional Kashmiri costumes is its highlight.
99. Yoga at Mahabodhi Centre
Situated at Leh, Mahabodhi Centre is the easiest place to rejuvenate on a tiring trip. They run a yoga class for one and a half hours everyday, for tourists and visitors.
100. Attend Ladakh Festiva
The annual Ladakh Festival happens during the first two weeks of September each year, and comprises of several activities such as dancing, ceremonies, sports, exhibitions and much more. It is definitely worth attending, if you plan your trip around that time.
101. Camel Safari in Ladakh
Travel across the sand dunes at Hunder, and experience the desert, at a really affordable price, with local guides.