Kashmir, the northernmost region of India, is often described as ‘Paradise on Earth’ due to its breathtaking natural beauty and cultural riches. Planning a Kashmir tour from Kolkata allows you to experience the perfect blend of nature, adventure, and serenity this place has to offer.
Introduction to Kashmir
Known for its snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, lush green forests and orchards, Kashmir has been attracting tourists for decades. The pristine valleys, traditional houseboats on Dal Lake, Mughal gardens, and spiritual vibes make it a must-visit destination.
Kashmir offers plenty of options for tourists – you can go skiing on the slopes of Gulmarg, trek to mountain lakes like Gangabal and Tarsar-Marsar, enjoy shikara rides in Srinagar, or embark on pilgrimages like the Amarnath Yatra. It is easy to customize your Kashmir tour based on your interests when booking a package from Kolkata.
Planning Your Journey
Choosing the Right Time
The best time to visit Kashmir is between March and November when the weather is pleasant. Summers are ideal for Gulmarg and Sonamarg with temperatures ranging 15-30°C. For colder places like Pahalgam, May-June and September-October are better.
Winters (December-February) offer snowfall but some areas become inaccessible. Research well and book 8-10 months ahead for summer tours.
Travel Arrangements from Kolkata
You can reach Srinagar by air, rail or road from Kolkata. Regular flights are available from Kolkata to Srinagar which takes around 4 hours.
The Jammu Tawi Express train takes around 47 hours to cover the distance of over 1900km. Taxis and buses are also easily available for road journeys.
Reputable tour operators arrange all pickups, drops, and travel logistics as part of the Kashmir tour package.
Exploring Srinagar – The Capital City
Dal Lake: The Jewel of Srinagar
A shikara ride on Dal Lake is a must-do Srinagar experience. Glide through floating gardens and markets while enjoying the Zabarwan mountain views. Stay in a houseboat with all amenities and wake up to stunning lake views.
Visit Nagin Lake, linked to Dal Lake via a channel for swimming and water sports. Hari Parbat, Shankaracharya Temple, Hazratbal Shrine, and Jama Masjid are other attractions around Dal Lake.
Mughal Gardens: A Blossoming Paradise
The iconic Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Chashme Shahi Gardens were built by Mughal emperors and showcase Kashmiri garden architecture. Spend lazy afternoons exploring the beautiful fountains, pools, flowers, and pavilions.
Don’t miss visiting the striking Pari Mahal and Cheshmashahi gardens for more Mughal-era designs and unforgettable views.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this ancient temple dates back to 200 BC. Perched on Gopadari Hill, it offers panoramic views of Dal Lake and the valley. The spiritual ambiance and stone carvings make it a historically significant site.
Unveiling the Beauty of Gulmarg
Gulmarg Gondola Ride
Take Asia’s longest and highest cable car ride to enjoy Gulmarg’s breathtaking scenery. The two-tiered gondola lifts you to Mt. Apharwat at 13,780 ft. Try sledding, snowboarding or trekking adventures there.
Skiing in Gulmarg
Known as India’s premier skiing destination, Gulmarg has options for beginners and experts. Take lessons at the Kashmir Alpine Ski Shop before heading to the slopes. Bring your own equipment or rent high-quality gear there.
Pahalgam – The Valley of Shepherds
Lidder River: A Serene Escape
Located at the confluence of Lidder river and Sheshnag lake, Pahalgam offers many nature-filled experiences. Go fishing, rafting, or camping by the river. Have riverside picnics, birdwatch, or trek along the Hajan Valley.
Betaab Valley: A Bollywood Connection
Named after the Sunny Deol movie, Betaab Valley impresses with its lush green meadows and snow-capped mountains. The valley also features in other films like Kashmir Ki Kali and Highway. Stroll through the valley, click photos, and reconnect with nature.
Embarking on the Amarnath Yatra (Optional)
The Spiritual Journey
The sacred Amarnath cave containing a naturally formed ice Shivling is open to devotees during Shravan (July-August). Limited registrations open in April. The 30 mile trek takes 4-5 days from Pahalgam or Baltal base camps.
Visiting the Holy Cave
The spiritual highlight is witnessing the Shivling inside Amarnath cave at 13,500 ft. Brave challenging terrain, freezing temperatures, and high altitudes to reach this revered pilgrimage site. Strict security checks are in place.
Sonamarg – The Meadow of Gold
Thajiwas Glacier Trek
Trek through forests and meadows to reach the Thajiwas Glacier, a major attraction in Sonamarg. Experience incredible views of the Kolhoi Peak and surrounding valleys from the top.
Fishing at Krishnasar Lake
Take a pony ride to the beautiful Krishnasar Lake from Sonamarg. Permits and equipment rentals are available for trout fishing at this scenic alpine lake with emerald waters.
Kashmiri Cuisine and Local Delicacies
In Srinagar, savor delicacies like Rogan Josh, Yakhni, Razmah dahi, modur pulav, and Kashmiri breads like girda and baqerkhani. Don’t miss kahwa, the signature Kashmiri tea blend.
Load up on dry fruits, saffron, spices, aromatic oils, and handicrafts from local markets to take a piece of Kashmir back home.
Shopping in the Local Bazaars
Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, Polo View, and Dalgate areas offer the best shopping. Look for authentic Pashmina shawls, hand-knotted carpets, papier mache, and engraved walnut wood handicrafts. Remember to bargain!
Experiencing the Warm Hospitality
Opt for homestays over hotels to truly experience Kashmiri hospitality. Dine with the family, learn about local traditions, festivals, attire, and cuisine from your hosts.
The kindness and warmth of locals deeply enhances the cultural essence of your Kashmir tour.
Safety and Travel Tips
- Always check government advisories before planning a Kashmir trip.
- Carry valid ID proof and documentation. Follow all safety precautions advised by tour operators.
- Respect local traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious places.
- Travel in groups when possible and avoid venturing out late at night.
Summary: A Tapestry of Nature and Culture
A planned trip from Kolkata to Kashmir offers beautiful landscapes, exciting adventures, and religious pilgrimages. Kashmir is a beautiful place with stunning nature, pretty houseboats, lovely gardens, friendly people, and interesting customs. Begin your journey to paradise with a customized Kashmir tour package from Kolkata.
Q. How long does it take to travel from Kolkata to Kashmir?
A. By flight, it takes around 4 hours to reach Srinagar Airport from Kolkata. The train journey on Jammu Tawi Express takes 47 hours.
Q. What is the best time to visit Kashmir from Kolkata?
A. The ideal time is between March-June (spring) and September-November (autumn) when the weather is pleasant across Kashmir.
Q. What are the places to visit in a Kashmir tour package from Kolkata?
A. Top places like Srinagar, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Amarnath Cave, and local bazaars are commonly covered.
Q. What type of clothing do I need for Kashmir in summer?
For summertime Kashmir sightseeing, it is advisable to use light cottons, breathable fabrics, wear hats and sunglasses, and apply sun protection creams.
Q. Is it safe for solo female travelers to visit Kashmir?
Kashmir is quite safe for women, but it’s better to be cautious and avoid traveling alone in remote areas. Opting for group tours is advisable.