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6 Amazing Places to Explore in & around Kashmir

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Kashmir, as heaven on earth, is enclosed by snow-clad mountains and glistening lakes, which create a picturesque landscape. The region is covered by the mighty ranges of the Himalayas and Pir Panjal. Owing to the beautiful and picturesque areas here, the place is often referred to as India’s Switzerland. So why we should miss being away from its beauty exploration? Book your hotels in Kashmir and witness these most scenic views and alluring places in and around-

1. Srinagar

Shikara Ride

Srinagar is a tremendously beautiful place to visit, not just in Kashmir but in the country too. The place offers everything from boating to trekking, bird watching and water skiing. This gorgeous city has it all when it comes to a serene vacation. The place is covered in green mountains and the beautiful Dal Lake. You can take a close look at the Kashmiri cuisine and culture here. Do not forget to enjoy the houseboat and Shikara ride when in Srinagar.

Also, know all what you can do in Kashmir.

2. Leh

Leh Palace

Just a day drive from Kashmir, Leh is a boon to visit in the summers. The lofty mountains, alpine lakes and quaint settings make it a perfect destination for a vacation with family and friends. Also, the place is every biker’s dreamland. Besides the natural scenic beauty and serene aura, the place offers breath-taking views for visitors. The best time to visit Leh is between April and June and from September to October. Adventure freaks can try trekking and mountain biking here.

3. Kupwara

Mesmerizing Meadows

Kupwara is a small district in Kashmir. But is blessed with beautiful natural views, thriving meadows, alpine mountains and gushing clear water, it is a must-visit destination in the city. The best places to visit in Kupawara include Lolab Valley, Qamar Reshi Sahib Shrine and Sheikh Baba Behram Shrines. Visit the place between the months of April and October to see the beauty at its peak.

4. Kathua

Commonly referred to as the “City of Sufis”, Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir shares its borders with Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The city has its popularity due to the presence of large number of Sufi shrines of Pirs located here. For the history buffs willing to take a glimpse of Kashmir’s past, Kathua is a must-visit. Sitting on the banks of a river, the place has scintillating views and a serene atmosphere for a peaceful visit. If you are visiting here with family and friends, you can enjoy a picnic at Ujh Barrage.

5. Pahalgam

Serene Scene

Pahalgam is truly a depiction of heaven on earth. The place is located at an altitude of 2740 m. The spell-binding town is enclosed with dense forests, shimmering lakes and meadows of flowers. Tranquility and serenity are what you get here. The place will just suck out all your stress and will relieve you from your worries. It is therefore counted among the best places in Kashmir. The best time to visit here is from June to October and December to January. Adventure lovers can try horseback riding and canoeing in Pahalgam.

6. Hemis

Spot a Snow Leopard at Hemis

Hemis is counted among the unexplored destinations. It is a small quaint town located 40 km to the south of Leh. The place is the epitome of natural beauty like the other places in Kashmir region. The town is also known for its magnificent monasteries and national park. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, then Hemis is a must-visit for you during your trip to Kashmir. One can witness rare species of snow leopard and bharals at the Hemis National Park.

The northern region of India describes us with almost a fairy-wonderland in real. Give yourself a vacay to experience it.

Happy Traveling!!

Review: Basic Skiing Course at JIM & WS- Ski Out Your Heart

Why your feet be stayed till reaching mountains? Don’t satisfy your heart only with the blissful views of nature. I thought of gliding through the snow sheets of mountains. Skiing course led my dream of exploring nature bit closer. This brought me to the website doors of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM & WS).

En-route Ski Location

About the Institute

The institute was established on 25th October 1983. Although homed in Aru, Pahalgam is now addressed to the mountain and nature enthusiasts. The best thing about mountaineering institutes is that they give you all the reasons to love the mother nature in its beautiful ways. JIM & WS is one such step ways to positivity. They teach you to share a hand of connectivity to mountains, to rivers, to snows and to the environment.

About Basic Skiing Course at JIM & WS

Ski is a sport full of technicality and determination. You cannot directly run down the slopes with this eye-catchy equipment much easily. It needs time, concentration and dedication. It is a long term process and requires good stamina. Basic Skiing Course (BSC) lasts for 15 days which includes the day of arrival and departure with the farewell ceremony. In these days we get the ski equipment, we learn about them, we learn to be friends with them and then we learn the basic techniques/positions of moving upwards and downwards with the ski. And the lesson starts with falling. There are several ways or positions in which one can move with the ski. In BSC, we learn about a few, easy moving ways with ski on slopes of snow.

Skiing is typical, adventure isn’t. Start your baby steps in mountain adventure sports through adventure course. Check my review of adventure course from NIM.

Vibrant Winter Scenes of Gulmarg

Also, we get all the detailed theoretical knowledge on below topics-

  • Ski and Ski equipment
  • Injuries and Casualties during Ski and how to prevent them
  • Do’s and don’ts of the mountain and snow-bound areas
  • Natural Disaster of the mountain and snow-bound region with their causes and rescue techniques.

But do remember, the instructors will not let your enthusiasm down, they keep boosting you with the source of informative, documentary movies of such activities. I am sure this motivates you the next morning to perform better on the ground.

It does not end here, you need to undergo the tests (viva, written and practical) and participate in a compulsory group competition to check on what all learnt. Trainers assure the farewell with the satisfaction of your learning.

Though skiing is a sport and you can never learn a sportfully. It is always new learning with a new day, a new place. You can never conquer it in a span of a few days. It gets better with practice. Thus the training of skiing has been divided into three level batches with Basic, Intermediate and Advance. This is to confirm that you enter the next levels only after perfectly learning and qualifying the earlier ones. This assures your proper learning on techniques and saves you from unwanted injuries and accidents. Each level course is of 15 days.

How to apply for the course??

The course runs in several batches every year during the winter season. You can easily apply for the course through the official website of the institute. It is very user friendly and also you can contact the officials. The whole team of the institute is very co-operative. You can know about the batch schedules and course details through the sources, before applying. There are two sets of forms for admission which includes an application form and medical form. The medical form requires all the details truly and sincerely examined. Make sure that you are physically fit to undergo the course in an extremely cold, snowbound region.

Fees of the Course:

The fee of the whole course was INR 10,100/- (might change with time). The fee includes-

  • Lodging at the campus or hotel for 15 days
  • Healthy, nutritious food for the whole course period
  • All the required personal ski equipment for the course session (which are actually very expensive)
  • Required training during the course through all means
  • First-aid, if required during the course span.

Also, you can always assure the quality of training you acquire from the institute. You get a chance to learn from great ski instructors of the country, including the armed, military and NDRF forces of India.

Secret tip: You might not only learn the ski lessons but impressive tales from the life experiences of your instructors. Do make time to sit with your favourite instructor. They are not just the training staffs but unsung heroes too!

Why to go for Skiing Course?

This question is a must as you might go with a different mindset and come back with different, happened with me too. Better to ask this before going and knowing well about the course. Ski is not just as we see in adorable videos of people sloping down with ease and speed. It is way more compassionate. For me, it was another way of meditation. Achieving a sense of soul fulfilment when you reach success without falling or learn from your every failure. Because falling isn’t bad until and unless you learn from your every fall.

Ski is a must if you admire snow, winter, adventure, hard work, patience and your self-worth. What bad to learn a technical sport of winter which is a good dream to live on. Not only learning, but it also gives you the chance of experiencing the awestruck views of winter in mountains and snowfalls for long 15 days. Believe me, it does not look less than heaven with white pretty snow everywhere you see. Also, warm yourself enough with your dreams because it’s colder than you can imagine. But, let me assure you, the activity of learning ski won’t let you feel the cold.

A still during the daily practice session.

My list of reasons to go for it might continue but then what will be left to look out new for you? We should always leave a slight surprise for wherever we go. This keeps us amazed, excited and gives us our ways of finding newness.

Ratings:

This becomes the hardest part of reviewing for me, though the important one. My sense of experiences will give it 4*/5*. Take the most out of your course, so that you can come back with a sense of great self-satisfaction. In the end, that is what is required most. Also do not forget to share your experiences of skiing course with us. We would love to compete with your slalom speed!

If not bored with reading about the course and want to have extra delight, check out the virtual tour to course.

Happy Traveling!!

5 reasons to pack up for your trip to Kashmir Ki Waadis.

Kashmir, The title of story is in itself magical. As we read out this place or think of it, brings the glimpse of Kashmir being the only heaven on Earth. But not only the views and weather there, the city will leave you with many reasons to fall in love. Every season has something different to offer you. We will give you reasons to pack up for your trip to Kashmir Ki Waadis.

Check out the list of varieties you get there:

1. Skiing:

May be the most common reason to visit Kashmir will be skiing. The best ski- resort in India is at the terrains of Gulmarg, giving you the extra- ordinary feeling of fun with snow. You can get various ski- packages in Gulmarg.

Best time: Mid January to Mid March.

2. Mountaineering:

Trekking, rock- climbing, rappelling or be it any of those mountain activities are forever a chance from Kashmir, being close to mountains from all the sides. Kashmir has various peaks of Pir Panjal Ranges and Himalayas to experience the flavor of climbing in Kashmir.

Best Time: April to June

3. Tulip Festival:

This time will prove the beauty of Kashmir flaunting in different colors. The festival welcomes the blooming season of tulip at the Siraj Garden, the largest tulip garden in Asia. The place at the right time will leave you mesmerized for the lifetime. It is generally a 15 day festival when the tulips are in best of their views.
Best time: Spring Season generally between Mid March to April.

4. Golfing:

Kashmir offers the most scenic golf course in the valleys of Gulmarg and Srinagar. Golf within the shades of Chinar and Pine, leave the golf lovers mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty and weather surrounding the sport. Golf course in Kashmir feels like icing on the cake.

Best time: April to November

5. Rafting and Shikara Ride:

Water bodies too have something to gift you on the tour of valleys in Kashmir. Shikara Ride at Dal Lake is unique experience leaving you in the laps of nature. While rafting at River Lidder in Pahalgam will give you goose bumps of cold chilled out weather which will be a speechless experience for your lifetime.

Professional Travel Blogger and founder of The Ghumakkads. Bhawna Mohinani is graduate in Mass Communication & Postgraduate in Travel and Tourism Management.

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