Top 21 Places to Visit in Jammu and Kashmir

By Niyati Shinde on Feb 24, 2016
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Blessed by abundance of natural beauty, the state of Jammu & Kashmir is the ideal vacation spot for every type of traveller- from the much in love couple on their honeymoon to the in search of paradise solo traveller, from the happy family consisting of 3 or more generations to the gang of friends scaling the mighty Himalayas. Are you planning a trip to this glorious piece of heaven on Earth? Here are the top places you should visit in Jammu and Kashmir:


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A renowned hill resort in the country and a popular skiing destination, Gulmarg’s beauty is legendary. A heaven for nature lovers and skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, the name ‘Gulmarg’ literally translates to ‘Meadow of Flowers’. Home to the world’s highest golf course, the gondola in Gulmarg is also one of the highest in the world reaching an elevation of 3,979 metres.   


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The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar lies on the banks of the bustling Jhelum River. One of the must do things while in the city is to go on a Shikara boat ride over the marvellous Dal Lake. With a fabulous backdrop of snow-capped mountains and houseboats, the city of Srinagar tops the list of honeymoon destinations in India.  


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Surrounded by glorious mountains, the town of Leh is the largest one in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. A land of sheer natural beauty, Leh doubles up as a gateway to many serene monasteries in the Ladakh region. The Thiksey Monastery, the Hemis Monastery, the Spituk Monastery and the Lamayuru Monastery are some monasteries you can visit while on your trip to Leh.


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The winter capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the city of Jammu is a magnificent sight for sore eyes! Divided into two sections- the old and the new city, Jammu is home to a number of temples wrapped in age-old myths, a fact due to which Jammu is also known as ‘the city of temples’. For architecture buffs, the grand Bahu Fort in the city is a must visit.


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Situated on a plateau in the Shivalik mountain range of the Himalayas, Patnitop in Udhampur sits at an altitude of 2024 metres. A beautiful place in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Patnitop is an all-year-round destination. In the winters, it attracts skiing enthusiasts while in the summers visitors can undertake activities such as paragliding, picnicking, hiking and horse riding.

Pangong Lake:

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Featuring on the wishlist of many travel enthusiasts, the stunning Pangong Tso (lake) looks right out of a vivid fantasy. One of the largest brackish lakes in Asia, the tso spans 2 countries. Located around 4-5 hours drive/ bike ride from Leh, you should visit Pangong Lake atleast once in your lifetime. The beauty of the lake will leave you speechless.   


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Located not far from the hustle bustle of the capital city of Srinagar, Pahalgam is a tranquil postcard perfect town. Nestled at the confluence of the streams flowing from the Lidder River and the Sheshnag Lake, Pahalgam used to be a shepherd's town. Now, it has transformed into one of Kashmir’s premier resort town.

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Situated midway between Leh and Srinagar, the town of Kargil is the second largest in Ladakh region. Located in lap of the Himalayas, Kargil is an imperative base for undertaking adventure tourism in the state.  Having a turbulent past, the town has emerged from the ashes like a phoenix.


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A charming town in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, Bhaderwah is predominantly a mountainous town. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, the town is blessed with abundance of natural beauty which is why it is also called ‘mini Kashmir’. Adventure sports activities one can undertake at Bhaderwah include trekking, paragliding, skiing, mountaineering, mountain biking and even off roading.


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Translating to ‘Meadow of Gold’, a trip to Jammu and Kashmir is incomplete without visiting Sonamarg. Thickly forested, if you are an out and out nature lover, this is the best destination for you.  Surrounded by serene lakes and awe-inspiring glaciers, Sonamarg or Sonmarg is located around 87 kilometres from Srinagar and thus can be easily covered on your Kashmir trip.


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One of the remotest areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Sanasar boasts of breathtaking beauty. Its name is derived from the local picturesque lakes of Sana and Sar. This quaint town is the aero adventure sports capital of the Jammu region what with adventure enthusiasts heading over to Sanasar for paragliding, abseiling, parasailing and hot air ballooning. It is also a fantastic destination to undertake rock climbing. 


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Home to the humbling Drass War Memorial (also known as Vijaypath), the tiny military town of Drass is located in the heart of the Drass Valley. Known as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’, it has in recent times become famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world. For trekking enthusiasts, Drass is a convenient base for trek to Suru valley.


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With a moniker of ‘land of countless springs’, you can imagine how picturesque and lush green the city of Anantnag would be. Capital of the Anantnag district, you will find a few intriguing historical ruins near the city, the Martand Temple complex being one of the important archaeological sites in the country.


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A municipality in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, the region is known for its high quality production of saffron. Commonly known as the 'Land of Saffron, Sapphire and Shrines', Kishtwar is surrounded by dense forests making it an ideal vacation spot for nature lovers.

Nubra Valley:

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Around 150 kilometres north of Leh lies the enchanting Nubra Valley. The village of Panamik is open to tourists and is the last settlement in the northern end of Nubra Valley. The Shyok River meets the Siachen River to form this huge valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakorum Ranges. The valley is also home to the highest deserts in the world. The highlight of the trip? A two-humped camel safari!  


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A charming city in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, Udhampur is located in the mountains of the Shivalik range. Named after Raja Udham Singh, the city is the second largest city in Jammu region. Trivia- the city has preserved many relics that are believed to be dating back to the Mahabharata.

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Popularly known as Katra Vaishno Devi, the pilgrimage town of Katra serves as the base camp for devotees who visit Vaishno Devi.  But if you don’t want to visit the famous temple, the town still has a lot to offer to its visitors. It has many quaint picnic spots in its vicinity making it an ideal destination for families.


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Surrounded by three rivers, Kathua is called 'the city of Sufis' due to the presence of many Sufi Shrines of Peers. True to its name, Kathua is home to quite a few religious places. These include the Mata Bala Sundri temple, the Jasrota temple and the Airwan temple. One can also undertake white water rafting while in Kathua.


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Located in the Zanskar tehsil, Zangla is a scenic town and an important point on the famous Padum-Strongdey-Zangla-Karsha-Padum round trip. The main points of interest in the town are the Zangla palace (which is mostly in ruins now) and the Buddhist Zangla Monastery which is home to around 150 lamas. The monastery also houses some rare relics and beautiful paintings.


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Located around 155 kilometres from Jammu city, the town of Rajauri (also written as Rajouri) is surrounded by beautiful lakes making it an ideal destination for the dreamers and the romantics. Points of interest in and around Rajauri include Rajauri Fort, Dehra Ki Gali, Balidan Bhavan, Thanna Mandi, Dhanidar Fort and Kotranka Budhal.

Lolab Valley:

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Lying 9 kilometres north of the town of Kupwara, the enchanting valley of Lolab looks right out of a fairytale. An oval shaped valley, the area is home to many bustling springs. Covered in a dense vegetation of fir and pine trees, you will also find fruit trees such as cherry, apricot, apple and even walnut trees in the valley. A major tourist attraction in the valley is the cave of Kalaroos.

Want to know more about Jammu and Kashmir? This might help:

- 10 Valleys in Jammu and Kashmir that Offer Spectacular Views

- Things to See in Kashmir

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