9 Offbeat Things to do in Kashmir

By Niyati Shinde on Aug 26, 2015
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1. Don't Sip on Milk Tea or Cappuccinos, Drink Kahwa Instead

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A popular drink among Kashmiris, Kahwa is a traditional herbal tea made by boiling green tea leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and Kashmiri rose petals in water. Sweetened by adding honey or sugar, Kahwa also has many medicinal properties.

2. Don't Just Check out Gardens and Palaces; Check out the Monasteries as Well

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No doubt you have to visit the lush Shalimar Bagh, the stunning Achabal Garden, the grand Bahu Fort and the serene Leh Palace while on your expedition of Kashmir. But along with these famous tourist places, do pay a visit to the tranquil and divine monasteries of Thiksey, Diskit, Stok and Namgyal Tsemo.

Also Read: Valleys of Kashmir offering Spectacular views

3. Don't Play Cards or Antakshari to While Away Your Time, go Golfing

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If you want have a leisurely time in Kashmir, go golfing. Home to a few world-class golf courses, Kashmiri golf courses are set amidst beautiful landscapes & the best thing to do in kashmir. The one at Gulmarg is probably the most elevated golf course in the world and boasts of an 18 hole championship course measuring 7505 yards with a Par of 72.

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4. Don't Just Shop, Meet the Craftsmen

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There are a lot of local artisans who work day and night to ensure you get the best quality products. Their stories and their efforts usually go unnoticed. When you step out to do some shopping, dont forget to meet the local craftsmen. Infact, you can even sit down with them learn the nuances of their crafts. Enhance your knowledge of Walnut wood carvings and Kashmiri carpet weaving and return humbled by the talented yet unknown craftsmen.

5. Skip Mutton Rogan Josh and Try Paneer Chaman Instead

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At the risk of comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and starting a debate among vegetarians and hardcore non-vegetarians, I will go ahead and say that I find Paneer Chaman to be tastier than Rogan Josh! And yes, I have tried both! Infact, I even loved Nadroo Yakhni which is a yogurt based Kashmiri curry made with crunchy lotus stems.

6. Don't Stay in Popular Towns Like Sonamarg and Gulmarg, Stay at Doodhpathari Instead

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If you want to explore the lesser known areas of Kashmir, skip the popular towns and stay at unknown yet intoxicatingly beautiful locales such as Doodhpathari, Gurez and Bangus. Situated around 40 kilometres from Srinagar, Doodhpathari is a gorgeous bowl shaped valley with the bustling Shali Ganga river flowing through it. The JKTDC has a resort over here, but you can also opt for a homestay.

Also Read: Places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir

7. Don't Just go for a Shikara Ride, go Skiing as well

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The snow covered peaks and slopes of the Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir provide the perfect setting for skiing & is the most adventurous thing to do in Kashmir. There are top-class and famous skiing resorts in Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam.

8. Skip the Pashmina, Buy a Beautiful Doda Sapphire Instead

The Doda Sapphire is found in the Paddar area belonging to Doda District. A very rare and unique gem, this sapphire is deep bluish in colour and is a world renowned gemstone. Known for its clarity and transparency, buying this sapphire might burn a hole in your pocket, but is completely worth it!

9. Don't Just Trek the Mountains, Trek the Frozen Zanskar River as well

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The mighty Himalayas are a wonderful setting for adventure lovers. If you intend on going for a trek to Kashmir, why not undertake the Chadar Trek in Ladakh? Considered one of the most exciting and unique treks in the world, you are literally trekking on a frozen river! Something you will be boasting about for years to come!

I recently came back from a trip to Kashmir. And I must say, Emperor Jehangir was right. Gar firdaus bar ru e zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. If there's heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here.

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