Often referred to as ‘paradise on earth’, the wonder that is Jammu and Kashmir is a vastly popular tourist destination known for its snowy landscape, beautiful temples, adventure activities, Kashmiri saffron, and fine knitted handicrafts and shawls. Year after year, tourists flock to the region looking for a variety of experiences to appease their hungry soul, and the place never disappoints. For some people, it was where they experienced their first snowfall. Some find peace in the valley of Kashmir, while some indulge in trekking and being one with nature.
There are quite a lot of things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. Tourists normally gravitate towards places like Pangong Lake, where 3 Idiots was shot, Khardung La Pass, highest motorable pass in the world, and the holy temple of Vaishnodevi. But here’s a list of 7 unique things which Jammu Kashmir has to offer that you definitely shouldn’t miss giving a try.
Stay in a Houseboat in Srinagar
Your trip to Kashmir valley is not complete without a stay in a houseboat. Better known as floating houses, houseboats in Kashmir provide a unique staying option. Anchored on the banks of the two beautiful lakes in Srinagar, Dal and Nigeen, houseboats are perfect for people of all ages and travellers of all types. While their décor is usually traditional and comfortable, ideal for families, a handful of companies have started offering houseboats that are made specifically for couples. Partners looking for romance, privacy, and exotica can book a special houseboat holiday for their honeymoon. A houseboat holiday experience in Srinagar also includes a shikara for a leisure ride in the lake.
Try Adventure Activities at Skyview Patnitop
There couldn’t be a more perfect place for thrill-seekers to thrive than Skyview Patnitop. With adventure activity thrills at its centre and a stunning view of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, Patnitop is a surreal experience in any season. It has something to offer for everyone. From heart-pounding thrills of a zipline ride to a refreshing stroll through the vicinity, from sitting hundreds of feet above the ground in a gondola to riding through the wind on a magic carpet, the adrenaline-pumping opportunities at Skyview Patnitop are amazing and endless. An experience you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Get Mystified at Magnetic Hill in Ladakh
There is a small stretch of road located about 30 km from Leh City that is unique because of its outright defiance of gravity. Tourists have been known to drive up to this road and turn off their engines, only to have their vehicle move forward on its own accord, sometimes at a speed of 20 km/hr. As per the most common theory, what is believed to be at work behind this mysterious phenomenon is a magnetic force so strong that it can pull cars uphill. Locals believe this road to be a pathway to heaven while some even wonder if the spot is real. As such, names like Mystery Hill and Gravity Hill are often also known to refer to Magnetic Hill.
Explore Ladakh’s Buddhist Monastries
The Buddhist monasteries are the rarest gems of Jammu Kashmir tourism. An exploration of these Gompas is one of the most religious things to do in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the most popular monasteries (gompas) of Ladakh are: Hemis Monastery, most popular for its masked dance during the Hemis festival; Thiksey Monastery, home to 500 monks and items of art like wall paintings and statues, etc.; Likir Monastery, founded by Lama Dhwang during the 14th century, Likir is believed to be the first monastery to be erected by Tibetan monks.
Gorge on Kalari Cheese
What most people don’t know about Jammu Kashmir is that it is also a foodie haven and home to one of the world’s most unique cheeses, the Kalari. A traditionally ripened Himalayan cheese having its origins in the beautiful Udhampur, Kalari is made of cow or goat milk and has a stretchy and dense texture, with a mild mozzarella-like flavour. This cheese is also called the milk chapatti or maish krej in Kashmiri. Widely consumed in Jammu and Kashmir as a street snack, and flavoured with spices and served hot, flattened Kalaris are topped with vegetables and rolled into a kulcha that is served with garlic and chilli chutney. Kalari Kulcha is a lip-smacking snack that you can’t miss indulging in on your next trip to J&K.
Take Pony Ride Excursions
Pony is a common mode of transport in the valleys of Kashmir. Taking a short pony ride in the beautiful valleys is another interesting thing to do in Kashmir. Pony rides in Pahalgam, Sonmarg, and Gulmarg are very popular and they are more common in places where transport cannot be motorized. Taking a pony ride is a great way to enjoy the real lifestyle of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shop for Beautiful Handmade Antiques
If you are into collecting souvenirs at every place you visit, Kashmir is famous for exquisite handlooms and Pashmina shawls. You can also get antique copperware like samovars and hand-woven carpets, local garments called Ferins and expensive Doda Sapphire.