Nawaz Sheikh, Dr Zenin
Srinagar: It has been almost four years that we have been visiting Kashmir. We have so far witnessed every season here and realized that Kashmir is much more than what it is being described or even captured through videos or pictures.
After visiting to every place here in almost all the seasons, this time we decided to visit offbeat places that could really detox us and take us to a serene environment.
After researching for almost two weeks ahead of planning our trip to the valley, we realized that Kashmir has much more to offer than regular places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam or Sonmarg.
We don’t doubt the relevance and beauty of these places but someone like us who have already visited these places gets fascinated with serene and less crowded places.
On internet and after getting in touch with many of our friends in Kashmir, we made a bucket list of some of the offbeat places of Kashmir. Here in this article, we will share our experience in exploring offbeat Kashmir.
Tour to apple gardens
For someone who comes from a coastal region, seeing and relishing fresh apples is nothing less than a treat. On the very first day of our trip, we toured to an apple orchard of our friend and picked some apples.
It was for the first time that we came to know that apple has various varieties which include, Delicious, Maharaja, American, Golden, Gala Mast, and others.
Every variety looked better than others and it was fun climbing an apple tree and harvesting the fruit.
Apple can be a part of Kashmir’s tourism as these orchards look very green and beautiful.
For people who get fascinated at the higher altitude and calm environment, Rangmarg and Gogaldora is a must-go places. It is just adjacent to the Tangmarg- the base camp of Gulmarg and starts after crossing village Baderkoot.
It was the second day of our trip and the place was much more than what we had expected. Dense forests, beautiful villages, and crystal-clear streams made our day.
We enjoyed a lot especially after getting to the top of the hill to get the overall view of the Tangmarg and adjacent villages.
On the very third day of our trip, we decided to visit Bangus valley. We had so far only heard about it and was recommended by one of our friends from Kashmir.
The journey to Bangus was memorable given the beautiful landscape and serene villages of Kupwara district. On the way, we stopped at many places and clicked pictures to capture every memory of our trip.
Bangus was completely different from rest of the meadows and the forests covering the meadow were cherry-on- the- top. Though the road to the meadow was tough but the view at the end relieved us from the fatigue.
This is a touristy place but it offers much for those who look for adventure. From relishing Makki ki roti with kehwa to a road trip deep into the meadow, we enjoyed every bit of our trip.
The homes of Bakarwals, streams, and dense forests make it one of the best destinations of Kashmir. During our short stay in Doodhpathri, we tried some adventures and stayed in Bakarwal’s Kotha(mud house) and made dishes for ourselves.
The gushing glacial stream a Doodhpathri was something we were excited about and clicked our pictures near to the stream.
For wildlife lovers, Dachigam is an apt place but very less might be aware of the fact that this place looks entirely different during autumn. The yellow and red leaves of various kind of plant species inside the forest makes it look heavenly. For someone who has never seen the autumn hues of Kashmir, Dachigam is a must–go place.
We went deep in the jungles and also visited the Trout hatchery farm, which was really amazing.
It may sound strange but Nishat Garden of Srinagar is an offbeat place in autumn. While the rush of tourists tends to be very low during the autumn, a person can really enjoy the shades of red chinars in the garden.
We stayed inside the garden for while day and clicked some pictures that were really amazing. It is a must-go place, particularly during the autumn season when the garden presents a beautiful picture of the season.