Gorgeous Himalayan landscapes, verdant meadowlands and lavish Mughal-era architecture have earned this state the nickname of Paradise on Earth.
With sheer mountain peaks, tranquil lakes and blooming springtime meadows, it is unsurprising that the ancient Mughal's thought of Jammu and Kashmir as "Paradise on Earth." Whether visiting during warm summers or snowy winters, the opportunities to revel in its beauty are plentiful. Ski, hike or mountain bike, or simply relax and enjoy the view.
Delight in the splendor of Srinagar, the state's capital and a former vacation destination for ancient Mughals. Find peace and quiet among the royal Mughal Gardens on the banks of Dal Lake or take in vistas of the Zabarwan Mountains. Walk through the cultured old town, passing sacred temples and busy bazaars on the way to a fort atop Hari Parbat hill. Thrill seekers can take a paragliding tour near Sanasar and experience the rolling countryside from above.
Within a few hours' drive from Srinagar, you’ll find a number of mountain towns that provide access to the unspoiled beauty of the Himalayas. Head to Sonamarg, a hiker's wonderland, where trails lead through rugged mountain passes. Yusmarg, whose name means "Meadow," enchants visitors with its spring flower blooms in the Pir Panjal foothills.
Pahalgam, located just over 2 hours’ drive from Srinagar, is a picturesque hill station set in a valley surrounded by majestic fir-tree covered mountains. The Lidder River joins another stream at Pahalgam. Camp along the river bank or go fishing or rafting on the water.
Experience the Indian winter at Gulmarg, a world-renowned ski resort. Ride one of the world's longest cable cars to the heights of Mount Apharwat and ski or toboggan your way down. Near town, golf enthusiasts can play a round in a unique course miles above sea level.
Further south, Jammu City has stunning temples and art museums. Go boating on pretty Mansar Lake, which is about a 1.5 hours drive to the east.
Take a mountain-biking tour of Kokernag, a town built atop the region's largest spring. Adventurous travelers who fly to Leh, a remote town in the state's far east, will be rewarded by the incredible sight of Leh Palace, a castle hewn from a mountain peak.
Fly into Jammu and Kashmir via international airports at Srinagar or Jammu City. The state has a good public transport within towns, but rented cars are recommended for wider adventures.