10 Stunning Offbeat Destinations in Kashmir For A Perfect Winter Vacation

Best offbeat places in Kashmir

Planning a winter vacation in Kashmir? Here are our recommendations for the lesser-known destinations for a dreamy vacation in the mountains.

Home to numerous scenic marvels, Kashmir leaves one spoilt for choices with a long list of beautiful tourist spots.

And yet, there are several offbeat locations in and around this ‘Paradise on Earth’ that deserve a place on your travel list.

So, here is a list of some of the best and less-explored places in Kashmir for a memorable winter vacation.

1. Baisaran Valley

A view from Baisaran Valley in Kashmir.
A view from Baisaran Valley in Kashmir. | Photo credit: Adarsh Somanathan (@the_yaatrapraanthan on Instagram)

Situated in the Anantnag district, the Baisaran Valley is around 5 km from Pahalgam, a popular hill station in Jammu and Kashmir. The picturesque valley is dotted with dense pine forests, long and green meadows, and the surrounding view of the snow-capped peaks. Also known as ‘mini-Switzerland’, this destination is a gem for those looking for an offbeat winter experience.

The valley is also a camping spot for trekkers heading to Tullian Lake. Some tourist attractions near the valley are Kanimarg, Kashmir Valley Point, Pahalgam Old Village, Dabyan, and Deon Valley Point.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 95 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Udhampur railway station, around 220 km away.

2. Chatpal

A stream flowing through Chatpal village
A stream flowing through Chatpal village. | Photo credit: Irfan Borgave (@impressionclicks on Instagram)

The quiet, serene and beautiful Chatpal village is an unexplored paradise located in the Shangus district of South Kashmir. The lofty mountain ranges, lush green forests and pristine water gushing down the hilly regions set a perfect atmosphere for those who need a detox from their busy life.

Though there aren’t any major tourist attractions around Chatpal, the village offers a memorable experience with its untouched natural beauty. Those visiting can spend some amazing time on the lap of the Himalayas and also experience the simple and local lifestyle of the villagers. One can also go for nature walks and treks around the woods of Chatpal. But the best part about the village is that it is devoid of electricity, making it perfect for a digital detox.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 88 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi railway station, around 222 km away.

3. Aru Valley

A view of the beautiful Lidder River flowing around the Aru Valley
A view of the beautiful Lidder River flowing around the Aru Valley. | Photo credit: Aaqib Bashir (@prfct_klikz on Instagram)

Another beautiful hill station located in the Anantnag district of Kashmir is around a 12 km drive from Pahalgam. The clear skies, scenic meadows, and the beautiful Lidder River that wraps around the valley would make anyone fall in love with the place instantly. Besides, the valley serves as a base camp for treks to the Kolohoi Glacier and Tarsar-Mansar Lake. Other than the scenic views, during winter, tourists can indulge in snow sports like skiing and heli-skiing.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 104 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Katra railway station, around 224 km away.

4. Gurez Valley

A panoramic view of the Gurez valley
A panoramic view of the Gurez valley. Photo credit: Dilin Sharaf (@dilin_sharaf on Instagram)

Located at an altitude of 8,000 ft above sea level, Gurez is a charming and less explored valley in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by serene and snow-clad Himalayan mountain ranges, Gurez was once the gateway to the famous Silk Road from Europe to Kashgar in China.

The lush valley is spread across the banks of the Kishanganga river, which flows through the region. There are several attractions nearby such as Razdan Pass, Tulail Valley, Harmukh mountain, and Habba Khatoon Peak.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 140 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Sopore railway station, around 104 km away.

5. Karnah

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A post shared by The Beauty of Karnah valley (@thebeautyofkarnahvalley)

One of the hidden gems in Kashmir, Karnah is a small yet spectacular valley to experience natural beauty at its best. Around 86 km away from Kishtwar, the valley is situated on the foot of the Shams Bari and Kranii mountains. The snowy mountain ranges of the Qazi Nag and Nanga Parvat could be witnessed from Karnah.

Other than the stunning landscape and scenery, the natives of Karnah represent distinct ancient civilizations that are around 5000-years-old. The history is reflected through the ruins of the palaces, fort, statues, weaponry, and utensils. Karnah was once the biggest tehsil of the Wazarat of Muzaffarabad before Partition.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 173 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Sopore railway station, around 120 km away.

6. Daksum

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A post shared by Watercolour l Saurabh (@pramanik.watercolours)

Located amidst the dense coniferous forest, this beautiful spot is located in the Larnoo tehsil of the Anantnag district along the Anantnag-Sinthan-Kishtwar road. Located at an elevation of 2,438 metres above sea level, river Bhringi passes through a gorge at Daksum which is rich in trout fish.

The surrounding forests in Daksum boast a wide variety of fauna and flora. With waterfalls, streams, and hidden meadows, it is a perfect spot for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. When in Daksun, one can go camping or hiking to the Sinthan Pass located at a height of 12,000 ft above sea level.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 106 km away, and the nearest railway station is Udhampur railway station, around 146 km away.

7. Tulail Valley

A beautiful view from the Tulail valley.
A beautiful view from the Tulail valley. Photo credit: Safarnaama (@safarnaam.a on Instagram)

A sub-valley of Gurez, the Tulail valley is situated at an altitude of around 9,020 ft above sea level and is one of the remotest valleys in Jammu and Kashmir. Formed by the east-to-west flowing of the Neelum River which originates from the Krishansar Lake in the northern alpine meadows of Sonamarg. The road to Tulail from Gurez passes through many scenic landscapes of the Kishanganga River. On that route, one will cross several villages like Barnai, Chakwali, Kashpat, Zargai to finally reach the Purani Tulail Village.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 177 km away, and the nearest railway station is Sopore railway station, around 145 km away.

8. Breng Valley

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A post shared by Muneeb Javid Mir (@muneebjavidmir)

Breng Valley is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular destinations in Kashmir. Also known as the Golden crown of Kashmir, the valley in the Anantnag district got its name from the Brengi river which is a famous Jhelum River tributary.

The famous Kokernag Garden is located in the centre of the valley. Other than the snow-capped mountain ranges, freshwater springs and streams, large meadows, pine forests, and freshwater lakes, the valley also has numerous attractions such as trekking routes to Ladakh, Kishtwar, and Marwah-Wadwan.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 81 km away, and the nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi railway station, around 197 km away.

9. Watlab

A panoramic view of Watlab. Photo credit: Junaid Khursheed (@junaid_khursheed on Instagram)
A panoramic view of Watlab. Photo credit: Junaid Khursheed (@junaid_khursheed on Instagram)

Watlab is one of the best destinations for those looking to experience the ‘real Kashmir’. With a unique blend of natural beauty, Watlab houses the Muslim Shrine of Baba Shukurddin, one of the four pupils of Sufi Saint Nundresi. The location also offers a stunning view of Wular Lake, Asia’s largest freshwater lake.

Watlab is also an ideal location for nature and bird lovers, as it is home to the Himalayan golden Eagles, Himalayan Monal, Rock Dove, Barn Shallow and other rare birds. Not just that, an array of activities such as fishing, Shikara, etc. are also available at the location.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 65 km away, and the Sopore railway station is around 16 km away.

10. Lolab Valley

Also known as ‘Wadi-e-Lolab, Lolab’ Valley, it is located in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir and was named after Maharaja LOLO. Famed for its fruit orchards, lake, springs, and lush rice fields, Lolab is a combination of three valleys namely Potnai valley, Brunai valley, and Kalaroos valley.

The Lolab Valley is home to several ancient springs and is covered with dense forests of pine and fir. Also, several fruit trees such as apple, cherry, peach, apricot, and walnut are common in the valley and hence it is named the ‘fruit bowl of Jammu and Kashmir’. The valley has many natural landmarks and tourist spots, such as the caves of Kalaroos. It is also home to many Himalayan wild animals such as Himalayan black bear, Himalayan brown bear, snow leopard, ibex, markhor, musk deer, and so on.

How to reach: Srinagar airport is around 70 km away, and the Sopore railway station is around 60 km away.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

Sources:

Aru Valley by Tourmyindia. com

Tulail Valley by Wikiwand
Breng Valley by Pixstory
Lolab Valley by Department of Tourism J&K

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