Do you ever wonder what Heaven on Earth looks like?
I had always heard that Kashmir is that one destination which every Indian should definitely visit. Forget the Swiss Alps and Alberta, you want to experience heaven then its right here in India. I recently went to Kashmir for a small getaway and it left me wanting for more. I made a promise that I’ll be returning soon and explore all the gems this beautiful union territory has to offer.
In this blog, I will be sharing a 3 day itinerary for someone who is short on time and wants to experience the beauty Kashmir has to offer.
How to get to Kashmir
By Air – If you are flying into Kashmir, you want to look for flights to Srinagar International Airport. All major cities in India are well connected to Srinagar.
By Rail – There are no operational railway stations in Srinagar. Jammu is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 290 kilometres from Srinagar. Jammu railway station is well connected to the Indian railways network.
By Road – Srinagar is accessible via road through the Srinagar-Leh highway only during early May to mid-November and through the Manali-Leh highway from April to June. The drive to Srinagar is famous for its enchanting views.
Kashmir Three Day itinerary
A trip to Kashmir cannot be complete without exploring its capital city – Srinagar. Other popular places that Kashmir has to offer are – Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Pahalgam, Sonmarg, Gulmarg and much more! But with less time in hand I would recommend exploring Srinagar and a hidden gem – “Doodhpatri”
One of the biggest cities in Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar is adorned with gardens, lakes and beautiful waterfronts. This city has so much to offer that you would require two whole days to see this quaint city,
The crown jewel of Srinagar, the Dal lake is one of the most visited spot in the City. One corner of the lake is filled with beautiful houseboats (with crazy names!!) and other side of the lake is open wide with a beautiful view of the Pir Panjal range. During the wee hours of the day, you can witness a beautiful floating market selling vegetables, flowers etc. At the evening the lake lit ups with various vendors selling food items and souvenirs on Shikara’s.
The Shikara ride is the most famous activity at the Dal lake. I would recommend taking a Shikara ride from Ghat number 15 or beyond. You can get a pristine view of the Dal lake with the beautiful mountains in the background (perfect for Instagram pictures).
Timings – 7 am to 9 pm
Costs – INR 500 to INR 1000
The Shankracharya Temple is one of the most stunning structures in Srinagar city. I am not going to lie, my obsession with this temple started with the movie Mission Kashmir (you have got to watch it, if you haven’t already). I always wanted to visit this place and would highly suggest to checkout this spot. Apart from being famous for religious purposes, you can also see a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
Located at 6000 feet, you can reach the base of the temple by auto or car. To reach the temple you have to climb a flight of 240 steps which will take 15 – 20 mins. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was also the meditating spot of Adi Shankara. From one side of the temple you can get a beautiful view of the Dal lake and from the other side the Jhelum river.
Entry timings – 7 am to 5 pm
Entry fee – Nil
Srinagar has some of the most beautiful and stunning ‘Baghs’. Each Bagh or Garden forms a part of the soul of the city. The garden is located at the banks of Dal lake.
The garden has beautiful Chinar & Cypress trees, beautiful flowers, step waterfalls with a background of the Pir Panjal mountain range. The garden has 12 terraces representing the 12 zodiac signs.
Entry timings – 9 am to 7 pm
Entry fee – INR 25 for adults
The Hazratbal Mosque popularly known as the Dargah Sharif is another popular attraction at Srinagar. It contains a relic, Moi-e-Muqqadas, which is widely believed to be the heir of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The mosque is located on the banks of Dal Lake and is said to be the one of the holiest shrines in Kashmir.
Timings – 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Explore Lal Chowk
Lal Chowk is the main market of Srinagar and is famous for branded stores, pashmina shawls and amazing restaurants. If you are a non vegetarian then you are practically in Heaven. You can shop here for dry fruits, shawls and experience the hustle bustle of the city.
While Sonmarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam are the popular destinations to explore in Kashmir, I would like to introduce ‘Doodhpatri’ to you. A new found charm in the Kashmir Valley, Doodhpatri is truly a spectacle. This lesser known destination has suddenly gained popularity in the recent years.
Brief facts about Doodhpatri
Doodhpatri is a large grassy meadow nestled with pine trees. The name Doodhpatri means “Valley of Milk“. The cattle of this region are renowned for the plentiful and rich milk they yield. Also, the river flowing through Doodhpatri is milky white and a delight to watch.
How to reach Doodhpatri
The best, fastest and easiest way to reach Doodhpatri is taking a cab from Srinagar. The 2.5 hour drive is super scenic and you will get to see a glimpse of the lifestyle of Kashmiri people.
An Innova can cost you anything between INR 3500 to INR 4000. Cars can be easily hired from the various taxi stands at Dal lake.
PS: Don’t forget to bargain with them!
What all you can do at Doodhpatri
If you love to hike and experience raw nature then Doodhpatri is the place for you. You can hike upto Shaily ganga river which is around 4 kilometers from the parking lot. You can easily spend 2 hours, lost in appreciating the beauty of this place (trust me its mesmerizing). On the way to the river you will come across various small outlets selling maggi, bhutta and a few restaurants. My recommendation would be try out this Kashmiri version of Chola Kulchha. Its only for INR 20 and honestly one of the best things I ate in Kashmir!
The other attractions in Doodhpatri is ‘Phoolpatri’ also known as mini valley of flowers and the glacier where you can find ice even during the summer season. The trail to the glacier can get very tricky during the monsoon season but at the same time super scenic. On the way to the glacier, one come’s across a patch from where you get an unreal view of the entire Valley.
If you haven’t heard of Doodhpatri and are looking to add an offbeat destination to your itinerary, you should definitely include this.
Time required to explore Doodhpatri – You will require an entire day to explore.
Watch my Youtube vlog here ⬇️
What to pack for Srinagar and Doodhpatri
During the summer months, the weather is quite pleasant. But the weather can get very unpredictable. I would recommend packing a light jacket during the summers. If you are someone who feels colder than usual, you should definitely pack a heavy jacket.
Kashmir is beautiful during the winter season, but at the same time the winters can get real harsh. Would highly recommend carrying heavy jackets, pair of sweaters, inners and definitely a beanie.
Where to stay
Starting from budget stays to luxurious hotels, Srinagar has it all!
I stayed at Hotel Clarks Inn, a budget hotel located near to the airport and all major attractions. You can check more about this property and other places to stay at – makemytrip.com
Best time to visit
Kashmir is that one destination which one can visit all year around. Certain places like Doodhpatri can become inaccessible but you can enjoy the other places like Gulmarg which becomes a winter wonderland.
I hope you enjoyed this short itinerary. My time in Kashmir was limited but I truly enjoyed each and every moment there! I can’t wait to go back again and share a detailed itinerary with you.