Smitten by the pictures of colorful shikaras over Dal and wooden cottages buried under snow, Vignesh had long dreamed of visiting Kashmir. Raised in the palm-fringed city of Chennai all the way down south, nothing had ever dampened his yearning to experience the magic of snowfall in Kashmir with his favorite travel companion by his side! Here’s an account of how he finally got to see it on his trip to Kashmir in January.
Seeing snowfall in Kashmir has been on top of my bucket list all along. And I specifically wanted to visit it in the winter months when this place was blessed with snowfall and turned into the wonderland its pictures depicted.
So, when I and my wife finally had the chance, we approached TravelTriangle and booked ourselves an escapade that would give us 4 days in Kashmir, allowing us enough time to see this paradise up north in all its glory.
Table Of Contents
- Details Of Our Trip To Kashmir
- A Snippet Of Our Kashmir Trip
- Weather Of Kashmir In January
- Best Experiences We Had On The Trip
- Kashmir Travel Tips
- Our Experience With TravelTriangle
- Common Queries We Had While Planning
Details Of Our Trip To Kashmir In January
Trip Type: Romantic
Trip Cost: INR 15,000/-
No. Of People: 2
Trip Duration: 3 Nights 4 Days
Inclusions: Breakfast, dinner, airport transfers, accommodation, sightseeing, private AC transfers, shikara ride, applicable taxes
Exclusions: Lunch, airfare, travel insurance, entry tickets
A Snippet Of Our Customised Kashmir Trip In January
Day 1: Arrival at Srinagar | Shikara ride
Day 2: Proceeded to Gulmarg | Ropeway ride & sightseeing
Day 3: Proceeded to Pahalgam | Sightseeing on horse
Day 4: Shopping | Departure
Weather Of Kashmir In January
Let us first tell you what the weather is like in this haven in the month of January. From December to March, the Kashmir valley is completely covered in a blanket of pearl-white snow with sub-zero level temperatures. If you wish to see snowfall, then this is certainly the best time for you to visit and you must plan a trip to Kashmir in January. You’ll also be able to enjoy various snow-sports here during the winter months like snowboarding and skiing.
The Best Experiences We Had In Kashmir In January
We would like to share with the readers our most special experiences from the trip. Make sure you do not miss all of this in Kashmir:
1. Shikara Ride On Dal Lake
It may sound cliche but the experience of rowing on a shikara over the Dal Lake is simply beautiful! It’s so peaceful to just sail over that amber-colored water and watch the world pass by.
What’s more exciting is shopping on the lake itself! For those who are confused, we are referring to the floating market of Srinagar that is established over various long boats (shikaras) on the Dal Lake. You can just sail past them and stop by when you wish to buy something. Sounds charming, doesn’t it? So it was!
2. Ropeway Ride In Gulmarg
Riding the gondola all the way to the top was a great experience. The ropeway in Gulmarg is the largest in India and provided us with beautiful views of the snow-covered landscapes stretching far into the horizon. You can simply relax once you reach the top and bask in the beautiful views around you, which were breathtaking at this point of time owing to the snow that covers Kashmir in January.
We sat there for really long. We were so mesmerized watching the sun and snow together in one frame that we lost track of time. The temperature up there was about -5 degree Celsius. After some time, we also had some hot maggi in that freezing weather. You also get normal food like chapati and cooked veggies on top to beat the cold. For coming down, you have the option of taking the gondola again or hopping into a ‘Chair Lift’, which is also among the most exciting things to do in Kashmir.
Suggested Read: Here’s What Makes Kashmir A True Heaven On Earth
The climate of Kashmir in January is the main reason I picked it for my trip. I did not want to see snowfall in any other hill town as places like Shimla and Manali are too crowded at this time.
I was lucky to be able to see snowfall in Kashmir in January for 3 days at a stretch, and it was absolutely magical! Since my wife and I belong to the coastal regions all the way south in Tamil Nadu, it can be assumed that adjusting to the freezing weather of Kashmir was rather difficult for us. But the sheer delight of being the midst of snow was way too excellent for us to notice the cold. And as expected, we ended up having a fabulous time!
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4. Horse Riding In Pahalgam
You will find either palkis (traditional carts) or horses for getting you around in Pahalgam. The experience may turn out to be backbreaking for some, but it still is quite charming to ride a horse through the snowy landscapes of Pahalgam. Our guide showed us various key attractions on horseback, including the Jhelum River, Betaab Valley, Sheshnag Lake, and more. The guide and horse riding charges in Pahalgam are fixed, so don’t waste your time bargaining.
We also visited an apple farm where they give you delicious and refreshing fresh apple juice for free. The ride lasted us a good 4 hours and we covered around 6 places that make Pahalgam popular. Our courteous guide also took us to the topmost point of Pahalgam where there was snow till where the eyes could see and pine trees draped in white. We took several pictures in that dreamy background before having lunch and returning downhill.
5. Kashmiri Hospitality!
Against stereotypical notions, Kashmiri people are among the friendliest folk. All the locals we met on our Kashmir trip in January were very generous, helpful, and kind. And their hospitality is just out of this world! They will always greet you with a smile and offer piping hot Kahva, the local beverage that is a must-try in Kashmir.
Some Kashmir Travel Tips For A Hassle-Free Holiday
Do keep these essential tips and suggestions in mind before you book your Kashmir trip in January:
- You don’t need to worry about getting good vegetarian food in Kashmir. Almost all restaurants serve excellent veg food here. Also, don’t forget to eat at Raja Dhaba on your way to Pahalgam from Gulmarg or vice versa.
- Handicrafts like antique items and shawls are a little expensive in Kashmir, but worth every penny. Before bargaining, understand that this is the sole means of their livelihood and respect the efforts of the locals that went into making them.
- Make sure you hire a vehicle to take you around in Pahalgam and Gulmohar way in advance. If you book it there directly, you may end up paying sky-high prices for your cab since all the independent drivers have their own rates.
- Take adequate amount of winter clothing. DON’T underestimate the weather of Kashmir in January.
- Don’t take a direct flight from Chennai to Kashmir in winters. Take a connecting flight from Delhi so that you can acclimatize to the extreme weather change.
- Be well prepared for temperatures as low as -7 degrees Celsius in Kashmir in winter. Wear proper clothes and take adequate medications if necessary.
- Keep yourself updated on the weather conditions of the cities you visit in Kashmir in January. Cities and highways in Kashmir can get closed due to sudden and extreme variations in weather like heavy snowfall.
- Plan your itinerary in such a way that you have a spare day before and after the trip as snowfall here can be unpredictable.
- If you visit a local household in Kashmir, make sure you carry a box of dry fruits as a gift. It’s considered rude not to.
Our Experience With TravelTriangle
Ours was a spontaneous trip and we hardly had any time to plan it. But TravelTriangle managed to provide us an excellent deal and a great itinerary even at the last moment. We liked the quick turnover and planning skills from their end which made this trip so comfortable and memorable. It wasn’t exactly a budget trip since it was booked late, but we are totally satisfied with the services and experiences we got in the price we paid.
Further Read: Dwelling In God’s Abode: Our Romantic Trip To Kashmir
Still wondering what makes Kashmir a paradise on Earth? Well, take a trip to Kashmir right away and find out for yourself! Book with TravelTriangle for great deals and have the most fabulous time with your loved ones.
Common Queries We Had While Planning Our Trip To Kashmir
We had a few doubts while planning this vacation. Now that we’re back, we feel we should answer them to help others book their trip smoothly.
A. For local sightseeing of Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonmarg, some of the most famous attractions that you can visit include:
1. Mughal Gardens – These are a group of marvelous gardens that were built by the Mughals in the Persian style of architecture.
Location: Gate No. 35, Rashtrapati Bhawan, President’s Estate, New Delhi, Delhi 110004
Timings: 10 AM – 6 PM
Entry fee: Nil
2. Nishat Garden – The largest ‘bagh’ in Kashmir valley, this is a terraced Mughal garden located on the eastern side of Dal Lake.
Location: Next to Mughal Garden, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, 191121
Timings: 9 AM – 7 PM
Entry fee: INR 10
3. Shalimar Garden – Meaning “abode of love”, these are some serene gardens sitting on the shores of the Dal Lake.
Location: Chinar Chowk, Shalimar, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 191121
Timings: 9 AM – 7 PM
Entry fee: INR 10
4. Cheshmashahi Garden – Built around a beautiful spring, Chashma Shahi is one of the Mughal Gardens.
Location: 7, Boulevard Rd, Chashma Shahi, Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Timings: 8 AM – 7:15 PM
Entry fee: INR 10
5. Aru Valley – A scenic valley in Pahalgam, Aru offers breathtaking panoramic views of Kashmir.
Location: Aru Road, Pahalgam, India
6. Shankaracharya Temple – Situated on top of the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar, this famous temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Location: Durgjan, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001
Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
A. Srinagar is absolutely safe for travelers. We did not encounter any sort of menace in this state. And there are armed CRPF jawans almost everywhere in Kashmir to ensure the safety and security of both locals and tourists.
A. The right time to visit Kashmir is in the summer season from April to June. But if you wish to see snow, you should visit in December or January. The offbeat season also gives you the benefit of getting low rates for hotels and less crowd.
A. Dum Aloo and Mutton Rogan Josh are the most famous dishes of Kashmiri cuisine. Other than this, Oria, Khameera, and Katha Meat are also famous here.
A. The traditional dress for men and women in Kashmir is called the Pheran and is made with cotton, silk, and wool.
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