Jammu and Kashmir is a region administered by India as a union territory and consists of the southern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947 and between India and China since 1959. The Line of Control separates Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north. It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh which is administered by India as a union territory.
- Sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast included
- Passport fees, immunization costs, city taxes at the hotel and local departure taxes (wherever applicable)
- Additional sightseeing, activities and experiences outside of the itinerary
Day 1: Arrival at Srinagar + Srinagar Sightseeing Tour
On your arrival in Srinagar, you will meet our representative at the airport and transfer to your hotel. After check in, get ready for a day of local sightseeing in Srinagar. Visit the famous Mughal Gardens, along with a visit to Shankaracharya Temple & Hazaratbal Shrine. All the gardens are situated on the bank of Dal Lake with the Zabarwan Mountains in the background. The distance from Srinagar to the gardens is about 12 to 15 kms respectively. Enroute, visit the carpet-weaving factory and old Srinagar city.
Nishat Bagh is one of the most beautiful terraced Mughal gardens located at the side of the famous Dal Lake near Srinagar. The Garden of Gladness or Nishat Bagh is the second largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley located on the bank of the Dal Lake with the Zabarwan Mountains at the back and offers a magnificent view Pir Panjal mountain range.
Shalimar Bagh is the largest mughal garden in India located at northeast of Dal Lake near Srinagar city along with other famous lake garden Nishat Bagh. The Bagh has Dal Lake in the background and considered to be very beautiful during the autumn and spring seasons.
The Chashme Shahi is one of the beautiful mughal garden built around a spring in the Zabarwan Range. A fresh water spring, terraces, water pool and a large fountain makes it the most charming of the gardens near Srinagar along the banks of the Dal lake.
Spread over an area of about 12 hectares, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is Asia's largest tulip garden (only operational in April). Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden is situated at the foothills of Zabarwan Range. Overlooking the iconic Dal Lake, the garden is opened in 2007. Adorned by 70 varieties of tulips, the garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Srinagar. To add more magnetism to the garden, several rose beds are also cultivated.
Shankaracharya Temple is an ancient temple that finds its origin in the 4th century. Located on Gopadari Hill in the south-east of Srinagar, Shankaracharya Temple lies at a height of 1100 feet above surface level of the city. In 371 BC, the temple is said to have been built by Raja Gopadatya. At that time, the temple was named as 'Gopadari', after the name of the King. It is believed that Shankracharya, the great philosopher, lived here during his trip to Kashmir. The legend left the place centuries ago, ever since, the temple came to be known as Shankaracharya Temple. The main shrine is in the shape of a circular chamber and provides a breathtaking view of the valley. The first work of renovation is considered to have taken place during the reign of Lalitaditya. When the temple got damaged in an earthquake, the second repairs were done by Zain-ul-Abideen, under the rule of Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din. The stone steps that lead to the main shrine, are known to be built by Maharaja Gulab Singh.
The Hazratbal Shrine is set on the left bank of the Dal Lake. The Hazratbal Shrine takes its name from Kashmiri language where the word 'Hazrat' stands for holy and 'bal' stands for place. The shrine is considered extremely sacred among the Muslims.
Later, return to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 2: Full Day Excursion to Gulmarg
After breakfast today, proceed towards Gulmarg (52 km). On reaching Gulmarg, enjoy the panoramic views of the location. The vehicle will drop you at the parking in Gulmarg which is 1-1.5 km from Gondola. After that all sightseeing to be done by walk or taking horse ride or ATV by paying directly (due to union issues). You can enjoy pony rides to Maharani Temple & St. Mary's Church (at your own cost). A Gondola ride (cable car) is recommended, which takes you till Kongdori (Phase 1) & Apharwat Peak (Phase 2) which is at one of the highest altitudes in Asia.
Maharani Temple is known to be built in 1915 by Mohini Bai Sisodia, the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh - the last Dogra king of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple houses shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is here that the Rajesh Khanna – Mumtaz starrer Aap ki Kasam was shot. You can enjoy pony rides to Maharani Temple (at extra cost).
St. Mary's church was built during british rule. The 110-year-old St. Mary's Church in Gulmarg was given a new look in 2003 with a renovated façade and the first Christmas mass was held in 14 years. Saint Mary's Church was constructed in early 20th century, it is made of grey stone walls looks most scintillating during the winters especially when surrounded by snow. The green tiled roof, wooden decorated walls and the overall size indicates it could be more like a countryside chapel.
The two-stage gondola lift ferries to and from Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m / 13,780 ft). The first stage transfers from the Gulmarg resort at 2,600 m (8,530 ft) to Kongdoori Station in the bowl-shaped Kongdori valley. The second stage of the ropeway, which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes skiers to a height of 3,747 m (12,293 ft) on Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Afarwat Peak (4,200 m / 13,780 ft). The timing of the Gondola ride is from 10 AM to 5 PM (subject to change without prior notice, gondola operations are highly dependent upon the weather at both stages).
Later, drive back to Srinagar in the evening. Overnight stay at Srinagar Hotel
Day 3: Full Day Excursion to Pahalgam
After breakfast today, proceed to Pahalgam via Pampore, Avantipura and the village of Bijbehara which remains famous as the bread basket of Kashmir. We switch from the national highway 1A at Khanabal and drive through the second largest city of Anantnag. From here the road turns scenic as we drive parallel on Lidder River flowing from the opposite direction.
In Pahalgam, you can visit Chandanwari (3288 metres above sea level), Aru Valley and Betab Valley at your own cost by union cabs.
Situated 16-km from Pahalgam, Chandanwari is famous for snow sledging on a snow bridge. Taxi cabs can be hired from Pahalgam for a roundtrip. The trip takes about four-five hours on a semi-road that has the Lidder river meandering on the one side, and lofty, snow-capped mountains on the other. "Snow fights" is what people generally indulge in here before they sledge back down. Chandanwari is also known for its natural attractions. It has some of the best picnic spots and is reachable by road. The weather can be very unpredictable at the place so do carry some warm clothes and rain coats as well.
Aru Valley is a pristine scenic village situated in the region of Trans-Himalaya. Clear blue canopy over the head, misty surroundings, whispers of the native pines and conifer forests and beautiful meadows create a captivating diorama for travelers thronging the place. Though the village is the smallest hill station in the state, but still its breathtaking beauty and interesting activities like trekking, hiking and horse riding make it one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Pahalgam. Apart from the trekkers, the village also caters to the skiing desires of tourists who love to visit the place during winters. Aru Valley is located at a distance of about 12 km from Pahalgam.
Betaab Valley is a perfect gateway to enjoy the heavenly pleasure of Mother Nature. Earlier known as Hagan Valley or Hagoon, Betaab Valley got its present name after the blockbuster Bollywood movie 'Betaab' was shot there in 1983. The experience is even more heightened by the musical whispers of several birds. Being a precious jewel of Jammu and Kashmir tourism, Betaab Valley is among a handful of Pahalgam tourist places to visit that should not be missed. Situated at a walking distance from the main center of Pahalgam, the valley is also an excellent camping site for trekkers and explorers.
Later in the evening, return to Srinagar for your overnight stay.
Day 4: Full Day Excursion to Sonamarg + Transfer to Srinagar Houseboat
After breakfast today, check our from your Srinagar hotel and get ready to proceed to Sonamarg - a most beautiful drive from Srinagar. Sonamarg is at 98 kms from Srinagar. We will take about 3 hours to reach Sonamarg. Sonamarg is the last stop of Kashmir District. This is where the territory of Ladakh starts. Situated at an altitude of 2743 m above sea level. Sonamarg is absolutely true to its name, which means 'Meadow of Gold'. The moment you enter Sonamarg, the first thing that you will notice will be the snow-covered mountain that forms the backdrop of the town. Covered with alpine trees from all sides, Sonamarg has the loveliest flower collection in Jammu and Kashmir.
You can visit the Thajwas Glacier which is 3 kms from town by walk or pony ride where snow remains round the year. Thajiwas Glacier is among the most adventurous treks from Sonmarg. The trek passes through lush greenery and a frozen lake. From the glaciers, a path leads up the Shakhdar Hill. Tourists can enjoy delightful views of the glacier and its surroundings from the hill.Tourists can enjoy a sledge ride in the area even during the summer season. During the peak season, sledges can be hired from the Gujars who offer rides across the glacier. The area surrounding the glacier is excellent for camping. The trek to the glacier is one of the most amazing treks that you can experience. You can also take a pony ride to the glacier (at your own cost). The trek can be strenuous as it is uphill and on the way tourists can see beautiful waterfalls and streams. Tourists can walk across the glacier, which is a unique and thrilling experience. The walk can be slippery because of the snow but is worth a try.
One can also enjoy a gorgeous view of high mountain pass Zojila which is at an altitude of 3528 m above sea level. A little outside Sonmarg is a sparkling blue lake surrounded by lush green meadow. You can also go for long rafting expedition (at extra cost).
Later in the evening, and check into Srinagar Houseboat by the evening for overnight stay.
Day 5: Departure from Srinagar Houseboat
After breakfast check out & transfer for Srinagar Airport to board the scheduled Flight for onward destination.