With its placid lakes, alpine scenery and famous Mughal gardens, Kashmir has been prized for its natural beauty for centuries. Largely out-of-bounds to visitors over the past couple of decades Kashmir has recently started welcoming travellers once more to enjoy India in the summer months.
The Vale of Kashmir sits between the Karakorums and the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, bisected by the Jhelum River. The Mughal emperor Jehangir called it Paradise on Earth. Who are we to disagree. To the colonial British in India it was the only place to go in summer, loved for its cool mountain air, lush meadows and tranquil backwaters. The maharaja was against allowing foreigners to buy land, but the perfect accommodation solution was found when he allowed them to stay on the lakes in houseboats surrounded by lotus flowers.
Staying on a houseboat today on Dal or Nagin Lake is still a wonderfully relaxed way to experience the area and explore at a leisurely pace by private shikara; lounging on cushions in a small brightly painted wooden boat you are gently rowed to places on other parts of the lakes. We also recommend visiting villages where master weavers still produce cashmere pashminas and kani shawls at ancient looms.
The main city is Srinagar. In the bazaars dried fruits and local handicrafts are sold by boys with striking green eyes, the Mughal gardens of Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh are some of the finest ornamental gardens in the subcontinent and the old city contains a Sufi shrine and impressive mosques. There's nothing to beat staying in a pop-up luxury camp that seasonally appears in the grounds of the summer palace, Karan Mahal, to explore the area in a style and comfort that we're sure the Mughals would have approved.
For mor ideas of things to do in Kashmir and to book your trip, get in touch and we will be happy to plan your tailor-made itinerary.