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Offbeat Travel: 10 Lesser Known Places to Visit in Kashmir

Ever fancied yourself surrounded by pyramid like sharpened peaks; sound of music scenery; beautiful cottages here and there peeping through the trees; sweet songs of Black necked crane and dashing of some waterfalls around?

If you do then you must have Kashmir in your mind. The magnificence of Kashmir has been luring tourists for ages.

Kashmir – canvas of immense beauty

Kashmir is also known as “Paradise on Earth” because of many things it has to offer.

Call it a home of Lovely glades and forests. Sights of vast mists rising from rivers curling in thin spirals around the opposite mountains; lovely glades and forests; Trees of chinar, pine apple, cedar are sombre; soft air ruffling the water causing pleasant motion among the trees from which it wafted the most delightful of sounds of water, adding an air of serenity to the scene.

Clouds sometimes rise above the mountains sooth the eyes of Tourists.  It is one of the most beautiful choices for tourists to spend your holidays in the lap of Nature.

Also Check out: All Inclusive Kashmir Tour Packages

Magic of Tiny Hamlets

Kashmir is not only known for a few extensively explored travel spots like Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Yusmarg or Sonmarg but also the places which are not known to the tourists and to the world till a few decades back.

The real magic is in the enchanted tiny hamlets of Kashmir where tourists breathe a degree of renovating warmth as it is untouched by the evil effects of population burst and pollution.

It is a world where skies re not cut into the lanes and slices by overhead power lines. Yes, the lesser-known Kashmir is the real magic which makes the sightseeing more interesting and blissful for tourists all over the world.

Here is our list of top ten offbeat tourist attractions in Kashmir to record into the chambers of your heart.
  • Chatpal
  • Bangus/ Reshwari
  • Daksum
  • Karnah
  • Warwan Valley
  • Watlab
  • Gurez
  • Lolab Valley
  • Tulail Valley
  • Bhaderwah
Recommended Kashmir Tourism Packages

Chatpal- The land of Sublime Ecstasy

Chatpal Kashmir

You might know about the beautiful sceneries of Srinagar, Pahalgam, Gulmarg or Yusmarg but none have described the equal beauties of the Chatpal Village in Kashmir. It is one of the most beautiful offbeat tourist destinations in Kashmir. It is located in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Screened by dense forests, deep green mountains; beautiful stretches of turf ringed, round with forests; shepherds and Graziers brimming with innocence; the energetic and sometimes lazy river with the absence of roads is a joyful sight. It is the treasure of solitude and serenity.

The channel of the river is narrowed by the stone embankments and the flow is further arrested by the picturesque and magnificent mountains.  This forms a beautiful contrast to the gentle beauty of the river.

Scenes of fresh green tints of the trees is one of unequalled loveliness. It is one of the best place to spend some quality time with family and friends in the lap of nature away from the hustle bustle of city life. Also, a short trek in the woods around Chatpal will be a delightful experience to the adventure lovers.

Perhaps in the whole world there is no spot as pleasant as Chatpal.

Best Time to Visit Chatpal

Every season has its own charm in Kashmir. However, summer season is the best time to visit Chatpal. (15°C to 25°C) Lush green forests,gushing streams, Scenic majestic peaks will melt the heart of tourists and make their sightseeing in Chatpal more interesting and blissful.  Winter season can be harsh but it’s the best time to view beautiful snowfall that colours the village of Chatpal in peace and splendour.

How to Reach Chatpal?

Srinagar Airport is the closest Airport, from here one can hire taxi to make 90 km journey and the closest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station to reach Chatpal. By road – you need to drive through the Anantnag-Chitergul road. A local shared jeep from Achabal will take you to Chitergul. From here you need to hire a special jeep for Chatpal.

Where to Stay?

A fully furnished tourist Bungalow maintained by Jammu and Kashmir government is the best accommodation to stay in Chatpal. It provides all the basic facilities and amenities to the tourists.

Photo Credit: Sandeep Chetan

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Bangus/ Reshwari – “The Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”

Bangus Kashmir

Lost in the mists of obscurity Bangus is one of the most unexplored tourist destinations in Kashmir. Bangus Valley is located in the scenic Kupwara District. If one looks at Bangus valley, the sight and sounds of this heaven are wonderful in their boldness. Cradled high in rich and exquisite flora and fauna, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

The pine trees in the forests are breath-taking; the mountain ridges reflected in blissful streams of Tilwan Kul, Douda Kul,and Roshan Kul as in a mirror are grand and exquisite.

Call it a home to many animal species like antelope, Brown bear, musk dear, mighty snow leopard and beautiful migratory birds like Tragophan, Pheasants, Monal pheasants bush quail and many more.

This valley is surrounded by howkibal Mountains on the northern side and Qazinag and Shamsbery Mountains on the western side.

Mysterious Caves of Delight

The streams in Bangus valley are soft as silk. Strange tales are told of the Kala Roos Caves in Bangus Valley which contains the Stone Age wall paintings.

The cave is believed to be a portal to reach Russia.  It is also said that there are streams inside Kala Roos Caves which is still not entirely navigable.  These caves are recollections of the grandeur of past times.

Canvas of Bliss

Bangus is a beautiful canvas of clear streams, green turf, snow Cladded Mountains. This makes the valley an emerald set in pearls. It is one of the best place for hiking, clicking pictures of scenic beauty, Serenity for nature lovers and romantic setting for the couples. It has everything to offer to the tourists in a hope of blissful experience.

How to Reach Bangus Valley?
  • By Air – The nearest Airport is Srinagar Airport which is 90 km from Kupwara.
  • By Train – The nearest Railhead to Kupwara is Barahmullah which is 64 km away.
  • By Bus – From Srinagar Busses and Cabs are easily available to reach Bangus valley.
Where to Stay?

Tourists can enjoy comfortable stay at the guest house located on the bank of river Mawar in Reshwari village.  Many government’s run huts are available with basic facilities in Bangus Valley to provide the blissful experience to tourists.

What’s Important?
  • Permission should be taken in advance from district magistrate in Kupwara to trek in Bangus Valley.
  • Prior permission needs to be obtained from the SP of Kishtwar. Moreover, tourists are not allowed to spend night in Bangus Valley.

Photo Credit: Sandeep Chetan

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Daksum – Bucket Full of Joy and Adventure

Daksum Kashmir

Daksum valley is located in Bhringi River which is ahead of the Mughal Gardens of Achabal. Daksum has something to offer to everyone- Scenic beauty for the artist; Mountains for adventure lovers; bliss and fun of picnic for family and friends and an ideal romantic setting for the couples.

Coniferous forests; hidden grassy meadows and snowy mountains are never monotonous. Every mile in Daksum Valley reveals its exquisite beauty.

Where the great dark coniferous forests cease, the brighter grassy meadows begins. It is quite difficult to describe the colours and contrasts which are seen on the Daksum valley without visiting it once.

Tourists here see the beauty of natural springs and embrace the lifestyle of traditional villages.

It is a perfect place for camping and trekking. The path that leads to the Simthan Pass is decked with exquisite beauty. It’s a combination of thrill and serenity in itself.  The wooden slopes on either sides of Daksum are covered with grass coating makes the view picturesque.

It is also a home to Trout as Bhringi River is full of Trout. Tourists can enjoy fishing by taking permission from J&K forest department.

Best Time to Visit Daksum

Summer season is the best time to visit Daksum Valley. Tourists can enjoy various activities like trekking, fishing and camping. While winter season gives the bliss of viewing snowfall which starts from November and lasts till February. Monsoon gives the chance to view the amazing energy of meandering Bhringi River.

How to Visit Daksum?
  • By Air – Srinagar International Airport is the nearest Airport. Buses and cabs are easily available to reach Anantnag. From there drive through Achabal, Kokernag to get to the mesmerizing Daksum Valley.
  • By Train – Jammu Tawi Railhead and Srinagar Railhead is the best option. From there Cabs, Taxis and Buses are available easily.
  • By Road– from Srinagar, by road one can easily reach to the valley of Daksum.
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Karnah – Beautiful and SublimeNature

Karnah Kashmir

Located in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, Karnah is a small, beautiful valley with dense green meadows and undulating mountain peaks. Many small traditional villages adds to the charm of Karnah Valley.  Karnah village reveals the memories of the past through its forts, palaces, statues, weapons and utensils found here after excavation.

Forested slopes decked with Deodar forests presents a picture-perfect look. The ambiance and scenic beauty of various villages like Tangdar, Teethwal, Gundi Gujran, Amrohi, and Saidpura will land you into a different world of bliss.

Snowy Mountainous ranges of Qazi Nag and Nanga Parvat adds to the scenic beauty of Karnah.  The natives here represent distinct ancient civilizations of five thousand years old background.

It is a great place for adventure lovers as they can enjoy the thrill in activities like reli skiing, rock climbing, snow skiing. Lush meadows,scenic landscapes are an ideal setting to enjoy the bliss of camping.

From Kishtwar, Karnah is around 86km. As Karnah is located at the furthest corner of Kashmir, and LOC is not much far from this region, you have to be prepared to face the queries from the Indian Army.

It is a wide delta of fertile soil, lofty cliffs, everlasting snows, clear water which makes it a perfect destination for tourists to be lost in the Infinite thing of joy forever – Karnah.

Best Time to Visit Karnah

Summer is the best time to visit Karnah valley to enjoy the scenic bliss of green meadows, magnificent mountain peaks, and the serenity of mysterious forests. In winters Tourists can enjoy the picturesque sights of undulating mountains but the climate is only suitable for tourists who wants to enjoy the beauty of snowfall.

How to Reach?

Karnah valley is 86 km from the town of Kishtwar and 78km from Kupwara. One has to go through the beautiful Sadhna Pass over Shamsbari Range. Srinagar Airport is the nearest airport to reach Kupwara, one can reach easily by Cab or bus in Karnah valley.

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Warwan Valley –   Electric Vibes and Thrill Paradise

Warwan Valley Kashmir

Warwan Valley is a blissful destination to tune into the rhythm of Mother Nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It lies 150 km from Srinagar the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is 3 hours’ drive from Anantnag District.

The charm of Warwan valley consists in its deep clear water coming from splendid waterfalls, huge Cidar trees which looks sombre in this scenic atmosphere and mysterious thickly wooded forests.

Beautiful and melodious gushing of Warwan River, the source of which is the mighty Kanital Glacier provides whole new experience of bliss and tranquillity to the tourists. The villages of Warwan Valley gives a picture perfect setting.

This quaint tourist spot is untouched by the evil effects of modern world and thus experiences an unpolluted weather.

Trail of Never Ending Adventures

It is a paradise for trekkers. The trekking routes head to different places like sheshnag in pehalgam,Sukhnai- Chittergul- Aishmuqam and Sukhnai- Kanital- Panikhar. The trees and vegetation of Warwan Valley is of exquisite beauty, the paths are decked with the views of many pristine lakes and the colours of the lakes offers a charming spectacle to the tourists. It seems that nature has done much for Warwan Valley.

How to Reach?

To reach here one needs to drive from Kokernag of South Kashmir and it will take around 3 hours to reach here.

Where to stay?

Inshan Village has a couple of official accommodation options. But it’s better if you return to Kokernag.

Best Time to Visit

Warwan Valley is not accessible to tourists all the time so tourists can arrive only in accessible months. June to October is the best time to visit Warwan Valley.

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Watlab

Watlab Kashmir

The untamed natural beauty of Watlab is waiting for you if you haven’t experienced the scenic views of unexplored Kashmir. It is the most beautiful destination for nature lovers.

A noteworthy travel destination among the lesser known places to visit in Kashmir, Watlab is known for its hilltop Muslim Shrine of Baba Shukurddin, one of the four disciples Sufi saint Nundresi.

It is a combination of scenic beauty with touch of spirituality. This place still has an aura of Baba Shukurddin. Jamadi- us- Saini, 27th of Islamic calendar month is celebrated the urs of Baba Shakur-Ud-Din Wali.

Once you reach the hill top, you get to witness the mesmeric views of Wular Lake, one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia and the golden-green shades of the nearby paddy fields.

It is also a great spot for bird watchers as unique birds like Himalayan golden Eagles, Himalayan Monal, Rock Dove, Barn Shallow and others adds to the charm of Watlab. The area is also cradled with rich flora and fauna species. Interesting activities like bird watching, fishing, and Shikara rides makes the sightseeing in Watlab more thrilling.

Where to Stay?

The forest rest house of Watlab is the best accommodation for tourists. It is located amidst abundant jungle and apple orchard, so be rest assured, you will enjoy the best out of your trip to Kashmir if you are travelling on this route.

Best Time to Visit

Summer is the best time to visit Watlab. Weather is quite clear which is suitable for tourists for enjoying fishing and bird watching.  However, winter season gives the bliss of rainfall and snow to the tourists travelling Watlab.

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/uwlwxr

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Gurez – Bliss Hidden by Snow

Gurez Kashmir

Gurez is a high altitude Himalayan village perched at a height of around 2400m. Around 86km from Bandipore and 123km from Shrinagar, the valley is surrounded by snow-coated mountains and exudes a sparkling view for the presence of the Kishanganga River flowing through the valley.

Counted among the most amazing places to visit In Kashmir, this valley gives shelter to a small number of exotic wildlife including snow leopard and brown bear.

Due to heavy snowfall Gurez is absolutely cut from the world from November to May. By this time Razdan Pass will be completely snowed out. The tourism department of Kashmir provides Gurez Helicopter services for tourists to promote tourism.

Trekking can be dangerous due to its close proximity to the border. However, the scenic landscapes, the beautiful green turf on the woodlands, fishing in Kishen Ganga River, Potato and maize fields possess distinctive charms of their own.

Endless forests clings from the bottom of the valley to the peaks; mesmerizing beauty of the Habba Khatoon Peak offers blissful experience to the tourists. It is difficult to describe the colours of Gurez valley without visiting it once in life.

Where to Stay?

Dak bungalow maintained by J&K tourism is one of the better options to stay in Gurez. However few hotels like Kaka Palace Guest House, Sikender hotel and Noorani hotel and others offer a comfortable stay to the tourists in Gurez. Also, one can ask the local people to use their accommodation as guest house. The best thing to do is to consult a tour operator.

Best Time to Visit

The valley of Gurez remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall. The best time to visit Gurez valley is summer season. The weather is appropriate to enjoy the bliss of scenic landscapes and click awesome pictures.

How to Reach?

A shared taxi or bus from Udhampur o Srinagar is a better option to reach Gurez. By Air Srinagar Airport is the most suitable option to reach Gurez.

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/YKjhGm

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Lolab Valley – Valley of Bliss

Lolab Valley Kashmir

Lolab valley also known as Wadi – e Lolab is one of the most serene and blissful destinations in Kashmir. is comparatively more famous than the other place and is easily accessible by Road.

Lolab is known among the tourists for its beautiful apple orchards, lake, springs and shaded paddy fields. Lolab comprises of three enigmatic valleys called Kalaroos valley, Potnai valley and Brunai valley.

Nagmarg Meadows scenic beauty is a delight for the photographers and it separates Lolab from Bandipora District.  Presence of Lahwal River offers a mesmerizing sight to the tourists.

A village called Lalpur is the resting place of sage Kashyap. Tourists along with scenic beauty tune into the serenity and spirituality of this exquisite village. It is around a kilometre from Lolab. So, you can explore this quaint village.

Springs called Lavnag and Gauri close to Lolab Valley adds to its magnificence. The crystal clear water of the spring is very soothing to the soul.

Himalayan Black Bear, Snow Leopard, Ibex, Hangul are some of the commonly found animals in Lolab Valley.

Where to Stay?

Jammu and Kashmir Government Accommodations in Chandigham, ahead of Lolab is the best option to stay for a blissful experience.

Best Time to Visit

Summer is the best time to visit Lolab valley and be lost in the beauty of scenic landscapes. Walnut, peach, apple, Cherry trees is a sight worth seeing.  However, winter has a different sights and sounds to offer. Tourists can enjoy the exquisite beauty of Lolab covered in snow.

How to Reach?

From Srinagar Airport a bus or a cab to reach Kupwara to reach Lolab is a better option. However, by road Lolab can be easily accessible from NH1.

Photo Credit: Sandeep Chetan

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Tulail Valley-   Hidden Drops of Serenity

Tulail Valley Kashmir

It will be good, if you also add Tulail Valley to your Kashmir Tour list. It is one of the hidden gems of Kashmir. It can be covered on a same day trip from Gurez as it is a Himalayan sub – valley of Gurez. The road to Tulail from Gurez passes through scenic landscapes of Kishanganga River.

En route you will cross the villages of Barnai, Chakwali, Kashpat, Zargai and finally you can get to see the Purani Tulail Village. The scenic landscapes are a visual treat to the eyes and senses. Houses of Tulail region built with interlocking logs without any nails. The virgin valley keeps flourishing in summer and is ideal for photography sessions. His area is also very famous for its fresh water trout.

The play of misty clouds over the green mountains, flower meadows, and unbound horizon add to the ever alluring beauty of this valley. You need a permit to enter Tulail region from Dawar Police Station. As the village is on the LOC, it is compulsory to seek a series of permissions from Army Camps and SP of this area.

How to Reach?

From Srinagar Airport best option to reach Tulail and Barahmullah railway line is the better Railway option to reach Tulail. It takes 6-7 hours to reach Tulail from Srinagar by road.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Tulail valley is summer season. The weather is appropriate to enjoy the bliss of scenic landscapes with family and friends away from the noise of city life.

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Bhaderwah – The Naaga Bhoomi

Bhaderwah Kashmir

If you want to relish the flavour of lesser known Kashmir and that too without having to go through too much hassle, simply go for Bhaderwah. Bhaderwah is places at the foothills of Himalayas of the doda district of Jammu& Kashmir.

Bhaderwah is very much distinctive from the hyped tourist spots of Kashmir. For its mountainous location, Bhaderwah possesses significant potential to boost adventure activities.

Glittering water bodies, rich variety of flora and fauna, Rocky terrains, Lush green grasslands, snow Cladded Mountains adds to the charm of Bhaderwah.

It is also referred to as “Nagon Ki Bhoomi” because it is a home to different species of snakes. One can tune into the bliss of spirituality by visiting the Nagraj Vasuki Temple which is carved out of a single stone.

If you are a spirited soul, try some of the adventure activities like Paragliding, Skiing, Mountaineering, Rafting, Rock Climbing or even Angling.

In the beautiful terrains of Bhaderwah lies Seoj Meadow which offers paragliding opportunities to tourists. The meadow is a paradise of tranquilly and serenity for nature lovers.

Also, you can give your summer holidays in Kashmir a new turn simply by camping in Jai Valley of Bhaderwah.

Best Time to Visit

Winter season is the best time to visit Bhaderwah as it provides plenty of adventure opportunities to tourists. It is the best time for sightseeing in Bhaderwah because of its soothing weather.

Where to Stay?

There are both private and Government run accommodation options in Bhaderwah which include hotels like Bagwan Guest House, Trc Bhadarwah, Winners Guest House, Snow Valley Guest House etc.

How to Reach?
  • By Air – Jammu Airport is the nearest Airport to reach Bhaderwah. One can easily get a bus or taxi to reach Bhaderwah from Jammu Airport.
  • By Rail – Jammu Tawi is the best railway option to reach Bhaderwah. Bhaderwah is just 206 km from Jammu.
  • By Bus – It takes 6-7 hours to reach Bhaderwah from Jammu by bus and 5-6 hours via Udhampur.

Photo Credit: Atif Malik

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.Q. Is trekking allowed in Gurez Valley?

Gurez Valley is in close proximity to the border hence trekking is not allowed in Gurez valley. However, tourists can enjoy the scenic beauty of blissful landscapes and click awesome pictures.

Q.Q. What are the popular top things to do in Kashmir Valley?

The various kinds of activities that can do in Kashmir Valley are Shikara ride on Dal Lake, Skiing in Gulmarg, Horse Riding in Gulmarg and Pahalgam, Mountain Biking in Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg, Trekking and Golfing in Gulmarg.

Q.Q. What are the some lip smacking regional delicacies in Kashmir?

Kashmir offers variety of regional cuisines to tourists like Kashmiri dishes of meat Rogan josh, Yakni, traditional Wazwan style of cuisines, Dam Aloo, Aab Gosht, Tsochvoru, Tsot and others.

Q.Q. What are some popular tourist attractions in Bhaderwah?

Some popular tourist attractions in Bhaderwah are Chaandi Mata Temple, Vasuki Naag Temple, Seoj Meadow, Bhaderwah Fort and others.

Published: 15 Feb, 2021 | Last Updated: 23 Feb, 2021

About the author

Pallavi Roy

She is a candle who burns and melts in the chaos of infinity, from where her visceral whistles and leaves an imprint of desire in her heart to know the map of an Island where there are different sunrises and sunsets. Her curiosity brightens to conquer the hearts unrelieved and sometimes mysterious. Her name is - Pallavi Roy - A traveller by soul and a writer by Profession.