No words can do justice to the beauty that is Kashmir. It has oftentimes been described as heaven on earth by the rulers who ruled here and also the travelers who came to Kashmir. The beauty is no less than spell bounding and will leave you thinking that the place is something right of your imagination. However, if you don’t plan your holiday in Kashmir the right way then you are at the risk of completely ruining the complete Kashmiri experience.
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical point of the Indian subcontinent. This valley between the Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges offers the right climate for bone-chilling cold months and cool summers. Planning to visit Kashmir you need to make a lot of things clear beforehand, especially if you wish your holiday to be truly a memorable one.
Here we will be discussing all the issues that can ruin your holiday and how to make sure that these problems don’t happen to you.
Be Sure of the Weather Conditions
The rules for travelling to a hill station like Kashmir is simple, go there when the time is right. The ideal time to explore Kashmiri valley is during the months of March through October. In March, April, May and June you will witness clear open skies, flowers in full bloom and trees covered in lush green leaves and cool breeze. It is the best time to go sightseeing in Kashmir. The monsoon months in Kashmir are also okay because Kashmir lies somewhat in the rain shadow region of the Himalayas allowing just little to moderate rainfall levels. This won’t cause a problem in your holiday plans. If you wish to explore the famous Kashmiri snowy dream world landscape then it would be best to go there during the months of September and October.
Pack Right According To Your Itinerary
Everything depends on the time of the year you are planning to travel. But one thing is common, pack smart and pack light. If travelling during the winter months it is not necessary for you then you can pack some woolen clothing and summer clothes as well. The elevation of Kashmir is undulating so in some places you may feel warm while in other places you may feel very cold. So you have got to be prepared. You should be extra prepared to keep yourself warm during the cold winter months. Pack woollen gloves, socks, thermal layering, woolen pants and any other accessory like muffler or cap in order to protect yourself from harsh winter months.
Post-COVID Safety Measures
Travelling during a pandemic should to be taken lightly. Not only will you be putting yourself at the risk of contracting the infection but you may even be an asymptomatic carrier which means wreaking havoc anywhere you go. It is absolutely crucial to get yourself and your family properly tested before going not only to Kashmir but anywhere else. Make sure to always carry sanitizer and double mask yourself if you happen to visit a crowded market place. Better yet use a shield as well for extra safety. Sunglasses should also be worn to be more careful.
You never know about the hills. Some places the ATMs work, sometimes they don’t. Some commercial places of tourist attractions accept card or UPI payments while some places don’t. It is best to carry some cash in your pocket or some other safe place in your bags. It would be best to carry cash to pay the shops, drivers or tip the restaurants.
Carry Any Documentation You Think Is Important For the Vacation
Travelling domestic or international it is important to carry all the relevant documentation you think that you may need. These might include Adhaar Card, driver’s license, passport photos and any other valid identification card you think that the authorities may ask you. If you are travelling from somewhere overseas then make sure to carry your passport at all times.
Book Hotel Wisely
Hotel booking should be done after much thought. Book a hotel that you feel is giving the right deal by going through their reviews of past customers. Make sure to look for an accommodation which is close to the sightseeing places you may think about covering while in Kashmir. To be extra careful for hotel booking make sure to book at least a month prior to your expected day of travel. It would also be a great idea to skip the top tourist seasons in Kashmir because of the obvious price surge. Since Kashmir valley is accessible for a major part of the year it would be best to go there during the off-tourist seasons.
Know-How You Will Be Travelling Within Kashmir
If you are a couple or are travelling with a small group of people then it is best to travel in Jammu Kashmir state Transport buses whose tickets can be easily availed from the tourist reception center. These buses are made to run especially for the tourists and some even follow a same-day return policy. But if you are looking to go somewhere by bus and come back a day after with a halt for one day, then you can book your tickets accordingly. Cabs and taxi services are easily available but these tourist buses provide a much cheaper option and are on budget. Another piece of advice to follow would be to never buy things from anywhere at the bus stops because they will sell you the goods at high prices since these shops already have deals with the driver.
Don’t be afraid to make some calls prior to your travels, to clear any doubt that you may be having regarding the stay, driver service or regarding any climate inquiry. You can also call up the hotel that you will be staying at and ask them about when was the last time the hotel or the rooms you will be staying at was sanitised completely. You can even ask them about the food availability, nearby restaurants or other food arrangements. Also ask if the hotel has warm running water, geyser facility, room heater and proper warm bedding or not. This can be done to prepare yourself and maybe even carry the stuff they don’t have yourself.
Don’t Get Fooled
Let’s get it clear, right off the bat. Kashmir is and always has been a popular tourist destination. It is understandable that a lot of people here depend on tourism for their livelihoods, this means that they welcome outside currency and may even try to dupe or charge higher prices than expected to the tourists. While booking a guide or a driver or even shopping anywhere be sure to bargain or be pre-informed about the kind of rates things carry there.
Bargaining is key. If you start paying anything they ask for then you will lose out a lot of money without even knowing how. It is always best to bargain your way through Kashmir or any other tourism state in India. While buying anything, especially souvenirs, remember to first quote the price of anything about 20-30% less. You don’t have to be completely unrealistic with your bargaining approach as it may not be viable in that case.
Phone Connection Service
Kashmir is a hub for years and centuries of cultural and political upheaval. The government has come up with many ways to curb the unrest and one way that is a very crucial piece of advice for everyone going to Kashmir is that only postpaid numbers can work. Prepaid numbers do not work in any case due to the imposition levied on the phone services here.
Pack a Medicine Box
This should be one of the most important parts of your luggage that you will be packing. Keep a secured box full of any emergency medication that you may require. These can include small dressing bandages, Bandaids, wool, gauze, Dettol/Savlon, cough syrup, cold medicine, paracetamol, anti-diarrhea medicines, Avomine for motion and elevation sickness, painkillers and any other medicine after taking an advice with your doctor.
Be Well Aware Of the Places You Are Travelling To
Now that you already know about the places you will be exploring while in Kashmir, it is crucial to know about the place as well. Not just that, know the dates and timings of the place you will be going to. Also know the exact direction and landmarks as well so that you don’t appear to be completely lost. If possible keep your GPS going as well. In short, you have to learn about what to expect.
Don’t Miss Out on Visiting Popular Tourist Attractions
There is no dearth of places to visit in Kashmir for any type of traveler. From family getaway options to solo tripping locations and from peaceful getaways to adventure-packed memorable destinations. Kashmir has it all for every type of traveler from all over the world.
Approach High Altitude Regions with Caution
When in Kashmir you will not know at the pace you gain elevation and height. The region is very undulating and it is important to know how much height you are gaining with every slope or everywhere you go because quickly gaining height may result in high altitude mountain sickness which can be deadly for many people. Be sure to carry Diamox, a tablet that controls high altitude sickness for extra caution.
There are no special things to follow while travelling to Kashmir. Although travel advisories have been issued for USA travelers while travelling to Kashmir it is important to keep yourself safe mainly because the valley is prone to political and religious unrest which does not seem to stop. Just follow all the right things that assure your safety. This means booking your hotels at the right place, not venturing out late at night or on deserted offbeat roads, always travelling in groups etc.