Places to Visit in Kashmir: Must-See Destinations

Introduction

Kashmir is a region famed for its stunning natural beauty, with vast green valleys, snow-capped mountains, and crystal-clear lakes. Here are some of the must-visit places in Kashmir.

kashmir beauty

Jhelum Valley

jhelum valley, places to visit in kashmir

The Jhelum Valley is a 50-kilometer-long valley located along the Jhelum River in the Jhelum Valley District of Azad Kashmir. The main town and district headquarters of the valley is Hattian Bala. The University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Jhelum Valley Campus is located in Hattian Bala, this campus offers undergraduate programs in English, Education, and Computer Science. Visit the local villages and learn about the culture and way of life of the Kashmiri people. The best time to visit the Jhelum Valley is from April to October, In addition, it is one of the best places to visit in Kashmir.

Neelum Valley

neelum valley, places to visit in kashmir

Neelum Valley is a great destination for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience in Kashmir. With towering mountains, green forests, and crystal-clear rivers the valley is a paradise for nature lovers. The Neelum River flows through the valley making it a popular spot for trout fishing. The Neelum Valley is home to several villages with a rich culture and heritage. Visitors can interact with the locals and learn about their way of life. The valley offers a variety of adventure activities, such as trekking, camping, and white-water rafting. The best time to visit the Neelum Valley is from April to September.

Leepa Valley

leepa valley, places to visit in kashmir

The Leepa Valley is an arable valley situated in the Hattian Bala District. It’s known for its scenic beauty, towering mountains, and the flowing Jhelum River. Leepa Valley is an off-the-beaten-path destination, offering a serene escape from the crowds. It’s a perfect spot to relax and reconnect with nature.  Leepa Valley offers opportunities for trekking and exploring the surrounding mountains. Due to its location near the Line of Control, it’s important to be aware of the current travel advisories before planning a visit to places to visit in Kashmir.

Baboon Valley

baboon valley, places to visit in kashmir

Baboon Valley is a hidden gem located in the Neelum Valley. The Baboon Valley is a relatively off-the-beaten-path destination, offering a glimpse into Kashmir’s pristine natural beauty. For the more adventurous traveler, Baboon Valley offers opportunities for trekking and camping. The challenging hike to reach the valley is itself an adventure, and the rewards are stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Chitta Katha Lake

chitta katha lake, places to visit in kashmir

Chitta Katha Lake is an alpine lake located at an elevation of 13,500 feet (4,100 meters) in the Shounter Valley of Azad Kashmir. The name Chitta Katha translates to “White Stream” in the local dialect, likely due to the milky white color of the glacial water. Moreover, The lake is considered sacred by Hindus, who believe it to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The trek to reach the lake is challenging but offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The lake is accessible from Kel, you can take a 20-kilometer jeep track followed by an 8-kilometer trek to reach the lake. The trek is challenging and requires a good level of fitness. It is one must-visit spot if you are planning to visit places to visit in Kashmir.

Ratti Gali Lake

Ratti gali lake, places to visit in kashmir

Ratti Gali Lake is an alpine glacial lake located in Neelum Valley. The lake sits at a high altitude of 12,083 feet (3,683 meters) and is fed by the surrounding glaciers of the mountains, most notably the Karakoram Range. Ratti Galki Lake is accessible from the village of Dowarian by an unpaved 19-kilometer road/hiking trail. The first 3 kilometers of the road are paved, but after that, the road becomes a challenging jeep track that is not suitable for cars or motorcycles. The best time to visit Ratti Gali Lake is from mid-July to mid-October.

Banjosa Lake

banjosa lake

Banjosa Lake is an artificial lake and a tourist resort 18 kilometers (11 mi) from the city of Rawalakot in Poonch District of Azad Kashmir. Dense pine forests and mountains surround the lake. In addition, The lake is accessible by a metaled road from Rawalakot, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Take a relaxing ride on a paddle boat or a motorboat and enjoy the scenery of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The lake is stocked with trout, making it a popular spot for fishing.

Dhani Waterfall

dhani waterfall

Dhani Waterfall, also known as Dhani Noseri Waterfall, is located in the Neelum Valley. It is the highest waterfall in the Neelum Valley, cascading down from a height of about 30 meters (98 feet).Moreover, The waterfall is surrounded by green mountains and forests, making it a popular spot for picnics, swimming, and enjoying the beauty of nature. The water is especially cold and refreshing during the hot summer months. The waterfall is located about 38 kilometers (24 miles) from the Muzaffarabad city. It is a unique destination if you are new to visiting places to visit in Kashmir.

Ramkot Fort

ramkot fort

Ramkot Fort is a historic medieval fort located in Mirpur. It’s known for its strategic location and unique architecture. Studies showed that the fort was built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din of the Ghurid dynasty in 1186. However, the architectural style suggests the current structure likely dates back to the 16th or 17th century. Lastly, The presence of a Hindu temple with a large red Shivalinga inside the fort points to a significant Hindu presence in the area at some point in history. There are three routes to reach the fort: from Dina, Dadayal, and Mirpur.

Red Fort

red fort, places to visit in kashmir

This 17th-century fort is also known as Muzaffarabad Fort. Built by the Chak dynasty of Kashmir, the fort gets its name from the red hues of the bricks used in its construction. The Red Fort is a massive structure with a rectangular plan. The fort has four towers, one at each corner. Finally, The main gate of the fort is located on the eastern side. Equally important, The Red Fort is now a popular tourist destination. The fort is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is an entrance fee of Rs. 20 for adults and Rs. 10 for children.

Rawalakot

rawlakot

Rawalakot is the capital of Poonch district in Azad Kashmir. It’s a charming hill station amidst the Pir Panjal Range, offering stunning natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure opportunities. Rawalakot is known as the “Pearl Valley” because of its scenic landscapes. Rawalakot has a rich cultural heritage. You can visit historical sites like the Raja Bazaar and the Panniza Caves. In addition, The local people are known for their warm hospitality and traditional way of life. The best time to visit Rawalakot is from April to October.

Keran

keran valley

Keran is a breathtakingly beautiful town located on the banks of the Neelum River in the Neelum Valley. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its stunning scenery, pleasant weather, and abundance of historical and cultural sites. The town itself is located at an altitude of 1,524 meters (5,000 ft), offering a cool and refreshing escape from the heat of the plains. Moreover, Keran is accessible by road from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir. The journey takes about 3-4 hours by car. The best time to visit Keran is from April to October.

Toli Peer

toli peer

Toli Peer is a scenic hilltop destination located in the Poonch District. The Toli Pir is the highest point in Rawalakot Tehsil, offering views of the Abbaspur, Bagh, and Poonch Rivers. On a clear day, you can even see the majestic Himalayas in the distance. Toli Pir is located about 30 kilometers from Rawalakot. Finally, The best time to visit Toli Pir is from April to October.

Sharda

sharda valley

Sharda is believed to be named after Sharada Peeth, an ancient seat of learning for Hinduism and Buddhism that thrived in the 2nd century CE. The ruins of the Sharda University stand as a testament to the region’s rich academic history. Therefore, The crystal-clear waters of the Neelum River flow through the town, adding to its serenity and offering opportunities for activities like boating or fishing. Sharda is accessible by road from Muzaffarabad. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours.

Arang Kel

arang kel kashmir

Arang Kel is a captivating village. It’s known for its stunning scenery, unique charm, and traditional way of life, making it a favorite among travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. The village is known for its charming wooden houses, often painted in vibrant colors, adding a touch of whimsy to the landscape. A unique experience to reach Arang Kel from Kel village is by taking a ride on a locally-made chairlift called a “Dolly”. This scenic ride offers stunning views of the valley below.

Mangla Dam

mangla dam

The Mangla Dam is a multipurpose dam situated on the Jhelum River in the Mirpur District of Azad. It is the sixth-largest dam in the world by structural volume and the eighth-tallest dam. The Mangla Dam reservoir provides irrigation water for a vast area of agricultural land in Pakistan. The dam also provides water for domestic and industrial use.

Ganga Choti

ganga choti

Ganga Choti is a majestic peak located in the Bagh District of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is part of the Pir Panjal Range, a sub-range of the Himalayas, offering stunning natural beauty and a popular destination for trekking enthusiasts. One story suggests the peak was named after a princess named Ganga who sacrificed herself to appease the mountain gods. The mountains surrounding Ganga Choti boast a diverse range of flora and fauna. You might spot pine trees, deodar trees, wildflowers, and various bird species during your trek.

Conclusion

From the majestic peaks of the Himalayas to the serene beauty of valleys like Neelum and Bagh, Kashmir promises an unforgettable adventure for every kind of traveler. Whether you seek the thrill of trekking to Ganga Choti, the serenity of visiting historical sites like the Red Fort in Muzaffarabad, or the refreshing escape offered by Rawalakot’s cool climate, Kashmir has something for everyone. Finally, These places are the best spots if you are planning to visit places in Kashmir.

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