We spent almost 6 weeks in the Kashmir valley, travelling in the local Tata Sumo jeeps to places totally-off-the-tourist-trail. Travelling in public transport helped us connect with the locals. They would ask us curiously where we were from, what we did and what were we doing NOT hiring a private taxi!
In return, we got to hear stories from their lives – what they’d felt on their first trip to Mumbai, how much they had loved the sea. They would give us tips for travel to places in Kashmir – hidden places which only they, the people of Kashmir, know. We’ve had the privilege of being literally pulled into a family home and sharing tea with the entire village.
Want to have an offbeat travel experience in Kashmir and not just “do” Kashmir?
We want to share our tips for travel to Kashmir – to offbeat places. How can you make the most of your travel experience in Kashmir?
Getting to Kashmir: Alternative to the Jammu-Srinagar highway
Tourists to Kashmir usually just fly into Srinagar. With direct flights from Delhi, Jammu and many North Indian cities like Chandigarh and Amritsar this is the fastest way to get directly into Kashmir.
Another popular route to get to Srinagar is the highway NH-1 from Jammu. The officials try to keep this highway open for traffic through the year. In the season transition months, traffic jams caused by the migrating sheep are well known along this highway!
The roads are smooth and in good condition – which sometimes leads to rash driving! Twisted winding roads lead all the way from Jammu to the Jawahar tunnel – pop a pill if you’re susceptible to motion sickness.
Not many know of an alternative highway to travel to Kashmir. This one’s open only in the summer months adding to the virginity of the roads. It’s the national highway (yes!) NH-1B connecting Kishtwar in the Jammu region to Anantnag on the Kashmir side.
You reach the top of this highway on Sinthan Pass. The Sinthan Top is your chance to see the snow in Kashmir – minus the crowds. Don’t be surprised if you find the snow mountains all to yourself. If all the snow play tires you out, take a break here for a bowl of piping hot noodles!