Kashmir beyond Gulmarg and Sonmarg, the hidden gems you need to visit this summer

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulMay 20, 2023 | 11:00

Kashmir beyond Gulmarg and Sonmarg, the hidden gems you need to visit this summer

Kashmir has many hidden jewels waiting to be explored. (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

If summer is here, can the vacations be far behind? Kashmir, truly the heaven on earth, is home to spectacular snow-covered peaks, pristine clear lakes, serene meadows, colour-changing chinars, 

India, as G20 hosts, is all set to host a tourism working group meeting in Kashmir this month. And this is surely going attract the world's attention towards the valley. As the temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius every other day in the plains, Kashmir should be the perfect place to chill and unwind for a week or two.


While planning the itinerary, top destinations Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Srinagar, Patnitop, etc are the first ones to pop up on the computer screens. But Kashmir has many more hidden jewels waiting to be explored. To fix this, why not squeeze in these lesser-known gems too, alongwith the top destinations? You might just find the experience you are looking for, that you might not find at Patnitop or the Phalgam.

Here are some off-beat locations to visit when you are finally there:

Gurez Valley

A four-hour drive through the Razdan pass from Srinagar lands you in Gurez Valley. This place is truly out of a fairy tale with sheep grazing in green meadows, dense forests, snow-capped peaks (including the famous Habba Khatoon) at a distance, and crystal-clear Kishangagna changing its colour with the clouds. You may also find the nomadic Bakherwals who visit the valley from Rajouri and Poonch.


Nestled amidst the snow-clad Pir Panjal range, an hour from Anantnag, Daksum captivates with its lush coniferous forests, pastoral huts in the meadows, and the soothing melody of the Bhringi River. A picnic spot for the locals of Anantnag, it is also a great destination to trek away from the hustle-bustle.


Sinthan Top

An hour-long drive from Daksum takes you to Sinthan Top, a mountain pass where one can experience snowfall even in summer or early summer. The road to Sinthan Top resembles the one to Rohtang Pass with high snow walls on either side. The most breathtaking view unfolds from the mountain summit, with snow-covered peaks all around and a vast expanse below. Engaging in playful snowball fights and capturing unforgettable photographs are a must at Sinthan Top.


To experience the true essence of Kashmir, a visit to Watlab is a must. Located on the Sopore-Bandipore road, away from the popular tourist spots, Watlab unveils the untouched beauty of the region. The hilltop shrine dedicated to Baba Shukurddin offers stunning views of the vast Wular Lake (India's largest freshwater lake), adjoining villages and vibrant paddy fields.

Bangus Valley

An emerging tourist destination near Kupwara, Bangus is Kashmir's best-kept secret. The valley surrounded by pine forest and freshwater streams, is said to have come to limelight during the lockdown.


Drung Waterfall

Drung Waterfall near Gulmarg cascades amidst stunning mountains and freezes completely in winter. One can enjoy the sight of the waterfall, lakes, and surrounding greenery in summer. During winters, the frozen landscape creates a surreal experience with icicles and frozen streams. Take a dip if you are brave enough.

Last updated: May 20, 2023 | 11:00
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