Magical Dal Lake: Houseboat and Shikara Experience

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and stunning landscapes. And when it comes to experiencing all that this region has to offer, a stay on a houseboat on Dal Lake is an absolute must. I had the opportunity to experience this unique travel experience during my visit to Kashmir in January, and it was truly unforgettable.

Dal Lake is situated in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is approximately 18 square kilometers in size and is surrounded by the Himalayan mountains. It is a popular tourist destination, and it’s not hard to see why. From the moment you arrive, you are surrounded by beauty, both natural and man-made.

The houseboats on Dal Lake are a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage. They are traditionally crafted from cedar wood and decorated with intricate woodcarvings and vibrant Kashmiri carpets. Each houseboat is essentially a floating hotel room, complete with cozy beds, hot showers, and all the amenities you would expect from a top-rated hotel.

But what really sets a houseboat stay apart from a conventional hotel stay is the stunning natural surroundings. From the deck of my houseboat, I had panoramic views of the shimmering waters of Dal Lake, with the majestic Himalayan mountains looming in the distance. The lake itself is a wonderland of colorful shikaras (traditional Kashmiri boats) and vibrant houseboats, all floating on a carpet of lily pads and lotus flowers.

The experience of staying on a houseboat is one of total immersion in the local culture. The houseboat owners are locals who are more than happy to share their stories and knowledge about the region with guests. They take great pride in their boats and their way of life, and it is evident in every detail of the houseboats.

One of the highlights of my stay was exploring the lake on a shikara. The boatman deftly maneuvered us through the narrow waterways, pointing out the various sights and sounds of life on the lake. We passed floating gardens where farmers grow vegetables on rafts made of reeds, and I even had the opportunity to sample some of the produce – fresh tomatoes and cucumbers never tasted so good!

In the evenings, I enjoyed delicious Kashmiri cuisine served up by the friendly staff on board, every meal was a delight for the senses.

The houseboat experience is not just about relaxation and beautiful views, but also about exploring the local culture and history. Srinagar is home to several historic sites, including the beautiful Mughal Gardens and the Hazratbal Shrine. The city is also known for its vibrant markets, where you can pick up everything from traditional Kashmiri shawls to exotic spices and tea.

Overall, staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake is truly an experience like no other. It offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir and the beauty of its natural surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a houseboat stay on Dal Lake is the perfect choice. It is an opportunity to relax, unwind, and immerse yourself in the unique culture and history of this beautiful region.

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Baba Chamliyal Shrine on the India-Pakistan International Border

The respected shrine of Baba Chamliyal is estimated to be more than 320 years old and is situated in the Chamliyal village, which is around 45 kilometres from Jammu. This dargah was built in honour of a spiritual guide by the name of Baba Dilip Singh Manhas, also known as Baba Chamliyal. The local villagers knew the saint well because of his fame. However, it is asserted that a few antisocial characters were jealous of the saint’s fame and invited Baba to Saidawali, which is about 500 metres from the current shrine, which is currently located in Pakistan.

They later beheaded the saint and buried his body in Saidwali, but according to legend, Baba’s head somehow was able to get to the village of Chamliyal due to his spiritual powers and dropped at the spot where the current monument is built. However, Baba’s remains were buried in Saidawali (now in Pakistan), and a memorial was also built there. Visitors to this location come from both India and Pakistan.

Baba Chamliyal mela

The shrine is located in the Ramgarh sector of the International Border, 45 kilometres from Jammu City (IB). The Ramgarh sector boundary, like all other borders, has remained a source of considerable instability since 1947. People who live close to the border have witnessed the bombing, shelling, and firing that are common occurrences there. Additionally, they have firsthand knowledge of the several battles fought between Pakistan and India.

Even so, there was another story of the same border, one that existed despite the hostility and issues that the people faced due of the boundary. This was the story of how the border turned into a representation of peace, a site where, every year during the Chamliyal Mela (the fair of Chamliyal), mutual religious ties would unite the two nations in place of conflicts.

The fair, which is held on the last Thursday in June every year, evolved into a gathering when the people and even the forces gathered together without the aid of guns because of a shared belief in the Baba.

Skin problems are cured by Baba Chamliyal soil.

The people of the area ascribe some miracles to the Baba. One of such miracles is associated with the Baba’s power to cure people suffering from skin disease. According to an oral tradition, one of the followers of the Baba was suffering from some skin disease, which could not be cured with the application of the usual medication. One day the Baba appeared in his dream and told him to apply soil, popularly known as shakar, and water, known as sharbat, on his body for some days. When the follower used the prescription of the Baba he was completely cured. From that time onwards the Baba became famous as Baba Chamliyal.

Another oral tradition tells that one day an injured camel reached and fell there. It was bleeding miserably and was unable to get up. It was also suffering from hunger and thirst for many days. To quench its thirst it used to eat wet soil. But after some days it was cured and reached the house of its master. The story of the recovery of the injured camel with the blessing of the Baba spread fast and now the local people narrate it before the devotees coming from outside.

Although the shrine is visited by people daily, on Thursday of every week it is visited by the people as a matter of faith. At the time of their visits to the shrines, the devotees follow the well-defined rules and regulations of the shrine. According to these rules and regulations, all the visitors have to keep their shoes outside the premises of the shrine. Similarly, they have to keep all their belongings made of leather outside the shrine.

The organisation of a Langar or open and free kitchen is a regular activity of the shrine. According to this practice, all devotees are provided free food by the management committee of the shrine. The food that is served here is vegetarian.

The organisation of urs (death anniversary of the Baba) annually is a regular feature of the shrine. A huge mela is held in the month of June every year. When the devotees come to the shrine of Baba Chamliyal they take a parikarma (circumambulation) of the shrine and touch the chadar as part of the rituals of the shrine. The colour of the chadar is green. Both the shrine and chadar are greatly respected by the people and treated as complementary to each other. The chadar is treated as a common heritage of devotees of the shrine of the Baba. For the devotees, the chadar is a symbol of the Baba’s identity which is a matter of celebration.

The devotees come to the shrine to get the blessing of Baba Chamliyal. Some of the devotees pray for the well-being of their children. They bring their children along with themselves to the shrine and conduct parikarma of the shrine and get the chadar touched with their hands. They eat the prasad made available by the management committee of the shrine. The pahalwans (wrestlers) come to the shrine to pray that they become stronger with the blessing of Baba Chamliyal, so that they can become successful wrestlers.

However, most of the visitors come for the treatment of their skin diseases. The shakar (soil) and sharbat of Baba Chamliyal’s shrine are said to possess medicinal value and are very effective in curing skin diseases. There are some set rules and regulations for the application of the shakar on the body of the patient suffering from skin diseases. Most of the patients stay there for several days. According to the well-established practice of the shrine, the patients have to apply the soil and water for at least 21 days. But some of the patients who suffer from acute skin diseases stay there for 24.

Several rooms are constructed for the purpose of boarding the patients. Both male and female patients are accommodated in different blocks. These are provided free of cost. This facility provides huge relief to the patients. Since most of the patients belong to ordinary background, they utilise this facility joyously.

The shrine is important also for people across the border, for both people in India as well as in Pakistan. Its popularity is not only limited to Chamliyal village or Sialkot on the Pakistani side but much beyond these places.

Pakistani devotees hold Holy Chader to presenting at the ancient shrine of Dalip Singh Baba Chamliyal during the annual fair at zero line international border at Ramgarh sector about 45 KM’S from Jammu.

The popularity of the shrine was spread up to Punjab on both sides and hence people from both the Indian and Pakistani sides of Punjab visit the shrine on each side. The importance of the shrine to both sides of the border gets clear from the annual fair that is organised in the month of June. When India was portioned in 1947, the tradition of organising the annual fair continued. On the Indian side, the fair would be organised in the Chamliyal shrine and on the Pakistan side, the fair would be organised around the shrine situated at Saidanwali in Pakistan. Both the places simultaneously became places of popular gatherings for the celebration of the life and works of the Baba. Both shrines of Baba Chamliyal have become the living traditions of the border areas of the two countries.

Hence, in June, two separate fairs are held. While the major activities take place in the Chamliyal side, the people on the Saidanwali side also simultaneously celebrate the occasion. The fair there continues for three days.

After the place was bordered and the two villages of Chamliyal and Saidanwali were divided by the IB, the free movement of the people to the two shrines was discontinued. However, because of the popularity of the shrine, the annual fair continued to be organised on both sides and till quite late people from across the border from the Pakistani side could visit Chamliyal.

After the major wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, the borders were closed for the common people. However, what remains important is that the practice of the fair continued and what continued was the practice of offering chadar from the Pakistani side and the presentation of shakar and sharbat from the Indian to the Pakistani side.

The only difference being that rather than the people, now the ritual was continued by the administrators and security forces. Every year since then a new ritual is followed on the day of the fair. The Rangers of Pakistan present chadar, which is offered to the shrine of Baba Chamliyal. The Rangers of Pakistan are also in turn presented the shakar and sharbat of the shrine by the Indian BSF men. The Pakistani Rangers carry these and offer these to the people. The chadar presented by the Pakistani Rangers is kept as a pious material.

This ritual involves the following:

  1. Early in the morning the BSF and the district officials on the Indian side receive a team of Pakistan Rangers along with members of the Sialkot civil administration and some civilians (depending on the situation – if the situation in the border is tense and hostility between the two sides is aggravated, then the civilians may not be a part of the group).
  2. The Pakistani Rangers offer chadar at the shrine.
  3. There is an exchange of sweets between the Pakistani and Indian officials.
  4. There is a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian officials.
  5. The shakar and sharbat are loaded onto trollies and sent to the Pakistani side.

What remains important about the whole ritual is the involvement of Indian and Pakistani border forces as well as administrators and politicians. The fair is organised under the supervision of BSF and Pakistani Rangers. The district administration meanwhile organises the fair. The significance of the fair lies in the fact that the ritual of exchange of chadar, shakar and sharbat has continued through the worst periods of hostility between India and Pakistan. During the period of militancy, the fair was organised at low key. But since 2003, the fair is being organised in a very celebrative manner.

The Pakistan Rangers and the BSF exchange sweets at Chamliyal. Tribune Photo: Inderjeet Singh

On both sides, a large number of people participate. During 2007 fair, it was stated by the officials of the Chenab Rangers on the Pakistani side that ‘at least one lakh people have assembled across the border and were waiting for tabaruk [blessing]’.

(With Inputs From Historian Jigar Mohammed, Professor at the Department of History, University of Jammu. This piece was excerpted from his paper that appeared in Border and People – An Interface, a 2012 publication by Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.)

6 nights 7 days Kashmir tour itinerary

6 Nights 7 Days Kashmir tour package offers you loads of opportunities to discover the best of Kashmir’s attractions, culture, and art. You will be getting a comprehensive city tour as well as a fun-filled Shikara ride. Also, you will get a chance to witness the scenery of Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas.

Note: The suggested itinerary for the 06 nights and 07 days in Kashmir is merely an example of what might be done. I further tailor the travel packages to meet your unique needs. So, for any changes, get in touch with Holidays Hunt Travel, a local travel agency.

Recommended Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Srinagar

Welcome to the Srinagar, The Lake City. On arrival at Srinagar Airport. You will be transferred to Hotel. After lunch enjoy a romantic shikara ride on the Dal Lake. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

Day 02: Srinagar- Sonmarg-Srinagar (90 Kms / Approx. 3 Hour Drive)

After breakfast, embark on a full day excursion to the Sonmarg. you can enjoy trout and mahseer fishing in Sindh River during summer. there is also an option to pony ride for some fun in snow and ice. At Evening, return to the Srinagar Hotel. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

Day 03: Srinagar- Gulmarg- Srinagar (65 Kms / Approx. 2 Hour Drive)

We proceed to Gulmarg (60kms/2hrs drive) the scenic tour destination in Kashmir, primarily famous for ski slopes and natural 18 holes golf course, which is also the highest golf course in the world. You can also Enjoy the Gondola ride (cable car). Enjoy later back to Srinagar overnight. Stay at the Hotel in Srinagar.

Day 04: Srinagar – Pahalgam (152 Kms / Approx. 3½ Hour Drive)

After healthy breakfast at the hotel, checkout and transfer on wheel to Pahalgam (150 Kms/3-4 hrs) a lovely tourist spot in Kashmir also address as Valley of Shepherds. On the way visit Saffron fields, Avantipur ruins and Anantnagsulphur spring. It is also famous for Indian Film Industry,alpine treks, nature walk & central point of Amaranth Yatra. Enjoy the nature charm of the valley.

Day 05: Srinagar – Pahalgam (152 Kms / Approx. 3½ Hour Drive)

After healthy breakfast at the hotel, checkout and transfer on wheel to Pahalgam (150 Kms/3-4 hrs) a lovely tourist spot in Kashmir also address as Valley of Shepherds. On the way visit Saffron fields, Avantipur ruins and Anantnagsulphur spring. It is also famous for Indian Film Industry,alpine treks, nature walk & central point of Amaranth Yatra. Enjoy the nature charm of the valley. Overnight stay in pahalgam.

Day 06: Pahalgam – Srinagar

After healthy breakfast visit valley at Pahalgam called Aru, Betab valley by local transport or horses at direct cost later afternoon take lunch drive to Srinagar taking approx 4 hours evening reach Srinagar. Overnight at Srinagar houseboat.

Day 07: Srinagar- Return Home With Happy Memories

After breakfast transfer to Srinagar Airport to board your flight with memorable experiences of Travel.

➤ Recommended Local Tour and Travel Company for Kashmir Tour Packages Holidays Hunt Travel Visit for more details!

Shiv Khori, the holy cave of Lord Shiva

Shiv Khori, also known as the Cave of Lord Shiva, is a renowned shrine in the village of Ransoo, 140 kilometres away from Jammu. In the cave, a four-foot-tall lingam that was naturally formed is worshipped and is thought to be swayambhu, or self-manifested.

The cave is said to be devoted to Lord Shiva’s unborn and invisible form. The 3 km trip to the cave is a bit difficult and is over a road flanked by beautiful mountains and green scenery. Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Bull God Nandi, and Sheshnag are represented by other natural rock formations in the cave.

It is said that this cave contains almost 33 crore deities. According to a different legend, a demon by the name of Bhashmasur supposedly spent a lot of time contemplating Lord Shiva thousands of years ago. Bhashmasur is said to have eventually convinced the Lord to grant him the ability to end anyone’s life by keeping his hand on the person’s head. According to legend, Lord Shiva constructed this cave out of his trishul (trident) as he was chasing the demon Bhashmasur. With the goddess Parvati and Nandi, he lived here for a while.

Did you know: Self established shiva lingam in Shiv Khori Cave. Pigeons are also seen here like Shri Amarnath ji cave which presents good omens for pilgrimages.

How to reach Shiv Khori

From Ramsoo, the base camp, one must trek 3.5 kilometres to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shiv Khori. Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir, is connected to Ransoo via road. Additionally, Jammu has excellent air, rail, and road connections to the rest of India.

By Air: Shiv Khori is approximately 140 km from the closest airport, which is in Jammu. From Jammu Airport, a variety of airlines fly daily, including Indigo, Jet Airways, Go First, Vistara, Spicejet, and others.

By Train: The most practical choice for visitors travelling from outside Jammu & Kashmir would be to arrive at Katra or Jammu Railway Station because Jammu is well connected to other regions of India via Indian Railways.

By Road: On the Reasi-Rajouri Road, Ransoo is easily accessible from Katra, Jammu, and other Jammu & Kashmir cities. The Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is well-known in Katra, which is the closest major tourist destination. Katra and Jammu have regular bus service from all of Northern India’s main towns.

Additionally, taxis are accessible from Jammu, Udhampur, and Katra. From Jammu and Katra, the J&K Tourism Development Corporation and Private Tour Company Holidays Hunt Travel also operates tourist cabs, vans, and tempos to Shiv Khori.

Shiv Khori can easily be combined with a pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.

Katra to Shiv Khori distance

At a distance of 70 kms from Katra, the holy cave abode of Lord Shiva is situated.

Jammu to Shiv Khori Distance

The distance from Jammu to Shiv Khori by car is 140 km approx. It takes approx. 3.5 to 4 hours depending on traffic.

Photos of Shiv Khori

Suchetgarh Border Beating Retreat Ceremony

Salute the BSF troops who patrol India’s border day and night in oppressive monsoon heat; it is not an easy job, but they do it for us so that we can sleep peacefully at home.

In this article, I’ll provide you with step-by-step directions for visiting Suchetgarh, information about the border’s history, and the time of the Suchetgarh Ceromany.

Suchetgarh is the last village in Jammu district’s R S Pura tehsil, which borders Pakistan.

R S Pura is located 11 kilometres from Suchetgarh and 17 kilometres from Jammu. Jammu is located 28 kilometres from the Suchetgarh border.

As part of the border tourism initiative, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department has expanded the facilities in Suchetgarh, including a café with dining areas, a park, and other amenities, making the area more alive for visitors.

Suchetgrah Border History

There used to be a pre-partition railway line running from Jammu to Sialkot close to the border.

The North Western State Railway’s Jammu-Sialkot line was a 43 km. that operated from Wazirabad Junction in Punjab to Jammu and passed through Sialkot Junction. The 27-mile (43-km) portion between Sialkot and Jammu (Tawi) was partially in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and partially in the British Indian province of Punjab. It was Jammu and Kashmir’s first railway line, and it was finished in 1890, under Maharaja Pratap Singh’s rule.

(Photo: IRFCA.ORG ) North Western Railway 1946 timetable • Wazirabad Sialkot Jammu

The North Western State Railway, which Pakistan acquired when it became independent from British India, operated the railway until it was shut down on September 18, 1947. The railroad line deteriorated.

Shree Rajhunathji temple Suchetgarh Border

This temple dedicated to Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman, was constructed in 1837 by the Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Gulab Singh.

Suchetgarh Border Ceremony

With retreat ceremonies being held by the Border Security Force (BSF) close to the zero line on the weekends, the Octroi Border Out Post on the International Border in Suchetgarh of RS Pura in Jammu district has become a well-known tourist site.

“Beating retreat ceremony” held every weekend at the international border’s Suchetgarh Border Outpost (IB) On weekends, a 30-minute ceremony is held along the international border at Suchetgarh Octroi BoP starting at 5:15 pm.

  • Suchetgarh Retreat ceremony timing is 5.15 pm twice a week ie Saturday and Sunday

Suchetgarh Border Jammu Map

Photo: screen shot of Google Maps

How to reach Suchetgarh Border

By Air: The closest airport to Suchetgrah Border, Jammu Airport, which is located about 22 kilometres away. To get to Suchetgarh Border from outside the airport, you can take a bus, rent a private taxi, or both.

By Bus Jammu to Suchetgarh Border: The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) provides regular bus service to Suchetgarh from Jammu. The drive from Jammu to Suchetgarh Border is around 28 kilometres, and the time it takes to get there roughly 1 hour.

By Train: The closest railhead to Suchetgarh border is Jammu Railway Station, which is 28 kilometres distant. Large Indian cities like Delhi, Jammu, Jaipur, Bathinda, Ahmedabad, and Jodhpur are all directly connected to it via express, mail, and superfast trains. To travel the approximately one-hour distance to Suchetgarh border, a private taxi can be hailed outside the train station.

NOTE: Visitors are permitted to take pictures, but not videos. Drones are also not permitted throughout all of Jammu and Kashmir

Ambal, a well-known dish from Jammu’s Dogra cuisine

Ambal is the name of a dogra cuisine that is popular in the Jammu region. Its flavours include red chiles, fenugreek seeds, tamarind, pumpkin, and jaggery. Ambal is typically made in a cast iron skillet over a “chulha,” where wood fires give the food a smoky flavour. Unsurprisingly, it is offered alongside chana and maah dal at “Dhavats,” also known as “Taam.”

To learn how to prepare Ambal at home and about its ingredients, read the article below.

Ingredients of Dogra Cuisine Ambal

  • 250 gm pumpkin (orange colored)
  • 4-5 Tbsp of tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp. jaggery, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp methi dana
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 Kashmiri dried red chillies.
  • 2-3 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbsp refined oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Red chilli powder, a pinch
  • Water
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish

How to make Dogra Cuisine Ambal

  • Pumpkin should be cut into medium-sized chunks.
  • In order to make the tamarind paste, soak the dried tamarind (which is easily found at grocery stores) in warm water for 10 minutes. Remove the seeds by pressing the pulp out. You now have prepared tamarind paste.
  • Ginger, cumin seeds, methi dana, and oil should all be added to a pan. Let them sputter.
  • Add the red chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and red pepper flakes. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the pumpkin and toss well. Add the tamarind paste and jaggery. Cook for 3-4 minutes on high flame.
  • Add 1/2 cup water, cover the utensil and cook (on a low flame) till the pumpkin is soft and almost ‘mash-able’. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • The ambal is ready. Serve with rajma and rice.

Note: The consistency should be neither liquidy nor totally dry.

Bhaderwah’s Gupt Ganga Temple is a haven of spirituality, tranquilly, and simplicity

An important ancient religious site in the Bhaderwah area is the Gupt Ganga Temple. The temple is thought to have been built near the location where the Pandavas spent a few days in Bhaderwah during their exile. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. Even one of the rocks at the temple has the footprint of Bhim, the 2nd Pandava brother.

Bhaderwah’s Gupt Ganga Temple’s history

The Pandavas had halted and sought refuge in Bhardakashi when they fled into exile (Agyatvas). Many people believe that the stories from the Mahabharata are just myths, however the Gupt Ganga Temple may contain a clue that will show the Mahabharata to be true. The footprint is clearly visible on one of the temple’s stones.

It is thought that Bhima left behind the footprint. The temple is next to an adjacent tunnel. It is thought that the Pandavas one day disappeared inside the tunnel on their way to an unidentified location. There have been numerous attempts to locate the tunnel’s conclusion, but none have been successful. For a number of years, the tunnel has been closed.

The temple is entirely constructed of stones. The temple has been there for many decades, facing the passage of time. The stones are still stunning even though they have some erosion nowadays. Devotees visit the temple to see the stream of fresh spring water that falls on the Shiv Linga and then disappears.

Outside the temple, the stream reappears and gathers into a pond. In the winter and summer, the water is expected to be warm. In the pond, pilgrims are welcome to bathe. Since it originates from the river Ganga, stream water is revered as holy water.

The Importance of Bhaderwah’s Gupt Ganga Temple

People from all over the world travel to this temple to convey their wishes, and the best part is that, if done honestly, it is thought that the majority of them would likely come true soon, making the temple trustworthy to its followers. Therefore, if you’re thinking about visiting Bhaderwah, this is one temple you just must not skip.

Gurez Valley: Your travel guide to this undiscovered treasure

Jammu and Kashmir is unquestionably one of India’s most stunningly appealing states. In Kashmir, travellers can expect to encounter deck-up shikaras, stunning landscapes, picturesque valleys, skiing destinations, lush greenery, Himalayan mountain ranges, picturesque meadows, pristine rivers, kahwa tea, tranquilly and peace of nature, the friendly faces of Kashmiri people, and their hospitality.

In order for you to explore on your upcoming trip to Kashmir, I’ll be providing information about some of the region’s lesser-known attractions, such as Gurez Valley.

A hidden jewel in Kashmir, Gurez Valley is 2,400 metres above sea level and is located in the high Himalayas. It is just waiting to be discovered.

Gurez Valley, which is surrounded by magnificent mountains and is home to a wide range of flora and wildlife, is the ideal location to unwind.

Photo: Instagram / the_young_monk.303

Kashmir’s Gurez Valley is a wonderful place to visit.

Gurez Valley in Kashmir is the type of location that is simply amazing and offers visitors a wealth of untapped natural beauty to explore and discover.

The tourmaline waters of the Kishenganga River are framed by “mountain scarps of unparalleled grandeur” in the Gurez Valley, which British author Sir Walter Lawrence dubbed “one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Kashmir” in 1895. Lawrence prophesied that Gurez will soon become one of Kashmir’s most well-liked Himalayan tourist spots in the book he authored after touring the princely state. Gurez is still waiting 120 years later for reasons he could never have anticipated.

Photo: Instagram/ nomediaans

Gurez Valley in Kashmir: How can I get there?

By Air: The closest airport, 140 kilometres from Gurez Valley, is Srinagar Airport. Gurez Valley can be reached by cab.

By Train: Srinagar also houses the closest railway station.

By Bus: Gurez Valley is not serviced by direct buses from Srinagar. You must disembark at Bandipora and transfer to another bus to get to Dawar.

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Popular tourist destinations in the Gurez Valley, Kashmir

Don’t forget the Kishanganga River in Gurez Valley, which is flanked on both sides by breathtaking mountain ranges.

River rafting, trout fishing, and riverside camping are all available here.

You must visit the pyramid-shaped mountain range known as Habba Khatoon. Additionally, the Habba Khatoon Spring is nearby.

Harmukh, Dawar, and Razdan Pass are some further must-see locations nearby.

Photo: Instagram/explore.world__

The most popular activities in the Gurez Valley

The three-day Gurez Festival, which hosts regional dance performances, folk music concerts, and outdoor activities, is held in the Valley in July or August.

You can take great images of the breathtaking scenery if you want to fulfil your photographic urges.

From Khandiyal Top, you may either go into the forests or set up tent along the Kishanganga River and enjoy the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

Photo: Instagram/nomediaans

When is the best time to visit Gurez Valley?

The best times to visit Gurez Valley are between the months of April and September because the weather is still beautiful and calming throughout these months.

In April, the day average high is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, and the overnight low is between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius.

It’s the ideal time of year for adventure activities, photography, and touring because the average temperature in September is around 15 degrees Celsius.

Photo: Instagram/explore.world__

Gurez Valley lodging options

Gurez Valley offers travellers a wide selection of luxurious villas, cottages, and resorts that are affordable.

You can reserve a room in the Dawar town of Gurez Valley, which has many reasonably priced hotels and guest houses.

If you’re looking for excitement and adventure, you can also reserve a campsite near the Kishanganga River in advance.

Online Visitor Registration for Border Areas

Authorities in the Kupwara district of north Kashmir on 12 June 2022 launched an online portal for electronic permission to make it simpler for non-resident tourists to visit border areas.

Besides that, it will make it easier for non-resident visitors to Machil, Karnah, and Keran’s border regions to obtain online permission.

The portal can be accessed by anyone who wants to visit the border regions of Karnah, Keran, and Machill at

Photo: Instagram/ himalayanroverr


Gurez Valley is the most valuable jewel in Kashmir’s paradisiacal crown if Kashmir is India. The remote valley, which was for years forbidden because of its proximity to the Line of Control, has now become one of the most tranquil and safe areas in the entire Kashmir valley. Once in your life, you must travel to the Gurez Valley. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find the blog interesting.

Recipe for Kashmiri Mutton Rogan Josh

Mutton Rogan Josh is a scrumptious delicacy from the Kashmiri cuisine, distinguished by its thick, aromatic, flavourful red sauce and tender meat. Most people attribute this dish to the Kashmiri region, but few say that it was actually introduced to the Kashmiri people by the Moghuls.

Rogan name translates to clarified butter or oil in Persian, referring to the way the meat and spices are cooked while Josh means fiery or hot referring the dish’s deep red color. This is a wonderful type of lamb curry which is slowly cooked with a selection of fragrant spices, the most important being the ‘Kashmiri peppers’ as it gives a distinct red color to the dish while keeping it milder compared to other Indian curries. 

History states that this dish originated from Persia and was popularized by the Mughals in India. Despite its intense and vibrant red hue, this dish is not a fiery curry and remains a common and popular dish in northern India and popular menu item at most Indian restaurants.

This dish traditionally consists of lamb or goat meat which has been slow cooked in an amalgamation of yogurt and a mix of many flavourful spices. Due to the popularity of this dish and rarity of Kashmiri chilies, there are many versions where saffron, tomatoes and other types of chilies or paprika is used to achieve the Rogan Josh red color. In spite of including a lot of spices, the dish is not really hot compared to others.

Mutton Rogan Josh is best paired with basmati rice or freshly baked naan. Rogan josh is creamy, rich, spicy, aromatic meat dish has its origin in Mughal cuisine, one of the largest Muslim influences in India. The authentic Kashmiri Rogan Josh curry is prepared with lamb or mutton shoulder, cooked to a tender, succulent texture in a gorgeously rich sauce packed with flavors.

Photo: Instagram/TheRawTextures

Ingredients of Kashmiri Rogan Josh

  • 1 Kg lamb – knuckles, boneless and ribs
  • 20 gms turmeric
  • 75 gms ginger garlic paste
  • 10 gms cardamom
  • 5 gms bay leaf
  • 200 gms Kashmiri red chilli paste
  • 250 gms pran
  • 75 gms fennel seeds
  • 25 gm dry ginger powder
  • 40 gm green cardamom powder
  • 100 gm yoghurt
  • 100 gm ghee
  • Colour from Mawal flower

How to Make Kashmiri Rogan Josh

  1. Clean praan, slice and fry them.
  2. When cold, grind them to a fine paste.
  3. Whip the yoghurt. Boil the lamb along with the turmeric, ginger garlic paste, cardamom and bayleaf.
  4. Separate cooked lamb from stock.
  5. Soak the Mawal flowers in water for colour.
  6. Heat ghee and add the onion paste and saute for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the stock along with all the other ingredients except the meat.
  8. On a high flame boil for 20 minutes to get a creamy gravy. Add the meat and the extract of Mawal flowers. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve hot.

Recipe Notes: Mawal flowers are used to give a fiery hot taste to your gravy. It is also known as cockscomb flower. Kashmiri pandits also use ‘ratanjog’ for flavor and colour. Praan is a type of local onion that has a garlicky flavour.

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