Jammu and Kashmir is far-famed world-wide for its natural beauty that lies in its snow capped mountains and lush-green meadows which spellbounds through its fascination.For adventure-lovers also, it is highly sought-after holiday locale as it offers a host of options.
Some of the main adventure sports in Kashmir valley are:-
1. Shikara Boat Ride
Shikara is small paddled taxi boat made of wood with a canopy and a spade shaped bottom, often used for ride. The Shikara ride is one of most soothing and basking experience for tourists visiting Kashmir. Being central in position, the Dal is surrounded by various places of recreation viz; Nishat and Shalimar garden, Hazratbal Shrine and all are accessible through Shikara. On one hand shikara ride takes us to interior of vast beautiful Dal Lake and on other hand we find access to other places through crystal clean water.
While riding on Shikara we often have glimpse of nature’s beautiful creations which involves white breasted kingfishers and large striking birds.We can also witness how nature is bountiful to the valley as we experience the nature at its best .The joy and pleasure one derives from the ride is unexplainable and experiences are absolutely unforgettable.
The banks of the Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake along the Boulevard road in Srinagar, Kashmir feature several Shikara Boat Ghats where the boats are available for hire. There are three main Shikara boat Ghats such as the Dal Gate, Nigeen Lake, Hazratbal, Nehru Park, and Gagribal.
If you are Ski- lover then Gulmarg of kashmir is the best destination for you. While Gulmarg is an all-weather resort with refreshing summer meadows and pastoral scenes, the main reason to come here, at least in winter, is the off-piste, deep-powder, long-run skiing and snowboarding.
The Himalayan resort of Gulmarg is one of the newest and increasingly popular ski destinations.
In Gulmarg Skiing bring you joy, fun, adventure and nature near you. Gulmarg, located 56-km south-west of Srinagar is primarily country’s premier ski resort and a favorite winter tourist destination. Gulmarg is also capital of winter game with institute that provides comprehensive training of ski. Gulmarg skiing experience gives you traditional inclination to nature. The quality of snowfall in Gulmarg is quite impressive and people around the world explore the skiing here.
Moreover, due to geographic condition Gulmarg has heavy snowfall in the season and known as one of the best skiing resorts in Himalayas. In the winter season tourist visit from several country and enjoy the skiing at its best. Some of the leading country from where adventure visitors come to explore skiing in Gulmarg is France, Germany, Australia, Austria, Russia, New Zealand, UK, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and several other western countries.
Kashmir offers a unique opportunity to play gentleman’s game _Golf in its verdant golf courses of Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sanasar ( Located on Patnitop route). Playing Golf in fresh, calm and serene atmosphere is more relaxing and enjoyable experience enabling you to play for long hours. The Courses at Gulmarg and Pahalgam are like nothing you have ever seen or imagined before. The Gulmarg golf course forms world’s highest golf course with strikingly different layout from most of golf courses of the world.
Likewise, The Kashmir Golf Club (Srinagar) has all the luxuries fitted that make playing golf a memorable experience. It is spread over 52 sprawling acres of lush land adjoining the Maulana Azad Road (M.A road), the City’s main avenue. With well laid out bunkers and hazards, interspersed between chinars & pine, this is professional 18-hole course and has been the venue of many tournaments.
4. Whitewater Rafting
Kashmir is well-known for adventure tourism and River Rafting is one such adventure. With the intricate network of mountain rivers flowing through a myriad of different colors of rocky gorges, forests, flowers and high mountain villages, the Lidder River Pahalgam provide ideal locales for the perfect water adventure. Additionally, Ladakh and sonamarg also draw rafting lovers towards itself.
Apart from Shikara boat riding, golfing ,skiing , water rafting the Kashmir captivates tourist for being a spot of mountaineering also. From the Kashmir Valley to the high mountain peaks of the Pir Panjal, Himalayan and Zanskar Ranges, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has a topography which fascinates all travellers. Numerous mountaineering adventures in Kashmir take you to astonishing elevations of over 20000 feet above sea level. From such heights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding region. Mountaineering also allows you to learn about the vibrant culture of the locals. Leh, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Gulmarg are ideal ones for this adventure.
As many villages and passes of J&K become inaccessible during the winters so, most of the mountaineering expeditions in Kashmir are organized in summers. Though the climbing season extends from May to October, the ideal period for the activity is from June to September.
Kashmir is popular place for trekking and for adventurers, trekking is popular way of exploring paradise. Trekking in Kashmir does not mean just walking over forested mountains as it combines nature and the local culture. In Kashmir, as the trekker climbs higher, the landscape changes. Chinar and Poplar trees are replaced by fir, pine and oak and finally Birch trees, the alpine meadows and a profusion of colorful wildflowers. The simple villagers in the plains with their fruit orchards and paddy fields are replaced by migrant families of Nomads / Gujjars, herdsmen who cross the high mountain passes with their cattle in search of greener pastures.
The main areas of attraction for the trekker in Kashmir are the Sind & Lidder valleys which support a number of high altitude meadows. The townships of Sonamarg and Pahalgam are the main trekking heads, both for short hikes and longer treks in the Himalayas.
7. Horse Riding
The pristine destinations like Pahalgam, Srinagar, Gulmarg, Yusmarg, Kokernag, and Lolab Valley are also famous for horse riding adventure.Exploring nature on the horse back is popular and preferrable activity enjoyed by almost all tourists. For Horse-riding ,tourists can hire horses or ponies either personally or through respective hotels and resorts.The tourist offices can also serve tourists especially in this case.
Writer/ Compiler : Zeeshan Rasool Khan ( email@example.com) Anantnag Jammu & Kashmir