The natural beauty and picturesque locations have made it a favored destination for tourists across the world. Kashmir Valley is known for its lakes and gardens.
The word Kashmir was derived from the ancient Sanskrit language and was referred to as káśmīra. The Nilamata Purana describes the valley’s origin from the waters, a lake called Sati-saras. A popular local etymology of Kashmira is that it is land desiccated from water.
Geologists agree that the Valley was formerly a lake, and the lake drained through the gap of Baramulla (Varahamula) which matches with the Hindu legends.[
Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported to other regions and nations (exports have ceased due to decreased abundance of the cashmere goat and increased competition from China.
Kashmiris are well adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, rugs, kurtas, and pottery. Saffron, too, is grown in Kashmir. Srinagar is known for its silver-work, papier- mache, wood-carving, and the weaving of silk.
Kashmir’s economy is centered around agriculture. Traditionally the staple crop of the valley was rice, which formed the chief food of the people.
In addition, Indian corn, wheat, barley, and oats were also grown. Given its temperate climate, it is suited for crops like asparagus, artichoke, seakale, broad beans, scarlet runners, beetroot, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Fruit trees are common in the valley, and the cultivated orchards yield pears, apples, peaches, and cherries. The chief trees are deodar, firs, and pines, chenar or plane, maple, birch and walnut, apple, cherry.
Kashmiri cuisine is the cuisine of the Kashmir Valley Of India. Rice is the staple food of Kashmiris and has been so since ancient times.
Meat, along with rice, is the most popular food item in Kashmir. Kashmiris consume meat voraciously. Despite being Brahmin, most Kashmiri Hindus are meat-eaters.
Some Famous Kashmiri Dishes
- “Tabakhmaaz” (Kashmiri Hindus commonly refer to this dish as Qabargah)
- Shab Deg: dish cooked with turnip and meat, left to simmer overnight.
- Dum Olav/ Dum Aloo: cooked with ginger powder, fennel and other hot spices.
- Aab Gosh
- Goshtaba minced mutton balls with spices in yogurt gravy
- Lyader Tschaman also called as Chaman Kaliya
- Runwagan Tschaman, Cottage cheese in tomato gravy
- Riste Meat balls in curry
- Nader ti Gaad, Fish cooked with lotus stem, a delicacy cooked on festival days like Eid, Novroze and Gaadi Batti ( Festival of Kashmiri Pandits )
- Machwangan Kormeh, meat cooked with spices and yogurt and mostly using kashmiri red chillies and hot in taste
- Matschgand, lamb meatballs in a gravy tempered with red chillies.
- Waazeh Pulaav
- Monje Haakh kholrabi being a delicacy
- Haakh (wosteh haakh, haenz haakh among others) collard greens is enjoyed by Kashmiri people and they have their own versions of cooking the same with cottage cheese, mutton or chicken.
- Mujh Gaad, a dish of radishes with a choice of fish.
- Daniwal Kormeh Lamb cooked with coriander or parsley.
- Rogan Josh, a lamb based dish, cooked in a gravy seasoned with liberal amounts of Kashmiri chillies (in the form of a dry powder), ginger (also powdered), garlic, onions or asafoetida, gravy is mainly Kashmiri spices and mustard oil based.
- Yakhni, a yoghurt-based mutton gravy without turmeric or chilli powder. The dish is primarily flavoured with bay leaves, cloves and cardamom seeds. This is a mild, subtle dish eaten with rice often accompanied with a more spicy side dish.
- Harissa is a popular meat preparation made for breakfast, it is slow-cooked for many hours, with spices and hand stirred.
The Kashmir Valley is noted for its bakery tradition. On the Dal Lake in Kashmir or in downtown Srinagar, bakery shops are elaborately laid out.
Bakers sell various kinds of breads with golden brown crusts topped with sesame and poppy seeds. Tsot and tsochvor are small round breads topped with poppy and sesame seeds, which are crisp and flaky, sheermal, baqerkhayn (puff pastry), lavas (unleavened bread) and kulcha are also popular. Girdas and lavas are served with butter.
A Wazwan is a multi-course meal in the Kashmiri Muslim tradition and treated with great respect.
Its preparation is considered an art. Almost all the dishes are meat-based (lamb, chicken, mutton but never fish).
It is considered a sacrilege to serve any dishes based around pulses or lentils during this feast. The traditional number of courses for the wazwan is thirty-six, though there can be fewer. The preparation is traditionally done by a vasta waza, or head chef, with the assistance of a court of wazas, or chefs.
Kashmiri Chai, Noon Chai, or Sheer Chai
Kashmiris are heavy tea drinkers. The word “noon” in Kashmiri language means salt. The most popular drink is a pinkish colored salted tea called “noon chai.” It is made with black tea, milk, salt and bicarbonate of soda. The particular color of the tea is a result of its unique method of preparation and the addition of soda.
The Kashmiri Hindus more commonly refer to this chai as “Sheer Chai.” The Kashmir Muslims refer to it as “Noon Chai” or “Namkeen Chai” both meaning salty tea.
Noon Chai or Sheer Chai is a common breakfast tea in Kashmiri households and is taken with breads like baqerkhani brought fresh from Qandur, or bakers. Often, this tea is served in large samovars.
At marriage feasts, festivals, and religious places, it is customary to serve kahwah a green tea made with saffron, spices, and almonds or walnuts. Over 20 varieties of Kahwah are prepared in different house holds.
Some people also put milk in kahwah (half milk and half kahwah). This chai is also known as “Maugal Chai” by some Kashmiri Hindus from the smaller villages of Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Hindus from the cities of Kashmir refer to it as kawah or Qahwah.
How many days do you need for Kashmir?
4–5 days is sufficient to visit the premier locations of Kashmir. Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonemarg and Pahalgaam. There are number of point in each location which you have to prioritize since you won’t have too much time. Here are some snaps from our trip .
Is tourism allowed in Kashmir?
Following are some of the highlights from the guidelines for J&K tourism: In this phase, tourism is limited to those arriving by air only. … And until the test result shows a negative for COVID-19, tourists will stay in their hotel rooms and shall not be permitted to move out.
Things to do in Kashmir
1- Gulmarg: Gulmarg in Kashmir valley is famous for Gondola cable car ride, Skiing in Gulmarg, Heli skiing in Gulmarg, Snow bikes and Horse ride. Apart from activities one can visit Golf club, nigeen valley, strawberry valley and potato farm among other places to visit in Gulmarg.
2- Pahalgam: Pahalgam is famous for Betaab valley, Aru valley, Chandanwari, Baisaran valley. One can take Horse ride to Baisaran valley also called as Mini Switzerland.White water rafting in Pahalgam is also available in summers. Trekking is also very famous among young enthusiasts.
3- Sonamarg: Home to Thajiwas glacier one can reach there only by either one hour trek or a short Horse ride to glacier. Zero point/ zojila pass connecting dras with sonamarg remains open only in summers and one needs to hire a union taxi in Sonamarg to reach Zojila pass.
Best season to visit Kashmir
Spring season ( March 15th to May 15th) : Best time to visit Kashmir if you love flowers. Tulip garden, Badamwari, snow clad mountains, Cool breeze and charming weather are specialties of spring season.
Summer season ( May 15th to August 31st) Best time to visit Kashmir if you love camping by river side, warm temperatures and trekking to glaciers.
Autumn season: ( 01st September to November 15th ) : The season of fall, also know as harvest season, one can see Red apples in apple garden, enjoy the local organic produce like Walnut, almonds and much more.
Winter season: Skiing in Gulmarg, Heli skiing in Gulmarg, Romantic trips, Cold weather, snow, snowflakes, etc. are some common features of winter in Kashmir.
How to Reach
New Delhi to Kashmir By Train: Take a direct train from New Delhi to Jammu Tawi, which takes 12 hours. Jammu Tawi railway station is located at a distance of 297 km from Srinagar that can be travelled by cabs, buses and flights. Not recommended as there are no direct trains from New Delhi to Kashmir.
Kashmir is cool even in the harshest of summer and you can visit this valley between March and May to see the blooming flowers, green meadows, and Chinar trees. The snow-capped mountains fill the region with exquisite surroundings and the snow-capped trees look awesome while offering a serene feeling to everyone.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
The destination may have travel restrictions in place. We request you to keep track of the latest government-mandated restrictions and plan your travel accordingly.
1) Check International Travel Guidelines for the country you are traveling to for a safe travel experience.
2) Check the latest Domestic Travel Guidelines issued by the Indian State Governments.
3) Recommended: Get a COVID-19 test before you travel.