55 Places to Visit in Jammu and Kashmir & Top Tourist Places

The state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the northernmost state of the country, it is a paradise for tourists and is known for its alluring scenery of the Himalayas; this is the reason visiting this land is always on the top list of any traveller heading to the country. The majority of the part of this state lies in the Himalayan range of mountains and the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh act as its boundaries.

With scenic views to be cherished at every nook and corner, the state is full of natural grandeur, perfect for those who want to explore the truest form of nature. Apart from the scenic beauty, there are several endangered animals in this region such as the Kashmir stag, snow leopard, brown bear and musk deer. Wildlife sanctuaries were later established to protect and conserve these rare species of animals.

The Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary which is located in this state harbours the rarely seen wild animals such as brown bears, musk deers etc. The hilly region of this state provides a natural habitat to the amazing wilderness which is found in this region. The place is certainly a paradise for the bird watchers as well as for the wildlife enthusiasts.

The state is a home to many valleys namely the Tawi valley, Kashmir valley, Chenab valley, Sind valley, Lidder valley and Poonch valley, to name a few. Jhelum is the major river which marks its presence in the state of Kashmir. The prime cities of this state include Jammu, Srinagar, Anantnag, Gulmarg etc. Jammu is the summer capital of the region and Srinagar is the other capital city.

The major attractions of this state include Mughal Gardens, the famous Dal lake and the other hot shopping spots. The spectacular lakes in this region include the Nagina Lake and Dal Lake which also offers houseboat stay to the tourists and perfect for those looking for some peace and solitude amidst the charming mountains of the Himalayas.

 

Recommendations for Jammu and Kashmir

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Leh
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Leh is a dream destination for many travellers in India and even for those who are visiting from overseas. It is not just a destination for solo travelers but has so much to offer to young travellers, families and couples alike. Leh is famous for its high altitudes and numerous passes connecting various locations in this difficult terrain. To explore the best tourist places in Leh, one must visit this frozen paradise to explore its secrets and admire its breath-taking beauty.

 Despite its harsh weather and inaccessibility, it remains a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. But make sure you are physically fit to endure the harsh weather and difficult terrains of Leh. You must be wondering why visit this place is perfect when the terrain is difficult to navigate. Well, you must visit this place because not only is it a pocket-friendly tourist destination, (provided you book in advance), it is sparsely crowded even during peak season and the local hosts are committed to ensuring you to have a terrific experience.

 Leh is a dream destination for many travellers and the holy grail for the adventure enthusiasts. If you are a photography enthusiast then Leh is the paradise you have been waiting for all your life. There isn’t much to offers in terms of nature or wildlife photography, but what you can capture instead is a vast empty canvas that you can paint. 

 The landscape here is unlike anywhere in India and worldwide and so much of it is still undiscovered and undocumented. In addition to the mesmerizing landscape, there are many turquoise blue lakes, beautifully constructed monasteries, snow-covered mountains and unimaginable sights that change every few kilometres. It’s safe, economical and you can travel here by yourself, or with your friends, families and even that someone special. Explore tourist places in Leh with the best Leh tour packages which will leave you mesmerized by its beauty.

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favourite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.


Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Royal Leh Palace

A nine storey high building displays the influence of Potala Palace in Lhasa is the famed Royal Leh Palace that stands with its head high on a cliff top overlooking the ravishing Leh town. Leh Palace is a must visit during anyone’s tour of Ladakh region as it has been standing there as a symbol of the old glorious days of the royal family lived here. The top floors accommodated the members of the regal community and the low floors were occupied by stables and stores.

History

In the 17th century, King Sengge Namgyal led the construction of Leh Palace and it gained fame in a short span of time. Later, it was termed as an architectural icon and the symbol of pride and glory of Leh. The history says that during the time when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh, Leh Palace was abandoned and the members of the family were asked to move to Stok Palace. The Archeological Survey of India has restored the valuable ruins of the palace and opened to the public as a remarkable tourist attraction.

Structure of the palace

There is a monastery behind the palace which is a part of the palace and there you will find the statue of a seating Buddha in there in the monastery behind the palace. On the walls of the palace, you will see the old pictures and paintings including Tibetan thangka.

Timings: The palace is open to the public on all days from 07:00 am to 04:00 pm

Entry fee: For Indians: INR 20 and for Foreigners: INR 100

Location: Leh Palace is closely located to the town. Visitors can reach the palace by walking from Leh town as it is about 5 kms away from there.

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Hemis National Park

Around 4400 sq.km is the area the prime attraction of Ladakh spreads into. We are talking about the renowned Hemis National Park named after the popular monastery in the region that is Hemis Monastery. The very rare species of wildlife is the reason behind its global recognition. Bharal and snow leopards are examples for the unseen animal collection found in Hemis National Park. The park is located on the west bank of the Indus River. 

The animals, the flora, the birds and the nature in the park and its vicinity are coming under the highly protected areas and this is the only place in India where the protected snow leopards are seen in abundance. The Rumbak and Markha catchments were found to be protected with the discovery of the park in 1981 and it grew into 4400 sq.km in 1990 and becomes the largest national park in South Asia. Argali or the Great Tibetan Sheep, Shapu etc are the supporters of the prey base for the predators in Hemis. Asiatic Ibex, the Tibetan Wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and red fox are some of the endangered species found before and some are still present in the park. The crucial problem faced by the park is the regular animal-human conflicts because over 1600 people are living inside the park boundaries, mainly pastoralists living with poultry farming, goats and sheep.

Height: The elevation at which the park exists is 3000-6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: The park is located about 5 kms from Leh and Leh Airport is the closest airport to the park.

Best time to visit: To reach the park there are a number of trekking routes opened from Mid-June to Mid-October. But the best season to spot snow leopards is of course, in late winter.


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Ladakh
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Ladakh, the erstwhile Buddhist kingdom is spectacularly jagged. Arid mountains, dramatically crowned rocky outcrops, picturesque gompas, meditational mani walls and multi hued flags are few of the many sites that exemplify the beauty of Ladakh. The well balanced traditional society of Ladakh has much to offer the West in terms of ecological awareness.

Ladakh is a magnificent and an unexplored wonderland of the Himalayas. It is one place that is considered as a heaven by everyone who is on a lookout to satiate their indomitable love for adventure. Besides trekking in Ladakh, you can indulge in a series of adventure sports such as biking, water rafting, safaris, etc. Also known as the ‘Land of Passes, Ladakh forms an alluring part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.  

Situated at an elevation of 2750 - 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh is indeed blessed with incredible topography that comprises of hilly terrains, high altitude peaks and the lush green grasslands. Adventure fanatics from across the globe visit Ladakh as there are plethora of trek trails and trekking options available here.

Set amidst snow capped hills, Ladakh is the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is dotted with a number of colorful monasteries. Some of the popular tourist hotspots in Ladakh include Alchi and Nubra Valley. Apart from this, Ladakh is also a land that is popular for the rich heritage and culture. It is home to the rare wildlife including the Tibetan antelope, ibex and yak.

Still unadulterated by modernity, Ladakh is where you’ll experience life coming to a standstill when you directly communicate with the nature and serenity around.


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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favourite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri-armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except for the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the centre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.


Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Srinagar
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Silk-sunset, certain shades of white, tar on the roads, gloom beyond the oil lamp floating over the lake, ripples in the water, fog on the mirror, garden of the spring, the palace of the fairies, subject of the poems, emptiness in the eyes, absence of words, forever in ordinary things and the old roses on a breeze, where love arrives in memories of forever to liberate us into life – Srinagar! The tourist places in Srinagar offer breathtaking views and mesmerising locations to die for.

Srinagar wakes up with Fajr (pre –dawn prayers) and zikr where life sings winter melodies on nine bridges, connecting the city that smells of heaven on both sides of Jhelum River, a river that passes through the city, meanders through the valley, deepening into the traveler’s paradise – Dal Lake.

The city takes on the morning light mirroring the mountains, when the moon still hangs pale over the tranquil Dal Lake, which ornaments an array of alluring houseboats where the lovers’ find home watching a promise of the snow filling up the woods. The lake’s less urbanized eastern shore is decorated with the Mughal gardens that speaks of history strung out for several kilometers. The subdued fortress and the familiar wooden mosques of the old times makes a mark at the center of the city in this era of remembering all that once existed. Easy wind, downy flake and the promises to keep between the woods and frozen lake, Srinagar awaits for you, to dream within a dream. So, come and explore the best tourist places in Srinagar.

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Places to Visit in Srinagar
Dal Lake

Known to be “The Jewel of Srinagar”, Dal Lake spreads across an area of around 26 square kilometers. Popular as one of the most spellbinding places to see in Srinagar, this hillside lake flaunts colorful Shikaras, traditional wooden houseboats, and floating markets. Tourists visiting Dal Lake love to take a ride in the beautiful Shikaras, which are basically wooden boats decorated beautifully with canopies overhead.

They also enjoy shopping authentic Kashmiri items from the floating market or lake market. These markets lay amidst the lake and sell a number of items like saffron and handicrafts. The houseboats on Dal Lake feature floral motifs and intricate carvings and offer breathtaking sights of the majestic lake. These boats are equipped with single rooms and luxury suites and offer comfortable accomodation to the visitors. During the winter season, the visitors also enjoy ice skating on the frozen lake.

Location
: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.

Timings
: Anytime.

Best Time to Visit
: May to November.

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Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden

Forming the largest garden of the 3 breathtaking Mughal Gardens, the amazingly laid out Shalimar Bagh makes for one of the most sublime places to see in Srinagar. According to history, this stunning garden was constructed by Jahangir back in the year 1619 for his beautiful wife Noor Jahan.

Manifesting the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Mughal horticulturists, this garden overlooks the mesmerizing Dal Lake and showcases a surreal architecture. Shalimar Bagh presents an exquisite amalgamation of artificial structures and natural marvels. The whole premise of the garden has been beautifully carpeted with green grass. The garden has umpteen varieties of colorful flowers as well as tall trees of walnuts and almonds.

Location
: Chinar chowk, Shalimar, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 191121.

Timings
: From 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM, on all days of the week.

Price
: INR 10 per person.

Best Time to Visit
: Mid-February to Mid-April and September-October.

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Nishat Bagh

Located near the Dal Lake, Nishant Bagh happens to be an enchanting twelve terraced garden, packed with green trees, scented flowers, and beautiful fountains. Known to be the 2nd biggest Mughal garden, this garden was constructed by Noor Jahan’s elder brother, Asif Khan, in the year 1633.

With the majestic Zabarwan Mountains forming its backdrop, Nishant Bagh makes for one of the most scenic
places to visit in Srinagar and attracts a huge number of photographers and couples. Strolling in the garden, the visitors can also catch a panoramic view of the beautiful Dal Lake.

Location
: Main road Nishat next to mughal garden nishat Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir, 191121.

Timings
: From 9 AM to 10.30 PM, on all days of the week.

Price
: INR 10 per person.

Best Time to Visit
: March to June.

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Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden

Opened for public in the year 2007, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden was built with the aim of improving floriculture as well as tourism in the area. The initiative proved to be a huge success and in the year 2017, this beautiful garden had its name among the world’s 5 best tulip gardens.

This garden is blessed to have even the rarest of rare tulip varieties, including the “Queen of the Night”. The main highlight of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is the enchanting annual festival, which is held in Spring, between the months of March and May.

Location:
Jammu and Kashmir, Cheshma Shahi Road, Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001.

Timings:
From 7 AM to 7.30 PM, on all days of the week.

Price:
INR 50 for adults and INR 25 for children.

Best Time to Visit:
March, April, and May.

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Nigeen Lake

Lying on the eastern part of Srinagar, Nigeen Lake is considered to be a part of the beautiful Dal Lake, but is separated from it by a narrow causeway. Also referred to as “The Jewel in the Ring, the name of this lake is inspired by the plethora of tall trees that surround the deep blue waterbody.

Making for a rejuvenating getaway from the chaotic and monotonous life, this popular lake is considered to be one of the most amusing tourist places in Srinagar. Propelling thrill and fun seekers of all age groups, this enticing destination is suitable for various water activities including swimming, sailing, water skiing. Right on the lake’s bank, you can find the Nigeen club, which has a tea pavilion and a bar for the visitors.

Location:
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Timings:
7 AM to 8 PM, on all days of the week.

Best Time to Visit: June to August.

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Kargil
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The beautiful city of Kargil is the second largest in Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir after Leh. Known for its rich cultural, historical and political importance, this city sits at 2676 meters above sea level, along the banks of the Suru or Indus River. The location of Kargil makes for an extreme climate, with temperatures dropping to as low as -45 degree Celsius in winters!

The people of Kargil were mostly Tibetan-Buddhist until the 18th and 19th century after which most converted to Islam. They are of mixed Dard and Tibetan descent, and most are Baltis. Kargil is known as the battleground for the Kargil War which was fought in 1999 when Pakistani soldiers, disguised as Kashmiri military insurgents, infiltrated the area in and around Kargil. Ever since several movies and documentaries have been made about the War, the most famous of them being the multi-starrer J P Dutta movie, LOC Kargil.

Kargil is now a peaceful and immensely beautiful city, which serves as a famous spot for tourists year after year. Nestled right in the middle of the massive, naked mountains of the Himalayas, with the pristine waters of the Indus flowing right beside it, Kargil is nothing short of a piece of heaven.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Mulbekh Monastery

The two major sects of Buddhism, Drukpa and Gelugpa had two gompas in Mulbekh Monastery. The location is 45 kms away from Kargil and 260 km from Leh town. The nine meter statue of Maitreya Buddha placed in the premise catches the eyes of every visitor. Also, the two gompas are closely connected to the palace of Rajah Kalon of Mulbekh located nearby. To reach the gompa, there is a steep footpath arranged behind the building.

History

There are different opinions about the establishment of the gompa but the idol of Buddha placed here dates back to the 8th century and some others believe that it was built in the period of Kushan. The sculptor is the contribution of the missionaries but there is a saying that the artwork present in the sculptor shows that the missionaries were not Tibetans but mostly Ladakhis. Kharoshti scripts were also found in the main sculptor.

Structure of the monastery

Apart from the limestone idol of Buddha carved in the rock face, there are other relics of statues and frescoes. The entire monastery is made charming with the very valuable paintings and some relics of the prized items of the ancient period. As Maitreya is famous as Chamba among the Buddhist sets, the monastery has gained the name Mulbekh Chamba later.

Location: Mulbekh gompa is located in Kashmir, 45 Km from the town and 260 km from Leh in Ladakh region. You can reach the gompa by bus or jeep.

Timings: It is open on all days from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm

Entry fee: Entry to the gompa is free

Highlight: The gompa is 3504 meters above the foothills which gives a mesmerizing view of the valleys down.

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Phuktal Monastery

Phugtal or Phuktal gompa or monastery, a significant Buddhist monastery located in the Lungnak Valley that too very remotely from the main town and this one is reachable only by walking. The essential things for the monastery will be carried by animals during summer days and during winter they will be transported through the frozen Zanskar River.

History

The etymology of the name Phutkal is interesting and the name means the cave of liberation or leisure as per the information given by scholars. The birth of Phutkal Monastery was 2500 years ago and it was built around a cave with the aim of inviting any number of sages or saints to come and meditate. But the current status of Phutkal Gompa is because of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. It was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.

Structure of the monastery

The honeycomb structure of the monastery surprises every one. Given the increased number of tourists, the monastery is popular now as a favorite trekking point. The cliff side structure houses a temple, prayer rooms, apartments, quarters, library with sacred manuscripts, teaching facilities and the original cave and a spring. Around 70 monks who are residing in the monastery are always seen chanting or meditating.

Location: The location of the monastery is Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar.

Timings: It is open on all days of the week from 06:00 pm to 04:00 pm.

Entry fee: To enter the monastery no entry fee is required. But cameras and food from outside are not allowed.

Highlights: There are a number of festivals happen everywhere at the monastery which are celebrated for different reasons. Every year the dates of the festivals change depending on the lunisolar calendar. Smonlam Chenmo is the most important one as it signifies the entry of the New Year.


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19

Kargil

Kargil

Kargil, the second largest town after Leh in Kashmir has multiple images in the mindsets of Indians. The spot where India’s patriotism won, the spot where India’s soldiers lost their lives, the spot where a dramatic tug of war between two countries happened and the spot which makes India proud always; hundreds of reasons are there to recognize Kargil as one of the primary locations of India. Politically, Kargil has gained so much importance because of the renowned Kargil War but now it is termed as one of the most visited tourist destinations as well in Kashmir. Visitors are curious to visit the sensitive zone in India where history was turned topsy-turvy.

There are a lot to see in Kargil in the form of monasteries, lush greenery, river basins, trekking points and so on. Mulbekh Monastery, located 36 Kms from Kargil is the most famous gompa in Kargil district which is featured because of the 9 meter tall idol of Maitreya Buddha. Near to Kargil is yet another attraction that is Suru Basin. When the Panzella glacier starts to melt, Suru Basin becomes the richest fertile land in the dry Ladakh region. The fields of wheat, barley and grapes are rich in greenery and thus give a splendid sight to the tourists. If you keep patriotism inside you on a dramatic level, then never miss to visit the Drass War Memorial where the photos, things used during the Kargil war and the hardships during the war are displayed along with the 100 feet high flagpoles. For trekking, the surroundings hill tops are perfect and a visit to Lamayuru Monastery located on Leh-Srinagar Highway will be concluding your tour of Kargil in presumably perfect way.

Height: 2676 meters above sea level

Location: Kargil is located 60 km from Drass and 204 km from Srinagar to the west and 234 km from Leh to the east. One can reach Kargil from Padum by covering a distance of 240 km and a drive from Delhi will take around 1047 kms to be covered.

Best time to visit: June to September is the ideal time to visit Kargil as per the information given by the experts and experienced travelers.


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Drass Valley

Drass Valley in Kargil District in Jammu and Kashmir is popularly called as the gateway of Ladakh. In the infamous Kargil War, Drass has played a significant role. The Pakistani Army in 1999 started dropping shells in Drass and in the surrounding villages and thus the war broke out between India and Pakistan. In the end, India recaptured Drass and other parts in the premises and then on Drass has been recognized as the memorial of the Kargil War

Drass is nestled amidst the snow-clad peaks on the Leh- Kargil National Highway at a height of 3230 meters above the sea level. Zojila Pass is the beginning of Drass Valley. Even when the harshest climatic conditions of winter hit the inhabitants here, the people kept guarding the valley intact and thus they are called the guardians of Ladakh’s gateway. The residents of the valley is known to be the saviours of stranded travelers who try to cross the pass along the snow covered trails and also they have stayed back in the valley to transport trading merchandise in the extreme cold. Drass is recognized as the base for the three day long Suru valley trek.

 The coldest region of India is Drass where -12 degree Celsius is the average temperature during winter and it falls onto as low as -17 degree Celsius during the peak time of winter. The tours of Drass compulsorily include a visit to the famous Drass War Memorial which is built to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the India-Pakistan War in 1999. There is a Brigade War Valley that also turned to be the space to commemorate the lives and dedication of Indian soldiers during Kargil War.

Height: Drass Valley is located at an average height of 3820 meters.

Location: It is located 60 kms away from Ladakh and starts from the foot of the famous Zojila Pass.

Best time to visit: The season between the months of May and September are the suitable time to visit Drass.


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Gulmarg
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The nearest India can make to being a ski resort is via its pine-fringed Gulmarg. Situated at an elevation of 2730 meters above sea level, it well justifies the Meadow of Flowers tag that it has received. The meadow is given a visual highlight by the 1890s Anglican Church of St Mary’s that sits on a lonely hillock which can be accessed off the dead-end road that links the 1965 neo-colonial style Hotel Highlands Park to the historic Gulmarg Golf Club. However, the key reason to visit Gulmarg is just not the same. You must visit Gulmarg to explore the backing stands of the splendid mature pines traversing you to the elevation of bald Mt Afarwat. To make it to mountain, you can either trek on foot or take help from ponies at a meagre amount of INR 300 per hour. However, the easiest way out is using the two-stage gondola cable car that flutters you to 3747m. The impressive clear day views from the top are worth the ride. During this ride, you’ll encompass Nanga Parbat which is the world’s ninth highest mountain peak located across Pakistan. Booking for this online can help save you from the long queues especially in the peak season of May and June. This service can however be cancelled either due to civil unrest or during bad weather and getting a refund from the organizers can get really annoying then. Base station of Gandola is situated about 1 km west of the bus stand.       

Gulmarg endeavors you with more than 40 choices of accommodation each of them beautiful in their own very way. In the months of July, an average room fare (for a night) will be around INR 2000 for the old looking stays and INR 5000 for newer stays. Prices of the hotels see a drop of 20% in the winter season and a further dramatic drop when there is civil unrest in Srinagar or during the less popular months like September.  


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Sonamarg
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Sonmarg is a tiny town of Kashmir situated 9,000 kms above sea level at the bank of the gushing Sindh river. This picturesque town is located in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir and is just 70 km away from the Srinagar International Airport. The valley is the connecting point of a number of Himalayan peaks like Kolhoi peak, Amarnath peak, Sirbal Peak, and so on. The charming view of the place becomes more attractive with the wide varieties of flowers and alpine trees gracing this quaint town.

Here you can enjoy, meadows of gold, sun-kissed peaks, breathtaking lakes and towering glaciers, all in one place. This beautiful himalayan town is full of mountain ranges and valleys to explore through trekking. It is a base camp for trekkers going to Ladakh and for many trekking routes to different lakes of Kashmir, such as Krishnasar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Vishansar Lake, and so on. During winter the valley covered with snow offers an opportunity to the tourist to enjoy sledding or skiing or snow fighting.

The tourists can also enjoy fishing trout and other species in Vishansar Lake, Krishnasar Lake, Gangabal Lake, and so on. If you like water activities, Sonmarg provides you the opportunity to enjoy white water rafting. To enjoy the true natural beauty of Kashmir, the tourists can explore places like Nilagrad, Kheer Bhawani Temple, Nichnai Pass, Vishansar Lake, Zoji-La Pass, Gadsar Lake, Baltal Valley, and so on from Sonmarg. The place also has an ancient importance.

It was the gateway to the Silk Road connecting Kashmir with China. Except for the winter months (November to February), the climate of the place remains very pleasant for tourism. The month of April to October is the pick time to experience the beauty of flowery meadows, snow-covered peaks, frozen glaciers, waterfalls, and pristine lakes. But if you are interested in snow-related adventures like skiing, ice skating, and sledding on frozen glaciers, winter is the best time for you to visit Sonmarg.

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Jammu
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Situated on the banks of River Tawi, Jammu is a land of serene and beautiful valleys, lakes, and meadows surrounded by majestic snow-clad Himalayas. The Shivalik hill cuts across the area while rivers Tawi, Chenab, and Ravi, flow through this region.

Solitude is served here in its true sense for the urban dwellers. Due to the impeccable beauty of Jammu, it is often referred to as the Gateway to Heaven. You can soak in the tranquil environment in Jammu as you gaze up at the mighty Himalayas shimmering in the downing sun. 

Jammu takes pride in its history full of valor and glory and is home to some of the most magnificent temples. Jammu is thronged by thousands of devotees going to the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, which has been a beacon of faith and fulfillment to millions of devotees.

Besides fulfilling the spiritual needs of its visitors, Jammu caters to their shopping requirements as well. The city’s markets are famous for Kashmiri handicrafts, traditional jewelry, and dry fruits. Though the city is known for temples, its cultural and architectural heritage in the form of palaces and forts is equally worth a mention. There are many places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir that recite the tales of its rich culture, history, and traditions.

Jammu is also home to some of the most beautiful Mughal gardens with vivid floras, fountains, and springs. It is the crowning jewel of the north, which must be visited at least once in your lifetime. Visitors can choose to go on a nature trail to encounter rare avian species or take part in adventure activities like rappelling, trekking or camping.

From the clothes that people wear to the homes they live in, art in Jammu is a way of life. The visit to Jammu is all about the pleasure of five senses, and it opens a window of the Himalayan lifestyle of the discerning traveler. 

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Pahalgam
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Amidst the Liddar Valley sits a picturesque destination in Kashmir – Pahalgam. It is located in the Anantnag district in Jammu at an elevation of 2740 metres above sea level. Popularly it is called the Valley of Shepherds. Also, it is one of the most sumptuous destinations in India and it must be on your bucket list when you chalk down the places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the middle of tranquillity, you will surely find many out-of-the-world destinations too. Some of the stunning lakes such as Sheshnag Lake will surely take your breath away and beauteous pine trees will follow you wherever you go. If you are waiting for an adrenaline pump, you have plenty to look forward to on your trip to Pahalgam. Initiate trekking on a hill or climbing the Himalayas from a suitable summit and unleash all the adrenaline. If you visit this place in the right season, you will have one of the most remarkable skiing experiences as well. 

Apart from this, if you are looking to spend some quality time with your family on a holiday, you could not choose a better domestic destination than Pahalgam. It offers everything for all age groups, especially kids who have a gala time moving around this beautiful place a lot. You might want to indulge in various activities with them too by zorbing, sitting in various rides at famous amusements parks and what not! Traversing in and around Pahalgam is devoid of any fuss as you can easily find local transport means and not waste much time hovering around on your holiday. 

The weather is quite chilly from November to February with plenty of snow around. In the later months until April, it gets a bit warmer, albeit the minimum temperature hovers around 2-3 Degrees Celsius. The monsoon stretches from July till September. The autumn stretches until November and is quite dry with strong winds.

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Kashmir
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Majestic trees of Chinar, the Santoor’s mesmerizing sounds, and snow-capped Himalayas make Kashmir a paradise. From the stunning vistas of Bhaderwah, picturesque landscapes of Baltal, to photographer’s nirvana like Shalimar Garden and apple orchards of Pulwama, Kashmir is waiting to hypnotize you with its mesmerizing aura. All around the globe, this small little quaint valley lying between the mountain range of Pir Panjal, and the Himalayan Range is known for its pristine beauty and beautiful serenity.

You can soak infinite memories in a snug Kahwa teacup while enjoying its picture-perfect landscapes. On the one hand, this place is filled with untouched wild terrain while on the other hand there are apple orchards and grasslands of saffron waiting to bloom. Depending on the weather, scenic valleys take the form of white ice sheets to luxuriant green valleys that add to the Kashmir tourism in multiple ways. With the onset of an icy winter, places like Sonmarg get hidden under a snow blanket.

Hence, the location becomes one of the hotbeds for snow-related adventures that include sledding on glaciers, ice-skating, and skiing. But, nothing beats this valley’s charm, especially during the summers, as you can undertake a shikara ride, gondola ride, river rafting, and go trekking on popular trekking routes like the Bandipora trek, Naranag-Gangabal trek, or Gangabal lake trek. Have you longed to witness the terraced gardens from the Mughal era, the vast lake with lotus flowers on the fringes, and the phenomenal alpine vistas? There are some of the most striking places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir that you must not miss out on this upcoming summer. So, make your bookings to feel the sense of ease, and abundant peace that the “heaven on earth” has to offer.  Read on to know about all that Kashmir has in store for you.

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Udhampur
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Udhampur is a North Indian city in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, known for its astounding natural beauty and as the hub of the Northern Command, Indian Army. The city boasts of its natural scenic viewpoints and offers a multitude of adventure and sightseeing activities for tourists coming over from various parts of India. Being located in the Shivalik Range, this city offers tranquillizing views of the snow-covered mountains and lush green forests.

Packed with extraordinary natural beauty and adventurous trails, Udhampur offers you every reason to be in its lap all year round. The small kitschy local markets and cafes offering authentic  local food will delight your senses. Udhampur is an action-packed place with a multitude of adventures opportunities for tourists coming over from different parts of India. The city has been receiving very heavy snowfall and these snowfalls have been making the arena for various skiing and sledging activities. Tourists often choose Udhampur for carrying out adventure activities starting from rock climbing to trekking and parasailing.

Udhampur enjoys a sub-tropical climate all through the year. The summer temperature doesn’t go above 40 degree Celsius however, the winter temperature goes below 2 degree Celsius. With moderate climatic conditions all through the year, you can make the most out of this place. The favorable climate definitely lets adventure seekers try out a multitude of outdoor activities like Paragliding and hot air ballooning, which are completely dependent on good weather. So, pack your bags and head out to this city of adventure.

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Newly Added Jammu and Kashmir Experience
25 June 2018
Excellent
"the experience was awesome. The whole thing organized by Thrillophilia was great. Our tour operator Jigmet sir and the whole crew were 1 no. SHAMAAASS. Julley.
11 July 2019
Excellent
We went for Manali to srinagar Bike tour. It was the best bike trip of my entire life. It all started with the person named Shubham from thrillophilia who helped me in selecting the best trip and processed with my booking, all thanks to him! Without him I wouldn’t have been able to experience the best trip of my life. On arrival there we met our tour guide Tani and our Mechanic Shashi. These 2 guys were so supportive during the entire tour that no matter what happened they were always there to look after us. They always made sure we are safe and we are following them and there is no overtaking taking place. Tani, the tour guide, one chilled out person he is! Make sure you get him as your tour guide and Shashi as the mechanic as these guys will always make sure that they are there for you no matter what. And in the end, it’s all the Main man behind everything, Jimmy Sir. Thanks a lot Sir for making me experience the best trip of my life! Without you and your team this wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks for helping us out in every way possible. The roads here are difficult terrain to ride on. You gotta be careful. You gotta carry your gum boots during water logging which is the most difficult to cross. But these guys made sure that we were all safe and had sound health till we reached home. Not even a single person was hurt. Our group was a mixture of all age groups, I’m fact we even got to meet 2 people From the Indian navy as well. One mad kickass experience! Unbelievable. Reaching the worlds highest Pass, Khardungla Top, was the highest achievement of my life till date which happened on this trip! And if at all you wish to go, don’t forget to ask Tani and Shashi as your tour guide and mechanic, and go only through Jimmy Sir as he has the best team! Thanks a lot to everyone out there.
05 October 2017
Excellent
First, I would like to say thank you to shyam@thrillophilia.com for their coordination and cooperation.The trip was well planned and executed extremely well by the tour operators, I am very happy with the services provided by thrillophilia during this trek. 1) Our trek leaders Salman and Stenzin are really a wonderful Guys, they were very helpful and supportive all the time during trekking.Other staff members were also supportive and helpful. 2) Food quality and quantity was good. 3) Accommodation was good, camps were in good shape, neat and clean and quite spacious. Let's review the Trek. No doubt Stok trek was awesome as well as difficult. It would not be correct if I will say Stok trek is the most beautiful trek ???? but there is something which makes this trek different from all other treks and which is the main reason to attract tourist from every corner of the word, that is its height. At 20,500 feet Stok Kangri is the highest trekkable summit in India (6,153 m), what google says but when I googled it bit more and try to find if there is any other trek exist in this word which is above Stok, I did not get any information so I assume this is the highest trekkable summit in world ???? Highlights of this Trek 1) Trekking till base camp is not very tiring, which itself a big achievement as you would be able to achieve the height of 16300 feet ???? and the best part what I found in this trek is “you don’t need to walk too many hours to reach base camp” 2-4 hours walk a day is max you will walk. 2) Leh treks are totally different from Himachal and Uttrakhand treks in terms of scenic beauty, it’s a different experience, you would be able to see some splendid views of the Stok mountain ranges. 3) The last day “Summit day” will give you a totally different experience. You start your trek at night time which generally don’t happen in other treks. Moreover, you will get a chance to do snow trekking in summers as well “Only in summit Day”. Here is a great saying "the best view comes after the hardest climb" Very True!!! Preparation: I should say this is not a trek for first time trekkers but still if someone wants to give a try, Start your preparation at least 2 months before this trek as last day “Summit Day” is really a challenging one, compare to other days where you have to just walk 2-4 hours max here on final day you have to walk for a 12 – 14 hours and trekking at night on Snow is bit tricky task and it becomes more challenging when you have to walk by putting Crampons on your shoes. a) Aim for 5 km running in 30 minutes b) Do breathing exercise which helps you a lot during this trek especially. c) Drink as much as water you can.
12 July 2018
Excellent
From Recent Expedition -: Srinagar > Leh > Manali !! The feeling was awesome and words are not enough to express my experience of the expedition, but ever since I talked about it, it makes me feel that I’m still travelling, I’m still there. I had been a frequent traveller, but the emotions associated with this tour were different. We enjoyed, we had fun, we went emotional, we met some new friends, we felt proud, we captured every possible feelings and emotions we can during the entire journey.
It had everything that you dreamed about. It had ice (lots and lots of ice), even when I was sleeping battling the cold at night I was could see those ice sheet right in front of my eyes. We were walking on ice, we were drinking those ice (of-course the boiled one), but the most exciting part was that we were never complaining even under these extreme condition. Thank to these amazing group of people I was travelling with. The support staff, the organiser and each and every people related to this trip were an amazing host. They made us feel at home, they fulfilled almost all our demands. I had done 2 treks before with other organizations, but these people were the best. The fun we had is quite vivid with this picture, but trust me nothing can be explained in words, you just have to feel it. Keep yourself fit and go for it . It will change the way you see nature , it will change your perception towards people and many more things. Stay happy and keep trekking
16 March 2020
Excellent
Kang Yatse Trek has been one of the most satisfying explorations of my life. My trek through Thrillophilia has made it all the more satisfying and happening. Starting from checking into the hotel at Leh, it has made sure the travelers had the most happening treks of their lives. The impeccable arrangements at the hotel and the routine trek plan under experts made the trek absolutely hassle free.
16 March 2020
Superb
The Thrillophilia team has surpassed all of my expectations! I was initially apprehensive about the Parang La trek because of the altitude and the difficulty, but Thrillophilia made sure I had no issue at all! Everything was taken care of, and the guide was just brilliant. For any further treks, Thrillophilia is my go-to website and the one I’ll always recommend!
26 February 2020
Excellent
"It was really amazing and wonderful experience. Briefing about Chadar Trek by Kavish and Rizwan really helped. Both are really very supportive. Tour operator Mr. Thupstan also very supportive and he managed the trek very well. All staff of trek including guide, chef, porters were very experienced, capable and supportive. Overall it was great experience."
17 February 2020
Superb
I did many treks with thrillophilia till now, and chadar was one of my life time experiences. I don't want to talk much about the trek as many people here shared their trek experiences, I will share my experience with thrillophilia and our vendor. So unlike other treks and camps we got the best food here (even in this freezing -20 to -30 degrees temp.), we got the best guide here (who made all the efforts to reach until last point where we can place of foot), best views here (trust me the images you have seen are not enough compared to the real time experiences). The only reason I strike out a star here is its price. I am more of a 'travel new spend few' kind of person, so I just felt the pricing over the scale.
16 February 2020
Excellent
I am very happy with the experience I got with thrillophilia. Everything was managed very well and all the requirements were taken care of. The arrangements were more than my expectation. And out trek guide Sam was very calm, fun loving person who was always ready to help. The trek was amazing and would like to continue with thrillophilia for my upcoming treks.

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