No. of days: 8nights/9days
Places Covered: Srinagar (1night) – Gulmarg (1night) – Pahalgam (2nights) – Srinagar (2nights) – Jammu – Katra (1night) – Jammu (1night)
Day 1: Srinagar: Arrive in Srinagar. Transfer to a houseboat in a lake in Srinagar. Experience the life in houseboat. Visit floating market. Buy some Kashmir handicrafts if you so want. Enjoy the delicious authentic Kashmiri meals prepared in the houseboat. Overnight in the houseboat in Srinagar.
Day 2: Srinagar – Gulmarg: Check out in the morning from the houseboat and start for Gulmarg, skiing capital of Kashmir and India. Check into a hotel on arrival. Immediately afterward, set out to explore the natural beauty of Gulmarg. If snow is still around, you can learn basics of skiing from the instructors. Take the Gondola ride, supposed to be the highest in the world. If you visit in summer time you can enjoy greenery all around. There are several varieties of flowers which grow in Gulmarg naturally. You can also enjoy a pony ride.
Have a nice dinner. Experience a cold night from the comforts of your hotel in Gulmarg.
Day 3: Gulmarg – Pahalgam: Check out in the morning and drive to Pahalgam, which literally means Valley of Shepherds. Have cozy Kashmiri breakfast at a restaurant on the way. Look at the gardens of apples, almond and other dry fruits along the route. A drive of a little more than five hours; past Srinagar, Anantnag and Pompore, you can reach Pahalgam. Stop to look at the ruins of Awantipura.
Check into a hotel in Pahalgam, a town used as a starting base for the journey to the famous Amarnath Caves. Enjoy the free flowing Lidder River and take a walk in the market area. Have dinner at one of the restaurants in the market. Overnight in Pahalgam.
Day 4: Pahalgam: After a hearty breakfast set out to explore Pahalgam. Enjoy the nature charm of the valley. Visit Aru Valley and enjoy the breathtaking scenes. Pahalgam is known for its alpine treks and nature walk. Go on to those. If walking is not your cup of tea, opt for ponies. Later, in the afternoon, explore the market in Pahalgam. Buy some Kashmiri handicrafts if you want.
Have dinner at one of the restaurants and spend the night in the comforts of your hotel, enjoying the scenes all around.
Day 5: Pahalgam – Srinagar: In the morning, check out from the hotel and start for Srinagar, the capital city. One the way, take a small detour and visit the ruins of Martand Sun temple. Have a nice lunch at one of the restaurants. You can also stop at Pompore and buy authentic saffron.
Check into a hotel in Srinagar. Set out to explore the city of Srinagar. Visit Shamkaracharya, the temple on top of a hill where the famous sage Shanakaracharya is supposed to have spent considerable time doing mediation.
Explore the market in Srinagar in the evening. Have dinner at one of the restaurants and enjoy authentic Kashmir wazwan. Overnight in Srinagar.
Day 6: Srinagar: Spend the whole day exploring the famous Mughal gardens. These are a group of gardens laid out during the reign of the Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shahjahan in different parts of Srinagar. These were made in typical Persian style – rectilinear layouts within walled enclosures with features like pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens. Shalimar Garden, Nishat Bag, Chashma Shahi and Pari Mahal.
Also visit the Tupli Gardens, supposed to be the largest garden of Tulip flowers in Asia. Spread in over 12 hectares, Tulip garden has been a place of attraction for tourists.
Have a nice dinner. Overnight in Srinagar.
Day 7: Srinagar – Jammu – Katra: Check out from the hotel and drive to the airport. Catch a flight to Jammu. From the airport drive straight to Katra, the base town for the journey to the much revered Vaishno Devi shrine. Check into a hotel. Start the journey to the temple shrine on ponies or use chopper services to visit there. Return after your visit to the temple.
Day 8: Katra – Jammu: Get up a little relaxed. Have breakfast and check out from the hotel for a visit to Jammu. Check into a hotel in Jammu. Immediately afterward, set out to explore the city. First stop should be Amar Mahal Museum. The Museum has an art gallery and gives a brief glimpse into the history of the family of the last Kashmir rulers. Visit Raghunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Ram. This is supposed to have the biggest temple complex in Jammu. Towards the evening visit Bahu Fort, a fort refurbished by the Dogra rulers in the 19th Century. Bahu Temple, a temple much revered by the locals is inside the fort. There is a large garden just outside the fort. This is called Bagh-e-Bahu. It is well lit in the evening and gives a good view of Jammu city.
Enjoy dinner at a restaurant. Overnight in Jammu.
Day 9: Jammu – Onward Destination: Check out in the morning from the hotel after breakfast and drive to the airport to catch flight for your onward destination.