Offbeat destinations in Kashmir you shouldn’t be missing out on!

Go beyond the beaten tracks to find these breathtaking offbeat destinations, dwelling deep inside the piece of paradise that is Kashmir.

Alpine lakes, hamlets with wooden huts and apple orchards, thick groves of pines and maples, and mammoth mountains layers after layers — the 140-km-long Kashmir Valley opens up a truly different world of unparalleled beauty. Next time you are here, take a break from the crowded Srinagar and Pahalgham, and arrive at these offbeat destinations in Kashmir to experience an untouched slice of paradise.

5 best offbeat destinations in Kashmir

Gurez

Gurez valley| offbeat places in kashmir
Gurez Valley is blessed with a surreal charm. Image: Courtesy Instagram/Ramneek Kaur.

Pass through thick pine woods, spectacular Manasbal and Wular lakes, and colossal snow-capped peaks as you drive 130 km from Srinagar via Bandipore to reach the rarely touched Gurez Valley. Nestled at the edge of North Kashmir, the remote gem instantly takes your breath away with its little hamlets scattered throughout, open lush grasslands with local shepherds and their stocks, wooden log huts set back in time, and the pristine Neelum, along with its many brooks, gushing and gurgling right through it all. With no network signals, raw backdrops, and the iconic pyramidical limestone mountain Habba Khatun, Gurez checks out all the boxes.

Lidderwat

Lidderwat is perfect for camping in the middle of nowhere| offbeat places in kashmir
Lidderwat is perfect for camping in the middle of nowhere! Image: Courtesy Instagram/Unplugged Journeys.

Adventure seekers can plan a trek from Pahalgam to the offbeat Lidderwat. Experience abundance of natural beauty as you pitch your own tent in this beautiful meadow dotted with maple groves, deep forests, and misty mountains covered in layers of shrubs. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding hills, listen to the pristine Lidder River gurgling next to you, or go on a trekking expeditions to the nearby Kolahoi glaciers.

Baisaran Valley

Baisaran valley| offbeat places in kashmir
Baisaran Valley is ideal for a winter getaway. Image: Shutterstock/ImagesofIndia.

If Kashmir enjoys the sobriquet of ‘mini Switzerland in India’, it is because of the Baisaran Valley. Gracefully sitting outside of Pahalgham, a short trek of 6 km away, the virgin valley is popular for its long dark meadows resembling, hiking trails, and pony rides over thick carpets of green. It is an ideal campsite for trekkers who want to move further up to Tulian Lake or enjoy a picnic by the bank. The mesmerising high altitude lake is snuggled against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks of Pir Panjal. If you wish to enjoy the snow, arrive at Baisaran between January and March when heavy showers turn it into a winter wonderland.

Chatpal

Chatpal | offbeat places in kashmir
Visit Chatpal to see an untouched part of Kashmir. Image: Courtesy Instagram/Sandeepa Chetan.

Contoured by the mountains of southern Kashmir, Chatpal is home to an undulating scenery, thanks to its endless stretches of pine forests, wild streams, and wildflower outgrowths. Take idle strolls, have a conversation over Kashmiri kahwa with the Gujjar-Bakerwal locals, watch flocks of sheep grazing free in vast, open pastures. You can even plan a ski trip to the untouched hamlet during the peak winter season.

Alpather Lake

Alpather | offbeat places in kashmir
The frozen lake of Alpather makes for the perfect winter escape. Image: Courtesy Nedous Hotel.

Due to its extremely high altitude (17,500 feet) and proximity to the LoC, there’s hardly any tourists flocking the Alpather Lake near Gulmarg. The two-hour trek at 3,500 feet above Gondola Phase 2 to the lake is tedious and not for faint-hearted. But the steep climb is worth it, thanks to the picture-perfect views that keep you company throughout the journey. The crystal clear (freezing cold) water of the pristine lake reflect the surrounding peaks like a mirror. The luxurious Nedous Hotel is where you must base yourself when here to enjoy ski trips and snow expeditions as the lake remains frozen nine months a year and is best kept for a winter vacation.

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