Jammu & Kashmir, renowned in the entire world as ‘Heaven on Earth’, is a paradise for nature lovers. A fascinating state with a turbulent history, the place is surrounded by western Himalayas and Pir Panjal mountains on either side and has its boundary touching border of Pakistan.
Once you reach there, the surroundings instantly charm you off your feet with the terraced fields, endless rows of poplar trees, houseboats and refreshing orchards, all with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Hugely popular among tourists of all caste and nationalities, Kashmir is particularly popular for its wide variety of winter sports. Among these, skiing, ice-skating, heli-skiing, snow boarding and mountaineering are especially hot favourite with tourists.
Gulmarg is the official place for skiing and other winter sports in Kashmir. A small isolated village on a hill-top, the place is one of the places to receive the highest snowfalls across the Himalayas. The sport was introduced here back in 1927 by two British army officers, after which it gained popularity. The most favourable time to enjoy the winter sports is May to October. A close second is Pahalgam, which is another favourite for winter sports with its smooth slopes and stunning landscape at varying heights.
Coming to mountaineering, another popular winter sport in Kashmir, this is a refreshing activity which demands high level of strength and commitment and can easily take up to a month in some cases. Still the oneness with nature it offers attracts several professionals as well as beginners to attempt mountain climbing when in Kashmir.
On the basis of mountain ranges, Kashmir is mainly categorized into two types- Alpine and Himalayan. Most of the expeditions offer you a first hand experience with the rich flora and fauna of the Himalayas. One can even savour a view of the neighbouring countries from some of the mountain peaks.
Some of the most famous peaks for mountaineering include Tattakuti, Sunset, Kolahoi and Harmukh among others.