Kashmir was coined the term "Paradise on Earth" by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and truely so, it mesmerising tourists all over the world. It is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists and it was reported that 736,000 tourists including 23,000 foreigners visited Kashmir in 2010. Kashmir is famous for its juicy apples and the rare saffron fibres. It is also world famous for its beauty and offers the green hills and meadows of Gulmarg and Pahalgam. The Dal Lake, which is considered unanimously as India's most beautiful lake is in Kashmir. The Dal lake remains frozen for most part of the year and attracts tourists during summer, when the ice melts away and makes way for boat houses and numerous water activities.
In his introduction to the Rajatarangini, Kalhana says about the climate of Valley, "It is a country where the sun shines mildly, being the place created by Kashayapa as if for his glory. High school-houses, the saffron, iced water and grapes, which are rare even in heaven, are common here. Kailasa is the best place in the three worlds, Himalaya the best part of Kailasa, and Kashmir the best place in Himalaya."
The main tourist attractions of the Kashmir valley are Srinagar that houses the popular houseboats, Gulmarg that has a ski resort, Sonmarg, Pahalgam and Amarnath Temple. An annual pilgrimage is made to the Amarnath cave by lakhs of Hindu devotees on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalgamite formed inside the cave. One watch the majestic view of the snow capped himalayas against the cerulean sky in Sonmarg. Gulmarg is one of the most popular ski resort in India and also the home to world's highest golf course. The cuisine of Kashmir is in a complete contrast to the rest of India. Some other tourist attractions are Jama Masjid, Shalimar garden, Chashmashahi, Dachigam National Park, Shankaracharya Temple, Martand Sun Temple and Nishat garden.
When in Kashmir, you should definitely try the rogan josh (lamb cooked in heavy spices), dum aloo (potatoes in curd and spices), Zafrani Pulao (Saffron flavoured pulao), Yakhni (delicately spiced yogurt curry) and Phirni (semolina based dessert). The Kahwa, a tea for festive occasions, made with saffron and spices is quite popular too. Coming to kashmir and not taking away souvenirs would be a huge mistake as you can shop for Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, saffron, rugs, kurtas and pottery in its vibrant markets.
Kashmir spell bounds you with its scenic mountains, an unforgettable ride on the shikara, a walk in the mughal gardens or yatra of Amarnath. You can even indulge in adventure sports such as trekking, hiking, skiing etc.So , visit the paradise on earth in all its glory.