Five offbeat places to explore in Kashmir

Discover hidden gems beyond the tourist trails


May 8, 2024

/ By / New Delhi

Five offbeat places to explore in Kashmir

If you want to visit Kashmir this summer, here's is a list of 5 best and less explored places

If you want to visit Kashmir this summer but want to stay away from the crowds or explore the little-known parts of this paradise on earth, here is a list of five offbeat places waiting to be discovered.

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With summer vacation in full swing, holidaymakers are flooding the top touristic destinations all over the country, from Kashmir to Kerala. But if you are one of those who prefer quaint and solitary escapades into the depths of nature, you can visit these places in Kashmir that will cleanse your mind, restore your spirits and give you the complete rejuvenation that you have been longing for.

Doodhpathri (Photo: Jammu & Kashmir Toursim)


Doodhpathri is a vast meadow surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Deodar and pine. It is situated on the bank of Shaliganga river and is located in Khansahib tehsil of district Budgam at an altitude of 2,735 m above sea level.

It is an alpine valley covered with lush green meadows, and an adjoining river meandering through pine trees of the surrounding forests. The natural meadows are covered with snow in winter and carpeted with colourful.

The literal meaning of Doodhpathri is ‘valley of milk’, and it got the name because the water flowing through the meadows looks like milk from a distance. There is also a story that goes back in time. It is believed that when the famous saint of Kashmir Sheikh-ul-Alam once prayed there and pricked the ground with his stick to get water to perform ablution. Milk started oozing out instead of water from the ground. He asked for the milk that can only be used for drinking and not performing ablution. Hearing this milk at once changed its state to water and the meadow got its name Doodhpathri.

The bowl-shaped valley has recently entered the tourism charts and so it is still an offbeat location. Doodhpathri can be reached from Srinagar only by road and it is barely 45 km away, visitors can either drive their own vehicle or rent a private taxi. The drive offers scenic views of valleys, waterfalls, orchards and meadows. It takes around two hours to reach by road. Popular stopovers on the way include Tangnar, Mujpathri and Palmaidan.

There is not a full-fledged market or any hotel in the area, it has limited accommodation options. During summers tented accommodation is available. Staying in Srinagar, just two hours away, is an alternative for tourists. Since settlements in Doodhpathri are scarce, travellers are advised to carry their food and water. The weather is unpredictable, so proper warm clothing is recommended.

Bungus Valley (Photo: Kashmir Life)

Bungus Valley

The Bungus Valley has remained untouched for many years, yet it is currently emerging as among Kashmir’s most fascinating locations.

This valley is located in Kupwara district, about 128 km from Srinagar, but is easily accessible via road, the National Highway 1, which incidentally goes on across the Line of Control on India-Pakistan border and continues into Pakistan. A one-way drive to Bungus takes little over three hours.

Bungus Valley has two meadows, the Big Bungus and the Small Bungus. The meadows of this valley are surrounded by the towering mountains of Chowkibal, Qazinag and Shamsbery and the entire area falls in the Trans-Himalaya.

The valley offers high-altitude trekking trails, camping sites, wildlife safaris, fishing, and sightseeing. Popular treks include the Bungus Trek and Lolab Valley Trek, while camping sites like Lolab Valley Campsite provide stunning views of peaks. The valley also boasts beautiful temples, shrines, and historical sites in the nearby Lolab Valley.

The best time to visit Bungus Valley is during the summer months, from April to June, when the weather is pleasant and the valley is adorned with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The autumn season, from September to October, provides a beautiful tapestry of colours as the leaves change. However, it should be noted that Bungus Valley experiences cold winters with heavy snowfall, rendering it inaccessible during that time.

Bungus Valley is relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, it does provide a variety of lodging options to suit a variety of budgets and preferences. Various travel apps can help you find comfortable guesthouses and homestays near the valley.

Bungus is also famous for trekking, campaign, fishing, wildlife spotting and Bungus mela.

There is regular transport available to reach Bungus. One can also book a taxi or a cab to reach here. There are three routes to visit this place. The least distance route from Handwara via Reshwari Mawer. The second route is also from Handwara but via Rajwar and is suitable for trekking only. The third route is from Kupwara via Chowkibal.

Aru Valley

Aru valley is one of the most sought after offbeat places in Kashmir located 12 km from Pahalgam in the Anantnag district and is a renowned tourist destination. Visitors are drawn to the area by the meadows, clear lakes, and mountains, and it also acts as a base camp for climbs to the Kolahoi Glacier and Tarsar Lake.

It is a popular tourist attraction in Kashmir, not only because of stunning scenery, but also because of the wide range of activities available. In winter, it is really a popular ski and heli-ski destinationA variety of climbs in the region have beginning points in the Aru Valley. If you like adventure, you could decide to hike to the Valley from nearby towns or other hiking destinations. Two of the most popular hikes here are the Tarsar Marsar and the Kolahoi Glacier trek.

It takes 30 minutes from Pahalgam to reach Aru Valley.  One can hire a taxi or any other private vehicle from Pahalgam.

There are many Home stays and guesthouses near Aru Valley that offer comfortable and affordable accommodation.

Chatpal (Photo: Jammu & Kashmir Tourism)


Chatpal is considered to be one of the unexplored places in Shangus area of south Kashmir, located at a distance of 72 km from Srinagar. It is unquestionably a spot to disconnect and get lost amidst mountains and lovely green fields covered with wildflowers. A great getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, with only the sounds of trickling brooks and birds chirping, appears to be the right location. This location has the ability to astound people with its beauty and tranquil surroundings.

It is an unspoiled and remote location free of commercialisation, with some fascinating surrounding attractions such as Sonamarg, Martand Temple, Aharbal Falls, Gulmarg, Lolab Valley, and Kishtwar National Park.

The best time to visit Chatpal is during the summer months, from May to September. During this period the weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25° C.

It offers various adventure activities like camping, trekking, bird watching, fishing and photography. One can also experience the local culture by interacting with the locals and can also taste the traditional cuisine.

It is one of the most beautiful places in Kashmir surrounded by snow-capped peaks, meandering streams and lush green forests, the valley is a paradise for photographers and nature lovers. It is a must-visit destination for those who love adventure, nature, culture, and peace.

The region is known for its excellent trekking trails that cater to both novice and experienced trekkers. It is also an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts. The lakes and rivers offer opportunities for activities like kayaking and rafting, providing an exhilarating experience amidst stunning surroundings There are few homestays and Guestshouses available in Chatpal.

To reach Chatpal, one can hire a cab from Srinagar which will take around two and half hours of journey. It is a completely isolated location that has very recently been discovered as a potential tourist spot by the government. The best stay option here is the tourist cottage.

Lolab Valley (Photo: Jammu & Kashmir Tourism)

Lolab Valley (Photo: Jammu & Kashmir Tourism)

Lolab Valley

Synonymous with divine beauty with enticing scenery, this valley is sure to make you fall in love with it. It is an oval-shaped valley 24 km in length with an average width of 3.2 km. From orchards, paddy fields, lakes, and springs to meadows, this place offers everyone to explore and enjoy the bewitching nature. Located in the north-western side of Srinagar city and it lies 9 km north from Kupwara. This remote place surprise many with its raw beauty. Here lies a lake called Satisar and a spring called Lavnag which is about a metre deep and has crystal clear water. Gauri Spring is another major spring in the area.

The other main towns in the Lolab Valley include Kalaroos, Lalpor, Kigam, Tekipora, Kandi, Chandigam and Muqam. The Nagmarg meadows, which separate Lolab from Bandipora district also attracts many tourists. These villages give a glimpse into typical Kashmiri villages and the local lifestyle.

The Valley is also home to many species of flora and fauna. Musk deer, brown bear, black bear, snow leopard, and hangul are some of the rare species that you can find in this valley. It is famous for trekking, campaign, birdwatching and horse riding.

The valley is accessible throughout the year. The ideal time to visit this this place is from May to September, during this time the valley is full of glory and one can enjoy all the activities here at this time. The flowers are in full bloom and the weather is pleasant and delightful for the sightseeing. The Lolab Valley is located a little more than 114 km from Srinagar. Travel time by bus or taxi is around 3-3.5 hours.

The valley offers a range of accommodation options for travellers, from hotels and resorts to homestays.



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