I have been to a number of cities and towns in India.. I love every inch of each city but no place could mesmerize me as much as Kashmir. Having spent a considerable time of my life there, here are the 5 things which I believe you must know before planning your trip to Kashmir:
1. The Political situation is not as bad as you see on TV and news, that's right.. though there are certain disturbances in certain part of Kashmir, there has never been any major impact on tourism as such. There are no guns being fired in broad daylight. In fact, the place is so beautiful that you might not even remember any such news that you might have seen earlier in your life
2. It is actually very cold. The summer in Kashmir is not what summer suggests for the rest of the country. You could need a sweater in the evening, even in the middle of June. There is always a soft cold breeze blowing which will give you a heavenly and romantic feeling.
3. The natives are usually too helpful and giving towards the tourists. One thing that I am absolutely sure about is, if you are in Kashmir and in trouble, you can knock any door and you will not be let down. They are going to offer you food even if they do not have adequate for themselves
4. Most of the famous handcrafted specialties which include wool carpets, paper mache, Pashminas are produced at homes.. which they call home factories. If you are an art lover, try visiting such factories directly to purchase stuff. It will not only be way too cheaper but it will also help grow small businesses.
5. There are no railway lines connecting Kashmir to other states. So if you are a travel freak and do not mind spending 7 to 8 hours entering the valley, you might like visiting kashmir by road. There are daily moving light weight public vehicles in Jammu which take you to valley for around 900 rupees per person (depending upon the season of course). Or you can visit the valley by plane. the air distance between Jammu and Srinagar is of 30 minutes only. :)
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