The Kashmir valley is a lush green bowl 129 km long and 40 km wide surrounded by majestic mountains. In the southwest, the Pir Panjal rises at places to 5,000 meters. In the northeast, the valley is flanked by the Pangi range, the principal summits of which are Harmukh and Mahadeo. Both are close to the capital city of Srinagar. To the north is the majestic Ladakh range and the Lidder Valley, protected by the Kolahoi massif.
Kashmir boasts an unlimited variety of unspoiled natural beauty. There are lakes, rivers, high altitude meadows, fruit orchards and snowy peaks. There are also man-made attractions such as villages, shrines and mosques; many of which are built in the unique Kashmiri architectural style. Modern infrastructure has made Kashmir a lot more accessible and enjoyable than in the past. There are good quality hotels, houseboats, air links, bus services and golf courses. Although you can participate in trout fishing, heli-skiing, water sports and mountaineering, trekking remains the most popular way of exploring and enjoying Kashmir.
Trekking in Kashmir combines nature and the local culture. As the trekker climbs higher, both the landscape and the people change. Fruit orchards and paddy fields are replaced by alpine meadow carpeted with wildflowers. The poplar and the majestic chinar trees give way to fir, pine and oak. The simple villagers of the plains are replaced by migrant families of Gujjars: herdsmen who cross the high mountain passes with their cattle in search of greener pastures, living in primitive stone huts that often date back centuries.
The main areas of attraction for the trekker in Kashmir are the Lidder and Sind valleys, which support a number of high altitude meadows, or “margs” as they are locally known. The townships of Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam are the main trekking heads.
Srinagar is the nodal point for trips and excursions to the smaller hill townships. The city is well connected to the rest of the India by air and road. The capital city's main attractions are the architecture of the old town and its twin lakes, Dal and Nagin, around which most of the city's life revolves. Accommodation in Srinagar includes hotels, guesthouses and houseboats to suit all budgets. Of these, houseboats are the most popular, and are an attraction in themselves.
Information about tourist and trekking facilities and approved rates for hotels and houseboats can be obtained by emailing Riyaz Pahktoon (trekking guide) directly. We will arrange equipment, porters, ponies and cooks. Itineraries and routes are customizable to suit all time-frames and levels of ability, at your request.