Are you planning a family vacation? or maybe a weekend getaways from Delhi or Punjab with your friends? You might be browsing through the internet to get good ideas about some places to visit and let me guess traveling to alluring hill stations of Northern India might somewhere be on the top of your list. Well, if that’s the case, then have a look at some of these amazing places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir and an unexplored destination which might surprise you with its adventuresome atmosphere. Let’s get into it.
Located at about 5200 ft. above the sea level, Vaishno Devi is one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The cave-styled sanctorium is devoted to goddess Mahalakshmi and is visited by millions of devotees every year with a belief that whatever they wish for will come true if they visit there with a pure heart.
Reaching the Bhawan from the foothills is an experience in itself. There are a few options available, you can either trek from base camp to the temple, book the helicopter service which starts from Katra on the foothills and the flight will drop you at Sanjichhat, or hire the Pony, Porter, and Palanquin services to ease your journey.
One of the most common questions that pop up in people’s minds after completing the pilgrimage is what are some other places to visit in Katra besides Vaishno Devi temple or what are some other places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir other than Vaishno Devi? Well, there might be not a lot to do in Katra but you can visit the mall road which is the perfect place for devotees and tourists to buy a few souvenirs.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – If one is preferring to travel by air, then the Jammu airport, located at 50 kms is the nearest airport. Alternatively, Udhampur railway station is the closest railway station from which cabs can take directly to Vaishno Devi. Also, deluxe buses and cabs are available from Jammu city.
Believed to be one of the oldest structures in the city of Jammu, Bahu Fort was built around 3000 years ago by Raja Bahulochan of the Dogra dynasty. This magnificent Fort stands tall on the banks of river Tawi and is a major tourist attraction.
This fort provides history enthusiasts, photographers, and nature lovers with amazing opportunities to spend their share of time with nature and appreciate it.
The Mahakali temple built within the fort makes it a holy place for the devotees. The popular Bahu Mela held during the Navratri, in the fort, twice a year, attracts thousands of tourists and worshipers of Kali.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – Bahu Fort can be easily accessed by taxi as the fort is within the city range.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
Situated in the heart of the old walled city of Jammu and famed for its archaeological significance and astounding narratives, this grand abode was the main seat for maharajas of the Dogra dynasty till 1925 and is now one of the main tourist attractions of Jammu.
Various buildings and complexes such as Darbar Hall, the Pink Palace, Royal Courts, Gol Ghar, Hawa Mahal, the Toshakhana palace, and the Sheesh Mahal, which is made entirely of glass, are encompassed within the walls of this palace.
The oldest complex in this palace dates back to the early 18th century and has seen its share of time and accumulated specimens from the past making Mubarak Mandi Palace one of the best places to visit in Jammu for history buffs.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – Mubarak Mandi Palace is located within the heart of Jammu city and can be easily travelled by taking a taxi in Jammu city.
Peer Kho Cave
Peer Kho cave is the oldest site in the Shivalik region and attracts thousands of devotees during Shivratri and other Hindu festivals.
Situated along the banks of river Tawi, the Peer Kho cave temples are remnants linked with the instances from the Ramayana. The legend has it that the King of bears, Jambavan, meditated in this cave which is why the place is alternatively known as Jambavan Cave.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – The best way to reach the Peer Kho Cave is by taking a taxi from Jammu city which is located not more than 4 kms.
Encompassed by the dense forest cover of the deodar forests and archaic temples, Mansar Lake is a popular excursion site in Jammu and is one of the popular places to visit near Vaishno Devi.
The Sheshnag shrine on the eastern bank of the lake makes it a sacred place for the newlyweds who perform three Parikrama (circum-ambulations) around the lake to seek the blessings of Sheshnag, the lord of serpents. The temples on the shore of Mansar Lake makes it a popular spot among the devotees.
During the summer season, the lake is swarming with lotus flowers blooming on its surface. Tourists also engage in bird watching around the lake during this season. The lake also offers breathtaking views for capturing amazing pictures of the changing hues of the sky at dawn and dusk.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – Best way to reach Mansar Lake is to take NH1A bypass road to Surinsar road and continue 2-hour drive through wildlife sanctuary to reach Mansar Lake.
The Summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, is situated on the banks of the Jhelum river. The stationary houseboats and colourful Shikaras in Dal Lake along with some of the most admirable Mughal-age gardens in India make Srinagar the perfect place to be.
Apart from being a tourist attraction, the many mosques and temples in this city attract lots of pilgrims every year as well.
The carpet and silk mills, silverware and copperware manufacture, leatherworking, and wood carving make Srinagar an ideal place for shoppers.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – Srinagar Airport is located around the city which is the easiest mode of travel. One can also travel to Udhampur railway station, from which taxis can be hired or if one is a travel enthusiast, an approx. 6 hour drive from Jammu city can be covered through beautiful hills and mountains.
Located at an altitude of about 2700 meters above the sea level, Gulmarg is an adventure hub of India popular for skiing and mountaineering.
Popularly known as the “Heartland of winter sports in India”, Gulmarg is voted as Asia’s seventh best ski destination. Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat and are reachable by a Gondola lift.
Apart from being the destination for winter sports, the famous Maharani temple and St. Mary’s church attracts pilgrims to Gulmarg.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – The beautiful meadow of Gulmarg can only be reached by roadways which is well connected to Srinagar at almost 50 kms, though Srinagar can be reached by multiple ways including airways, roadways and even railways.
Located at about 6600 ft. above the sea level, Patnitop is a hilltop tourist attraction place in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir and is one of the most popular places to visit near Vaishno Devi.
The dense woods, lush greenery of Pines, and tracks that lead to pockets of scenic views make it a perfect destination for adventure activities.
Skyview Patnitop is one such unexplored destination for adventure activities including a gondola ride, zipline, magic carpet, tubing sledge, and ropeway making it one of the best adventure places in India.
The ropeway at Skyview Patnitop is one of the highest ropeways in India with over 65 meters. of ground clearance and the longest span of 849 meters between 8 towers and is quickly becoming popular among the tourists and adventure buffs.
This ropeway is set in a scenic countryside view where you can see the beautiful mountains. Starting from Sanget, the lower terminal, this ropeway makes you reach the beautiful Patnitop in about 10-12 minutes.
The ropeway adheres to CEN (European) standard certification making it one of the safest ropeway in the world.
In addition to adventure activities, Skyview Patnitop offers a variety of cuisine representing Asian, Indian, and Continental, through multiple outlets.
There is a Kids Zone also which is equipped with slides, swings, trampolines, etc. giving something to enjoy for everyone visiting.
The perfect blend of adventure, food, and mesmerizing scenic views makes Skyview Patnitop one of the best places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir with your family.
BEST WAY TO TRAVEL – Patnitop can be reached by a local bus or taxi from Jammu city which would take an approx. 3-4 hours. The nearest railway station to Patnitop is Udhampur Railway station, from where buses and taxi regularly ply to Patnitop.