Preparing well in advance is one of the predominant ingredients for a successful trip. But after my recent trip to Kashmir, I realized that the internet is full of misinformation about this captivating place. There were so many important things that no one told me and hence I decided to write this blog post. I have jotted down a list of things to remember before travelling to Kashmir. So, if you are planning a trip to this heavenly land and want some advice, read on.
The first question that unfortunately pops in everybody’s head when we talk about things to remember before traveling to Kashmir is, ‘Is it safe?’ In one word, the answer is- Yes. It is absolutely safe to travel to this Paradisical place. The locals are friendly and often go out of their way to help others. I was fortunate enough to live with a native family and was in total awe of how welcoming they were. Kashmir is one of the highest militarized zones in the world. You will see the military almost everywhere. But tourists are never attacked or troubled without a reason in Kashmir.
Google told me to reach 3 hours before the departure, but it didn’t tell me that Srinagar airport is an exceptional case and you should be at the airport at least 4-5 hours before the boarding time and NOT the departure. There are almost 4-5 security checks before you receive your boarding pass and each security check has a long queue. I almost missed my flight, had to leave all the check-in luggage at the airport, and run with my cabin luggage *It still gives me chills when I think about the entire scene!* Also, before you board the plane, make sure you get your luggage identified because if you fail to do so, you won’t be able to receive your luggage later. Do not take any pictures inside the Srinagar airport.
Prepaid sims don’t work in Jammu and Kashmir, so get an active postpaid sim before traveling to Kashmir, unless you want any communication with the outside world.
I prepared myself for the weather and thought I was carrying everything that would be required, but you should remember before travelling to Kashmir that the weather is very erratic and doesn’t go by the books! Carry a few emergency clothes, spare footwear, socks, quick-dry clothes, sunglasses, a protective cap, a multi-utility shawl, etc.
The emergency situations-
There are frequent power cuts in some of the areas. It is advisable to carry a power bank with you when travelling to Kashmir. Also, there are very few mobile electronics markets, so take enough memory cards for your camera or mobile as you wouldn’t want to miss any shots! An umbrella, snow boots, a waterproof pouch for the valuables and documents, etc.
Kashmir is still, unfortunately, a conflict zone, so there are a lot of security checks. You need to always carry a valid and original identity proof to be on the safer side. They do not accept xerox copies at checkpoints.
When you travel to Kashmir, you can buy the tickets for most of the attractions at the entrance, but a few attractions need to be booked online beforehand, for e.g. Gulmarg Gondola ride. So, keep this in mind and check all the information before travelling to Kashmir. Check out these.
When Emperor Jehangir declared Kashmir to be the Paradise on Earth, he was absolutely not exaggerating. The snow-clad mountains, the greenery, serene lakes, the weather—everything makes Kashmir an enchanting destination. But the warmth of Kashmir comes from the Kashmiris. I stayed with a local family. These people are a few of the warmest people I have ever met. Jammu and Kashmir is one of the states where there is zero crime record against tourists. Kashmir has one of the lowest crime rates in India. I rarely hear crimes against women in Kashmir, making it an ideal place for female travellers. While these were some of the things to remember before travelling to Kashmir for everyone, do let me know if I missed out on any point. Also, if you are a travel enthusiast, don’t miss this.