Overview

Kashmir is famous as a place for vacations with family and friendly for all the right reasons. The popular destinations here are worth a visit. An immense crowd visits Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam every year to enjoy the scenic views that they offer and experience the thrilling activities there. No doubt, they are some of the most renowned tourist spots but there is another side of Kashmir valley that very few travellers know of and visit to explore. The offbeat places of Kashmir give tough competition to the popular places of Kashmir. Located in some of the remotest regions of the country, they are hauntingly stunning and genuine nature-lovers and explorers actually plan to immerse in the beauty there. 

These hidden places in Kashmir are some of the untouched and lesser explored ones whose pristine and serene beauty will blow your mind. Away from the hustle bustle of life, even with minimal services available, you will be at peace there. They are just the ideal destination and some of the most unique places in Kashmir to spend some time with yourself as a solo traveller and find pieces of yourself that you didn’t know existed. 

Since these places are in distant areas of the valley, reaching there by yourself especially if it is your first time can be a bit tricky. The most suggested advice would be to travel with a local travel agency who knows the areas thoroughly.  

At Cliffhangers India, we curate some of the best and personalized itineraries for the offbeat places of India where you get all the inclusions needed in those packages.

Popular Offbeat Tours

Popular Offbeat Destinations In Kashmir

01. Gurez Valley

Gurez Valley

Undoubtedly, the best hidden place in Kashmir is the Gurez Valley with its ancient culture and tradition. The inhabitants here belong to the Shina tribe and are very warm and friendly. 

The houses here are built in the primitive state and you would not see the modern services here but the serenity that this place offers is impossible to get anywhere else. Located in the extreme of Kashmir, you can even visit the areas near the Line of Actual Control(LOC) but you will need the required permissions. You will see the cities and villages of Pakistan across the mountains. 

Some of the must visit places in Gurez include Habba Khatoon Peak via trekking, Kishanganga river where boating is quite popular, Dawar town to shop in the local markets, Razdan Pass, Chakwali, Chorwan etc. If you have extra days, visit scenic spots like Fethkutan, Wular Lake, Tulail Valley, Tragbal Lake etc. 

One of the prime highlights here is the Gurez festival celebrated here, lasting for 3 days. In Gurez Valley, you can do things like Trekking, Fishing and angling, camping, photography, biking and sightseeing tours. 

Summer is the best time to visit Gurez Valley as the enjoyable weather from June to September is quite tolerable and better for sightseeing. To visit Gurez in winters, the only service possible is via a helicopter.

Popular Gurez Valley Tours

02. Daksum Valley

Daksum Valley

Daksum Valley is one of the ideal places to visit on your much-awaited offbeat places trip in Kashmir. The valley is the retired gem of the valley, attracting numerous nature-enthusiasts in recent times. 

Surrounded by the Pir Panjal range, it is situated in the Anantnag District of Kashmir. The place contains abundant lush meadows and thick forests of coniferous trees, walking among them is a joy to the heart and extremely relaxing. Another highlight of the valley is the Bringhi river, slinging the shores of which travellers take nature walks and strolls by the evening. You can do fishing here as well along with other streams in the Anantnag district. Get the permit from the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department. Some other popular activities to do in Daksum Valley are camping in the vast landscapes, bird-watching, photography and exploring the forests of the valley as well. 

On a Daksum Valley trip, you can also get a look of the nearby places like Achabal, Verinag Spring, Kokernag, Sinthan Top etc. 

Summer is an excellent time to visit Daksum Valley with the clear skies and sun is also out and about. The fluctuating temperature remains between 25-30 degree celsius from May to September. 

It is at a short distance of 85 kilometres from Srinagar as there are many transportation options like Cab, bus and taxis that you can take.  

03. Sinthan Top

Sinthan Top

Sinthan top lies between the Kishtwar district and Daksum Valley with most of its part reading in the Kishtwar. One of the less-known tourist places of Kashmir, it is a must-visit place on the off-beat tour of Kashmir. It is always included in the itineraries. Being one of the adventurous and snowy passes of the valley, people often trek to the top of it, getting the rush of adrenaline running through your veins.  The high-altitude pass is located at 12,440 ft above sea level. With more and more people interested in exploring the hidden gems of the valley, it has gained quite a popularity in the last few years. 

The trek to Famber Valley is one of the thrilling things to do here. Engage in photography here, enjoy some picnics, take nature walks here at the Sinthan Top. Camping is one another outdoor activity to do with lying under the star-studded sky and experiencing the magical time, stargazing.

To visit Sinthan Top, June to September is the convenient time as the region is covered in snow all year round. The weather gets extremely bad in winters. It is also closed by the higher authorities most of the time. The distance between Sinthan top and Srinagar is 130 kilometres and it is a motorable road via which journey can be covered in 3-4 hours via cabs, taxis etc. 

04. Chatpal

chatpal

The captivating valley of Chatpal. Is one of the places recently added in the itinerary of the offbeat trips of Kashmir. The valley is located in Shangus, at a distance of about 90 kilometres separate Chatpal from Srinagar. This picturesque region is one of the remotest places in Kashmir but its beauty will bewilder us. The village in the valley is a treat to the eyes. The green landscapes, dense forests and gushing water-streams are the captivating highlights here where people do a bunch of activities. The place can be your ideal getaway from the busy city life and doing some recreational activities to get some tranquillity. The popular activities to do at Chatpal is blending in the beauty of nature with quick strolls by the lakes and rivers. You can check out the apple and walnut orchard flourishing there. 

You can also trek through these stunningly beautiful orchids, you will also come across the people from the Gujjar community with whom you can interact and chit-chat. Enjoy local cuisine with authentic dishes of Kashmir which are best made here. 

The best time to be here is from April to September with warm and balmy weather and tolerable climate. The temperature remains mild too. 

You can take a taxi or automobile to cover the 90 kilometres from Srinagar to be covered in 3-4 hours.  

05. Teetwal Valley

Teetwal Valley

One of the hidden destinations of Kashmir that makes the off-beat tour of the valley very interesting is the Teetwal Valley. Located in the Kupwara District, it’s the last village of Kashmir. The area shares borders with Pakistan. The gushing Kishanganga river separates the valley between India and Pakistan. When you are here, you can literally see the people on the other side of the border and saying hello to them is enjoyable as they too respond back. The water stream, Kishanganga river, is also a major highlight of the Teetwal Village where camping and picnics are  pleasant. Some other outdoor activities to enjoy here are photography, sightseeing, and relishing local cuisine. 

The major places to visit in Teetwal Valley are Sadhna Top, Tangdhar, Sharda Temple etc. you can also visit the local agricultural field where wheat is grown. 

As the place is in close proximity to the India-Pakistan border, one thing comes to mind whether we need permission to visit there. No, we don’t need any kind of permission. However, you will come across some of the checking points, given it is a military sensitive area. 

The distance between Srinagar and Teetwal Valley is about 167 kilometres and about 5- hours is needed to cover the distance. An excellent time to visit the village in the valley is in the summer season, lasting from May to September. 

06. Keran Valley

keran valley

One more region of the Kashmir Valley that is situated very close to the India-Pakistan borders, is the Keran Valley. It is an off-beat place that is at the edge of the borders and you can see the roads and buildings of Pakistan as it  is only metres away from the valley. 

It seems like it is a single place and the border line literally disappears. The postcard perfect region of northern Kashmir, Keran Valley should be on top of your offbeat place itinerary. 

When you are here, you see that it is not a single village but an amalgamation of other villages too like Mundiyan and Pathran. Located at an altitude of about 5550 ft. the valley gives you access to many activities like exploring the breathtaking landscape, visiting the India-Pakistan border, and fishing and camping by the Kishanganga river, running in-between the valley. The popular places to visit in Keran Valley are the Cobra Post, the last post of India, Kishanganga river, Keran Village, etc. 

These border-line villages offer a peak into the traditional himalayan life where homestays are quite popular. 

The distance between Srinagar and Keran Valley is about 85 kilometres and you can cover this distance in about 3-4 hours. Take a bus, taxi or book a cab to reach there. Summer and Autumn season is the preferred time to make plans as the longer daylight hours gives you sufficient time for sightseeing and other activities. 

07. Doodhpathri

Doodhpathri

One of the extremely exotic places to be, Doodhpathri is the ideal destination as the lesser-explored spot of Kashmir. You can achieve genuine tranquillity here. 

Doodhpathri is located in the Budgam district of Kashmir, at a distance of only 45 kilometres from Srinagar city. Nestled in the Pir Panjal Range, it has abundant meadows, water streams and snow-capped mountains. Not only is the entire region stunning, the routes taking you there are full of vast landscapes where vibrant wildflowers bloom to the core.

The major highlights of this tourist attraction is the Shalinga River where sitting for a few hours takes all the stress away. You can enjoy many activities here such as trekking with short trekking trails. Photography, sightseeing, camping .The most popular ones are the Pony rides and ATV rides which take you through Gorgeous meadows , hills and by the water-bodies. 

Given the pleasant weather and moderate temperature, summer is an excellent time to visit Doodhpathri. You can either book a cab or hire a taxi. The motorable roads take you there in an hour or two. 

There are options of staying in cottages or accommodating with the local people there in homestays. Another popular option is camping, lying under the starry and clear skies. 

08. Yusmarg

Yusmarg

Yusmarg, the meadow of Jesus, is believed to be visited by Jesus once and it is also said that he was mesmerised by the beauty here. The place has remained as the untouched region of Kashmir and a slow chirping of birds can be heard clearly. It is an ideal destination to visit to avoid the busy city life for some days. All the off-beat trips include Yusmarg in the itineraries. Nestled by the Pir Panjal Range and also sights of peaks of Tatakooti are witnessed too. One of the major highlights of Yusmarg is the Nilnag which can be visited by pony rides. Pony rides here are quite a popular mode of transportation and trekking is another way too. Thrill-seekers trek to some nearby spots here with treks like Sunset Peak trek, Burgah trek etc. 

Aside from trekking, some other popular and outdoor activities to do at Yusmarg are Skiing in Winters, camping, horse riding, and trout fishing. The streams, lakes and rivers are abode to the brown trout fishes. Places to visit in Yusmarg are Pakherpora Shrine, Charar-i-Sharief, Doodhganga River, Nilnag Lake, Sang-e-Safed, Harijan Dargah, Burgah, Cherry Park etc. Visit these places for sightseeing in summer from April to September. For winter-sports like skiing, snowboarding and sledging, visit from December to February. It is at a distance of just 47 kilometres that can be reached in less than 2 hours. 

09. Watlab

Watlab is a scenic village of Kashmir in the Baramulla District. It is one of the remotest regions of the valley but the captivating beauty is enough to surprise you.  It is at a distance of about 55 kilometres from Srinagar a two hour road trip is sufficient to cover the journey.

Watlab is located on the west side of the serene Wular Lake, offering stunning views of the water-body. It is also one of those places which you can visit. The lake is located at a distance of just 11 kilometres. The largest freshwater lake of India is seen with a lesser crowd and is the best for some tranquil time. You can take a stroll by the shores or simply admire the beauty sitting there. Some other places to visit in Watlab that are in proximity are Gangabal Lake, Apharwat Peak, Alpather Lake etc. You can even go on a wildlife tour to the Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary which is only 33 kilometres away.

One major highlight of the place is the Shrine of Baba Shukurddin where people come to offer their prayers. You can also add it in your itinerary when you are at Watlab. 

There are options of guesthouses and homestays here. The best time to visit Watlab is from May to September as the entire place turns into a gorgeous landscape. 

10. Warwan Valley

Warwan Valley Trek

The antique and pristine region of Kashmir where it feels like you have travelled back in time about 100 years ago is the Warwan Valley. It is located in the Kishtwar District and can only be accessed via Anantnag District. The drive shows you some ethereal and offbeat views. It resembles the Gurez Valley of Kashmir with its remote location and stunning scenery. 

It is a tough competitor to the famous places of Kashmir like Gulmarg, Pahalgam especially in winters when the entire region is turned into winter wonderland. The best time to summer is from June to September when the temperature rises and an excellent timing for sightseeing and other recreational activities like photography, nature walks, stargazing, bird-watching.  The adventurous activities to experience here are Hiking, river rafting, fishing, rock climbing etc. It is at a distance of about 136 kilometres from Srinagar and you can rent vehicles to reach here. The Warwan Valley trek is also famous and is one of the most adventurous ones in the valley.  

Some motels are here to stay with limited service. More options include homestays and camping. It is important to remember that it is a place with very low or no network connectivity so plan your trip according to that, packing all the essentials. 

11. Bangus Valley

Bangus Valley

Bangus Valley is another remote place of the valley that we include in our Offbeat places itinerary. The valley is found in the Kupwara district of Kashmir. In recent times, it has gained quite popularity as the landscapes and meadows present here are just breathtaking. The Big Bangus and small bangus are the two meadows here encircled by peaks such as Chowkibal, Qazinag and Shamsbery. Located at an altitude of about 10,000ft. It is about 128 kilometres away from the city of Srinagar and you can visit here via cabs or taxis through motorable roads. There are basically three routes. First one is from the Mawar side of Handwara and another from the Rajwar side of Handwara. Last option remains from Chowkibal, Kupwara. 

One major highlight of the valley is the Mawri river flowing there, mesmerising travellers with its sheer beauty. Another is the Bnagus trek which you can undertake, taking you to the heart of the valley and also to Lolab valley.  Hence, trekking is an adventurous activity chosen by tourists. More activities accessible here are camping, wildlife safari, camping, sightseeing etc. 

The most appropriate time to visit Bangus Valley is from June to September as the temperature remains moderate with clear views for sightseeing. The river and other water streams had melted too by then. 

12. Lolab Valley

Lolab Valley

Located at an altitude of approximately 1600 m, Lolab Valley is one of the most gorgeous unexplored places of Kashmir. It is found in the Kupwara district in northern Kashmir. Here, you will be blessed with the beauty of snow-laden mountains, giggling river streams and landscape with grasses where walking barefoot is the most soothing thing to do. Some other things to do in Lolab Valley are trekking. Trekking trails of Bangus Valley trek and Lolab Valley trek are the prominent ones. Other recreational activities to enjoy here are sightseeing, photography, and bird-watching. You can experience the thrills of horse-riding as well in this breath-taking valley. 

A major highlight of the valley is the Kalaroos Caves and sitting by the Lahwal River is relaxing as well. On your Lolab trip, visit places like Teetwal Village, Karnah, Keran Valley, Bnagus Valley etc. 

The best time to visit Lolab Valley is from May to September when the weather is pleasant and the valley is dotted with vibrant wildflowers. The temperature, this time of the year, ranges from 15-25 degree celsius. The climate during the winters gets harsh due to heavy snowfall and extreme drop in the mercury level. 

Reach Srinagar via flights or train journey and then the valley from there is at a distance of 114 kilometres and you can take a cab or book a taxi to travel via the National Highway 1A.

13. Athwatoo

athwatoo-bandipora

Last but not the least, Athwatoo is another picturesque remotely located place in the Kashmir Valley that is completely unmissable. This tourist resort is situated in the Bandipora district. Athwatoo literally means the confluence of 8 ways. In the vast grasslands, you will encounter some shepherds grazing their cattles. Connected to Gurez from one side, it also gives you a glimpse of Harmukh peaks from another side. It is at a distance of 11 kilometres from Bandipora and the distance between Athwatoo and Srinagar is just 60 kilometres that can be easily covered in less than 2 hours. 

There are many activities available here to do like hiking, horse riding, village walks, mountain biking etc. Talking about hiking, you get to visit a twin waterfall via one of these hiking trails, walking through forests and by river crossing. Fishing in the Madhumati river is another adventure to do. It forms home to trout fish here. 

Here in Athwatoo, there are some decent huts set up by the Tourism Department and Forest Department. It provides a good option to stay. You can also book lodges to relax by night. 

Lastly, camping is there too. You can pitch your tents by the Madhumati river and enjoy the view on waking up. Summer is the best time to visit Athwatoo from May to September. It is heavily covered in snow in winters and hence inaccessible. 

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    FAQ's

    The northernmost parts of Kashmir are the least explored especially, the ones that share a border with Pakistan. They are strategically significant and people are often afraid to visit there. Those regions are stunning and with required permits, you definitely can visit there. Some of them include Gurez, Athawatoo etc.
    There isn’t a specific one but the one that tops the list is the lake of Gangabal and other lakes nearby. Others include the Krishna ganga river which is also remotely located and has great picnic spots.
    Gurez is the most gorgeous offbeat place of Kashmir. With its widespread landscape and lofty mountains, it is a treat to the eyes. It is a must-include in your offbeat itinerary.
    Some offbeat destinations where visiting would not be regretful are Athwatoo, Warwan valley, Bangus Valley, Sinthan top, Yusmarg, Watlab etc. These places have amazing spots to visit and lots of activities to experience.
    The most special thing about these offbeat places is that they are quite less explored which makes them serene and full of tranquillity. They are highly recommended to have a peaceful time with yourself or your family. The limited services are a kind of a boon. You get to camp under the star studded sky and be cut off from the rest of the world.
    You can reach these places by yourself as there are motorable roads leading to them. Although, it is highly suggested that you rent a private vehicle with a travel agency as they know the best. Do this especially if this is your first time.
    Only a few of them have any kind of hotels with services. They are secluded from the rest of Kashmir and hence the options of accommodation available here are some cottage guesthouses and homestays. In homestays. You live with a local family.  One more option remains camping which is quite popular among thrill-seekers.
    The offbeat places of Kashmir like Gurez, Bangus Valley, Sinthan Top, have an immense number of outdoor activities to do. There are breathtaking trekking trails where you can undertake trekking. Some other activities include river rafting, ATV rides, pony riding, mountain biking, fishing and angling etc. 
    These places are totally safe to visit. Lots of tourists visit here every year. You just need to keep some things in mind like travelling with a travel agency if this is your first time. Be informed about the place and its weather and road conditions. Don’t interact too much with strangers. A light chit chat is enough. 
    Offbeat places of Kashmir gets covered in thick layers of snow and that makes the route and other regions around inaccessible. It gets quite dangerous to drive on the roads with so much snow on them. Summer is better to visit these hidden places of Kashmir.
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