Travel+Leisure India and South Asia readers have voted for Jammu & Kashmir as the Best Winter Destination in the recent India’s Best Awards. Here are some of the reasons why we agree with their verdict.
SKI OVER THE SNOW CLAD JAMMU & KASHMIR
Jammu & Kashmir, our delightful heaven on Earth, has been an Indian favourite for decades. Come winter, the state has prepared for winter lovers, a chance to take on the Greater Himalayas from up close. Here’s probably why it’s won the best winter destination this year.
Flashback into the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra’s tryst with Kashmir in his films such as Kabhie Kabhie or Silsila. Or more recently Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone’s Ye Jawaani Hai Diwani where they trek through the snowy mountain (the film passed it as Manali, but we know the truth!). These films and many more frame the beauty of the valley, but the real is much more stunning than the reel. While the summers are colourful with the flowers and the greenery, the winters in Kashmir may let you witness the ‘Paradise on Earth’ that it is. Over the years, Kashmir has honed itself as a winter destination, with places such as Sonmarg, Gulmarg and Pehelgam that are filled in powdered snow and easily accessible. Gulmarg is most popular among the lot for its ski resorts that attract hi-end visitors both from India and overseas – especially Europe. The number rose to as much as 1000 per day in 2015 when they also conducted activities such as snow sculpting and ski championship. While the government moves to Jammu in response to harsh winter of Kashmir, Gulmarg comes to life with tourists and the sports.
And It Gets Even Better!
Looking at the potential the state tourism began pick and drop facilities from its summer capital Srinagar, 50 kilometres away, to encourage the tourists. It also augmented the seat capacity of Gulmarg Gondola to provide enough space to skiers for their equipment and introduced safety officers for zero risk skiing. For awareness, the state also had plans to launch campaign in Europe to attract professional skiers to the slopes of Gulmarg.
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