Planning a trip to Kashmir soon? Well, there are numerous options available for you to reach the Valley. Sure, you can opt for the easy way and book a flight but there’s no fun in it. (Read our article on why you should ditch a flight here). But if you are looking for some adventure and loads of fun, fill up the tanks and hit the road! Yes, we are talking about a road trip to Kashmir.
Since the distance between Jammu and Srinagar is near about 300 kilometers you need to start early in the morning.
Once you leave from Jammu and start traversing along the Jammu Srinagar national highway, you will get to see some of the most beautiful landscapes you will ever witness in your life. After leaving Jammu, your next pit stop should be at Chenani. A small hilly village located on the sidelines of the highway, Chenani doesn’t have beautiful landscapes or forests. However, most of the travelers still stop here and enjoy the lip smacking breakfast served here with the traditional kashmiri chai (noon chai). It is available at all the local tea stalls. Having breakfast in the chilling morning breeze at a tea stall in Chenani is a completely spiritual experience.
After filling your belly with sufficient fuel you will now be ready to take up the rest of the exhausting yet beautiful journey ahead.
Once you leave Chenani you have two options- you can either travel through a tunnel and reach Nasri directly or you can travel through road and reach Nasri via Kud and Patnitop.
If you plan to not travel through the tunnel then your next stop is going to be at Kud.
Kud is again a small village but it is famous for its sweets. The shops in Kud make the finest patisa and kalakand in the entire North Indian region. Almost everyone stops at one of the many sweet shops to feast on the mouthwatering sweets prepared over there using the local ingredients.
After having a taste of the local sweets at Kud, you start driving towards Patnitop. Although the road ahead of is not well maintained, you surely won’t complain. Why? Because the road is cut beautifully through a mountain and you will literally be traveling through the forest. The view is so mesmerizing that you wouldn’t even notice the poorly maintained road.
Your final major stop before reaching your destination would be Patnitop. A hill station where people come to chill, Patnitop has a handful of restaurants and hotels. If you are tired from the journey, you can stay overnight here and unwind.
From Patnitop, it’s a downhill drive upto Peeda. It is a place where you get served with some tasty lunch. Peeda is famous for rajma-rice served at various restaurants located there. One must stop there and grab a bite. I’m sure you won’t be satiated with just a bite though!
Moving on from Peeda, the road is constructed along the Chenab river. It is a beautiful drive bringing something new at every turn. It sure doesn’t let you get bored.
After traveling a few kilometers from Peeda, you reach Banihal where you travel through one of the oldest tunnels in India- the Jawaharlal Nehru tunnel and reach Qazigund. You can stop in Qazigund and have the traditional kashmiri tea (again) or continue driving. From there onwards the road is completely smooth and within two hours you would set down your feet in Srinagar.
The journey on the Jammu Srinagar highway is a completely different experience altogether. It not only offers you to take a look at the beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers but you also get served with delicious food and sweets along the way which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
So whenever you are traveling to Kashmir, I suggest you to ditch your flight. It will not only save your money but this journey by road would give you some unforgettable memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
Edited by Mrinaal Datt
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