India is a country which draws immense tourism. The home to one of the seven wonders of the world has so many places that visiting all of them would be a difficult task. One popular place in India which outshines every other tourist place in Kashmir. Kashmir is said to be Heaven on earth due to the beauty it possesses. Kashmir can be called the home of breath-taking sceneries. However, there are certain places in Kashmir which still remain unexplored or as it can be said that many people are not aware of these places.
Whenever we talk about Kashmir, the major place which comes to our mind is Srinagar. As a matter of fact, almost 90% of the tourists just visit Srinagar and nearby areas only. However, Kashmir is not just about Srinagar it has many other beautiful places which you might have not heard of. One particular place which comes to my mind when I am talking about unheard places is the Gurez valley. Imagine you are near a valley which has snow covered mountains all around it. This is what the Gurez valley has to offer to you. In this article, I would tell you all you need to know about Gurez Valley
Gurez Valley – Unexplored Gem Of Kashmir
1. A little background
The first thing you need to understand about this place is that in order to reach this iconic place you would have to make a little extra effort. It is located at a distance of about 125 kilometres from Srinagar. If you want to visit Gurez Valley then you need to plan your vacation in the summer or the monsoon. Gurez faces extreme snowfall during the months of winter and the road remains blocked for nearly 6 months. Until the last decade, tourists were not allowed to visit the valley but in 2007 it got added to the tourist spots.
2. Why visit Gurez?
There are numerous places in Kashmir which are easily accessible then why make an additional effort to reach this valley. If you are a person who likes to enjoy the natural beauty and places which are still untouched by men then Gurez valley is the place for you. If you are a person who likes happening places and want to stay in a resort or eat in a fancy restaurant then I would suggest you better stay in Srinagar or go to Manali. This place is meant for all travel enthusiasts who like an adventure. Gurez Valley is located very near to the Line of Control and you could even see Pakistan occupied Kashmir from this place. You would see our brave soldiers protecting us from the border. People those who have visited the place share stories about the interaction with these soldiers.
3. Safety Issue?
In the above point, I had mentioned that the Gurez valley is located near the line of control. I am sure the immediate question which had come to your mind was that is it safe to visit a place like this. Let’s get one thing straight that as long as you are a tourist and you do not intend on planning to climb hills or go off road you are good to go. I would personally request you to stick to the main road when you visit a place like Gurez Valley. You don’t want to end up in a place where you are not supposed to be. If you end up in a place like that before you know it you would be shot by the Indian army. Travel on the main road and don’t look for any extraordinary adventure. Trust me, visiting a place like Gurez valley is an adventure itself.
4. How to reach Gurez Valley?
Like I said in the above point, reaching this place is an adventure itself. The first thing you need to do in order to reach this place is to visit Srinagar. From here, you would need to take the chopper or a road trip. If you have your own car then take the Jammu Srinagar highway or Mughal Road. The better option among both of them would be Jammu Srinagar highway because it is really well maintained. But if you don’t like traffic and willing to take a few bumps due to the road condition then I would suggest you take the Mughal Road. It is nearly a 2-day road trip; so, keep your food supplies accordingly.
If you don’t have a car; then don’t worry reaching Srinagar is a piece of cake. It is very well connected by rail, air and roads. If you take the chopper you would need to visit TRC office in Kashmir and the fare per person would be around Rs. 3000. It would take just 30 minutes to reach Gurez Valley via a helicopter. So, if you are short on time then this is the best option for you.
5. Do I need a permit?
No. You don’t need any permit to visit Gurez Valley; However, you cannot afford to miss out on your identity proof. You would need to cross at least 10 check posts and show your identity proof at all of them. Permits are not required if you want to explore beyond Dawar. If you want to go beyond Dawar then you will have to take a permit from Jammu and Kashmir police station. The officers there would take copies of your aadhar card and after verification, they would issue you the permit. If you are a foreigner then you will need to visit District Commissioner’s office in Srinagar; without the permit, you won’t be able to go past the first check post.
6. Tourist Attractions and Things to do.
If you are making an effort to go to Gurez Valley then make sure you go to each and every tourist spot. The most popular ones are Dawar, Tulel, Wular Lake, Kishen Ganga River, Habba Khatton, Razdan Pass, Chakwali Gurez, Chorwan Gurez, Gurez Dam and Harmukh Peak. One thing you need to understand that Gurez valley is in close proximity to PoK; therefore, there are not many things to do here apart from sightseeing. Don’t even think about trekking here; the army won’t be able to spot the difference between a tourist and a terrorist.
7. Other Important things
Earlier the only option available for lodging was Dak Bungalow, however, in recent years the hotels have increased. If you are on any network apart from Jio, BSNL or MTNL then make sure you inform your parents before travelling. These 3 are the only networks which work here. Electricity is not available in the region; there is a generator which powers the area but that also is used only for specific hours during the day.
These are the 7 things you need to keep in mind when you visit Gurez Valley. Like I said, right at the beginning this place is not meant for everyone. It requires passion and determination to come to this place. So, if you think you have it then pack your bags and come to this place. Don’t worry you won’t regret the effort once you look at the breathtaking views.