Is Kashmir Safe for Tourists to Travel in 2020?

by Vargis.Khan

This post is the first in a series of articles detailing a recent trip that I just made to Kashmir. We traveled to some known destination as well as some remote areas of the state; places that only a few people have heard the name of. On a certain day of the trip, we actually reached the last point till where civilian vehicles were allowed. Standing there, I could clearly see the India – Pakistan border; hills that I was told by the soldiers there were part of Pakistani territory. After returning from the trip, when I sat down to write about my experience, it just made sense to first answer the question that I have been most frequently asked; both before and after the trip. Is Kashmir safe for tourists?

To be honest, there is really no direct yes or no answer to this question. I have always believed that a person’s safety is in their own hands. It is driven by their own judgements, decisions and actions. The same rule applies to Kashmir as well; and to any other destination as a matter of fact. My idea of writing this article is not to pass a verdict on whether or not Kashmir is safe for tourist; but rather to jot down a few of my own observations. Being as neutral as I can, I will just mention the facts that I observed; and you can then decide whether or not you want to travel to Kashmir.

Is Kashmir safe for tourist now?

Let me first answer your question that you probably came seeking the answer to here; and after that, you can decide whether or not to read the remaining of this article. Is Kashmir safe to go now? I am updating this article now on February 17th of 2020 and as of now, Yes, Kashmir is safe to visit. Internet connectivity is restored and life is back to normal. But your safety also depends on several other factors which I have covered in the article below.

If there is any change to this statement, I will update the article accordingly.

If you are planning a trip to Kashmir and were planning to hire a taxi, I will recommend contacting Salman Gulzar at 788 953 9008. He is a reliable guy and will ensure that your trip remains hassle free.

is kashmir safe for tourists

Is Kashmir safe for Tourists after 370?

Is Kashmir safe to visit after the removal of Article 370? The answer to this question as well is the same as above. As of right now, life is slowly coming back to normal there. Internet connectivity is still not restored but tourists have started to visit the valley.

Now let us talk in a little more detail about the whole safety issue of tourists in Kashmir and whether or not you should go.

Is Kashmir Safe for Tourists?

This was not really my first time in Kashmir. I have been there before a few times, but only while on my way to Ladakh. So during those trips, I only covered the Jammu – Srinagar highway; stayed in Srinagar for a night; and then traveled to Leh while crossing towns like Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg and Drass on the way. This was more of a passing through rather than visiting Kashmir. So this time, my idea of the trip was to arrive in Srinagar and then spend days while exploring Kashmir.

Also Read: How to Plan your Trip to Gulmarg?

The itinerary I prepared included famous destinations like Gulmarg and Pahalgam; and some interior and remote areas that rarely any tourists goes to. A more detailed write up of the trip will follow later but the questions and the opinions I encountered were more or less the same; irrespective of the place.

The first thing that you would notice after arriving here is that it is just the usual everyday people. People you will meet in any part of India. People going about their daily lives trying to make ends meet. It is just the regular shops, tea stalls, dhabas; portraying a perfect image of how any Indian city looks on an average day. There is no monster lurking in the dark; ready to pounce upon and kill you. There are no sinister people around eyeing you suspiciously. It is just another day in just another place for common people like you and I. You will walk down the roads and nobody will even notice you.

The Opinion of the Locals

And then you will finally get talking to some of the locals and tell them that you are a tourist there. Shortly after, you will be presented with the question that I guess is on every Kashmiri’s mind. I will quote here, not exactly word by word, but the gist of the story is more or less the same.

“ So what did you think? What is your observation? Did you feel threatened here? Do you think Kashmir is unsafe? Were you harmed in any way? Media always portrays such a negative impression about Kashmir, scaring people from visiting here. Did you notice anything negative? What will you tell about us when you go back home?”

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Srinagar

Every single person I spoke to in Kashmir asked me this set of questions. They are all just so worried about what rest of the country thinks and talks about them. I won’t be exaggerating if I said that to some extent, it hurts them deeply to know that people of India think of Kashmir as a sinister and dangerous place. And I am really talking about the educated and sensible lot here; not the ones that get involved in the stone pelting incidents. After seeing all the clashes with armed forces and the violence on TV, it was really a little hard to believe watching these people worry about their image.

So Is Kashmir safe for tourist now?

Am I then saying that there is nothing wrong in Kashmir and all is well? Of course not. I noticed at several places walls like in the picture below; texts about freedom and an “Azad Kashmir”. There was one instance when I clearly heard someone shout “Pakistan Zindabad” from a car that drove by. No one can deny the fact that there have been incidents of tourists getting hurt and dying in Kashmir.

is kashmir safe for tourists

But once you start talking to people in Kashmir, you will realize that they all have different opinions on the matter. Some people are happy with the state being a part of India while others think it would have been better if they were a part of Pakistan. Some people would be in favor of Kashmir being an independent state; not tied to either India or Pakistan. Majority of the people however cannot care less as long as they are left to go through their lives peacefully. This is the average common man who is only concerned with the safety of his family and loved ones.

During my trip, I celebrated Eid in Srinagar; rode through the Srinagar city in dead of the night; visited areas like Shopian and not even once I was bothered by anyone anywhere. If it wasn’t for our motorcycles, I don’t think anyone would even have noticed us. If you travel through remote Kashmir villages, you will hear comments like “Ye aazadi vazadi sab Srinagar walo ka drama hai, hamein kya matlab is sabse”. These are the villagers, the shepherds who are only driven by earning their daily meals and keeping their families fed. They don’t know or care about the politics of all of it.

How to Travel to Kashmir Safely

There are several things that I observed in Kashmir that are worth mentioning but it will just result in a way too long post. I will add those details later in the travelogue but for now, let me answer the question of whether or not Kashmir is safe for tourists. The answer is a definite yes as long as you practice a few precautions as mentioned below.

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Yusmarg?

Do your Home Work

Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is what I call it. This is the first and most important part of the trip. Before you leave home, make sure that you keep a close check on the news for any word on protests or violence. Now when I say violence, I do not mean the clashes and encounters that go on between Indian army and the militants. That over last few decades has becomes an everyday routine here. Militants continue to cross the border over and our armed forces continue to kill them one by one. This happens in areas close to the border or remote villages and you will not be bothered by this too much.

What will however definitely impact you is incidents like curfew or wide-spread stone pelting in the valley. If there has been continued violence for several days altogether in multiple parts of Kashmir, then you are better off cancelling your trip and wait for things to calm down..

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Gurez Valley

Stick to main tourist Areas

Tourism plays a great part in the lives of the people of Kashmir. A major part of their livelihood depends on it and even they realize it. They will do their best to ensure that tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Sonamarg, and Pahalgam do not get disrupted by any protests. They do so to ensure that the tourist flow in the valley continues.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t help much because people are still afraid to visit here anyways. But if you were planning to travel to Kashmir, then you are better off keeping only the main tourist routes in your itinerary. Avoid going towards remote regions.

 I am not saying that you cannot do so because even I traveled through some remote areas as well but that is not really everyone’s cup of tea.  Just to be on a safer side, for your first trip to Kashmir, stick to the main tourist areas and avoid the lesser known places.

Once you have been to the state and have an idea about things here, you can then plan on visiting rest some other areas. Even the clashes between Indian Army and militants usually  happens in the small far off villages that you should avoid.

Stay on the main routes

This will apply for both Srinagar city and rest of Kashmir. Stay on the main roads and highways. While in Srinagar city, do not go wandering around in “narrow galiyan” or local “mohallas” where you have no business visiting. When going to other tourist places, stick to main highways and do not take any shortcuts through some villages.

Also Read: How to Plan your Journey on Mughal Road?

Avoid Google Maps

This will be in continuation of the point above. Google Maps by default will show you the quickest way possible; which may include getting off the main road and crossing through residential colonies. If you are on a motorcycle then it will try to navigate you through some really narrow streets and slum type areas. This happened with me as well a few times and I even had to turn the bike around after getting stuck in a narrow Gali.

Unknowingly, you may end up in the middle of an ongoing protest. Because Google can only tell you whether or not there is a road; but it cannot tell you the current ongoing on that road. All the times when a tourist ended up getting hurt in Kashmir are when they ended up being in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

Hence, you should just stay on main broad roads and if you are not sure, then ask the locals, cops or Indian Army personals for directions. If it was unsafe to head in a particular direction, they will immediately tell you to turn around or take an alternate way. I would advise against relying on Google maps here.

Be a Tourist

When you are in Kashmir, you got to be a tourist and be as loud about it as you can. Do not act like you belong here. Hang a huge camera around your neck, put a hat on or hold a map in your hands. The idea is to let others know that you are a tourist here. People of Kashmir are very sensitive towards tourists and will do anything to ensure their safety. There have been incidents when the entire stone pelting stopped because a tourist got caught in between.

Get a Postpaid Connection

Prepaid connections do not work in Kashmir so it would be wise to get a postpaid connection before traveling here. BSNL has the widest coverage here so if possible at all, get a BSNL / MTNL postpaid connection. If not, then at least carry a postpaid SIM with you because the moment you cross over into Kashmir, your prepaid phone will be as good as paper weight.

Keep a Local Contact

I know it will not be an option for majority of the tourists but if you have a local contact in Kashmir, it would work for better. That way, if something goes wrong, then you will have a local person that you can rely on.

During my trip, I stayed at Hotel Grand Valley Inn and the folks over there were very nice. It is run by a family who lives nearby. The hotel is quite close to Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Dal Lake so location-wise too it is a great choice. Their number is 9906571500. You can give them a call and if it works out, can plan your stay here.

Also Read: Hotel Grand Valley Inn – A Great Place to Stay in Srinagar

Stay inside the Hotel

If things go wrong while you were in Kashmir, then stay inside your hotel for as long as required and only try to get out when things calm down. Do not take a chance of crossing through while the problem still remains. No one is going to attack you inside the hotel but you may become a victim if you were out on the roads amidst the violence.

Do not be where you do not Belong

And by this, I mean areas where you know something may go wrong. I will quote an example here. My trip to Kashmir happened to be in the same week that Eid was. I did not plan it that way but rather booked the tickets without checking the date of Eid. So while I was there, I did not go to Eidgah in Srinagar for my Eid prayers because I was told by the locals that there is a high chance that things may go wrong there. I offered my prayers at a local mosque instead. Similarly, you should too stick to areas where as a tourist you will go. Do not be curious and go wandering around in all the wrong places.

Limit Alcohol to Strictly Indoors

Kashmir is a 90% Muslim area so you got to be careful with your alcohol consumption. Is Alcohol allowed in Kashmir? Yes it is but you will not find it at all the places. There are a few shops in Srinagar city selling alcohol and even most of the hotels here have that arrangement. But at other places like Gulmarg, Sonamarg or Pahalgam, there are no liquor stores so you will have to carry your own. Do not however consume it openly. Respect the feelings of the people around you and do not do something that will offend them. Even in Srinagar, there is no place that will allow you to sit down in open and have a few drinks with your friends.

Also Read: How to visit Gulmarg in Winter

So while traveling through Kashmir, keep your alcohol consumption strictly indoors. Have a few drinks with your friends in your hotel room and go to sleep afterwards. Do not drink openly or decide to take a late night walk while you are drunk. At best, you will get frowned upon by everyone around you or get arrested for it. At worst, you may get in trouble with the locals and cause hurt to yourself.

Dress in an Appropriate Manner

This will apply mostly to ladies only. You got to remember that you are visiting Kashmir, not Goa. You cannot afford to be walking around here in shorts or mini-skirts. True, that you will not really get arrested for it but will also not be appreciated.

You will be in a city where every woman will be covered from head to toe so you do not want to stand the odd one out wearing revealing outfits. I know it is really a personnel choice but the rule that applies is quite simple, “if you want the people around you to respect you and treat you well, then you got to respect their values and feelings”.

Wearing short dresses in Kashmir will seem disrespectful to a lot of people and you should avoid that.

FAQs

Below are some most commonly asked questions about visiting Kashmir.

Q1. Is Kashmir safe for Indian Tourists?

Yes, Kashmir is totally safe for both Indian and foreign tourists as long as you follow the tips that I mentioned above.

Q2. What is the best time to visit Kashmir?

You can travel to Kashmir at any time of the year as per your own convenience. Just avoid around monsoon season, in the month of Ramadan and around 15th August.

Q3. Is it safe for a non-Muslim to travel to Kashmir?

If you were wondering whether or not it is safe for a Hindu, Christian or a person from any other religion to visit Kashmir than my answer again would be a Yes. Just follow the tips I mentioned above and you will be OK. Contrary to common belief, a lot of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians actually live in Srinagar and have their businesses running. It is not Muslim population there.

Q4. Is Gulmarg safe for tourists?

Gulmarg is one of the main tourist hubs of Kashmir and is very safe for tourists. It hardly gets affected by any unrest in Srinagar.

Q5. Is Pahalgam safe?

After Gulmarg, Pahalgam is the second biggest tourist magnet in Kashmir and is very safe for tourists.

Q6. Is Sonamarg Safe?

Sonamarg actually gets more tourists than any other part of Kashmir and that is because it is on the Srinagar Leh Highway; and hence a part of Ladakh circuit. You will find a lot of families, bikers and adventure enthusiasts visiting Sonamarg and it is completely safe.

Q7. Is Kashmir Safe for women travelers?

It does not matter whether you were traveling in a group accompanied by men, or all girls or a solo woman traveler; as long as stick to the main tourist areas and do not put yourself in harm’s way, Kashmir is completely safe for women to travel to.

Q8 . Is Kashmir safe for tourists in 2020?

Kashmir has been a year of some major incidents in the valley. First, it was the Pulwama attack and now the removal of Article 370. However, there has not been a major unrest in the valley because of either of these incidents. Still, it is strictly advised that you keep an eye on the news before you decide to visit Kashmir.

Is Kashmir Safe for Tourists – Conclusion

And I think that pretty much covers it all. As long as you follow the points above and keep yourself safe, you will travel through a very scenic part of our country and return home safely.

Amarnath Yatra happens every year, no one is bothering them. In fact, when Amarnath Yatris got stuck after the floods of 2014, it were the Kashmiri people who kept them fed and cared for until they were evacuated. There are temples here in the valley. The Maharani temple in Gulmarg sits atop a hill in a Muslim majority region and it is safe and well cared for. There is a church as well there barely 2 minutes of walk away. You will find “Om” written at several places on the walls as you travel through; I saw one in Shopian. There are several Sikhs living in Srinagar and plenty of Hindus running a “Shudh Vaishno Dhaba” in Srinagar city itself.

If Kashmir was really as menacing as everything thinks, all this would have vanished long ago. A local out here said to me “Aap Kashmir ko Dil se Jeeto, Zor se nahi” and I agree to it. Visit here, experience the scenic beauty and make these people realize that they are part of a larger dream that we all call “India”.

I hope the information posted above was of help. In next part of this article, I have provided details of my Kashmir trip, including the itinerary I followed and places visited. If you have any other questions; please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

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127 comments

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Mrs Subrata September 30, 2020 - 4:15 pm

Hii virgins
I want to travel with my family in kashmir, actually this is third time trip of Kashmir,but now days the situation is different for corona & india Kashmir issue, can travel with my family in last month of October?is gurez valley is safe for staying 1 / 2 days, please give me a little guidelines about this
Thank u

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Jyoti Joshi November 17, 2020 - 3:16 pm

Hi Vargas,
Your blog is super helpful.. after nearly 1 yr of corona situation finally we are planning to visit Kashmir specially Gulmarg .. is it safe to visit now .. along with my husband and two kids of 12 and 6 yrs respectively.. how is the sanitization facility there during skiing and also most important question is it safe for us .. also when can we expect snowfall my kids are so curious to doing skiing as well .. Your help / answer will be highly appreciated .. or shall we go to Shimla Manali

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Sheba September 18, 2020 - 1:24 pm

Hi Vargis,

I had a few queries. My husband and I are planning to go to Kashmir in October. We have an acquaintance living there but we would mostly be touring around without them.
1) Is it okay to travel now if we are tested negative Covid-19
2) Can we take our own car from Delhi to Srinagar and then Kashmir or is it better to take a flight?
3) Can we hire a self-drive car in Srinagar? Or is better to book a rented taxi

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APURBA DAS March 18, 2020 - 11:23 am

HI VARGIS,
WE R PLANING KASHMIR IN THE MONTH OF APRIL. BUT WONDERING ABOUT CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. HAVING ANY CHANCES THAT THERE ANY TOURIST PLACES MAY BE CLOSE THAT TIME ? I KNOW IT IS REALLY TOUGH TO SAY BUT I WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY TOURIST PLACES ARE THERE WHERE PUBLIC GATHERINGS ARE TOO MUCH AND CHANCES MIGHT BE CLOSE ?

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Vargis.Khan March 18, 2020 - 3:35 pm

I will strongly advise you to not travel right now. Corona cases have been detected in Kashmir as well. Better stay at home and wait for the pandemic to pass.

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Shubham Patel February 28, 2020 - 9:00 am

Hello Virgis,

Nice explanation.
I am planning to visit kashmir in starting of Apriol ( 2-6 ) with my fiancee. Please let me know the weather and where snow could be found at that time . Also please light on the situation of Kashmir right now is it safe to visit at this time.

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Shubham Patel February 28, 2020 - 9:00 am

Hello Virgis,

Nice explanation.
I am planning to visit kashmir in starting of Apriol ( 2-6 ) with my fiancee. Please let me know the weather and where snow could be found at that time . Also please light on the situation of Kashmir right now is it safe to visit at this time.
Also please can you explain the situation of kashmi

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Malcolm February 19, 2020 - 8:38 pm

Hi there…I’m arriving Srinagar on the 24th of Feb 2020…..there are 2 of us..we will then proceed to gulmarg…what would be the best mode of travel to gulmarg?..

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Vargis.Khan February 20, 2020 - 2:27 pm Reply
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SUBHA M K February 16, 2020 - 5:55 pm

Hi, first of thank you for the wonderful blog about visiting Kashmir. It had cleared many of my doubts about visiting the valley. I’m planning for a trip in the month of May 2020. I know it’s not possible to be sure of the situation in May now. But I would I like to know if we would see any snow covered places during May? Anywhere in higher altitude tourist places??

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Vargis.Khan February 17, 2020 - 2:19 am

The only place you would find snow in May is at top of Zoji La Pass near Sonamarg.

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Ramesh Mundra February 16, 2020 - 3:25 pm

Hi, Vargis , Thank you very much of support to traveler to Kashmir, Your support is lots for us, I need to know that I am planning for 7 days family vacation in Mid May, I will travel from Mumbai, can you pls help me with best itinerary for 7 days, Pls let me know if any advance booking for any ride or any place there to visit, it would be great help if you can share me reliable taxi operator no for 7 days taxi hire.Thanking you !!

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Vargis.Khan February 17, 2020 - 2:22 am

Thank you Ramesh.

Please contact Salman Gulzar at 788 953 9008 in Srinagar. Give my reference and he will quote you the best possible price. He can also help you with any other bookings as well. What time is your flight in and out of Srinagar?

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viral Sheth February 2, 2020 - 7:39 pm

Is Kashmir safe in month of April 2020 we are planning family trip from Mumbai

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Vargis.Khan February 3, 2020 - 4:33 pm

It is safe to go right now but cannot really say anything about April right now.

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Dr Anand Nair October 29, 2020 - 9:48 am

Hi sir , am planning of my honeymoon in above mentioned places on November 4 is it safe to visit Kashmir on h that time , I already booked the ticket to Srinagar, but my colleague are keep o. Telling because of the new law release, there will be high chance of protests and all so now am in a big confusion, whether go or not, pls help me out of this I took the Kashmir package from one mr arshed . It’s my honeymoon pls help me with ur suggestions

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Anand Nair October 29, 2020 - 9:49 am

Hi sir , am planning of my honeymoon in above mentioned places on November 4 is it safe to visit Kashmir on h that time , I already booked the ticket to Srinagar, but my colleague are keep o. Telling because of the new law release, there will be high chance of protests and all so now am in a big confusion, whether go or not, pls help me out of this I took the Kashmir package from one mr arshed . It’s my honeymoon pls help me with ur suggestions

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Agnivo Bose February 2, 2020 - 6:44 pm

I am planning to visita family trip to Leh .. I will be there on the 1st of July 2020.. This is during the Amarnath Yatra time…. So I will just reach Srinagar in the afternoon and sleep over night in a houseboat and move towards Kargil the next day.. Do u think we should continue with our plan?

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Vargis.Khan February 3, 2020 - 4:34 pm

Can’t really comment on how it will be in July.

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Krishna February 1, 2020 - 3:00 pm

Hello Vargis, I am from Bangalore and would like to know if it will be fine to plan for Kashmir and Ladakh family trip from April 30th to May 10th 2020, both weather wise and security wise? Also, will the Srinagar-Leh highway be open in May 1st week?

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Vargis.Khan February 2, 2020 - 3:28 pm

Hi Krishna – Yes both places are find to visit right now.

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lakshmi January 27, 2020 - 5:04 am

Hi Vargis, really Thanks for your information. We are planning to visit Srinagar on 23rd May 2020 to 27th May 2020 with our two kids. How would be the climate there at that time. Please help me out at this point as the kids are of 7 and 4 years old.

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Vargis.Khan January 27, 2020 - 2:51 pm

Hi Lakshmi – May is fine. The weather will be pleasant during the day and pleasantly cold at morning and evening. Carry some light woolens, a jacket and your regular cottons.

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lakshmi January 28, 2020 - 5:05 am

ok. Thanks for your information.

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Vargis.Khan January 28, 2020 - 6:25 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Ravi Shah January 25, 2020 - 6:42 pm

Hi Vargis.. Your blog is very nice and gives lot of insight on how the situation is in Kashmir.. Me and my wife are planning to travel to Kashmir from 1st to 4th Feb and as advised by you we will stick to main destination like Srinagar and Gulmarg only
.. do you think it is a good time to visit ?? and do you have any local taxi contact to drop us from Srinagar airport to Gulmarg ??

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Vargis.Khan January 25, 2020 - 11:16 pm

Thanks Ravi. Yes, it is OK to travel as of now. Please contact Hashim Ali at 7051909192 (Primary) or 9622222987 (Secondary) for taxi.

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Hari January 16, 2020 - 5:17 am

Hello Vargis…I am planning to visit Gulmarg,Pahalgham and Srinagar from Feb19th to 23rd 2020 with my wife and kid who is 4 years old… Is it safe to travel with my kid??

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Vargis.Khan January 17, 2020 - 1:06 am

Hi Hari – It is terribly cold in Gulmarg and Pahalgam but other than that, OK to go.

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Hari January 17, 2020 - 9:58 am

Thank you Vargis..Your blog is extremely helpful.Happy that you take time to help unknown people.
I will be travelling on Feb 19th ,will the temperature go up a bit or will it remain the same?

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Vargis.Khan January 18, 2020 - 1:26 pm

You are welcome. It will get a little better by Feb 19th but will still remain close to 0 at nights.

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Nimesh January 20, 2020 - 9:15 am

Hi,

Areas like baramulla, Sophian etc are safe??

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Vargis.Khan January 23, 2020 - 4:38 pm

I woulnd’t recommend going that way for now. Stick to main tourist places only.

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Akshata January 4, 2020 - 3:26 pm

Me and my friends have planned and booked a trip.to kashmir from 16 Jan to 21 Jan 2020.

Is it really safe to travel kindly advise as I am.bit tensed

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Vargis.Khan January 6, 2020 - 5:16 am

As of now it is safe to go.

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Hari January 15, 2020 - 5:29 pm

Hello Vargis…I am planning to visit Gulmarg,Pahalgham and Srinagar from Feb19th to 23rd 2020 with my wife and kid who is 4 years old… Is it safe to travel with my kid??

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Vargis.Khan January 17, 2020 - 1:06 am

Hi Hari – It is terribly cold in Gulmarg and Pahalgam but other than that, OK to go.

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Dilli January 2, 2020 - 1:02 pm

Hi, we were of 5 friends planned to visit Srinagar by 15th Jan’20 till 19th. Have already booked our flight tickets. With the current scenario & climate, is it the right time & safe to explore all the tourist spots?

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Vargis.Khan January 3, 2020 - 1:19 pm

Yes, it is OK to go right now

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Dolly Wadhwa December 13, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Hello Sir,

we are planning to visit srinagar this march 2020 , So, is this safe to travel srinagar with family in march

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Vargis.Khan December 13, 2019 - 11:12 pm

It is OK to go right now is what I can tell. I am sorry but I cannot guarantee how it will be around March. Things in Kashmir can change in a matter of hours.

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Pratik December 12, 2019 - 7:12 am

Hi
We are planning to visit srinagar in March 2020. Its a family trip.
Will it be safe?

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Vargis.Khan December 13, 2019 - 11:14 pm

It is OK to go right now but cannot confirm about March.

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Smita December 11, 2019 - 4:45 pm

Hi Vargis, I will be visiting Kashmir in christmas on solo trip.
Would it be safe given the political situation?

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Vargis.Khan December 13, 2019 - 11:14 pm

Yes it is OK to go as of now.

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Owais bajrai December 4, 2019 - 7:41 pm

I m planning to visit, srinagar, gulmarg, pahalgam,
Its is safe on 1st January 2019

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Vargis.Khan December 5, 2019 - 4:00 pm

Yes it is OK to go now

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Mrs Subrata September 30, 2020 - 4:15 pm

Hii virgins
I want to travel with my family in kashmir, actually this is third time trip of Kashmir,but now days the situation is different for corona & india Kashmir issue, can travel with my family in last month of October?is gurez valley is safe for staying 1 / 2 days, please give me a little guidelines about this
Thank u

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Syed gafar November 25, 2019 - 1:56 pm

We are traveling in Jan 2020 1st week and my flight tickets is booked .is safe to travel

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Vargis.Khan November 25, 2019 - 9:06 pm

I wouldn’t call it safe to travel right now. Things are a bit on the edge. Tourism right now is only at about 10% of what it would be if things were ok.

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Santosh K November 19, 2019 - 9:28 am

HI Vargis,
We are planning to visit Kashmir 1st week of January 2020, is it safe for us we want to enjoy the snowfall, please guide us.

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Vargis.Khan November 19, 2019 - 6:12 pm

Do not plan a trip right now Santosh. Things are not yet fully restored there. Wait for a few weeks more before you decide.

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Ashish November 17, 2019 - 2:23 pm

10/10
Very helpful article. Clears all doubts regarding travel to Kashmir.
Have done booking for third week of May 2020.
Will keep track of Vargis Sir’s blog.
Please do keep updating Sir.

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Vargis.Khan November 19, 2019 - 6:37 pm

Thank you so much Ashish Bhai for taking the time to drop a note.

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Krishnakant jaikar October 31, 2019 - 4:03 pm

Pls tell me 17 November 2019 it is safe for travel in Srinagar…. Kashmir

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Vargis.Khan October 31, 2019 - 6:20 pm

Not it is not

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Jeeva Pillay October 1, 2019 - 8:59 am

Hello Vargis,

Thank you for the very informative article.

We are from South Africa and planning to visit Kashmir from 30th December 2019 to 10 Jan 2020. Due to the current situation there, do you think we should go-ahead and book our air tickets or should we wait for November?

We have already paid a deposit for a local Srinagar tour company to organize our tour and they are out of communication for the past three weeks. The company is called Inox International.

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Vargis.Khan October 1, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Hi Jeeva – I will recommend not planning anything right now. Situation is still tense there and curfew imposed. There is no telling right now how it will develop.

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Jeeva Pillay October 1, 2019 - 1:30 pm

Thank You, please keep me updated.

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Vargis.Khan October 1, 2019 - 11:13 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Mayur Shah November 7, 2019 - 4:39 pm

Is Kashmir trip in Dec first week safe for family

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Vargis.Khan November 11, 2019 - 6:19 pm

No it is not safe yet. Do not plan.

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Mayur Shah November 12, 2019 - 2:29 pm

Thank you so much for inform

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Vargis.Khan November 12, 2019 - 5:21 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Fatimah September 28, 2019 - 10:36 pm

Hi vargis,
This is fatimah from Malaysia . It is save to visit Kashmir in December 2019. We already booked the flight from Delhi to Sri nagar.
Please advise.

Thank you.

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Vargis.Khan October 1, 2019 - 12:10 am

Hi Fatimah – Srinagar is still tense and curfew imposed. It is not safe to travel right now. Situation may improve by December but nobody can confirm anything. It may even get worse.

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Anup February 16, 2020 - 11:42 am

Is Kashmir safe in month of march 2020 we are planning family trip from delhi

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Vargis.Khan February 17, 2020 - 2:23 am

It is safe to go right now is what I can tell. Cannot say about March.

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Arindam Ghosh August 12, 2019 - 7:28 am

Hi Vargis,

This is Arindam here from Kolkata. I read your article and appreciate the way you demonstrated all the tidbits.
Just want to make sure whether it will be safe to be there in the month of October’2019 with my family.
We have booked all the hotels and flight tickets for our tour.
Please advise. Again appreciate your article.
Keep posting.

Arindam Ghosh

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Vargis.Khan August 12, 2019 - 5:01 pm

Hi Arindam – It is too early to say or comment. I have my tickets booked as well, just keeping fingers crossed that it remains peaceful. Wait for the next few weeks to see how the situation develops.

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Arindam Ghosh August 12, 2019 - 5:04 pm

Yup. Hope for the best. For the people and for the travellers like us as well. Thanks for your response. God bless you

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Vargis.Khan August 12, 2019 - 5:30 pm

Thank you Arindam. God Bless you Brother !!!

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Indrajit August 3, 2019 - 5:57 am

I am planing a tour to kashmir on 9th August 2019. Is it safe now.

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Vargis.Khan August 3, 2019 - 6:15 am

No it is not

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Lintu June 13, 2019 - 6:46 am

Hi Vargis,
I have planned for a Kashmir trip (Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Srinagar) from Bangalore during the first week of July. Heard that Amarnath yatra also starts during the same period. Is it safe to travel during this period?

Regards,
Lintu

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Vargis.Khan June 13, 2019 - 12:59 pm

It is safe to go but it is a bit crowded at that time.

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Vikram February 25, 2020 - 9:45 pm

हैलो sir, main अपने दोस्त के साथ बाइक पे छे मार्च से लेकर होली वाले दिन दस मार्च तक श्रीनगर की यात्रा करने वाला हु क्या यह सही समय है,
और यह बताए क्या सुबह सूरज निकलें से पहले क्या हम श्रीनगर मै सुबह की सैर के लिए जा सकते है क्या ?

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adi khan August 5, 2019 - 5:22 pm

We have tickets for srinagar on 23 August to 1 September. Is it safe?

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Vargis.Khan August 6, 2019 - 5:16 am

Hard to say right now. Give it a few more days and then see how the situation develops.

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Sachin May 26, 2019 - 10:33 am

Hi Vargis,

I am planning a trip to Kashmir (Srinagar, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Yusmarg) in the third week of June. What do you think of the situation right now in terms of safety ? Any precautions I should take ?

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Vargis.Khan May 26, 2019 - 5:21 pm

Hi Sachin – It is pretty safe right now but hard to predict anything when it comes to Kashmir. Things can change there any minute. Just keep a watch on the news before you go.

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Himanshu May 11, 2019 - 9:19 am

Hi Vargis
I read the details about Kashmir visit and really helpful to many others , actually my schedule trip is in May end and bookings were done long back In Jan 2019 , Now based on current situation we are not comfortable to continue that trip , If you have some insight about current situation you can post which would be really helpful .

Thanks
Himanshu

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Vargis.Khan May 11, 2019 - 5:41 pm

It is peaceful as of now Himanshu, no problem at all.

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Vafa Shahzad March 29, 2019 - 6:11 am

Hi Vargis Ji,

I am Vafa Shahzad from Mumbai my Kashmir Trip is near its from 13th april 2019 but I am just little worried about it if you can give me any suggestion on that will boost my confience.

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ตูนน้อย ลอยดาว November 22, 2019 - 3:39 am

me too. waiting for answer too.

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Rajesh Teraiya March 26, 2019 - 12:18 pm

Hello Vargisbhai, I am planning to visit Leh- Bike Trip via Mughal Road (Jammu – Srinagar-Leh – Manali) in Sep 19. Your all articles are really useful and helping a lot to prepare. Please keep this continue. Cheers and Thanks Again.

Certainly will need your advice before that.

Thanks

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Vargis.Khan March 26, 2019 - 3:48 pm

Thanks Rajesh Bhai. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Rajesh Teraiya June 17, 2019 - 5:58 pm

Thanks Vargishbhai,
As per your planner of Ladakh festival for 2019, it is 25 to 28 September. So if I plan my bike trip from 21st Sep-start from Jammu to 4 Oct – reach to Manali (will arrive to leh on 24th Sep). During this trip, shall we face rain or only cold weather would there.

Regards
Rajesh

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Vargis.Khan June 17, 2019 - 6:04 pm

There will not be any rains at this time but yes, the weather would have started to get cold definitely.

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Rajesh Teraiya June 17, 2019 - 6:10 pm

And also generally how about numbers of visitors during this period being major festival? Just checking in perspect of hotel booking etc. Shall we need to book hotel in advance for Leh, Hunder , Pagong etc. I am folloing your 10 day itinerary.

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SADHANA March 18, 2019 - 10:44 am

Hi, I am planning to tour Srinagar (Gulmarg and Pahalgam) in this week 23 mar – 28 mar. Is it safe to travel or shall I cancel my tour. Please help.

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sakshi March 13, 2019 - 7:14 am

Im Sakshi, thanku for lovely information.I want to ask u that im going to kashmir in may, will i get to see snow over there.Which garden is soo famous ,is tulip garden open in may.

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sakshi March 11, 2019 - 2:22 pm

Im Sakshi you have given me ans about my ques. I want to ask u that can we shift our air tickets to any other state on any date. Do it will charge any cancellation fees.Actually we have planned to go to state other than Kashmir How much it will cost????

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sakshi March 11, 2019 - 3:10 am

Im Sakshi , want to ask u that i have planned to go to kashmir after my neet exam on 11may to 19may 2019.Will it be safe for me n my family to visit ?Whether should i cancel tivkets now????.Please ans me sir???

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Vargis.Khan March 11, 2019 - 3:43 am

It is hard to predict anything right now. Will entirely depend on how things in Kashmir will be in May.

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Fiona February 18, 2019 - 8:28 am

Hi Vargis,

You have written such a beautiful piece. I love Kashmir. We visited the place back in 2008 and I haven’t been able to get it out of my system yet.

I am planning a trip in the 1st week of march. We know the locals and they are wonderful people. I hope things settle down by then. I would hate to cancel my trip.

Do you write blogs? I’d love to read more of your work.

Regards,
Fiona

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Vargis.Khan February 18, 2019 - 1:19 pm

Hi Fiona – Thank you for your kind words. This website is my blog actually.

I wouldn’t recommend visiting Kashmir next week at all. Curfew is still imposed there.

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Kaushal February 15, 2019 - 8:18 am

I have a plan for visit kashmir in 3rd week of March for honeymoon, 2019. Just had incidence of blast. Planned to visit srinagar, pahalgam and gulmarg… still have almost 1 month.
Please suggest me.. is that area would be safe by army?? Is it safe to stay there..??

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Vargis.Khan February 15, 2019 - 2:56 pm

Hard to tell right now. I will suggest that you wait next couple of weeks and see how the situation progresses.

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Kavita Parwani March 13, 2019 - 6:33 am

Anything can happen anywhere im visiting here from 3rd March and found people very helping and good

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Vargis.Khan March 13, 2019 - 12:40 pm

Thanks Kavita

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Mayank February 4, 2019 - 4:49 pm

I have a kashmiri friend in Srinagar.
Is it safe to travel in Kashmir with him?

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Vargis.Khan February 5, 2019 - 1:08 am

If he is your friend then I guess it would be safe.

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Raj February 2, 2019 - 3:34 am

Hi Vargis: thanks for your wonderful article. I am planning to go to villages in Baramulla where it Is said one can buy good Kashmiri silk carpets. Do you think it would be safe and worth it? Thanks

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Vargis.Khan February 2, 2019 - 2:42 pm

Hi Raj – If you are asking in terms of safety, yes it would be fine but where exactly will you go? It would be better to take a local along in my opinion. On a second note, shopping in Srinagar would be better than the local villagers if you want to buy carpets.

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Padmaja December 24, 2018 - 9:09 am

I loved your writeup Mr. Vargis
Hope i get to visit this beautiful place soon. Its has been always on my mind.

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Vargis.Khan December 24, 2018 - 6:48 pm

Thank you Padmaja. It is indeed a very beautiful and must place.

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Shivani Malhotra December 23, 2018 - 12:38 pm

Hi, I am doing a solo trip to kashmir around new year, Could you please tell me if the places like sonmarg, gulmarg and yusmarg are accessible by Public transport or shared taxi in winters. As i am going alone i cannot hire a taxi.

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Vargis.Khan December 23, 2018 - 8:24 pm

Gulmarg – Yes
Yusmarg & Sonamarg – Depends on the weather. Road may get closed because both these places remains inaccessible in winter.

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Namrata December 9, 2018 - 11:57 am

Hi, we are planning to visit Srinagar, sonmarg and Gulmarg in the end of December, looking at the current condition regarding encounters and stone pelting Is it safe to visit Kashmir?

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Vargis.Khan December 9, 2018 - 2:35 pm

Nothing to worry about right now. You are OK to go.

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Ranjan November 22, 2018 - 8:32 am

Hi Vargis! Kudos for a beautiful write up. Actually, I came upon it while researching for a book. I have stayed in Kashmir for about three years and have intimately observed and analysed the situation there. I have read extensively about Kashmir, but your account is one of the most matured and objective. You might have written it as a travelogue, but I feel it can be cited as the most authentic analysis ever.

Do I have your permission to quote and cite extracts in my book.

Thanks and regards.

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Vargis.Khan November 22, 2018 - 1:57 pm

Hi Ranjan – Thank you for your kind words. Yes, you may quote and cite extracts in your book.

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Anurag Saxena July 30, 2019 - 2:36 am

Hi Mr.Khan

I have travelled to Kashmir in 2014 for 5 days then 2016 for 8 days and now 2019 for 15 days.
Now read carefully and understand deeply.
In India (except Kashmir) every where tourist is unsafe and Police and Army is safe.
Now in Kashmir tourist is safe and Police and Army is un safe.
*Dear Kashmiriyat is giving life for guest.*
In 2016 one boatman,in Srinagar, lost his life to safe tourist.
This year too one boatman lost his life in Pahalgam.
I love Kashmir.
I have travelled abroad to many countries and India 21 states.
The finest resident of any place is Kashmiri.
9 out 10 citizens of Kashmir will be honest,nice, and good by all parameters of testing human being.
It is not called
Zannat for just beauty of place but also people.
Even hardcore terrorist never attacks tourist.
I dont angree with you.
Now
Feel free to remove my post.
My email id is [email protected].
If Indian govt removes Article 35 -A tgen I will shift to Kashmir.
Thanx

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Vargis.Khan July 30, 2019 - 12:53 pm

Why would I remove your post Mr. Saxena. I agree with your views. Thank you for sharing.

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Mohini October 24, 2018 - 1:54 pm

Hello Vargis,

Thank you for your blog.
My family and I have planned to come to Kashmir this Dec. This place is so beautiful (Himalayas, snow, tulip garden, lake..) and the Kashmiris must be blessed to live in such a place.
If only these political issues did not exist…
It is that I heard about the recent Nowgam incident and I feel concerned about security. I just wanted to be assured that such attacks would not affect the tourist locations.

Many thanks for a quick update.
Regards,

Mohini

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Vargis.Khan October 24, 2018 - 2:27 pm

Hi Mohini – Unfortunately, no one can give you that assurance. Tourist locations do not get affected by such incidents much but there is no guarantee. Keep an eye out on the news before your trip and if there is any violence, unrest or curfews going on at a major level then best to cancel or postpone your trip.

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Mohini October 25, 2018 - 9:02 am

Hi Vargis,

Thank u for ur update. Sure will check news before trip and will take other precautions u mentioned above
Will the Kashmiris accept small gifts, if I bring?

God bless
Mohini

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Vargis.Khan October 25, 2018 - 9:47 am

Hi Mohini – Yes they definitely. I have found people over there very warm to be honest. They won’t refuse.

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Shifa October 23, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Hi ,
I have a plan to visit Kashmir from 6th November 2018 to 11th November.I am also scared as like others is it right decision to plan a trip to Kashmir.
Can anyone suggest me on this

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Vargis.Khan October 23, 2018 - 4:50 pm

If there are no ongoing protests or curfews anywhere then you are OK to go.

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Natarajan October 2, 2018 - 2:40 am

Dear Vargiskhan

My family is planning for a trip to Kashmir in 3rd week of Oct n I was really feeling it was not a safe place to visit now. But after going through it blog, I really feel that it is just like Amy other place to visit

Since it is our first visit, I request you to please give me an idea on how best we can spend a 5-6 day trip from 19/10. If u can , pl suggest de places that can b covered n the type of clothes required at this time. Y daughter is very fascinated about seeing snowfall n hence pl advise in which place/s we can experience it now.

Thanks a lot in advance

Natarajan
Chennai

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Vargis.Khan October 2, 2018 - 3:48 pm

Hello Natarajan – How are you going to be traveling around locally in Kashmir? By a private taxi I suppose?

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NATARAJAN October 3, 2018 - 4:15 am

Mostly taxi.I believe that is the suitable option.However I am open to other modes .Would like your suggestions regarding this..would also like to know which place would be suitable to stay to get access to the tourist spots easily.

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Vargis.Khan October 3, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Talk to Faisal at 9596410670. You can rent the taxi from him and he will help you with the entire plan.

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Bharathi September 11, 2018 - 3:50 am

i too one among them who is really scared to think of travelling Kashmir. Especially most of our south indians would think alike me. such a beautiful place from our rishi Kashyap and we are scared to visit.

But your blog really helped me to think on my opinion again at the same time confused me a lot. Why so much injustice happened to kashmiri pandits? if people in kashmir are so good, then why kashmiri pandits are still scared to go to their own land?

i liked your comment “If you travel through remote Kashmir villages, you will hear comments like “Ye aazadi vazadi sab Srinagar walo ka drama hai, hamein kya matlab is sabse”. These are the villagers, the shepherds who are only driven by earning their daily meals and keeping their families fed. They don’t know or care about the politics of all of it.”

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Vargis.Khan September 11, 2018 - 11:58 am

Thanks Bharathi. And yes, I was confused as well. I wish I had an answer to your question but the best I can think of as that Kashmir is no longer an issue, a problem. It is a business now for political reasons. Business for a lot of people who are benefiting out of militancy in this region. It don’t matter if its a Muslim Kashmiri or a Kashmiri Pandit, but the price is being paid by a common man.

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