Yusmarg is a name that not many tourists put on their itineraries. It is one of those places in Kashmir that are immensely beautiful but do not get the attention that they rightfully deserve. But for someone wanting to go offbeat and stay away from the crowd, Yousmarg is perfect.
A trip to Kashmir for most people means visiting 4 places – Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg. Even Srinagar actually just acts as the base to explore the other three towns.
No, I am not saying that these places aren’t worth visiting because they definitely are one of the most scenic ones here, and that is why they attract so much tourism here.
But Kashmir is much more than just these 4 destinations. There are many other places in Kashmir that will leave you spellbound. Destinations that only a few people know about or have been to, but are capable of drawing thousands of tourists each year if made known.
One such place that I want to talk about in this article is the tiny yet charming hill station of Yusmarg, also spelled as Yousmarg.
The name Yusmarg in Kashmiri literally translates as ‘The Meadow of Jesus’. The word ‘Yus’ is said to be a short form of Youza or Jesus, and a marg means a meadow.
As per the local belief, Jesus Christ himself visited Kashmir and stayed at Yusmarg for some time. There are even claims that it is Yusmarg where he was buried and his tomb is located at. This claim however is highly disputed of course.
Yusmarg is located at a distance of about 50 kilometers from Srinagar in the Badgam district of Kashmir. At an altitude of 2,396 meters (7,861 ft), it is an alpine valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains and meadows of Pine and Fir.
How to Reach Yusmarg
In order to get to Yusmarg, you will first have to reach Srinagar which is not that really that difficult.
If you were traveling by your own vehicle, then you can just drive to Srinagar city by either the regular Jammu – Srinagar highway or by the Mughal road through Shopian.
Jammu-Srinagar highway is the better maintained and most used road but is also the most crowded one. Mughal road is the more scenic of the two and there is hardly any traffic on this.
For more details on how you can reach Srinagar via Mughal Road, please read How to Plan a Journey on Mughal Road.
Once you arrive at Srinagar, you can then make a road trip to Yusmarg; which is a 2 to 3 hours drive at most, covering a distance of about 50 kilometers.
If you were however not traveling by your own vehicle, then Srinagar is well connected to the rest of the country by Air, Train, and Bus service. No matter which part of the country you live in, you can easily reach the city by either flying or boarding a train.
For more details, you can also take a look at How to reach Srinagar by Road, Flight, and Train.
How to reach Yusmarg from Srinagar
Once you arrive in Srinagar, You can either hire a private taxi or rent a bike in Srinagar for the trip. You can also reach Yusmarg by public transport but that can be a bit of a hassle. Read on to find out more.
Yusmarg is located at a distance of about 50 kilometers from Srinagar. The journey can easily be completed in 2 to 3 hours approximately, depending on the traffic.
The route of the journey will be as mentioned below. There are of course several other routes that you can take but this is the most direct, easier, and shorter way to get there.
Srinagar – Chadoora – Nagam – Charar-e-Shariff – Yusmarg
Out of the total 50 kilometers that you travel, it is only the last 17 kilometers after Charar-e-Shariff that is a steep climb. The road until Charar-e-Shariff is mostly flat and you won’t even feel like driving through a hilly area.
It is a two-lane road for its entire length with no divider in between so drive slow and carefully. Once you reach Charar-e-Shariff, it will actually get a bit confusing about which way to go.
So stop and ask the local for directions towards Yusmarg. You can also keep Google Maps on and it will route you to the correct place while keeping you on the right road.
Also Read: Hotel Affarwat – A Great Hotel in Gulmarg
Srinagar to Yusmarg Taxi
If you were however not traveling by your own vehicle, then the best, easiest, and most convenient way would be to rent a private taxi for the trip.
Depending on the type of cab you chose, your total charge for the day would come out to be between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2500 per day, including fuel and driver.
For more information, you can take a look at Srinagar Taxi Union Rates. For booking a taxi in Srinagar, you can talk to Faisal at 9596410670. He is a great guy and will be able to get you a cab for the lowest possible price.
Srinagar to Yusmarg Taxi Fare
It would depend on which cab you chose. For an SUV like Scorpio or Innova, expect the per-day fare to be around Rs. 2,500 including fuel. If you chose a hatchback like Etios, this charge would then be around Rs. 1800 to Rs. 2000.
Srinagar to Yusmarg Bus
There is really no direct bus from Srinagar to Yousmarg. Local buses ply only up to Charar-e-Shariff so your journey would have to be done in two parts.
First, you will have to board a bus from Srinagar for Charar-e-Shariff. This you can find from Parimpora in Srinagar city. After you get down at Charar-e-Shariff, you will then have to look for a bus for Yusmarg.
As I mentioned above, Yusmarg is just a small village and not many tourists travel this way. There is a bus service on the route but its frequency is not that high. It is one of those small mini-buses that the locals operate in this region.
There is also no set timing for these buses and they only travel when the occupancy is full.
Also Read: How to Plan your Trip to Doodhpathri?
Srinagar to Yusmarg Shared Taxi
It will be extremely hard to find a shared cab straight from Srinagar to Yousmarg. You will have to first get to Charar-e-Shariff and then Yousmarg as I explained above.
The shared cabs can also be found from Parimpora in Srinagar for Charar-e-Shariff. Depending on where the cab drops you, you will have to ask around and then reach the point in Charar-e-Shariff where you can get either a bus or shared cab for Yusmarg.
Traveling here by public transport on a general note will be a bit troublesome. So I will strongly advise that you either rent a private cab from Srinagar or rent a motorcycle.
How to reach Yusmarg by Flight
Srinagar Airport is the nearest airport to Yousmarg. The major airlines operating regular flights to Srinagar are Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Air Asia, and Indigo.
How to reach Yusmarg by Train
Srinagar railway station is the nearest railway line to Yousmarg. The problem however is that it is not yet fully operational and connected.
At the time of writing this article, it will take at least another 18 months to 2 years for full connectivity. Right now, you can reach Udhampur by train.
From Udhampur, you will then have to board a bus or taxi for Ramban. After reaching Ramban, you will then board another train from Ramban to Srinagar.
An easier way thus would be to just board a bus or shared taxi directly from Udhampur to Srinagar.
How to reach Yusmarg in Winter
Visiting Yousmarg in winter will be extremely difficult. The 17 kilometers long stretch from Charar-e-Shariff to Yousmarg gets closed in winter due to heavy snowfall. Even the villagers move to lower areas for a couple of months so there is absolutely no one up here.
The road from Srinagar till Charar-e-Shariff however remains open. If you do want to visit Yousmarg in winter then you will have to find a 4×4 cab with snow chains.
Condition of the Road to Yusmarg from Srinagar
The road is a mix of good and average. Your drive will be smooth all the way. Until Charar-e-Shariff, it is a flat road mostly and you won’t even feel like driving through a hill station. It is after Charar-e-Shariff that you rapidly climb for 17 kilometers to Yusmarg and gain height.
Places to Visit in Yusmarg
The natural beauty and its meadows are the greatest attraction of Yusmarg. To be honest, there is really nothing to do here except walk around and enjoy the vistas as much as you can.
Yusmarg in itself is a tourist attraction that you venture towards from Srinagar. There are however a few other places nearby that you can see while visiting Yusmarg. I will list them down below.
For most of these places, you will either have to trek or go for a pony ride as they are further ahead of Yusmarg. There is no drivable road and you will have to leave your vehicle parked at Yusmarg as you go trekking.
There is just one place that you can visit by vehicle, Charar-e-Shariff, which is 17 kilometers before you reach Yusmarg.
Located about 40 kilometers from Srinagar and on the way to Yousmarg, Charar-e-Sharief is probably one of the most ancient shrines in Kashmir.
It was built as a homage to Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani about 600 years ago. The Sufi saint was born in the year 1377 and spread the message of tolerance, vegetarianism, and communal peace throughout his life.
The shrine is visible from the road itself as you drive through the town. You will easily be able to navigate to it but you can ask the locals to point you in the right direction in case you were not able to.
This is the most common of the tourist spots in Yousmarg. A trip to Yousmarg actually means that you trek through the meadows, reach the Doodhganga river and go back if you are not interested in trekking any further.
It is quite a scenic place and there is hardly anyone around. You will also see a lot of local boys taking a dip in the river as well.
The Forest Around
You can either walk on the path through the meadow to reach the Doodhganga river or you can hire a local pony owner to take you through the forest. You will find a lot of them at the gate offering a ride.
What they do is take you for a pony ride in the forest. Since they are from that area, they know it pretty well and will be able to show you a few other pretty sights.
This is what we did on our first trip. We hired a pony owner and he took us to the river through the forest. We actually felt like we were exploring the area. While coming walk, we took the normal path through the meadow.
Below are a few pictures of what we saw on our brief trek in the forest.
Nilnag is a high-altitude lake nestled amidst a dense pine forest and a little further ahead of the Doodh Ganga river. Trekking here from Yousmarg and back will take about 3 hours easily so please plan accordingly.
It is a very beautiful lake and I would highly recommend visiting here. It can easily be done on a day’s trip from Srinagar, you just need to start early from the city.
Sang-e-Safed or ‘White Rocks’ is located at a distance of 10 kilometers that you will either have to trek or hire a pony to reach. It is an oval-shaped meadow bisected by the Doodhganga river.
It also serves as a base for Mt. Tatta Kutti and is surrounded by dense pine trees. I haven’t been to Sang-e-Safed myself but I believe there is also a lake there that remains frozen for most of the year.
Also Read: When is the Best time to Visit Gulmarg?
Lidder Mad and Haigin / Haijan / Haljan
These are two other meadows about 4 kilometers from Yousmarg. Both these actually fall on the way to Sang-e-Safed. So you can either go to Sang-e-Safed valley and visit these two as well; or visit these two meadows and come back if you were short on time.
Do note though that trek to Sang-e-Safed can only be done when you are staying in Yousmarg for a day and have your camping gear to camp after reaching your destination.
There is also a trek to Doodhpathri from Yousmarg. Both these treks, Doodhpathri and Sang-e-Safed, will take at least two days to return to Yousmarg. Hence taking a guide is highly recommended.
The only place the horses actually take you to is the Doodhganga river. Other than that, for places like Nilnag or Dragdolan, the pony owners only take you to a vantage point and show you the lake or meadow from there. Please make sure that you clarify this with them before starting the trek.
Tosa Maidan is another arduous trek that can now be done from Yousmarg since the area was recently made accessible public.
There are a few other treks from Yousmarg for which I will post the picture below that I clicked when I was there. It also includes the rates of ponies in case you decide to hire one.
I am not sure what this lake is called but it is a beautiful spot right before the parking spot. For this, you do not really need to trek anywhere as it is located right by the road.
It may actually be a Dam when I think about it now. Most of the people visiting Yusmarg sit next to this lake, especially the locals. There is also fish in this lake in case you wanted to go fishing.
Things to do in Yusmarg
Below is a list of tourist activities that you can do in Yusmarg.
As you probably would already have figured out, there isn’t much to do in Yusmarg. But in my opinion, that is anyway the point of it all.
You do not come to a place like Yusmarg to do a lot. It is a place where you should just relax, enjoy some time in peace, see the beautiful vistas around, go trekking or enjoy a pony ride and click as many pictures as you can.
That is all that Yusmarg is about. It is a place where you see natural beauty in its raw form, not fouled by the tourist mania yet.
Where to Stay
Accommodation at Yusmarg is available only in the form of JKTDC Tourist Bungalows & Huts. Do not expect anything too luxurious though. These cottages are poorly maintained and almost in shambles the last time I was there
There is no functional TV here of course. Meals can be arranged at the Bungalows or else there are a couple of small restaurants where you may eat.
The trekkers are advised to carry tents and other necessary food items for the stay. If you do want to go trekking then either bring a guide from all the way from Srinagar or ask any of the pony owners or villagers here to be your guide which they would gladly do.
I stayed for a weekend in Yusmarg and the JKTDC cottages were actually a bit of a disappointment. You can read more about it at JKTDC Yusmarg Resort Review.
Hotels in Yusmarg
There are no hotels in Yusmarg except for Hotel Kongposh. But this one also is managed by JKTDC and I am not really sure why do they name these few huts differently.
Other than this, the nearest place where you can hope to find some accommodation is Charar-e-Shariff.
Best time to Visit Yusmarg
The best time to visit Yusmarg is from April to June, September, and early October.
In January and February, the place remains buried under snow and is almost impossible to reach. The snow on the road is not cleared in this area as it happens in Gulmarg. So once it starts to snow, Yusmarg can get completely cut off in the first two months of the year.
Snow starts to melt in March and is gone by end of the month. Spring arrives in April and the next three months till June are considered among the best of times to visit Yusmarg. July and August are the seasons of the Monsoon and it rains quite considerably in this region.
September again is another good month to visit Yusmarg. After the monsoon has passed, it leaves behind plenty of lush green meadows that you would love to enjoy.
Come October the green turns to Orange in the month of Autumn which is again a delight to watch. November is again a very cold month and once December starts, it can snow out here anytime.
Also Read: When is the Best time to visit Srinagar?
Itinerary for Visiting Yusmarg
Let us now talk about how you can plan your trip to Yousmarg and include it in your Kashmir itinerary. My best advice would be that you do not include it in a way that you cover Yousmarg while going towards any other destination as many people do.
Dedicate at least a day for Yousmarg only. Start early from Srinagar, say by 7 AM and you will reach Yousmarg easily by 9.30 or 10 AM at most. Trek to Doodh Sagar or even Nilnag lake and then return to Srinagar by evening.
If you can spare two days for Yousmarg then you can spend a night here at JKTDC Bungalow. This will be a great experience but do remember that you will not have anything to do here at all, not even TV to watch.
If you are into trekking and have bought your own camping gear then you can hire a local villager here to show you to Sang-e-Safed where you can camp for the night. If you are not into trekking but do want to camp then there are plenty of spots in Yusmarg itself to pitch your own tent.
Below are some other tips that can be of help in planning a trip to Yusmarg.
Airtel and BSNL postpaid phones work in Yusmarg but the reception will be very bad. You will have to walk around a bit with your phone in your hand looking for a place where you can get the network bars. Data speed will be very poor.
Vodafone and Idea have no service in Yusmarg. You will lose network a little before Charar-e-Shariff. I did not have a Jio phone but as far as I know, even that does know work in Yusmarg. I could be wrong about Jio though.
Prepaid phones do not work anywhere in Kashmir anyway. So unless you were carrying a postpaid connection, your cellphone will be as good as a camera or a paperweight.
Also Read: Gulmarg Gondola – How to Plan your Ride?
There are no Banks or ATMs in Yusmarg. The nearest one is located in Charar-e-Shariff.
Mechanic / Petrol Pump
There is no gas station or mechanic at Yousmarg. The nearest one is between Srinagar and Charar-e-Shariff.
There is no hospital or medical shop in Yusmarg. The nearest medical assistance is available in Charar-e-Shariff. For something serious, however, you will have to rush to Srinagar.
Shopping in Yusmarg
There are no shops as well at Yousmarg so nothing to buy. Your shopping would have to happen in Srinagar only.
Weather in Yusmarg
Due to its high altitude, the weather in Yusmarg remains cold and pleasant throughout the year. Below is a month-by-month breakdown of how the weather and conditions trend in Yusmarg.
Yusmarg in January
The weather in January will be extremely cold with an average temperature of several degrees below 0. The road remains blocked and the entire region is buried under several feet of snow.
Yusmarg in February
Much like January, the weather in February will also be extremely cold. The snow on the ground will be even more after the heavy snowfall in the previous months. The road remains blocked in February as well.
Yusmarg in March
The weather will be very cold in March as well. The snow starts to melt and the road gets opened towards to end of the month.
Yusmarg in April
Snow is mostly all gone from the lower areas in April. It will be lush green all around and a great time to visit. April is one of the two best months to visit Yusmarg.
Yusmarg in May
This is the time when you will see a lot of tourists traveling here, both local and from other parts of the country. The weather will start to warm up a bit but it will still be very cold in the evening, nights, and mornings.
Yusmarg in June
June is the warmest month of the year in Yusmarg. It is also the peak tourist season and you will see a lot of tourists traveling here, both local and from other parts of the country. Monsoon arrives by end of the month.
Also Read: Shalimar Bagh – Mughal Gardens of Kashmir
Yusmarg in July
The months of monsoon are not a good time to visit Yusmarg. I was once here during the monsoon and it rained all day long. We could not step out of our cottage for even 15 minutes and were trapped indoors all day long.
Yusmarg in August
The intensity of the rain will be even more in August. On the upside though, the views at this time are just heavenly, like in the picture I will post below. It all looks so dreamy after it starts to rain here.
Yusmarg in September
This is the second-best month to visit Yusmarg. Monsoon will be gone but would have left plenty of greenery behind for you to enjoy. In terms of photography, September is the best time to go to Yusmarg.
Yusmarg in October
The cold starts to settle by the end of September. October is when you will feel the chill in the wind and even during the day, you will need to wear light woolens and a jacket. It is a great time to witness the wonders of Autumn and see the orange color in the trees all over Kashmir.
Yusmarg in November
November officially marks the beginning of the winter season. It would already have snowed in the upper areas in October and even the lower areas can receive snow in November.
It is not a good month to visit. The weather will be extremely cold, the vistas will be dull and dry and there won’t even be enough snow around to make it look pretty.
Yusmarg in December
December is when the intensity of the snowfall starts to increase. By the end of the month, the place is buried under snow and the road would have gotten blocked already.
Mentioned below are a few questions that I have been asked frequently by other people.
Where is Yusmarg located?
Yusmarg is located in the Badgam district of Jammu & Kashmir at a distance of approximately 50 kilometers from Srinagar.
Is Yusmarg Worth Visiting?
To be honest, there is really nothing in Yusmarg. And I really mean absolutely nothing except for a single hotel, a few shops, a lake, a river, lush green meadows, and some houses of local villagers.
But that in fact is what makes Yusmarg worth a trip. There is no crowd here, no sound of the traffic, and nothing to disturb you out of your sleep or thoughts.
Just pleasantly cold weather, occasional sounds of horses whining in distance, and sometimes a woman yelling at her kids far away.
That is it, that’s Yusmarg for you. A place where you can just sit for hours in peace, and walk around on the lush green meadows.
The scenic beauty, peace, and tranquility of the place are absolutely stunning and it deserves to be on the list of everyone wanting to visit offbeat and lesser-known destinations.
If you are going to be in Kashmir, then I would highly recommend making at least a day-long trip to Yusmarg and on the way, you can also cover the holy shrine of Charar-e-Shariff.
How far is Yusmarg from Srinagar?
Yusmarg is at a distance of about 50 kilometers from Srinagar. It will actually also depend on where exactly you are starting from in Srinagar.
If you were for example coming from a place near Lal Chowk then the distance would be about 50. If however, you were starting from somewhere near Dal Lake, Nishat Bagh, or Shalimar Bagh, then the distance would be about 60 kilometers.
What clothes should you pack for Yusmarg?
You do not really need to pack anything specific just for Yusmarg. Whatever you packed for Srinagar will suffice for Yusmarg as well.
You cannot be here in the winter months anyway so between April till September, your regular cotton clothes accompanied with some light woolens or a light jacket will do.
Actually, during the day, after walking around for a while, that one jacket too will start to feel warm and you will remove it.
Yusmarg to Gulmarg Distance
Gulmarg is at a distance of about 100 kilometers from Yousmarg and the journey will take you around 4 hours.
Yusmarg or Gulmarg
It is a really a personal choice but having visited both the places, I would say that you must cover both. Both the destinations are unique in their own way. If however you must choose either one then go to Gulmarg and leave Yousmarg for another time.
Yusmarg to Sonamarg
The distance between Yousmarg and Sonamarg is about 140 kilometers and it will easily take you at least 6 hours to complete. There is no direct route between the two places and you will have to travel through Srinagar.
Yusmarg or Sonamarg
You should cover both these places if you can because both are equally beautiful. If you can however only choose one then pick Sonamarg and cover Yusmarg at a later time.
Yusmarg to Doodhpathri distance
Doodhpathri is at a distance of 65 kilometers from Yousmarg.
Yusmarg to Pahalgam Distance
Pahalgam is at a distance of about 100 kilometers from Yousmarg. From Pahalgam, the route is Pahalgam – Anantnag – Pulwama – Pehripora – Yousmarg.
Yousmarg is located at an altitude of 2,396 m (7,861 ft)
I hope the information above on planning a trip to Yusmarg was of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will be happy to answer. You can also follow me on Instagram and chat with me live there or subscribe to my YouTube channel and ask a question there.