While Srinagar and its surrounding areas abound in tourist attractions, here are some choices for offbeat trips that veer off the typical tourist itinerary.
Dachigam National Park: Just 22 km northeast of Srinagar, this national park offers wildlife enthusiasts the chance to spot Kashmir stags (hangul), Himalayan grey langurs, leopards, black bulbuls and Kashmir flycatchers. Interesting stops include a trout breeding farm and an animal rehabilitation centre. The best way to explore is on foot, though golf carts are also available.
Kheer Bhawani: In Tulla Mulla, about 30 km from Srinagar, this temple is set on a river island and ensconced in a chinar grove. The water in the pond is said to change colour with the political situation in Kashmir. Hindus and Muslims flock to pay their respects to the goddess Ragnya Devi (Kheer Bhawani), especially during the Kheer Bhawani festival in summer.
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Drung: Accessible from Srinagar (40 km) and Gulmarg (14 km), this picturesque spot with a gushing stream is popular with anglers. There are ancient Pandav temple ruins just a 10-minute walk away from the bridge.
Martand Sun Temple: Built between the 7th and 8th centuries, this sun temple is now in ruins but remnants of its former grandeur can still be seen in its Greek-influenced columns. It’s built atop a plateau and offers magnificent views of the valley. The temple is located near Anantnag, en route to Pahalgam (36 km).