Pick your time and you get a unique view of Kashmir, resplendent in green and a riot of colors in spring or covered in gold, crimson and reds in autumn or plainly elegant white in winter. Whichever the season, you cannot fail to be enchanted by its beauty.
Kashmir can be compared to a beautiful woman. Dress her up and her beauty rises to greater, spellbinding, enchanting heights. Call a rose by any name and it smells just as sweet and that applies to Kashmir. Visit it in any season and its charms enthrall and mesmerize. Each season uncovers a different facet of Kashmir and you will always find something new, even if you visit the same place again. If the Mughals fell in love with the place and made it their home you can be sure there must be something bewitching about the place.
Which time is the best to visit Kashmir and get maximum enjoyment out of your trip?
Spring is when the Valley renews itself. Life erupts. Birds chirp and twitter. The valley takes on a mantle of emerald dotted with flowers in vivid colors dotting the landscape. Trees in orchards sway to the music of the breezes and blossom with the promise of luscious fruit to come later. The air is cool, refreshing and fragrant with the scent of pine and thousands of flowers in a heady fragrance that intoxicate your senses. You feel alive and want to do many things and the day seems all too short and time passes by in a dream.
Summer is from May to August and while the plains swelter in blistering heat, up here in Kashmir, it is cool and pleasant. Fruits ripen on trees; there are people all around hustling and bustling, either on business or just to enjoy the sights. Life is ephemeral as the butterflies flitting around so make the most of the weather and drink deeply of the honey-pot that is Kashmir. You can walk all day and still not feel tired. This is when you can go on a trek to mountain tops, traverse glaciers, craigs and valleys because everything is so accessible except for a minor landslide or two here and there. Nights are cool but not quite chilly with only light woolens keeping you warm and cozy even if you camp out in the open.
When it rains it can be difficult to move about water logged valleys or slick slopes but if you are hardy enough, put on your gumboots and wade right in. You might actually get to see a landslide. You could really have a fun time, especially if you have kids along but be careful of dangerously swirling rivers.
Rains over, a peace and quiet descends on the Valley. It is green still. However, the air is becoming noticeably cooler. Leaves are wafting down. As days pass, the green canopy of the forest starts to change color like fruit ripening. First it goes yellow and then orange and then a blaze of crimson. The forests and mountains seem to be ablaze and the cascade of leaves goes full throttle and winds really start to blow heralding winter around the corner. It is glorious autumn and a time when you can lose yourself in the warm colors.
The trees are bare. The air is getting colder by the day. Then comes a crystal clear cold day when you wake up to see everything around you blanketed in fluffy white snow. Should you snuggle deeper into your bed or put on your woolens and venture out to romp and play? It is playtime and a time to go skiing in Gulmarg. If you are brave enough, you can venture out to frozen lakes or to glaciers and walk on frozen, slippery ice. Enjoy steaming hot kawa or something more strong and let your sharpened hunger help you enjoy a wazwan spread. The countryside is pristine, virginal, innocent white, another facet of this lovely paradise that still shines despite the bleakness of winter.
It all boils down to your preferences. One visit is simply not enough to know Kashmir so plan to visit it each year in a different season. You are in a different land each time.