Visit a houseboat on Dal Lake, which is connected by a system of backwaters to Nagin Lake. You will be ferried on a shikara, or Kashmiri skiff, to and from the houseboat, which in typical fashion features intricate woodcarving, embroidery, and carpets from Kashmir. While such houseboats are now iconic of Kashmir, these charming craft were originally used by British military and civil officials as residences, after they were forbidden by the Maharaja of Kashmir from buying land.
Visit the few surviving gardens of the Mughal Emperors in the Kashmir Valley, situated on the eastern bank of Dal Lake. The elegant 17th-century gardens, including the “Garden of Pleasure” and “Garden of Love,” feature terraced hills, fountains, and water channels diverted from natural springs.
Visit the Hazratbal Mosque, constructed of shimmering marble and home to Kashmir’s most revered relic, an enshrined hair of the beard of the Prophet Muhammad. The mosque stands on the western shore of Dal Lake, with the mountains as a magnificent backdrop.
Have a privately guided tour of the Mosque of Shah Hamadan in the old city, which symbolizes the city’s Muslim heritage, compared to Ladakh’s Buddhist tradition. The mosque is built entirely of wood and yet no nails or screws were used in its construction.
Go on a one-day excursion to the gorgeous Pahalgam, the Village of the Shepherds. En route, you will explore fields of saffron and the 1100-year-old ruins of a temple to Lord Vishnu built by King Awantivarman. At the village, hike along pony trails that offer a fantastic vista of mountains and relax by the side of the Lidder River.