But things are changing now.
Lolab valley is studded with natural beauty and warm, hospitable locals. Minus the throngs of tourists. This part of Kashmir is as virgin as it gets.
Wooden houses with tinned roofs surrounded by rice fields. And Himalayas over the horizon.
Reshwari, a border town in Kashmir
The tourism department of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is encouraging visitors to give this place a try. We stayed at the tourist bungalow run by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department.
This was the view from our window. At the stream local kids were having their everyday after school swim. We shared a mutual curiosity with them. This made for an interesting conversation. Starting with their swimming skills and favourite subject in school. And them wanting to know the cost of our camera!
Reshwari is set on a hilly forest. It is advisable to be back in the tourist bungalow before nightfall. For dinner, we had piping hot rice and Roganjosh.
Driving through Lolab valley
Women set out to the fields in Lolab valley.
Firewood is still a major source of fuel in the houses in rural Kashmir. Women make several trips in the day collecting wood for daily use in the kitchen. Around August, they also start stocking wood for the winter months.
Initially surprised at seeing us, they soon became pally. It was amusing for them, that we wanted to click their pictures. But they were relaxed and actually enjoyed being photographed.
Chandigham in Lolab valley
It is a perfect place for a lunch break just as we did.
However, if being surrounded by the fir forest at the back and the rice fields in front, catches your fancy, just stay on here.
Kalaroos village folks
It’s very rare that a car of tourists drives by these village roads.
And everybody is curiously peeping out of their windows!
This actually is a pretty rare sight in Kashmir: a female with the head not covered!
Satbern/ Satburn in Lolab valley
Not for money, mind you! Just for the pleasure of guiding – and showing off their local attraction!
Satbern is a rocky structure with seven doors. These doors lead to nowhere. Mystery seems to be its only purpose. This whole structure is supposedly traced back to the time of the Pandavas – from Mahabharat!
Kalaroos caves in Lolab valley
It was our first cave experience. This made the steep climb through the dark cave even more exciting.
The Kalaroos caves are still archaeologically unexplored. Folklore says they extend all the way to Russia!!
Kalaroos village view
Khumriyal in Lolab valley
Sipping some pink coloured namkeen chai (salty tea), we watched the sun set in the Himalayas. Flocks of birds were returning back to their homes in the firs and pines surrounding the tourist bungalow.
The entire village came to visit us. Along with the staff they were all eager to cater to our needs. The kids wanted to play with us (and the camera!). The women particularly told us to let them know if we needed anything!
In such pristine surroundings, there’s little else that one could want!
60 thoughts on “Lolab Valley: Kashmir Unexplored”
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No matter how many times I read this or how many times I see these pictures, I can’t help but be amazed.
We should all go again to Kashmir this year!
That would be a privilege! And then top it off with Zanskar 😀
Aha! Zanskar is a must visit again especially to thank all those super kind families.
Hey how did you guys get around in Lolab Valley? Hiring a car? From Srinagar itself? And how did you do the bookings for the JK Tourism guest houses? Thanks. And can Lolab valley be covered in 5-6 days?
Hey Jatin, the tourism officer we met at Reshwari drove us around the Lolab valley. It was a quick tour. 5-6 days will be awesome to visit all the parts of the valley. Bangus valley has also opened up now.
You can take a public shared Sumo from Srinagar up to a point and then maybe rent a private taxi to take you around. For the JK Tourism bungalows, the best option is the call the tourism office. We have shared all the links and numbers in this Offbeat Kashmir guide.
So, Lolab in the coming summer?
How to book the JKTDC cottages. I am not able to find any online cottages the link for booking the cottages. Please let me know how
Hi Sandeep, one more question is that how to reach Bangus Valley. Have you been there? Do we need any permission to reach?
Hello Balaji, Bangus was off limits for civilians when we visited. It depends on what the Indian army has decided for a particular period. You can call the Lolab-Bangus Development Authority at 9419017791 to find out about the present situation.
you can go to bangus now. either from reshwari or from chowkibal. i wil advise taking chowkibal route, the road is much better.
Thanks for the update, Tariq!
Hi Sandeep, Very inspired by your pictures.. I am planning to go to Lolab Valley for a 3 day trip.. Just wanted to know how convenient is to get a cab there from Srinagar? Plus, whats the mode of commute in the valley itself? My wife had a broken leg two months back, and so travelling on foot extensively is not a very good option for us. Can you also recommend a place to stay in Lolab?
There are several guest houses run by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department in the Lolab valley. They are situated in beautiful locations and have nice rooms. You can hire a cab to take you to Lolab valley from Srinagar. Since your wife has had a broken leg will not recommend public transport, else shared Sumo taxis are everywhere in the valley. We would recommend heading to the Kupwara tourism office which is on the way to Lolab valley. They can help you chalk out a detailed itinerary for Lolab, including the exact locations of the guest houses.
Very well covered & highlighted the Lolab Valley. I have been to kashmir couple of times, this time I want to cover the non-tourist spots. Was confused between Lolab Valley & Gurez Valley.
Thanks for your beautiful post, now I am planning for Lolab Valley.
Thanks, Afzal! Gurez is also very beautiful though we have heard. We never went there but definitely will the next time. Lolab valley is a very different landscape than the rest of Kashmir.
Hi Sandeep great post man. We are a group of nine adults visiting Kashmir. Reaching Srinagar on 4th Oct n leaving 12th Oct. Please help me to finalise the itinerary. Keep travelling buddy.
Hi Sandeep. I am planning to visit Kupwara area. How safe is it for a solo traveller by bike. Also please suggest some more places than what is explained in your blog. What about the accommodations in these areas. Please suggest.
Hello Kushagra, keep a watch on the local news about the situation when you intend to travel. As long as things are normal, Kashmir is a safe place to travel, the locals are friendly and look forward to having tourists. All the places mentioned in the post have accommodation facilities by the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department. You can find the booking information by contacting the Lolab Bangus-Drangyari Tourism Development Authority.
Last year I along with my friends went to Zanskar in July’15. What a beautiful places like Drass, Kargil, Rangdum and Padum. Next year, we are planning to visit few new places including Lolab. Hope we get more beauty of unexplored Kashmir. Can u recommend few new places of Kashmir for 15 days. This Oct’16 we have planned to go to Sach Pass, HP.
Zanskar is still so unexplored, isn’t it? Besides the Lolab valley, you can go ahead to Gurez in the northern direction. We didn’t go here, so no first-hand information about that. Southern parts of Kashmir are also full of beautiful and offbeat locations. Chatpal is remote and a very few people know about it. Even within Srinagar itself, you can go to places like the Pari Mahal (walk up there!) which many tourists don’t. Yusmarg is another place for everything to relaxation to light, or extensive treks. All the best for your trek to Sach Pass.
Amazing photos…beautiful place. Your Kashmir itinerary is very interesting.
Lolab valley is very pretty. The pictures are just perfect and I have planned to visit Kashmir for vacation for sure. Can’t miss the beautiful nature.
Lolab valley is indeed a beautiful less explored valley in Kashmir. Happy travels!
Wow amazing. Awesome photos.
No more words… Just Amazing !!!!!!!!
Thank you so much, Salman! And you are right, Kashmir, especially the unexplored parts is beyond words!
Oh my god! This is brilliant! Such a lovely place and GORGEOUS pictures, as always. 🙂 Did you also go to Wular Lake? I’ve been wanting to go there for so long. Also, how many days did you explore in Kashmir?
Hey Neelima, we spent around 45 days in the valley. Wular and Gurez are two places we have left for the next time 🙂 Trust us, those 45 days went in a breeze once we got out of Srinagar, can stay another 45 again! You will love the treks in the green Himalayas 🙂
I so enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the beautiful pics!! Makes me wanna a plan trip to this place already! Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience, it is inspiring too 🙂
Thank you. Keep traveling
I am from lolab kashmir i can help any ony
aSSALAMU aLIKUM zUBAIR BHI AS WE HAVE HEARD 26TH JULY IS YEARLY ISLAMIC GATHERING THERE WE ARE PLANING TO JOIN WE ARE NOT AWARE ABOUT LOLAAB WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ISLAMIC PRECIOUS PLACES LIKE HAZRAT ALLAMA aNWAR SHSH KASHMIRI (ra) ETC
we r planning lolab valley trip in march for one night. in march lolab valley assessable
As far as we know, Lolab valley should be accessible in March.
Hi Sandeepa Ani Chetan,
Congrats!!!! Tumcha Blog khupach sunder aahe. Khup mahiti milte. Mi Mumbai Parel warun aahe. Mala pan travelling chi aawad aahe. Mala tumacha blog wachaila aawadel. Specially the way you explored kashimir…really nice.
Very informative and detailed account + lovely pictures. It is still beautifully intact despite years of trouble.
Good to read about these unexplored parts of India. How do to make travel arrangements in Kashmir ? Do you have any contacts since these are remote areas and the tourists vehicle driver should be familiar with the routes I plan to to visit Gurez Valley in Kashmir
Hi Sandeep iam planning to Visit Lolaab valley in June. Can you share the details as where to stay and how many days will it take to see the whole village.
Hello Tamanna, great to know of your plan to visit Lolab valley. J&K tourism has excellent stay facilities, like the one at Khumriyal and Chandigham that we have mentioned in our post. We suggest you call the TRC (Tourist Reception Centres) in your city, or their office in Kupwara for the details. We do not have these numbers, but you should be able to find them online. We have been told by our readers that they are really friendly people.
Lolab valley has a lot to offer and no of days depend on how deep you decide to go. To have a quick look at it all, we suggest 2-3 days.
Do we require any special permission to visit Lolaab Valley
Do we require any type of permission to visit Lolaab valley
For Lolab valley, no, we didnt need any permission. But it is better to confirm with the tourism officers of those areas.
Hi just needed to know since you have visited Lolaab have you taken any permission. I need to visit Kalaroos caves and Sataburn monument
For Kalaroos and Satburn parts of the Lolab valley, I don’t think any permissions will be required. We hadn’t taken any and we didn’t see any checking points on the way either. However, just to be absolutely sure of the present circumstance, we suggest talking to a tourism officer for Kupwara or the north Kashmir region.
Thanks a lot for that information. We have a question regarding our itenary. Would be great if you could help us with this.
The issue is we have just 5 and half days. half a day would go in srinagar because we are landing in the afternoon. So technically we just have 5 days.
We are confused whether to go to pahalgam and go around places like Aru, Baisaran, Achalabal, Daksum, Sintan Top etc or do we go to Gulmarg and the places around it like Tangmarg, Kilanmarg, Alpather Lake, Lolab Valley and Bangus Valley.
Which do you think we should choose? Or do you think we can do both sides but visit selected places.
We are looking for lush green places and snow capped mountains. Having said that I am assuming most places in Kashmir are like that. But which places do you think we should pick.
Would be great if you could help us with this.
Thanks and Regards
Thanks Sandeep. That was very useful. I will definately go to Lolab in Sep.
Could you also tell me any other uninhabited pristine places like Lolab in K ashmir.
There are a lot of pristine untouched places in Kashmir. Chatpal is one of them. South Kashmir- Achabal, Kokernag-Sinthan Top, though not exactly untouched, is far better than their over crowded counterparts like Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
Even in the very touristy places, there are places that aren’t so popular. Drung near Gulmarg (3km from Tangmarg) is one such place.
There are a number of day treks in Yusmarg where you can experience untouched beauty. Skip the ponies and walk down to places like Neelnag.
Watch this space for more posts on these places!
Feel free to ask any more questions you have.
Have a great trip in this wonderful place!
The pictures are absolutely stunning. I am planning a trip to Kashmir in Sep. I would love to visit this place.
Just wanted to know if it is safe to travel to Lolab Valley given that the entire Kupwara district has been a sensitive area in the past. Also could you tell me the accomodation options in this area.
Thank you so much. We are glad you are considering a visit to Lolab valley on your trip to Kashmir. As for accommodation in Lolab, the tourist bungalows by the JnK tourist board are an excellent option. You can contact their TRC (Tourist Reception Centre) in places like Srinagar once you get there, or a TRC in your city before you leave.
About safety, what we can say is, we hadn’t faced any problems in the 45 days we spent in Kashmir. Yes, there is heightened security in certain areas. One does need to be cautious. Before actually visiting a lesser known place, look at the news and ask around about the place. The locals are a friendly people keen on having tourists. They will guide you well.
Sandeep, your post looks beautiful. What camera are you using ? Because the pictures look amazing. I think you have captured the moments perfectly through your lens. It is always a pleasure visiting such a heavenly destination. I must admit “I love Kashmir”.I would really appreciate if you could check my blog http://adventurousgopal.wordpress.com and let me know if you like it.
Thank you so much for your compliments! Kashmir is one place you instantly fall in love with, the more you stay, the more there is to see. Which is your favourite place in Kashmir?
The EXIF data is attached to all our photos. We use Canon 5D.
Some of my friends desire to visit bangus valley in the month of mid- october. Pl. help us by giving details as regard the permission from the Defence officials.Is there any motor able road at bangus valley?
The situation with the Bangus valley changes from year to year. You’ll need to call the local tourism authorities and find the current situation from them. You can call the Tourist Reception Centre in Kupwara at 01955-252333 or the Lolab Bangus Development Authority at (+91)-9622574863.
T R C,Kupwara and Lolab Bungus Development Authority did not respond to my phone calls. Kindly provide me Mail Ids( if any) available.
Tourism Authority Lolab Bungus contact no 7006261867.
Thank you for the correct numbers. We will update our Kashmir posts accordingly.