A two hour drive from Srinagar ( 47 kms ) will take you to acres upon acres of grassy meadow ringed by forests of pine, and towering beyond them, awesome and majestic snow clad mountains. Lying in the Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir this is Yusmarg- close enough to Srinagar for a picnic, idyllic enough to make you want to stay for a few days. Grassy pastures stretching to acres of land, the dense forests full of pine trees, with the backdrop of splendid snow capped mountains leave you almost speechless. Within commutable distance from Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, Yusmarg is the perfect place to go for a picnic. It is possible that after reaching this place, you may want to even stay for a few days. Specially, for the lovers of long walks in picturesque locales, Yusmarg is the place to be.Here are walks of every sort – a leisurely amble along flower-strewn meadows or away to where a mighty river froths and crashes its way over rocks, its mild white foam earning it the name of Dudh Ganga.
You may a laid-back stroll amongst flower-strewn meadows. Another venue for the walkers is a river, known by the name of Dudh Ganga. Frothing and crashing on its way over the rocks, the river makes a little white foam, which gives it this name. A little ahead, is a lake, Nilnag, embraced with hills. The hills comprise of a number of several peaks, namely Tatta Kutti, Sang Safed, etc. At a distance of about 13 km from Yusmarg in the Kashmir valley is the Charar-e-Sharief, the shrine of the saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din or Nund Reshi.Yousmarg mesmerizes tourists with its scenic meadows,a sparkling reservoir and mountains comparable to European Alps. Situated amidst Sang Safed valley, Yousmarg is reputed for having some unique spring flowers. It also has some of the highest peaks in Pir-Panjal range like Tatakoti 4725m, Romesh Thong 5000m and Sunset Peak 4746 m. The mighty river Doodh Ganga rises from these peaks and a dis-tributory of the same flows into the reservoir. Word ‘Yus’ is said to be a short form of Youza or Jesus PBUH and a marg means a meadow, according to a belief the Jesus is said to have passed through this valley while travelling into Kashmir
A major trekking route from Yousmarg eads to a famous spot called Tosa Maidan, a large meadow used for cattle grasing by nomads. This area is connected through rough routes to places like Gulmarg and Poonch. The region is full of springs , the one at Khag is most famous for the curative properties. The natural slopes of Yousmarg offer skiing opportunities to experts. School camps and adventure lovers make a week to fortnights stay at Yousmarg for the thrilling trekking routes around.Day treks are mostly commenced by the visitors. Stay in personal tents is recommended for the visitors intending to stay for longer duration. The expeditions to the various peaks in the range can be organized through the reputed Travel Agents in Srinagar.
Horse riding in the valley can be great fun, the ponywallas in Yousmarg have quite reasonable charges for a ride compared to other destinations. A visit in summer to a place like Yousmarg will positively be cherished by every one in a group. Yousmarg is suitable for young couples, as it is quietest place out of all tourist destinations. Last few years of large tourist inflow into Kashmir valley has seen the diversification of tourism to this wonderful destination. Most of the travel agents include Yousmarg as one day trip in their packages.
A short trek of 4km to Nilnag a small lake amidst pine trees, near a hamlet gives an ultimate pleasure to visitors. A full day trek from Yousmarg to frozen lake in Sang e safed valley 10 km from Yousmarg is quite fascinating one. Most of the portion of the lake is covered under ice throughout the year. Trekkers are advised to carry tents along during the trip as the weather at high altitude changes frequently which can make further journey quite hard. Assistance of a guide is advisable.
Tsrar-e-Sharief from political, social and economical upheavals, the Rishis or saints emerged with a sacred thoughts which gave comfort and mitigated the miseries of the people of valley. Nund Reshi was the patron of the Sufism in Kashmir who showed disinterest in worldly matters from childhood and renounced the world at an early age of 12 in search of divinity of God . He was an illiterate Shiekh Noor-ud-Din Noorani RA popular as Nund Reshi or Alamdar-e- Kashmir was born in 1378 AD at Kaimuh a village in Anantnag district. When the people of valley were suffering and yet spontaneously uttered concise and rhythmic verses called ‘Shruks’ which are considered of high value in Kashmiri literature.
“Do not go to Shiekh and priest and rnullah: Do not feed the cattle on the arkhor(leaves) Do not shut yourself in mosque and forest Enter thy own body with breath controlled in communion with God”
Local buses ply only upto Chrair e sharief, tourists are advised to hire a taxi from Srinagar or take the assistance of a travel agent. The road from Tsar e sharief to Yousmarg remains closed during the winters.
Since Yousmarg is not so crowded like other tourist destinations, accommodation here is available only at JKTDC Tourist Bungalows & Hutments. The trekkers are advised to carry tents and other necessary food items for the stay. Travel Agents assistance for organized all inclusive tours is recommended.
Further away, a captivating lake, Nilnag, is cradled by hills. Nearby are several peaks- Tatta Kutti and Sang Safed to name a couple of them. About 13 kms from Yusmarg, a short detour away from the Srinagar road, is Charari- Sharief, the Shrine of Kashmir’s patron saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din or Nund Reshi, now rebuilt after the devastating fire of 1994 which engulfed the entire building.
Sunset Peak and Mahadiv Mountain are the major points of interest here. Yusmarg Valley has the best spring flowers in the state