Q: I’ve always dreamt of vacations in Kashmir. This year I’m planning to visit in May. Will it be safe to travel to Kashmir in May 2017? What should be the schedule to spend five days in Kashmir?

Marco Says:
You’re not alone: Kashmir is many people’s dream destination, and, of course, it’s always good to chase your dreams. Reports are that Kashmir is currently perfectly safe for the tourist but do employ good old common sense closer to the dates of your travel (I assume you read the newspapers…) Depending on how jittery the news of the day makes you, you can always postpone your visit. But go ahead and make your plans anyway.

I don’t have a sense of your particular interests and inclina­tions, so it’s futile for me to attempt a detailed itinerary. But most travellers with only five days in hand make sure they get in three of the Valley’s most famous destinations: Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Srinagar is set between the other two and all are connected by easy road travel (a few hours either way from Srinagar). Essential experiences in Srinagar include a houseboat stay (on Nagin Lake, if you like tranquillity, or on the famous Dal to be in the thick of the action), visits to Srinagar’s many formal and informal gardens (Nishat Bagh, Chashmeshahi Garden), the beautiful mosques (especially the Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan) and a Wazwan meal. Pahalgam is a favourite leaping-off point into the great outdoors—the start of several treks and itself an area of considerable scenic beauty. And Gulmarg, of course, is renowned for its powdery ski slopes (not that skiing is going to be available at the time you intend to travel).