Visit Anantnag: One Of The Most Beautiful Cities In Jammu & Kashmir (2023)
Anantnag is also famous by the name of Islamabad in the area. The name Islamabad is believed to have derived from the name of a Mughal governor Islam Khan who built a garden in the area. Both names are used for the town, Anantnag being preferred by the Hindus and Sikhs and Islamabad being preferred by the Muslims. It is the administrative headquarters of the Anantnag district in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at a distance of 53 kilometers from the state capital Srinagar. Anantnag is one of the most beautiful cities in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The city of Anantnag is full of gushing streams and landscapes and flora and fauna that make Kashmir the heaven that it truly is. Although Sri Nagar is the capital of the state Anantnag is regarded as the commercial and financial capital of the Kashmir valley. It is a large business and trading center in the Kashmir valley and loved by all. There is the confluence of three streams, Arapath, Brengi, and Sandra, and the resulting river is named Veth or Jhelum near Anantnag. Jhelum river is the main tourist attraction in Anantnag. There are several larger streams such as Brengi. There is another stream Lidder that joins the river a little downstream. In the old times river, Jhelum was the main source of transportation between Anantnag and other towns downstream. You can still see people rowing small boats and going to nearby places. It is one of the most delightful sights you will see when in Anantnag. The name Anantnag is thought to originate from the Sanskrit term Ananta, meaning “infinite”, and Kashmiri word nāga, “water spring”; Anant-nāg would thus mean “numerous springs”, as there are indeed many springs in the town.
8 Amazing Places to See and Things to Do in Anantnag
1. Martand Sun Temple
There are only a few sun temples in India, and this is one of the famous sun temples in the country. People from all over the world come to visit this temple. This temple has local religious importance, and it is considered equally important and holy by people residing at faraway places from Anantnag. the Martand Sun Temple was dedicated to Surya and was constructed between the 7th – 8th centuries. Martand is a Sanskrit name for the Hindu Sun-god. The temple is located five miles from Anantnag. This square limestone temple was built at the top of a plateau near a small town, Anantnag by a king called Lalitaditya of the Surya dynasty. It is known to be one of the finest works by him. The way the construction is done shows the skills of the artisans. This temple is also an architectural marvel and is visited by many architecture lovers. It is built in a classic Kashmiri Hindu style of architecture and is one of a kind in the entire country. Although the temple is now in a wrecked condition, it is still visited by thousands of tourists around the year. The architecture is breathtaking and the vibe somewhat nostalgic but so enticing that it makes travelers want to come here. A walk across the courtyard is a must for visitors to notice the brilliantly fused designs and carvings on the structure that still stand the tests of time and weather.
2. Jhelum River
The Jhelum River passes through the Kashmir valley. It is a river flowing from the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, through the Pakistani-administered territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and in Punjab in Pakistan. The Jhelum rises from a deep spring at Vernag, in western Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian-administered portion of the Kashmir region. The river travels northwest from the northern slope of the Pir Panjal Range through the Vale of Kashmir to Wular Lake at Srinagar. Jhelum river emerges from the lake and flows westward and crosses the Pir Panjal in a gorge that is 7,000 feet deep and has perpendicular sides. It is a major tributary out of five major tributaries namely, Satluj, Beas, Ravi Chenab, and Jhelum which are ultimately merging with the river Indus in Pakistan is the west-flowing river. Kashmir valley that is home to the Jhelum basin is well known for its medicinal properties. It is a storehouse of medicinal and aromatic plants that are used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Jhelum basin is home to several culturally and geologically important sites which has tremendous scientific and historical importance. Besides, there are several pilgrimage sites including Sufi shrines in the basin that are being frequented by the people and tourists throughout the year.
3. Manasbal Lake
Anasbal lake is considered one of the most beautiful kales in the Kashmir Valley. Being around this lake is like being in heaven itself. It is considered is one of nature’s wonders with impeccable beauty and is situated around 30 km from Anantnag. The name of Manasbal lake has been derived from the Mansarovar Lake in the Tibet region. It is also the deepest lake in the entire country and is considered gem of Jammu and Kashmir. The sparkling water in this lake adds to the beauty of this lake, gives it a mesmerizing sheen, and is also a source of living for many people residing in the area. You will also get to see a variety of migratory birds in the area.
A Mughal garden named Garoka is located on the banks of this lake. It is another very famous attraction that was built by Nur Jahan. The ruins of the Manasbal Temple and Buddhist shrines located around the coast of this lake give proof of the eloquence of the Mughal era. There are some of the small snow streams draining into this lake which are used for fishing by the locals. One of the best tourist attractions, the calm waters, and lotus leaves along with blooming flowers is a feast for the sore eyes.
4. Amarnath Cave
Amarnath cave is located at a distance of 46 km from Anantnag. The best time to visit this place is during the annual procession of Amarnath. It begins at Srinagar and crosses the entire area. Amarnath is considered one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The door of the Amarnath temple or the cave opens in the Shravan month in the Hindu calendar that is in July-August. The place has a unique significance for Hindus especially people who worship Lord Shiva. One of the biggest Lingam formed with Ice is located inside the cave which resembles Lord Shiva.
As per the legend, Amarnath cave has a very interesting story associated with it. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva narrated the story of life and immortality to Goddess Parvati. It is believed that once Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the beads he wears on his head and when he started wearing them. To this question, Lord Shiva replied when Parvati was born. Goddess question why is that Lord Shiva is immortal while she keeps dying and reborn again. Lord Shiva explained the reason being the Amar Katha. Parvati insisted to hear that Amar Katha and convinced Lord Shiva to narrate the story to her. Lord Shiva looked for a place where he could be alone with the Goddess to narrate the story. It is also respectfully known as the Sri Amarnath Cave temple by the devotees. The Amarnath temple is one of the 51Shakti Peethas. The cave has a large stalagmite formed because of the freezing of water droplets in the entire height of the cave that is around 41 m. This is considered to be the holy Shivalinga by the Hindus also known as Lingam and represents Lord Shiva.
5. Kishtwar National Park
Kishtwar National Park is a national park located in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The national park is spread over an area of 400 square km the park. The park has 15 distinct mammal species including the musk deer and Himalayan black and brown bear. Kishtwar is on a plateau located above the Chenab river and below the nagin sheer glacier. This area has saffron grown in a very short time and its harvesting is accompanied by ceremonies and festivals. These festivals are organised typically during summer. Even though Kishtwar is not the only high-altitude wildlife sanctuary, it is made special because of its large variety of flora and fauna.
6. Aishmuqam Shrine
This place is considered to be sacred by people of all religions. Who comes here to see this place and to know the story from all parts of the country and world. Aishmuqam Shrine is one of the most prominent tourist spots in Anantnag, which was built in the 15th century A.D. This shrine was constructed in honor of Shiekh Zain-ud-din, who was one of the chief disciples of the renowned Reshi, Shiekh Noor-ud-din. The hills in the Aishmuqam town have been home to Hazrat Zain-ud-din Wali back in the day. The legend says that Hazrat Zain-ud-din Wali restricted himself in the cave and spent all his time preaching about Allah. This legend had=s given even more importance and popularity to this cave.
7. Kherbawani Asthapan
Kherbawani Asthapan is located close to the Masjid Baba Dawood Khaki in Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most visited places by the tourists in the area. Kherbawani Asthapan houses Kherbawani spring. It is believed that Kashmir’s Maharaja Pratap Singh was an ardent devotee of the place and he made a lot of offerings here. After that, the place became popular among the locals also. There is a rush of people to these people in the summers. The sight of the changing watercolor of the Kherbawani spring also attracts a lot of tourists here. You can sit here and look at the changing color of the spring and it is so satisfying. It is also a nice place to enjoy time with your friends and family. Make sure you visit this place on your next visit to Anantnag.
8. Imambara Goom
This Imambara is a Muslim sacred place and is very popular among the devotees around the country and outside. People come to see this place from all over the world. It is located at Ahmadpora near Baramullah. The view of the snow-dusted mountains adds to the tranquility and offers a beautiful aura that leaves everyone quenched. The landscape around is very beautiful. One must visit this place if you are traveling to Anantnag.
Best Time to Visit Anantnag
Anantnag has classic alpine weather, and it makes it more suitable to visit during summers. April to October are the best months to visit as during the summer when the snow starts to melt, you will start seeing the greenery and flowers all around which makes the place look like heaven. The weather is pleasant in summers and is considered the ideal time to spend in the beautiful valley. Winters in Sri Nagar are freezing summers are brazenly hot. Anantnag is best visited during the Autumn months from September to November however, monsoons are also a great time that transforms this beautiful place into a magnificent landscape. Every season presents a different landscape in the valley. All seasons are worth spending your time at in this beautiful valley and not to be missed.
Winters in Anantnag start in October and last up to February. During December, the temperature drops sparingly low, and you start seeing the snow. At the end of February or at the beginning of March the snow starts melting. It depends on you when you want to get away from the hustle-bustle of the city and want to stay and rejuvenate your cluttered mind in this heaven on earth.
How to Reach Anantnag?
Anantnag is well connected to the plains and all the nearby major cities. There are several means of transport available to travel to Anantnag. You can choose from air travel, trains, buses, or taxis to reach this heavenly town in this beautiful valley.
Air travel to Anantnag:
The nearest airport is Sri Nagar airport that is around 45 km from Anantnag. Sri Nagar airport is well connected to most of the major cities in India. The local airlines and carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet, and others have direct flights from Delhi. You can take connecting flights from other local airports in India. You can hire a taxi from the airport to go to your destination in Anantnag or the nearby cities if you are planning to go anywhere else. You can easily find good accommodation to stay in Anantnag near the airport or the city for all budgets.
Rail travel to Anantnag:
The Nearest railway station is Anantnag is the Anantnag railway station. The railway station is which is 5 km away and is well connected with Kashmir Railway that runs from Baramulla to Qazigund. Anantnag is connected to few important cities by frequent trains. The station is directly connected to prime cities of the country, including Delhi, Bhatinda, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Jodhpurvia several superfast, express, and mail trains. You can take a taxi or take a shared cab from outside the railway station to reach Anantnag.
Road travel to Anantnag:
This is the best way to reach Anantnag as you will be able to enjoy the views on your way to the city while traveling by road. This might take a longer time than by air or train, but it is worth it. Anantnag is not directly connected to major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, etc. You will need to take a bus from the major city like from Delhi to Sri Nagar and change a bus from Sri Nagar to Anantnag. You can also choose to hire a taxi to take you from Sri Nagar bus station to Anantnag.
Places to Stay in Anantnag
There are several places to stay in Anantnag for every budget. There are both luxurious and budget hotels you can choose based on your pocket size. Anantnag has some of the best hotels and resorts in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Best resorts in Anantnag are located amidst the scented forests of maple and apple orchards or the ones offering a view of the scenic and serene Jhelum river which increases the beauty and sophistication of the place. Vising Anantnag is the best way to unwind and relax in the lap of nature away from the city crowds. There are many warm and cozy places to stay in Anantnag for all budgets. There are luxurious 5-star hotels, mid-range hotels, homestays, bed and breakfast, and other budget hotels in Anantnag and nearby places. Make sure you book your accommodation before visiting the place as the possibility of finding a good or any accommodation gets difficult during the peak season if you just drop by. You can also find many homestays which are quite famous among families as well as young people and adventure seekers as you can have the entire area to yourself and enjoy there as per your comfort. And if you are staying with a landlord at your homestay, you get to enjoy the local and homecooked state food in addition to getting to know the local folk stories and hidden spots for you to see. Some of the famous places in the area are Pahalgam Divine, Walisons Peace Resort, The Orchard Retreat and Spa, Luxury Boathouse (If you want to enjoy living on a boat), Mountain view cottages, etc.
Things to Eat in Anantnag
You will have a culinary experience of a lifetime at Anantnag. This place has many restaurants you can eat to satisfy your senses and the foodie in you. The most commonly served and preferred food in Anantnag is Kashmiri cuisine. However, you can enjoy other cuisines at some of the restaurants in Anantnag. There are many restaurants, luxury properties serving local to multicuisine food for you to relish. Make sure you visit these places and enjoy your time eating the best food while you are here and discover more cafes and restaurants to enjoy good food and time.
The cuisine of Anantnag is greatly influenced by Mughals. The authentic Mughal dishes tempered and spiked with spices like fennel, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves are quite common here. If you are a vegetarian, the cuisine does have a few unique varieties to try. However, meat and fish are the main ingredients in any signature dish, and you can enjoy them at many restaurants. The most famous dishes in the area are Rogan Josh, Modar Pulao, Matschgand, Shab Daig, Haakh, Yakhni, Nader ki Gaad, Kashmiri Nann are among the few. Get ready for your senses to be activated in all possible ways when in Anantnag.