Autumn in Jammu and Kashmir is pretty short, especially in the winter capital – Jammu. After a scorching July, August brings the humid and restless monsoon and September holds the cranky temperament of the absence of them. It’s only October that bids goodbye to the summer like an old friend and starts embracing the winter like falling in love for the first time.
A place of staggering exuberance and beauty unparalleled, Kashmir, leaves everyone bewitched with it’s charm. In the valley of four seasons, each painting Kashmir with a distinct hue, Autumn is Kashmir’s very own golden season which splashes the place in all shades of red, yellow and orange- creating frames out of a fairytale. Autumn is called ‘Harud’ in Kashmiri – which refers to the time of harvest, and is visually the most awe striking of all seasons. This is also the shortest of all seasons, stretching between mid-October to mid-November.
Fall creates a mystic aura in the valley with leaves bidding farewell to their various shades of green, slowly turning to golden and then reddish orange before turning brown and finally embracing the end and descending to the ground. To immerse ourselves into the shades of Harud and to have a self-discovering journey, here’s a list of some places where you can lose yourself, and come back with dozens of pictures, and even more memories.
Naseem Bagh – Kashmir University Campus
Located on the western banks of the Dal Lake, Naseem Bagh at the campus of Kashmir University has become a favourite spot for autumn lovers in Kashmir. This picture-perfect garden, nestled in thousands of chinar trees, is surely one of the most serene spots. Nothing compares to the splendour of this location in the season of fall.
Walking down the lawns and even streets gives the sound of rustling over the dry colourful chinar leaves. It produces a mesmerizing ambience that lasts in the mind for very long. The green buildings in the backdrop go well with the red brown autumnal setting and are a true treat for the eyes!
Nothing compares to the grand Shalimar garden covered in the shades of Autumn. It undoubtedly looks amazing throughout the year, but the colors of fall enhances the beauty and makes it look absolutely breathtaking!
Magical as it looks in the frame, the Shalimar garden is the perfect place to be on a cool and bright autumn day. The garden is blessed with a vast stretch of extremely lovely looking chinar trees. The very sight of think foliage everywhere carpeting the garden and paths leaves everyone mesmerised with its beauty. Tourists from across the world visit the Mughal Garden, especially in autumn to observe its scenic beauty.
The Dal Lake
Who hasn’t heard of the poetic charm of the Dal Lake! Known as the Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir, the spectacular lake captivates everything around it especially in autumn. As soon as you put your foot down on the magnificent boulevard beside the vast sparkling lake, You can feel the magic in the air. Walking on the land, you can’t miss the rustling sound of fallen Chinar leaves.
Autumn makes the sun go mild and brings a chilly mist into the air. Imagine waking up to see the autumn’s spell at work, dry leaves falling on to the surface of the lake, shikaras floating and the sky splintered into a thousand hues!
So why not take a walk around the glistening lake and soak up the lovely changing colours?
Located in the middle of the Dal, the Char Chinar is practically the perfect fall landscape. Jinxed by handsome mighty chinars, the iconic island draws its name from the four trees it has — one in each corner.
Autumn casts its magical spell on this alluring Island and exudes all the possible colours that exist, coupled with plenty of splendor and liveliness. The wet and cool wind from the Dal Lake also adds to the allure of the garden.
The vast length of the Dal Lake sprinkled with dry chinar leaves, as well as the stunning mountain peaks in the background that go orange in autumn, makes the char chinar an out-of-this-world experience.
Dachigam National Park
Every wildlife and nature lover’s dream destination, the Dachigam National Park is quite famous for its fiery autumn display. During October, fall foliage is at its peak, and you can find yourself amidst the beautiful fall hues of gold, orange and red. Apple, walnut, wild cherry, oak, chestnut, chinar, pine and are some of the trees in this area, making it an exciting place to visit as the leaves change.
You can simply take a walk down the jungle trails and explore all the outdoor fun this place offers. Listening to the chorus of the crickets and breathing in the autumnal freshness that lingers in the air truly creates a lasting impact on the mind. From ancient trees to birds, beetles, grasses, wildflowers and Hangul (kashmiri stag), Dachigam National Park is one of the best places to flock to during autumn.
If you want to experience more of thick forest, untarnished nature, and the glorious ‘Golden Harud’ at its best, the Shankaracharya hill is a place you must plan to visit. Being that perfect getaway far from the crowded city, this forested hill represents autumn in its own uniqueness. Its thick plantation presents a beautiful picture of yellow and orange in autumn which is undoubtedly a treat to the eyes.
The hill is home to the Shankaracharya temple at the top along with a resting place which in autumn, offers a pleasant panoramic view over the entire Srinagar tinted in orange. Shankaracharya hill witnesses its leaves change colour in mid-September, so if you plan to visit be sure to bundle up and prepare to be amazed!
Pari mahal, also known as the abode of fairies, is adorned with a seven-terraced garden that has a variety of flowering plants, trees, and shrubs that beautifully turn orange in autumn. The golden hues of the leaves enhances the beauty of the garden and turn it into a mesmerizing sight to cherish.
In addition to the attractive sand brown stone of the mahal, autumn only accentuates it’s beauty and adds depth to the architecture, making it a must visit in October.
If you want to pose in front of trees ladened with golden leaves, the chinar bagh at dalgate is the perfect place to be! Autumn casts its magical spell on the park and exudes all the possible colours that exist, coupled with plenty of charm and liveliness.
The mighty chinars, wooden bridges, the glorious Jhelum flowing by the side and some houseboats silently resting by the fence truly makes it a magical spot. Pale chinar leaves, soaked in fresh dew drops adorn the benches laid out in the big seating area, making it the perfect place to grab a book and be seated on a misty autumn day.