Kunzum Route K11: Jammu & Kashmir

A road sign in Kashmir. There are others that read, ‘Kashmir is the fruit bowl of the country’ and ‘Kashmir is a flower bed’
A road sign in Kashmir. There are others that read, ‘Kashmir is the fruit bowl of the country’ and ‘Kashmir is a flower bed’

If there is one thing to be envied in earlier generations, it is their good fortune to have seen Kashmir at its bountiful best. Over the last quarter of a century, terrorism and global warming – not to forget unplanned growth – have taken a toll on what was described as paradise by the Mughal rulers.

Fortunately, Mother Nature is made of sterner stuff. While some of the sheen may have gone from Kashmir ’s beauty, there is still much to go back for. Not once, but many times over. And each time you will have new stories to discover, new sights to see, and new memories to cherish.

Get going on Kunzum Route K11 to experience what is still a paradise in many ways.

LEG 1:

Delhi to Jammu / 629 kms (393 miles) / 10:59 hrs

The condition of roads is excellent almost throughout on this leg. You may encounter some flyover and highway construction activities on the way. These may slow you down a bit, with a promise of faster traffic in the future.

>> Delhi (Rajghat) – Delhi / Haryana Border: 33 Kms (21 miles), 0:26 hrs

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>> Delhi / Haryana Border – Barista Coffee: 23 Kms (14 miles), 0:17 hrs – Located on the left side of highway. If you prefer, there is a Café Coffee Day just 2 kms down and a very nice multi cuisine restaurant Haveli soon after; I think the latter is open 24 hours.

>> Barista Coffee – Samalkha: 23 Kms (14 miles), 0:12 hrs

>> Samalkha – Panipat: 17 kms (11 miles), 0:10 hrs – Stick to the central lanes as you approach Panipat so you can take the flyover over the city – if you go through the city below the flyover, it could take you as long as 30 minutes to cross.

>> Panipat – Barista Coffee: 31 kms (19 miles), 0:26 hrs – Located on opposite side of highway. Open 24 hours.

>> Barista Coffee – Savoy Greens Food Court (next to Karni Lake in Karnal): 13 kms (8 miles), 0:13 hrs – The Savoy Greens is one of the better places to eat on the highway. The food court offers a selection of McDonalds, Costa Coffee, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Kwality (North Indian dishes), a South Indian counter besides others.

>> Savoy Greens Food Court (next to Karni Lake in Karnal) – Karnal Toll Plaza: 16 kms (10 miles), 0:14 hrs – Paid Rs. 81

>> Karnal Toll Plaza – Kurukshetra / Pipli Crossing: 13 kms (8 miles), 0:11 hrs

>> Kurukshetra / Pipli Crossing – Ambala: 43 kms (27 miles), 0:36 hrs – Just after the town there is the Saagar Ratna restaurant (serving south and north Indian cuisines, they usually do a good job). You may tank up at or before Ambala. Fuel is cheaper in Haryana than in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

>> Ambala – Ludhiana: 118 Kms (74 miles), 2:10 hrs – Traffic can be a little slow crossing Ludhiana.

>> Ludhiana – Phagwara: 43 Kms (27 miles), 1:00 hrs

>> Phagwara – Jalandhar: 21 Kms (13 miles), 0:24 hrs – You will find many eateries on the highway just before Jalandhar including McDonalds. Recommended is Haveli.

>> Jalandhar – Pathankot: 117 Kms (73 miles), 1:53 hrs – Take the NH1A from here – you have to take two turns in Jalandhar, watch out for signs to Pathankot.

>> Pathankot – Jammu: 118 Kms (74 miles), 2:47 hrs – Take a night halt here; it is also the ideal place to stay if you are headed to Vaishno Devi, the holy Hindu spot.

LEG 2:

Jammu to Pahalgam / 287 kms (179 miles) / 7:34 hrs

>> Jammu – Udhampur: 62 Kms (39 miles), 1:36 hrs – You should take a diversion in Udhampur for the ancient temples at Kiramchi, 8 kms (5 miles) from Udhampur. You can get there only if you ask locals for directions – you have to turn from Supply Chowk.

>> Udhampur – Kud: 40 Kms (25 miles), 1:00 hrs – Take a break here for the Indian sweet Patisa – Kud is famous for this.

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>> Kud – Patnitop: 8 Kms (5 miles), 0:13 hrs – Stop for views if you wish to.

>> Patnitop – Peerah: 27 Kms (17 miles), 0:39 hrs – Peerah is famous for freshly cooked Rajma – Chawal served with Chutney and Ghee – don’t miss it; you may anyway be hungry by now.

>> Peerah – Jawahar Tunnel: 70 Kms (44 miles), 2:03 hrs – The tunnel connects Kashmir valley to the rest of the country by road; close this and no traffic can get through.

>> Jawahar Tunnel – Titanic View Point: 6 Kms (4 miles), 0:17 hrs – The first view of the Kashmir Valley can be had from here – a tea stall serves beverages and snacks.

>> Titanic View Point – Anantnag: 34 Kms (21 miles), 0:45 hrs – Turn at Anantnag for either Srinagar or Pahalgam.

>> Anantnag – Matan: 6 Kms (4 miles), 0:12 hrs – Take a break here for the spectacular Martanda Sun Temple. If running short of time, you can do this on the way from Pahalgam to Srinagar.

>> Matan – Pahalgam: 34 Kms (21 miles), 0:49 hrs – One of the most beautiful places in the Indian Himalayas. Read Kunzum Travel List #16 for more on Pahalgam.

LEG 3:

Pahalgam – Srinagar / 95 kms (59 miles) / 2:30 hrs

>> Pahalgam – Anantnag: 40 Kms (25 miles), 1:00 hrs

>> Anantnag – Srinagar: 55 Kms (34 miles), 1:30 hrs – The first sight of Srinagar and you know you are in heaven. Read Kunzum Travel List #17 for more on Srinagar.

LEG 4:

Srinagar – Gulmarg and back

>> Srinagar – Gulmarg: 56 Kms (35 miles), 1:40 hrs – Stunning slopes for those who want to ski down.

>> Gulmarg – Srinagar: 56 Kms (35 miles), 1:40 hrs

LEG 5:

Srinagar – Sonamarg / 86 kms (54 miles) / 2:30 hrs

>> Srinagar – Sonamarg: 86 Kms (54 miles), 2:30 hrs – Sonamarg is stunning with its awesome landscapes. From Sonamarg, you can either return to Srinagar or continue on to Ladakh on Kunzum Route K12.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. we planning to take the same route to Srinagar from Delhi by car (SUV with snow chains) in late Dec or early Jan is it safe / what road conditions we can encounter on way from Jammu to Srinagar around that time and what precautions we should take. Your advise will be highly appreciated.

    • The road quality should be fine but it is a time of the year when it snows. And news reports every year mention the Jammu – Srinagar highway blocked at times. These can last a few days too, with massive traffic jams building up. Of course, the Govt tries to keep the highway open all through but they can only do so much.

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