Doodhpathri – The Milky Way of Kashmir

Doodhpathri, once a hidden gem nestled in the heart of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a must-visit tourist destination. In just few years of hectic efforts, this scenic spot has broken records, attracting highest astonishing influx of visitors from various parts of the world.

Doodhpathri is a beautiful meadow with emerald grass that looks like a green carpet. A beautiful river dancing and reverberating with the wind flows in the middle of the meadow, lending it a splendid charm and vibrancy. The place looks very beautiful and pleasant. The green grass under the feet is really wonderful.

As Doodpathri turns into a snow-covered winter wonderland, it delights visitors with a beautiful scene. The magnificent scenery becomes more serene by the Doodganga River, which also serves as a pleasant atmosphere for the influx of visitors. 

Tourists are loving the excitement of cold-weather activities, such as the adventurous ATV rides over snow-covered landscapes and the joy of skiing down slopes, and also another popular activity is pony rides along snowy trails, which provide a more calm and scenic way to explore by the visitors as they glide between the snow-capped mountains while creating priceless memories.

It’s great for local tourism that Doodpathri is seeing a spike in activity during the winter, as the tourists are opting to stay overnight is an obvious sign that they wish to discover the charm of winter snowfall in Doodhpathri destination throughout the winter season.

In the last year tourist influx, Doodhpathri received around 3 million visitors, including national and international tourists and this surge indicates that the place has rapidly become a must-visit spot in the Kashmir Valley as four films were also shot in this picturesque location recently.

Away from the trammels of mundane, Doodhpathri is abode to crystal-clear flowing water, sky-kissing pine trees and fresh air. This bowl-shaped valley is located at 8957 ft altitude from the sea level. The place gets its name on the grounds of its cold milky water. From the velvety emerald meadows and the snow capped summits which loom as the backdrop; every aspect and topographical feature of this spot is jaw-dropping.

The name “doodpathri” means Valley of Milk. It is said that the famous saint of Kashmir Sheikh ul Aalam Sheikh Noor din Noorani has prayed here and once when he was in search of water in the meadows, to offer prayers, he pricked the ground with his stick to search for water and milk came out. He asked the milk that you can only be used for drinking and not performing ablution. Hearing this milk at once changed its state to water and the meadow got its name Doodpathri. 

The water which is at present flowing through the meadows has a milky appearance from the distance and remains very cold throughout the year. The lush green grasses over the vast meadows and silver shining streams running over the large stones further increase its beauty. Doodhpathri is sloping grassy landscapes with a diversity of multicolored flowers up to change. The famous Tosamaidan lies in the west of Doodpathri.

The towering conifers, pearly milky water, fresh and crisp air, smooth scattered pebbles, sloping jagged and lush landscapes; all delight you and compel you to plumb in the depths of such charismatic views. The valley abounds in multi-colored flowers including forget-me-nots, daisies and buttercups.  Doodhpathri has been used by nomads for ages and can still witness the mud houses of the inhabitants known as “Kotha”. 

It is a great place for Facebook and Instagram enthusiasts and those who love photography. The place can also be visited for camping and trekking. The roads which pass through the forest have been macadamized now and more hotels are being constructed. You will witness a lot of ponies around in Doodhpathri and can even take a pony ride too. 

Weather of the place remains moderate. The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months from May to September. The place is primarily for sightseeing as it has not been developed completely as yet.

Doodhpathri is characterized by its sloping grassy landscapes, surrounded by snow-clad mountains. The meadows are adorned with a variety of colorful wildflowers, including daisies, forget-me-nots, and buttercups during the spring and summer months.

Alpine Valley is situated in a bowl-shaped formation within the Pir Panjal Range. It is enveloped by pristine alpine landscapes, with dense forests of pine, fir, and deodar trees enhancing its natural beauty. The famous Tosamaidan is located to the west of Doodhpathri. It is another stunning meadow that adds to the charm of the region.

Despite its remote location, Doodhpathri is accessible from both Srinagar and Budgam. Its relative proximity to these urban centers allows tourists to experience its natural beauty with ease.

Doodhpathri’s climate is best characterized as nice in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter. It receives a lot of snow in January and February, and the temperature drops well below zero. March marks the beginning of snowmelt, and the weather shifts to a milder kind of winter. In April, springtime, a verdant blanket of grass covers the meadows.

One of the ideal periods to visit Doodhpathri is between April and June. When the monsoon season begins in July, it may rain at any time. After the monsoon season has ended, beautiful greenery may be seen throughout August and early September.

Kashmir treks are known for their meadows. Lying in the bowl shaped valley under the shadow of Pir Panjal ranges, the Doodhpathri meadows with the river Shaliganga cutting through it’s green carpets is a gem in the region.   Away from the eyes of tourist commercialization, these meadows and subsequently, the trek  is  a wonderful discovery.

The trek follows the river Shaliganga all the way to it’s source in Ashtaar glacier, with views of lush green carpet-like meadows and mountains. The Ashtaar glacier is the birthplace of two rivers – Shaliganga and Doodhganga, a river you meet in the later part of the trek.

Not only does this trek take you deeper into the valley of Doodhpathri, it also takes you to the alpine lakes of Bhansar and Damamsar. The lakes are hidden behind ridges, making for a lovely surprise on this trek. Each trek we explore in Kashmir justifies it’s title as the mythical heaven on earth.

The rush of domestic and foreign tourists has also increased over the last few years. Tourists with high numbers from various parts of India and foreign countries are visiting the Doodhpathri on a daily basis and the rush of tourists in Doodhpathri also provides sources of employment to the thousands of the people who are earning a good source of income from this tourist destination.

The surge in winter tourism is giving a much-needed boost to the local economy. Hotels, restaurants and tea stalls alongside the road in the area are experiencing increased footfall, providing a positive flow effect throughout the public.

Doodhpathri’s combination of legend, natural beauty, and pristine landscapes makes it a hidden gem in the Kashmir Valley. Whether you’re interested in hiking, picnicking, or simply enjoying the serenity of the Himalayan meadows, Doodhpathri offers a tranquil escape amidst the breathtaking scenery of the region.

The author can be mailed at [email protected]

X (Twitter): @haniefmha


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