Tourists are often hesitant to travel to Kashmir in northeastern India. This lovely location, known as the “Switzerland of India,” has been declared off-limits to tourists on several occasions due to civil upheaval and bloodshed.
A few isolated events have also occurred, with Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley being temporarily shut down.
Tourists, on the other hand, are more likely to return once the peace has been restored, and they can normally avoid threats by taking measures and remaining in tourist-friendly locations.
1. Due to crime and terrorism, the US Department of State advises travelers to “exert greater caution in India.” Due to terrorism and civil turmoil, they advise people to avoid the Indian union territory of “Jammu and Kashmir (excluding the eastern Ladakh area and its capital, Leh).”
2. Canada advises travellers to use extreme caution in India due to the possibility of terrorism, and to avoid Jammu and Kashmir, which have periodic terrorism and violent demonstrations. This does not include travel to Ladakh via Manali or flights to Leh.
Is Kashmir a Risky Place?
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has a high-security threat level and is considered dangerous for travelers due to the likelihood of civil unrest and terrorist activities in numerous regions.
Militants and Indian security personnel occasionally engage in deadly fights. Rapes are becoming more common, with assaults occurring in tourist spots and other locales. Kashmir is one of the world’s most militarized areas, with an estimated 500,000 Indian troops stationed there to deal with any crises.
For tourists, the large military presence in Kashmir may be unsettling. Furthermore, frequent shutdowns and curfews are inconvenient. However, safety is highly dependent on what tourists do and where they travel, so whether or not you should visit Kashmir is a personal decision.
Before you travel to Kashmir, develop some local contacts, such as with a respected homestay or other accommodations where the owner or host is intimately connected with visitors. Tourists can also book a trip with a well-known local guide who will only take them to safe spots.
Taxi drivers in India may offer money to export gems or carpets; deny any offer. You might also get invitations for low-cost lodging or transportation, long taxi rides, and unwelcome excursions. Be wary of fake tour guides and train tickets, as well as ATMs that have been tampered with so that fraudsters can steal your bank card information.
Is it safe to go alone in Kashmir?
Those traveling alone in Kashmir are urged to avoid strolling about at night and to stay away from high-crime areas near the city’s center, where instability is common. Secluded areas and strange settings should be avoided.
Exploring with other travelers from your hotels or other lodgings can also make for a safer excursion. Kashmiris are known for their hospitality, so you can rely on them to get you to safety in an emergency.
Is Kashmir a safe place for women to visit?
In India, foreign girls are frequently gazed at, and the possibility of rape is increasing. Sexual aggressiveness, physical assault, verbal abuse, and harassment, as well as groping, are all possibilities. When traveling alone, avoid taking public transportation, taxis, or auto-rickshaws, especially at night. Stay in well-lit, populated locations.
If you feel threatened, call the police. You can call a women’s helpline by dialing 1091. Women must likewise dress conservatively in accordance with local customs in order to avoid offending others. This entails covering up and refraining from wearing shorts or miniskirts.
Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers
In this conservative country, LGBTQ+ travelers will benefit from prudence and should avoid public displays of affection. While sex between people of the same gender is not illegal, being gay is not widely accepted in India.
Tips for BIPOC Travelers on Safety
Kashmir is mostly a Muslim region, with Hindus making up the majority of the population. Tourists come from all over the world to visit Kashmir and India, so witnessing a cultural mix of faces isn’t surprising to locals, especially in tourist-heavy places. The residents of the area are recognized for being exceptionally friendly, respectful, and courteous.
People of other races are more likely to be looked at than discriminated against in the majority of cases. In India, however, some Black travelers have encountered bigotry. Colorism exists as well, with some connecting dark skin tones with lower social levels and castes.
Travelers’ Safety Tips
When visiting, there are a few general guidelines that all visitors should follow:
1. Be wary of potential terrorist hotspots such as government buildings, transportation hubs, places of worship, schools, tourist attractions, markets, hotels, and other locations frequented by travelers.
2. In Jammu and Kashmir, dial 100 for police, 101 for fire, and 102 or 108 for an ambulance in an emergency.
3. Keep your valuables close to you in a money belt or a crossbody purse, rather than in a backpack or a pocket of your pants. Lock your belongings in hotel/hostel safes or lockers when going out.
4. Try to blend in with the natives as much as possible to avoid attracting unwanted notice. Even on a summer trip, it is prudent to pack warm clothing. The upper elevations can be chilly, and the pollution can cause tourists to develop colds and flus.
5. Avoid eating street food (especially if the food is exposed) and drinking dirty tap water in India, which can be dangerous. Mineral water is available in bottles in Kashmir marketplaces and is safe to drink.