Have you ever heard of Karnah? No? Well, neither had I until a few months ago. But let me tell you, this place is a hidden gem in the northernmost corner of India, nestled between the Himalayas and the Line of Control.

Karnah is a small town in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, and it’s not your typical tourist destination. In fact, it’s so off-the-beaten-path that even getting there can be an adventure in itself. The roads are narrow and winding, and the journey is long and bumpy. But trust me when I say that it’s worth it.

The first thing you’ll notice about Karnah is its stunning natural beauty. Snow-capped mountains loom in the distance, while lush green forests stretch out as far as the eye can see. The air is crisp and clean, and the silence is deafening.

But what really sets Karnah apart from other tourist destinations is its people. The locals are some of the warmest and friendliest people you’ll ever meet. They’ll invite you into their homes for tea or offer to cook you a meal.

And let’s not forget about the food! The cuisine in Karnah is a unique blend of Kashmiri and Tibetan influences, with lots of hearty stews and dumplings to keep you warm on chilly days.

So if you’re looking for an adventure off the beaten path, head to Karnah! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Note: Don't forget to pack warm clothes!

Table of Contents

History and Culture of Karnah

Karnah is a scenic town located in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is surrounded by the picturesque mountains of the Himalayas, making it a popular tourist destination. The history of Karnah dates back to ancient times when it was ruled by Kashmiri kings. Legend has it that the town was named after a sheep (karnah in Kashmiri) that escaped from its flock and wandered into this valley. Today, Karnah is known for its unique culture, which is a blend of Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Tibetan traditions. The local cuisine of Karnah is also quite famous, with dishes like gushtaba (meatballs in yogurt gravy) and rogan josh (spicy lamb curry) being popular among tourists. One interesting fact about Karnah is that it has one of the highest literacy rates in Jammu and Kashmir, with almost every household having at least one person who has completed higher education. The people of Karnah are warm and welcoming, and they celebrate several festivals throughout the year like Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, and Navroz. If you ever visit Karnah, don't forget to try their famous pink tea made with special herbs that give it a unique flavor. All in all, Karnah is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the rich culture and history of Jammu and Kashmir while also providing breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

How to Reach and getting around Karnah

By Air:

The nearest airport to Karnah is the Srinagar International Airport, which is approximately 168 km away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Karnah. Alternatively, you can also book a helicopter ride from Srinagar to Karnah.

By Road:

Karnah is well-connected by road to major cities in Jammu & Kashmir. You can take a bus or hire a taxi from Srinagar, which is approximately 130 km away. The journey takes around 5-6 hours and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains and lush green valleys.

By Train:

The nearest railway station to Karnah is the Jammu Tawi Railway Station, which is approximately 400 km away. From here, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Karnah.

By Trekking:

If you're an adventure enthusiast, trekking to Karnah is an excellent option. The trek starts from Naranag and takes around 5-6 days to complete. You'll pass through beautiful meadows, dense forests, and high-altitude mountain passes before reaching Karnah.

By Bike:

For those who love road trips, riding a bike to Karnah is an exciting option. The route from Srinagar passes through picturesque villages and stunning mountain landscapes before reaching Karnah.

By Snowmobile:

During winters when the roads are covered in snow, you can opt for a snowmobile ride from Tangdhar or Kupwara to reach Karnah. It's an exhilarating experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime.

No matter which mode of transportation you choose, the journey to Karnah will be nothing short of spectacular!

Weather of Karnah

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Karnah Weather and Best Time to Visit

Karnah is a beautiful region located in the northernmost part of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated at an altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level and offers breathtaking views of the snow-clad Himalayas. The weather in Karnah is mostly cold throughout the year due to its high elevation.

The region experiences heavy snowfall during winters, making it difficult to access certain areas. The temperature drops below freezing point during this time, and the roads are often blocked due to heavy snowfall. The best time to visit Karnah is from May to September when the weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C.

During summers, Karnah experiences cool weather with clear skies, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities like trekking and camping. The lush green meadows covered with wildflowers offer a picturesque view of the valley.

The monsoon season in Karnah starts from July and lasts till September. During this time, the region receives moderate rainfall which adds beauty to the already stunning landscape.

In conclusion, if you want to visit Karnah without any hassle, plan your trip between May to September as it offers pleasant weather and allows you to explore the beauty of this region without any hindrance caused by extreme weather conditions.

Places to Visit in Karnah

  • Kishanganga Dam - Located on the Kishanganga river, this hydroelectric dam is a major attraction in Karnah. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular spot for picnicking.

  • Tangdhar - A picturesque town located in the northernmost part of Jammu and Kashmir, Tangdhar is known for its natural beauty and scenic landscapes. The town is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers stunning views of the Kishanganga river.

  • Ziarat Shareef - A famous shrine located in Karnah, Ziarat Shareef is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The shrine houses the tomb of Hazrat Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah, a Sufi saint who was believed to have healing powers.

  • Sadhna Pass - Located at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level, Sadhna Pass is one of the most scenic mountain passes in India. The pass connects Karnah valley with Gurez valley and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

  • Nastachun Pass - Another scenic mountain pass located in Karnah, Nastachun Pass offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The pass is also known for its challenging trekking trails.

  • Karnah Fort - Built during the Mughal era, Karnah Fort is a historical monument that attracts tourists from all over India. The fort has been well-preserved and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Farkin Top - Located at an altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level, Farkin Top is one of the highest motorable roads in India. The road offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and is a popular spot for adventure enthusiasts.

  • Gundi Habibullah National Park - Spread over an area of 87 square kilometers, Gundi Habibullah National Park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including musk deer, black bear, leopard, and Himalayan serow.

  • Tilail Valley - A beautiful valley located in Karnah, Tilail Valley is known for its lush green meadows and scenic landscapes. The valley also has several trekking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

  • Lashkote Meadows - A beautiful meadow located in Karnah valley, Lashkote Meadows is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers stunning views of the Kishanganga river. The meadow is also known for its colorful wildflowers that bloom during springtime.

Food Options and Local Cuisine of Karnah

Local Cuisine in Karnah

Karnah is a beautiful town located in the northwestern part of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The local cuisine here is heavily influenced by Kashmiri cuisine, which is known for its rich and spicy flavors. Some of the popular dishes that you must try when in Karnah include:

  1. Rogan Josh: A signature Kashmiri dish made with mutton, yogurt, and a blend of spices. It has a deep red color and a rich flavor.

  2. Gushtaba: Another popular dish made with minced meatballs cooked in a yogurt-based gravy. It is usually served during special occasions.

  3. Modur Pulao: A sweet Kashmiri rice dish made with saffron, dry fruits, and sugar. It pairs well with savory meat dishes.

  4. Kashmiri Kahwa: A traditional tea made with green tea leaves, saffron, cardamom, and almonds. It is usually served after meals as a digestive.

Dining Options in Karnah

If you're looking for some good dining options in Karnah, here are three places that you can check out:

  • Yaseen Dhaba: This roadside eatery serves delicious local food at affordable prices. Their mutton curry and tandoori rotis are highly recommended.

  • Green View Restaurant: Located on the outskirts of Karnah, this restaurant offers stunning views of the valley along with delicious food. Their chicken biryani and kebabs are worth trying.

  • Chinar Restaurant: This family-run restaurant serves authentic Kashmiri cuisine in a cozy setting. Their rogan josh and gushtaba are some of the best in town. Don't miss their kashmiri kahwa as well!

Best areas for accommodation in Karnah

Karnah is a beautiful town located in the district of Kupwara in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is known for its scenic beauty and pleasant weather. If you are planning to visit Karnah, it is important to know about the best areas for accommodation.

Tangdar is one of the best areas for accommodation in Karnah. It is located at a distance of around 20 km from Karnah and offers a range of budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses.

Another good area for accommodation in Karnah is Keran. It is located on the banks of river Neelum and offers stunning views of the valley. Keran has a few luxury resorts and budget-friendly hotels to choose from.

Teetwal is also a popular area for accommodation in Karnah. It is located on the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and offers some unique experiences like border tourism. Teetwal has a few budget-friendly guesthouses to choose from.

Here are three properties for accommodation in Karnah:

  1. The Kailash Resort & Spa: This luxury resort is located in Keran and offers premium facilities like an outdoor pool, spa services, and a restaurant serving local cuisine.
  2. Neelam Guest House: This budget-friendly guest house is located in Tangdar and offers comfortable rooms with basic amenities.
  3. Border View Guest House: This hostel-style accommodation is located in Teetwal and offers shared dormitories with basic amenities at an affordable price.

In conclusion, choosing the right area for accommodation can make your stay in Karnah more enjoyable. Tangdar, Keran, and Teetwal are some of the best areas to consider while planning your trip to Karnah. Whether you're looking for luxury resorts or budget-friendly guesthouses, there's something for everyone in this beautiful town.

Shopping in Karnah

Karnah, a beautiful town located in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, is known for its vibrant markets that offer a wide range of products. From traditional handicrafts to modern electronics, you can find everything here. In this article, we will discuss four things to buy, three markets to visit, and four things to avoid while shopping in Karnah.

Things to buy

  1. Handicrafts: Karnah is famous for its exquisite handicrafts made by local artisans. You can buy beautiful carpets, shawls, and other hand-woven items.
  2. Spices: The town is known for its aromatic spices. You can buy saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, and other spices at reasonable prices.
  3. Dry fruits: The region produces a variety of dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, and apricots. These make great gifts for friends and family back home.
  4. Electronics: Karnah has several shops that sell electronic gadgets like mobile phones and laptops at affordable prices.

Markets to visit

  1. Main Market: This is the go-to place for all your shopping needs. You can find everything from clothes to groceries here.
  2. Handicraft Market: Located near the bus stand, this market specializes in selling authentic Kashmiri handicrafts.
  3. Fruits Market: This market offers a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices.

What to avoid

  1. Street food: While street food may look tempting, it's best to avoid it as it may not be hygienic.
  2. Unlicensed guides: Avoid hiring unlicensed guides who may charge exorbitant fees or mislead you.
  3. Overpriced goods: Some shopkeepers may try to overcharge tourists; always bargain before making a purchase.
  4. Illegal items: It's best to avoid buying items like animal skins or ivory that are illegal.

In conclusion, shopping in Karnah can be an enjoyable experience if you know what to buy and where to go. Keep in mind the tips mentioned above while shopping here for a hassle-free experience.

Nightlife in Karnah

Karnah is a small town located in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Although it's an offbeat destination, Karnah offers a unique nightlife experience to its visitors. The town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, which add charm to its nightlife.

There are several places in Karnah where one can spend their night enjoying various activities. Here are three such places:

  1. Lolab Valley: Located near Karnah, Lolab Valley offers a perfect opportunity to indulge in adventure activities like trekking and camping. The valley is known for its lush greenery, freshwater streams, and stunning landscapes that provide a peaceful atmosphere for night camping.

  2. Nun Kun Camp: Nun Kun Camp is situated near Karnah and offers an exceptional experience of glamping (glamorous camping). Visitors can enjoy luxury tents with comfortable bedding and modern amenities while surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan mountain range.

  3. Karnah Bazaar: For those who prefer a more laid-back nightlife experience, Karnah Bazaar is the perfect place to explore. The market stays open late into the night, offering visitors an opportunity to explore the local culture while trying out delicious street food.

In conclusion, although Karnah may not be considered as a mainstream tourist destination for its nightlife scene, it does offer unique experiences that are worth exploring. Whether you're looking for adventure or relaxation, there's something for everyone in this scenic town tucked away in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir.

Outdoor Activities in Karnah

Karnah, a beautiful town in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, has a plethora of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush green forests, this place is a paradise for adventure seekers. From trekking to camping and skiing to paragliding, Karnah has something for everyone.

Trekking: Karnah offers some of the best trekking trails in the region. One can choose from easy to difficult trek routes depending on their fitness level. The most popular treks in Karnah are the Lolab Valley Trek and Farkin Top Trek.

Camping: Experience the thrill of sleeping under the stars amidst nature by camping in Karnah. There are many camping sites that offer breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys. The most popular camping sites in Karnah are Lashdor Campsite, Ziarat Makhdoom Sahib Campsite, and Bangus Valley Camping Site.

Skiing: With its high altitude and abundant snowfall, Karnah is a perfect destination for skiing enthusiasts. The place offers a range of skiing options from beginner to advanced level slopes. The most popular skiing spots in Karnah are Tangdhar Ski Resort and Shamshabari Range.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an adventurous vacation amidst nature's bounty, then Karnah should be on your list. With its numerous outdoor activities ranging from trekking to skiing and camping to paragliding, Karnah promises an unforgettable experience for every adventure seeker out there.

Festivals and Events in Karnah

Festivals and events in Karnah hold great significance for the local community. They are a time for celebration, religious observances, and cultural gatherings. These events provide an opportunity to bring people together and showcase the rich heritage of this region. Here are some of the most important festivals and events in Karnah that take place throughout the year:

  1. Tulip Festival: Held in April, this festival celebrates the blooming of tulips across the region. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including music performances, cultural shows, and flower exhibitions.

  2. Eid-ul-Fitr: This is a major Islamic festival that marks the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting). Celebrated in May or June (depending on the lunar calendar), Eid-ul-Fitr is a time for feasting, gift-giving, and prayer.

  3. Baisakhi: Celebrated on April 13th every year by the Sikh community, Baisakhi marks the harvest season and commemorates the founding of Khalsa (a Sikh brotherhood) by Guru Gobind Singh.

  4. Lohri: Celebrated on January 13th every year, Lohri is a Punjabi festival that marks the winter solstice. People gather around bonfires and sing folk songs to celebrate the end of winter.

  5. Independence Day: Celebrated on August 15th every year, Independence Day marks India's freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. The day is celebrated with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades, and cultural events.

  6. Republic Day: Observed on January 26th every year, Republic Day commemorates the adoption of India's constitution. The day is marked with parades showcasing India's military might and cultural diversity.

These festivals and events provide an insight into Karnah's rich cultural heritage while also creating opportunities for visitors to engage with locals and learn more about their traditions.

Tips for Travelers while travelling to Karnah

  1. Pack warm clothing: Karnah is located in the Himalayan region and experiences cold weather throughout the year. It is important to pack warm clothing, including jackets, sweaters, and thermal wear to stay comfortable during your trip.
  2. Respect local customs and traditions: While visiting Karnah, it is important to respect the local customs and traditions. It is important to dress modestly while visiting religious places, and seek permission before taking photographs of locals.
  3. Carry cash: Most places in Karnah do not have access to ATMs or credit card facilities. It is advisable to carry sufficient cash for your expenses during your trip.
  4. Stay hydrated: The high altitude and cold weather can cause dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of water during your trip. You can also carry a reusable water bottle and refill it at various water sources available in Karnah.
  5. Stay updated on festivals and events: Karnah hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Tulip Festival, Saffron Festival, and Shivratri. Staying updated on these events can help you plan your trip accordingly and experience the local culture at its best.

In conclusion, traveling to Karnah can be a unique experience with its beautiful landscapes and rich culture. By following these tips, travelers can make their trip comfortable, enjoyable, and respectful towards the local community.


What is Karnah?

Karnah is a town located in the northernmost part of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is situated close to the Line of Control (LOC) that separates India and Pakistan.

How can one reach Karnah?

To reach Karnah, one can take a flight to Srinagar and then hire a taxi or take a bus to Kupwara. From Kupwara, one needs to travel by road for around 85 km to reach Karnah.

What are the major tourist attractions in Karnah?

Some of the major tourist attractions in Karnah include the Khooni Nallah, which is known for its beautiful waterfall, the Sadhna Top, which offers stunning panoramic views of the Himalayan range, and the Tangdhar Fort, which was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912.

What is the best time to visit Karnah?

The best time to visit Karnah is during the summer months between June and September when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing.

What are some popular local dishes in Karnah?

Some popular local dishes in Karnah include Rogan Josh (a spicy lamb curry), Dum Aloo (potatoes cooked with spices), Gushtaba (meatballs cooked in yogurt gravy), and Sheer Chai (a special kind of tea).

What are some adventure activities that can be done in Karnah?

Karnah offers various adventure activities such as trekking, mountaineering, camping, rock climbing, fishing, and skiing. Trekking enthusiasts can explore several trek routes such as Lolab Valley Trek and Bangus Valley Trek.

Is it safe to travel to Karnah?

Although there have been occasional border skirmishes between India and Pakistan near the LOC in this region, it is generally safe to travel to Karnah. However, tourists are advised to check with local authorities before planning their trip.

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