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Doodhpathri – The Valley of Milk

Not many people would have heard of the name Doodhpathri. And the ones who did would either have already visited Kashmir at least once; or must be planning to be there in near future. Even I got to hear this name when I was thinking of a week long trip to explore Kashmir; and a friend who is a local from Srinagar suggested Doodhpathri. On his recommendation, I included it in my itinerary and must say that I am glad I did. It is a very scenic spot, is not at too great a distance from Srinagar, and in my opinion, is a must visit for anyone who is visiting Kashmir and would like to include a few offbeat destinations.

For a brief introduction, Doodhpathri is a small hill station in Kashmir region. It is located at an altitude of 8,957 ft, and at a distance of about 45 kilometers from Srinagar. It is one of those areas that have not yet become too popular among tourists and probably never get crowded. While destinations like Gulmarg and Pahalgam get plenty of tourists each year, Doodhpathri do not see too many visitors. Majority of the people I have found visiting Doodhpathri were actually Kashmiri locals only; families out for an outing and some school kids for a picnic. It reminded me a bit of Khajjiar in Himachal but far more grand and beautiful.

A trip to Doodhpathri

The name Doodhpathri literally translates to “Valley of Milk” and there is in fact an interesting tale about how this place got named as such. It is said that a famous Kashmiri saint, Sheikh Noor din Noorani, used to pray here. Once he was looking for some water in the meadows to prepare for his prayers; and while doing so, pricked the ground with his stick. The moment he did that, milk came bursting out of the ground. Sheikh Noorani however refused to use milk to wash his hands and face for prayers, saying that milk can and should be used only for drinking. Upon his refusal, milk at once changed its state to water and hence the meadows here got names as Doodhpathri.

A trip to Doodhpathri can actually be done in less than half a day even. From Srinagar, the place is located about 40 to 50 kilometers and you can get here in less than 2 hours. To arrive here, spend some time and to reach back Srinagar can easily be done in 6 hours at most. If you are going to be in Srinagar anytime soon, then I must urge you to plan a short visit to Doodhpathri. You will really like it.

You may not find milk out here coming out of the ground but what you will indeed find is plenty of natural beauty to leave you mesmerized. Interestingly enough, the water that now flows through the meadows and the valley has a very milky appearance; which could also be the reason why the place gets called Doodhpathri. The lush green grasses over the vast meadows; and silver shining streams running over the large stones further increase its beauty.

Why Visit Doodhpathri?

The first answer to this question is all that I explained above. You visit Doodhpathri to witness the natural beauty at its best. It is places like this for which Kashmir is fondly known as a paradise. Another reason however could be that Doodhpathri was quite recently included in the list of tourist places in Kashmir. Until some time ago, this area was not open for tourists and due to this, it is still unknown to most of the people. Thousands of tourists pass through Kashmir each year but only a handful come towards Doodhpathri. It however became popular among the locals quite fast. When you go to Doodhpathri, you will realize that it is mostly local Kashmiri families and schools that have come here for picnic. Tourists from other parts of the country will either be missing completely or just a few in numbers.

Is Doodhpathri Safe to Visit?

Next I will address the question that usually gets asked by everyone when you talk about a vacation anywhere in Kashmir. Is Doodhpathri safe to visit? A one line answer to this question is that yes is completely safe to travel to. If you would however like to read a more detailed version of this answer; then I have covered this topic in a different article Is Kashmir Safe to Visit for Tourists? Apart from my observations of the place, I have also shared a few other safety tips in this article.

How to reach Doodhpathri

In order to get to Doodhpathri, you will first have to reach Srinagar which is fairly easy. For people coming by their own vehicle, you can just drive to Srinagar city by either the regular Jammu – Srinagar highway; or the Mughal road through Shopian. Once you arrive at Srinagar, you can then make a road trip to Doodhpathri; which is a 2 hours’ drive at most, covering a distance of about 45 kilometers.

If you were however not traveling by your own vehicle, then Srinagar is well connected to rest of the country by Air, Train and Bus service. No matter which part of the country you live in, you can easily reach the city by either flying or boarding a train.