If you go
THE BEST WAY TO SRINAGAR, KASHMIR
From LAX, British, Turkish, United, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, KLM and Lufthansa offer connecting service (change of planes) to Srinagar. Restricted round-trip airfares from $1,718 to $2,223, including taxes and fees.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 91 (country code for India), 194 (the area code for Srinagar) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Lalit Grand Palace, Gupkar Road, Srinagar; 250-1001 or 250-1002, http://www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-grand-palace-srinagar. Overlooking Dal Lake with 113 rooms and suites and 10 cottages. Doubles from $234 a day.
Vivanta Hotels & Resorts-Dal View, Kralsangri, Brein, Srinagar; 246-1111, http://www.vivantabytaj.com. With views of Dal Lake, 82 rooms at 5,675 feet. Doubles from $224.
Sukoon, 251-0450, http://www.sukoonkashmir.com. The best reason to visit Kashmir is a chance to stay in a houseboat on Dal Lake, and far and away the best houseboat is Sukoon, the area's first luxury option. Wi-Fi, private concerts, a sun deck, rain forest showers; its five rooms are impossible to beat. Rooms from $147 a night, breakfast and dinner included, but a family can rent the entire boat for about $400 a night.
The classic standby, more dilapidated but with lots of history, is Butt's Clermont Houseboats, 241-5325, http://www.buttsclermonthouseboat.com. Five boats in a quiet corner of the lake, each for about $100 a night.
WHERE TO EAT
The best food is likely to be found in your hotel.
TO LEARN MORE
For shopping, the old stores around Suffering Moses near the bund are the ones to visit.
I arranged my custom trip through Kashmiri experts at Wild Frontiers in London (www.wildfrontierstravel.com).