Jammu and Kashmir Tourism | Kashmir TourismJammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, to the west and northwest respectively.
Kashmir, the "Paradise on Earth", is known for its captivating beauty. It is encircled by three mountain ranges of the Himalayas- Karakoram, Zanaskar and Pir Panjal, running from northwest to northeast. Forming the backdrop of Kashmir, these snow-capped ranges make Kashmir look like a picture straight out of a fairytale. Dazzling rivers, serene lakes, splendid gardens, flowering meadows, etc are some other features of the landscape of the Kashmir valley. The breathtaking beauty of Kashmir has earned it the name of the "Switzerland of the East". Nothing describes the beauty of Kashmir better than the following words of a Mughal emperor:
"Gar Bar-ru-e-Zamin Ast; Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast Hamin Ast"
It means that if there is paradise on this earth, this is it, this is it, and this is it. It is impossible to overstate the beauty of Kashmir. In fact, the beauty of the Kashmir valley of India is beyond the scope of words. The gushing rivers, sparkling waterfalls, scenic surrounding and the lush green forests of Kashmir add to its splendor. Kashmir tourism is also famous for the exotic flora and fauna found in the region. The sanctuaries and parks in Kashmir abound in some of the rare and endangered species of birds and animals. Then, there are countless species of luxuriant vegetation too, attracting a number of botanists.
Formerly a part of the erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu, which governed the larger historic region of Kashmir, this territory is disputed among China, India and Pakistan.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. While the Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture. Get cheapest tour packages for Kashmir in affordable rate at http://www.international-tour-packages.co.in/cheapest-tour-packages-kashmir/.
Facts and Figures of Jammu and Kashmir:
222,236 sq km
Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi, Dogri, Pahari, Ladakhi
Best time to visit:
April to June (Kashmir Valley), October to March (Jammu Region)
How to reach in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh:
The state has three major civil airports at Srinagar, Jammu, and Ladakh connected to Delhi and other places in the country.
Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Alliance Air operate in the Delhi-Chandigarh-Ladakh and Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar routes.
Jammu Tawi is the main railhead of Jammu & Kashmir. It is connected to most of the important towns and cities of the country. Moreover, the longest rail route that stretches from Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari and touches almost all the main cities and towns of the country originates from here.
One can easily reach Jammu by the National Highway 1A that goes from Punjab and runs through this city, connecting it to the rest of the state, including the capital Srinagar. The state transport corporation runs several buses to most of the big towns and cities in north India.
Ladakh is connected to Srinagar and Manali by some of the most difficult road networks in the world. The Manali-Leh road is considered as the highest motorable road in the world.
Travel in Jammu:
Jammu is well connected by various domestic airline services with Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, and Srinagar.
Jammu Tawi is an important railhead on the Northern Railway line, having excellent connections with other parts of the country. Express trains connect it with Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Amritsar.
Located on the National Highway 1A, Jammu is linked by a network of roads to Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Katra, Srinagar, and Manali.
Travel in Kashmir:
Srinagar is connected to Delhi by daily flights via Jammu. Weekly flights are also operated by various domestic airlines from Leh to Srinagar and thrice a week flights are operated from Delhi to Srinagar.
The nearest railhead from the Srinagar is Jammu Tawi, 305-km away. Jammu is connected to all parts of the country by express trains. Some of the important rail connections include:
Jammu Express From Pune
Himgiri Express From Howrah
Shalimar Express From Ahmedabad
Jammu Tawi From Delhi
Srinagar being the only major town linked by road to the rest of the country, all visitors make it their base, going for excursions to nearby resorts, for fishing and trekking expeditions. The capital city is connected by JKSRTC bus services to Jammu, Leh, Kargil, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Chandigarh and Delhi.
Climate of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh:
Jammu and Kashmir comprises of three distinct climatic regions with vast variance due to a sharp rise of altitude from 1,000 feet to 28,250 feet above sea level within four degrees of latitude of the state. The state is geologically constituted of rocks varying from the oldest period of earth's history to the youngest present day river and lake deposits.
Climate of Jammu:
The Jammu region experiences a tropical climate.
107 cm (July to September).
October to April.
Summer : 43.0 degree C to 23.4degrees C.
Winter : 26.2 to 4.3 degrees C.
Heavy/Medium woollens in winter and light cottons in summer.
Climate of Kashmir:
The mountainous tracts of the Himalayan mountains, the youngest mountain ranges in the world have temperate climatic conditions. The climate varies from alpine in the northeast to subtropical in the southwest. Annual average precipitation ranges from 3 inches (75 mm) in the north to 45 inches (1,150 mm) in the southwest.
Best Season:March to October.
Temperatures (Average) :
Summer : 10 to 30 degrees cent.
Winter : Low temperatures in winter.
Light/Medium woollens in summer and heavy woollens in winter.
Climate of Ladakh:
One of the driest regions in northern India, the capital Leh experiences only 110 mm of rainfall a year. Because of its location to the north east of the main Himalayan range, it is sheltered from the Indian monsoon Padum is subject to occasional heavy storms in July and August and heavy snowfall in winter. Leh on the lee side of the Himalayan and Zanskar range is devoid of snowfall in winter.
March to October.
Temperature (Average) :
Summer : 20 degrees C.
Winter : 15 degrees C to -3 degrees C.
Light/Medium woollens in summer and heavy woollens in winter.
Weather of Jammu and Kashmir:
History of Kashmir:
The area known as Jammu and Kashmir came into existence when the Mughal Emperor Akbar invaded Kashmir in 1586, led by his general Bhagwant Das and his aide Ramchandra I. The Mughal army defeated the Turk ruler Yusuf Khan of Kashmir. After the battle, Akbar appointed Ramchandra I as the governor of the Himalayan kingdom. Ramchandra I founded the city of Jammu, named after the Hindu goddess Jamwa Mata, south of the Pir Panjal range.In 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, a descendant of Ramchandra I, Jammu and Kashmir was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore and afterwards, until 1846, became a tributary to the Sikh power. Ranjit Deo's grandnephew, Gulab Singh, subsequently sought service at the court of Ranjit Singh, distinguished himself in later wars, and was appointed as the Governor or Raja of Jammu in 1820. With the help of his officer, Zorawar Singh, Gulab Singh soon captured Ladakh and Baltistan, regions to the east and north-east of Kashmir.
In 1845, the First Anglo-Sikh War broke out, and Gulab Singh contrived to hold himself aloof till the battle of Sobraon (1846), when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted advisor of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. In the first, the State of Lahore (i.e. West Punjab) was handed over to the British, for an equivalent amount to one crore rupees of indemnity, the hill countries between the Beas River and the Indus River; by the second the British made over to Gulab Singh for 75 lakhs rupees all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus River and west of the Ravi River" (i.e., the Vale of Kashmir). Soon after Gulab Singh's death in 1857, his son, Ranbir Singh, added the emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar to the kingdom.
Ranbir Singh's grandson Hari Singh had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925 and was the reigning monarch at the conclusion of British rule in the subcontinent in 1947. As a part of the partition process, both countries had agreed that the rulers of princely states would be given the right to opt for either Pakistan or India or — in special cases — to remain independent. In 1947, Kashmir's population was 77% Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. On 20 October 1947, tribesmen backed by Pakistan invaded Kashmir.
The Maharaja initially fought back but on 27 October appealed for assistance to the Governor-General Louis Mountbatten, who agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Once the papers of accession to India were signed, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir with orders to stop any further occupation, but they were not allowed to expel anyone from the state. India took the matter to the United Nations. The UN resolution asked both India and Pakistan to vacate the areas they have occupied and hold a referendum under UN observation. The holding of this plebiscite, which India initially supported, was dismissed by India because the 1952 elected Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir voted in favor of confirming the Kashmir region's accession to India. Another reason for the abandonment of the referendum is because demographic changes, after 1947, have been effected in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as generations of Pakistani individuals non-native to the region have been allowed to take residence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Furthermore, in Indian-administered Kashmir, the demographics of the Kashmir Valley have also been altered after separatist militants coerced 1/4 million Kashmiri Hindus to leave the region. Moreover, Pakistan failed to withdraw its troops from the Kashmir region as was required under the same U.N. resolution of August 13, 1948 which discussed the plebiscite.
Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan soured for many other reasons, and eventually resulted in three further wars in Kashmir the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999. India has control of 60% of the area of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls 30% of the region, known as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. China has since occupied 10% of the state in 1962.
The eastern region of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has also been beset with a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Tibet, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change with the communist takeover in 1949. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the north-east portion of Ladakh.
By 1956–57 they had completed a military road through the Aksai Chin area to provide better communication between Xinjiang and western Tibet. India's belated discovery of this road led to border clashes between the two countries that culminated in the Sino-Indian war of October 1962. China has occupied Aksai Chin since 1962 and, in addition, an adjoining region, the Trans-Karakoram Tract was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.
For intermittent periods between 1957, when the state approved its own Constitution, to the death of Sheikh Abdullah in 1982, the state had alternating spells of stability and discontent. In the late 1980s however, simmering discontent over the high-handed policies of the Union Government and allegations of the rigging of the 1987 assembly elections triggered a violent uprising which was backed by Pakistan.
Since then, the region has seen a prolonged, bloody conflict between militants and the Indian Army. The Indian Army have been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including abductions, massacres, rape and looting. Some feel that it is absurd to defend the rights of separatists, who have themselves violated the human rights of others by harassment, torching religious sites, raping women, kidnapping innocent individuals, massacring hundreds of people, and coercing Hindus, some Sikhs and moderate Muslims to leave the Kashmir valley.
However, militancy in the state has been on the decline since 1996, also again in 2004 with the peace process with India and Pakistan. Furthermore the situation has become increasingly peaceful in recent years.
Geography and climate of Jammu and Kashmir:
Because of Jammu and Kashmir's wide range of elevations, its biogeography is diverse. Northwestern thorn scrub forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests are found in the low elevations of the far southwest. These give way to a broad band of western Himalayan broadleaf forests running from northwest-southeast across the Kashmir Valley. Rising into the mountains, the broadleaf forests grade into western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Above treeline are found northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Much of the northeast of the state is covered by the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe. Around the highest elevations, there is no vegetation, simply rock and ice.
The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan river which flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the state. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan glaciers. With an average altitude of 5,753 metres (18,875 ft) above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is 70 km (43 mi) long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.
The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the climate is typically monsoonal, though the region is sufficiently far west to average 40 to 50 mm (1.6 to 2 inches) of rain per months between January and March. In the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) whilst in July and August, very heavy though erratic rainfall occurs with monthly extremes of up to 650 millimetres (25.5 inches). In September, rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of around 29 °C (84 °F).
Across from the Pir Panjal range, the South Asian monsoon is no longer a factor and most precipitation falls in the spring from southwest cloudbands. Because of its closeness to the Arabian Sea, Srinagar receives as much as 25 inches (635 millimetres) of rain from this source, with the wettest months being March to May with around 85 millimetres (3.3 inches) per month. Across from the main Himalaya Range, even the southwest cloudbands break up and the climate of Ladakh and Zanskar is extremely dry and cold. Annual precipitation is only around 100 mm (4 inches) per year and humidity is very low. This region, almost all above 3,000 metres (9,750 ft) above sea level and winters are extremely cold. In Zanskar, the average January temperature is −20 °C (−4 °F) with extremes as low as −40 °C (−40 °F). All the rivers freeze over and locals actually do river crossings during this period because their high levels from glacier melt in summer inhibits crossing. In summer in Ladakh and Zanskar, days are typically a warm 20 °C (68 °F) but with the low humidity and thin air nights can still be cold.
Divisions of Jammu and Kashmir:
- Kathua District
- Jammu District
- Samba District
- Udhampur District
- Reasi District
- Rajouri District
- Poonch District
- Doda District
- Ramban District
- Kishtwar District
- Anantnag District
- Kulgam District
- Pulwama District
- Shopian District
- Budgam District
- Srinagar District
- Ganderbal District
- Bandipora District
- Baramulla District
- Kupwara District
- Kargil District
- Leh District
Place to visit in Jammu and Kashmir
Best time to visit in Srinagar:
The best time to visit Srinagar is during summers between April and June.
How to reach at Srinagar:
Srinagar is well connected by air with Delhi.
Srinagar does not have a railway station and the nearest railhead is Jammu Tawi, which is 305 km from Srinagar.
It is well connected by road to important places like Chandigarh (630 km), Delhi (876 km), Jammu (298 km), Leh, Kargil, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, and Pahalgam. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too in Jammu and Kashmir tourism.
Srinagar, is the capital of the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. While not the largest, it is one of the biggest cities in India without a Hindu majority. The city is famous for its lakes and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. It is also the headquarters of Srinagar district.
Listed below are some major tourist attractions in Srinagar.
The most important tourist attraction in Srinagar, the Dal Lake has, within its periphery, four enormous water bodies, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal, Gagribal and Nagin. The lake is not a flat, continuous mass of water, but an intricate labyrinth of waterways, that constitute a spectacular sight and an amazing locale to explore.
The largest freshwater lake in India, Wular Lake lies about 32 kms to the northwest of Srinagar city. The lake is surrounded by high mountains on the north and north-east of the valley, which augment the scenic charm of the region.
A sacred Muslim pilgrimage destination lying on the banks of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar, Hazratbal Shrine reflects the devotion and respect of Muslims for Prophet Mohammad and his relics stored here.
Located on top of a hill known as ‘Takht-e-Suleiman’, this ancient temple stands at an altitude of about 1100 feet above the surface level of main Srinagar city. The sacred temple can be visited only through a trek to the top of the hills.
Also called Shah-e-Hamdan, this shrine is believed to contain "the secret of Allah”. One of the oldest Muslim shrines located on the banks of the river Jhelum in Srinagar city, the Khanqah-e-Molla exhibits exemplary specimen of wood architecture.
A revered mosque located at Nowhatta, Jama Masjid is one of the main tourist attractions in Srinagar for Muslims.Also worth visit in Srinagar are the Khir Bhawani Temple, Chatti Padshahi, Chashma Shahi and Pari Mahal, Nishat Garden and Shalimar Garden.
Fact of Gulmarg:
Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmiri and Hindi
Gulmarg is a town, a hill station and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian area of Jammu and Kashmir.
How to Reach in Gulmarg:
The airport at Srinagar at 57 km is nearest to Gulmarg. The airport caters to the air transport to the hill resort. Regular flights connect Srinagar with the other major cities in India. The railway station in Jammu is the nearest to Gulmarg that caters to the rail transport to the hill resort.
Best Time to Visit in Gulmarg:
The hill resort of Gulmarg is a gorgeous place to be at throughout the year. There are winter months from November to February that are ideal for skiing. The adventurers are known to throng the hill resort as soon as the snow falls. As it is the summer months from May to September offer pleasant weather to the tourists. The sun scorched souls from the plains flock to the hill resort as a summer retreat.
Where to Stay in Gulmarg:
Accommodation in Gulmarg is easily available. There are several hotels and huts that cater to the needs of the tourists. There are hotels that suit the varying budgets of the tourists to Gulmarg. All the basic facilities are available to make your stay in Gulmarg comfortable. You may check out for accommodation options run by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Development Corporation or the private parties. It is advisable to go in advance reservations in the peak seasons.
Delicious and hygienic food is easily available in the restaurants and the eateries of Gulmarg. In the non-vegetarian food there is the traditional dish of Rogan Josh that must taste.
Adventure Sports in Gulmarg:
For the adventure seekers Gulmarg is the ultimate destination for skiing. You may easily hire the skis and sticks, snow boots, woolen socks, mufflers, windproof jackets, goggles, and caps. With all the equipments and the Ski instructors at hand it is the best bet to enjoy the holidays at Gulmarg. The skiing season at Gulmarg is from November to February. The slopes in Gulmarg varying between 8,700 and 10,500 feet make the ski runs the highest in India. It is noteworthy that Gulmarg is the only heli-skiing resort in Asia. Even the amateurs can enjoy with the ski lifts and the chair lifts.
Gulmarg also boasts of a gorgeous green golf course that happens to be the world's highest too. You may even hire the golf sets from Gulmarg. The Golf Club offers short-term memberships to the players.
Gulmarg also offers some excellent opportunities for long walks. In case you take up the outer circle walk you can enjoy the pine forests and wonderful vistas. The beauty of the Kashmir valley will not fail to mesmerize you. Then there are the Nanga Parbat and the Haramukh that you may explore.
Hindi, Urdu, Kashmiri, English
Best time to visit in Pahalgam:
Pahalgam is famous for its scenic beauty and is the jewel of the picturesque Liddar valley located in the high Himalayas. It provides an ideal setting for activities like hiking, trekking, and fishing. It is also the starting point of the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.
Best time to visit in Pahalgam:
The best time to visit Pahalgam is during the summers, between mid-April and mid-November. It can also be visited in July-August during the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.
Pahalgam Travel Information:
Once in Jammu & Kashmir, you can easily reach Pahalgam. Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir, connects quite well to Pahalgam.
Srinagar, which is at a distance of 95 km from Pahalgam
Jammu, which is further connected to the rest of India by NH 1A
A road drive of 2½ hours from Pahalgam takes you to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Regular buses and taxis connect Pahalgam to Srinagar.
Major Tourist Attractions in Pahalgam:
The tiny but scenic village of Pahalgam offers a number of wonderful sites to see. Before you get yourself busy and indulge in light adventure options at Pahalgam, do remember to visit the famous tourist attractions in Pahalgam, some of which are given below.
It is famous for its snow bridge. Lying at a distance of 16 km, Chandanwari is also the starting point for the auspicious Amarnath Yatra. It is a small valley, situated at an altitude of 6,500 above sea level. Good sturdy shoes are a prerequisite if you are hiking in this area.
Pine forests dot this meadow which presents a picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains. The snow covered Tulian lake at an altitude of 3353 m is 11kms from Baisaran.
The waters of this greenish blue lake are covered with ice till June. Sheshnag lies at a distance of 13 km from Chandanwari and is at 11,330 ft above sea level. The place has derived its name from seven peaks that look like the head of Sheshnag, the sacred snake in the Hindu mythology.
It is the confluence of five streams and gives Panchtarni its name. For those headed towards the holy cave of Amarnath, Panchtarni is the last camping site. From Panchtarni, Amarnath is located at a distance of 6 km.
Pahalgam is the base for the religious trek to the abode of Lord Shiva. A narrow spiralling path from Panchtarni leads to the Amarnath Cave. The massive ice shivlingam is visited by thousands of pilgrims between July and September.
This charming meadow can be reached by walking along a mountain path. The river Lidder disappears at Gur Khumb and reappears after 27 mts.
A beautiful camping site set among dense forests. Starting point of the trek to the Sindh Valley
81-km From Srinagar, Kashmir Region, Jammu and Kashmir
Best Time To Visit at Sonmarg:
May To September, November To February
Where To Stay in Sonmarg:
Sonmarg has good number of hotels of all kinds ranging from plain basic to luxury. JKTDC also has few huts and cottages that you can hire but you will have to book for them in advance as during peak season they generally are full. For a pleasant stay, you can look to Hotel Glacier.
How to reach Sonmarg:
The nearest airport is at Srinagar which is around 81 km away from Sonmarg. It takes around 3 hrs to cover the distance by road.
The closest railhead is Jammu Tawi in Jammu. The distance of approximately 400 km between Sonmarg and Jammu is covered in almost 10 hrs.
Road connection to all parts of J and K is good. Buses from all districts come to Sonmarg. You can even hire pre paid taxis from Srinagar.
To move around in the town, buses are the best option as they have good frequency inside the city. But if you want to explore the city at your leisure, choose a ride in a tanga (horse carriage).When you drive from Srinagar to Leh, Sonmarg is the last stop of Kashmir District. From here starts the territory of Ladakh. Situated at an altitude of 2743 m above sea level, Sonmarg is absolutely true to its name, which means 'Meadow of Gold'. The moment you enter Sonmarg, the first thing that you will notice will be the snow-covered mountain that forms the backdrop of the town. Covered with alpine trees from all sides, Sonmarg has few of the most loveliest flower collection in J & K. In winters though, the town is covered with snow giving it an altogether different charm of white. The town has become famous for the many excursion option that it offers, mainly short walks and trek routes to nearby stunning areas. The most famous trek is definitely the one that takes you to Amarnath caves. In fact Baltal which is just besides Sonmarg, is used as a base camp for starting the holy Amarnath yatra.
Place to visit in Sonmarg:
The whole mountain range here is covered by glaciers. Water falls from these in silver sheets. A forest rest house and a tourist hut between Sonamarg and Thajiwas have excellent views.
The loveliest of the high altitude Himalayan lakes are Vishansar and Krishnasar. The translucent waters of these lakes are speckled with ice flakes, and the occasional trout that pops up now and then.
Also called Harmukh Ganga, it is sacred to Hindus. It can be reached from Sonamarg via Krishnasar and Vishansar - a trek through enchanting scenery.
20 kms east of Sonamarg lies the gateway to the Ladakh plateau, the Zoji-La Pass at 3,540 m.
Home to some of the most popular Hindu shrines, such as Vaishno Devi, Jammu is a pilgrimage tourism destination in India. The majority of Jammu's 2.7 million population practices Hinduism, while Islam and Sikhism enjoy a strong cultural heritage in the region. Due to relatively better infrastructure, Jammu has emerged as the main economic center of the state.
How to reach in Jammu:
Nearest Jammu airport is 8 Kms. from the city centre. Indian Airlines operates scheduled from Jammu to Delhi- and Srinagar / Leh. Jet Airways also operates services between Jammu - Delhi and Jammu - Srinagar.
Jammu Tawi is an important railhead of the Northern Railways serving the Jammu and Kashmir state.
Jammu falls on National Highway 1-A and is connected by National Highway network to all parts of the country.
Place to visit in Jammu:
Jammu is known for its landscape, ancient temples, Hindu shrines, Amar Mahal Palace (a castle type) now a Museum, gardens and forts. Hindu holy shrines of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi attracts tens of thousands of Hindu devotees every year. Jammu's beautiful natural landscape has made it one of the most favoured destinations for adventure tourism in South Asia. Jammu's historic monuments feature a unique blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture styles.
Purmandal, also known as Chhota Kashi, is located 35 km from Jammu city. An ancient holy place, it has several temples of Shiva and other deities. On Shivratri, the town wears a festive look and for three days as people celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati.
Vaishno Devi shrine:
The town of Katra, which is close to Jammu, contains the Vaishno Devi shrine. Nestling on top of the Trikuta Hills at a height of 1700 m is the sacred cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, the mother goddess. At a distance of 48 km from Jammu, the cave is 30 m long and just 1.5 m high. At the end of the cave are shrines dedicated to the three forms of the mother goddess— Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Pilgrims start trekking to the cave temple, which is 13 km from Katra, enter in small groups through a narrow opening and walk through ice-cold waters to reach the shrines. According to legend, the mother goddess hid in the cave while escaping a demon whom she ultimately killed.
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary:
Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary, called and best known for wonderful species of pheasants, has been established in an area of thick forests teeming with wild life. It is renowned natural habitat for a significant population of pheasants. Among the other avifauna are Indian mynah, Blue Rock Pigeon, Indian Peafowl, Red Junglefowl, Cheer Pheasant and chakor.
Spread over an area of 34 km2, the sanctuary is rich in fauna and provides refuge to a wide variety of mammals. The main species are leopard, wild boar, rhesus monkey, bharal and grey langur.
On the eastern bank of Mansar Lake there is a shrine dedicated to Sheshnag, a mythological snake with six heads. The shrine comprises a big boulder on which are placed a number of iron chains perhaps representing the small serpents waiting on the tutelary deity of the Sheshnag. Newlyweds consider it auspicious to perform three circumambulations (Parikarma) around the lake to seek the blessings of Sheshnag.
With all religions belief and heritage behind the Mansar Lake is also picking up its fame among the tourists with all its flora and fauna. The lake has cemented path all around with required illumination, with projected view decks to observe seasonal birds, tortoise and fishes of different species. There is a wild life sanctuary housing jungle life including Spotted Deer and Neelgai and water birds such as Cranes and Ducks. One can also witness the traditional and typical distinct life style of Gujjar and Backarwals wearing ethnic costumes, living in open Kullhas in the hills around Mansar Lake.
The Mansar Lake road joins to another important road that directly links Pathankot to Udhampur. Udhampur is a town of strategic importance, on National Highway No. 1A. The shortcut road from Mansar or Samba to Udhampur by-pass the Jammu town. Surinsar Lake, a smaller lake that is linked to Mansar, is 24 km from Jammu via the by-pass road.
Bagh-E-Bahu located on the banks of Tawi river, is a Mughal-age garden. It gives a nice view of the old city and Tawi river. Bagh itself is very beautiful. There is a small cafeteria on one side of the garden.
On the by-pass road behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya Temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods provides a commanding view of the city.
Opposite the Bahu Fort, overlooking the River Tawi is a temple dedicated to Mahamaya of Dogra decent, who lost her life fourteen centuries ago fighting foreign invaders. The present temple of Bawey Wali Mata was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. It is also known as the temple of Mahakali and the goddess is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power.
Amongst the temples in Jammu, the Raghunath Temple takes pride of place being situated right in the heart of the city. This temple is situated at the city center and was built in 1857. Work on the temple was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1860 AD. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are many galleries with lakhs of saligrams. The surrounding Temples are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana. This temple consists of seven shrines, each with a tower of its own. It is the largest temple complex in northern India. Though 130 years old, the complex is remarkable for sacred scriptures, one of the richest collections of ancient texts and manuscripts in its library.
Its arches, surface and niches are undoubtedly influenced by Mughal architecture while the interiors of the temple are plated with gold. The main sanctuary is dedicated to Lord Vishnu's eighth incarnation and Dogras' patron deity, the Rama. It also houses a Sanskrit Library containing rare Sanskrit manuscripts.
Peer Kho Cave:
Alongside the same Tawi river are the Peer Kho Cave temple, the Panchbakhtar temple and the Ranbireshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva with their own legends and specific days of worship. Peer Kho cave is located on the bank of river Tawi and it is widely believed that Ramayan character Jamvant (the bear god) meditated in this cave. The Ranbireshwar Temple has twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring 12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of saligrams fixed on stone slabs. Located on the Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat, and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD. It has one central lingam measuring seven and a half feet height (2.3 m) and twelve Shiva lingams of crystal measuring from 15 cm to 38 cm and galleries with thousands of Shiva lingams fixed on stone slabs.
The cave shrine of Shivkhori, situated in District Reasi of Jammu and Kashmir state, depicts the natural formation of shivlingum. It is one of the most venerated cave shrines of Lord Shiva in the region. The Holy cave is more than 150 mts long & houses 4 feet high Svayambhu Lingum, which constantly baths in a milky lime fluid dripping from the ceiling. The cave is full of natural impression and images of various Hindu Deities and full of divine feelings. That is why Shivkhori is known as "Home of Gods". The route from Jammu to Shiv Khori is full of beautiful and picturesque mountains, waterfalls and lakes.
City Centers And Attractions:
One of the major attractions of Jammu, it is a revolving restaurant named Falak located on the top of the hotel KC Residency. Ragunath Bazar is the main tourist and shopping center of the city. The locality of Gandhi Nagar, hosts the market areas of Gole Market, Apsara Road. On any pleasant evening you can take a stroll in Green Belt Park alongside the magnificent bungalows that adorn Green Belt Road. Rajinder Park, which is located on Canal Road, is a new development. This park is situated between two canals and features a large fountain which is lit up at night. A Children's Area is located next to the park.
The city has finally got its own shopping mall called "City Square". The mall has all the latest brands and accessories all under one roof,and an excellent food court. Also a beautiful complex and a new age commercial hub by the name of Bahu-Plaza in Trikuta Nagar area is a major hang out spot for youngsters and young professionals. Most of the corporate sector & all the Mobile Phone companies like Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Aircel,Reliance and Tata Indicom are based in Bahu Plaza complex. After opening up of the K.C. Cineplex, the first multiplex in the city, the city has also got another multiplex in the form of the old Indira theater being converted to K.C. Central.
Jammu is known for its Chocolate Barfi, Sund panjeeri,Patisa and its exotic local food - Rajma (with rice) is one of the specialty dishes of Jammu. Another specialty of Jammu is Kalaadi which is processed cheese.
Dogri food specialties include Ambal, Khatta Meat, Kulthein di Dal, Dal Patt, Maa da Madra, Rajma, and Auriya. Pickles typical of Jammu are made of Kasrod, Girgle, Mango with Saunf, Zimikand, Tyaoo, Seyoo, and Potatoes. Auriya is a dish made with Potatoes. During weddings it is typical to make Kayoor, and Sund.
Jammu folks love their chaats specially Gol Gappas, Kachaalo, Gurgule, Rajma Kulche etc.
Fairs In Jammu:
If one visits the Jammu region during Shivratri, one will find a celebration on almost everywhere. Mansar food and crafts Mela is a three-day celebration of the local crafts and cuisine, where people from adjoining states also take part.
Festivals Of Jammu:
Lohri festival heralds the onset of spring. The whole of Jammu region wears a festive look on this day. Every year, on the first day of "Vaishakh", the people of Jammu like the rest of northern India- celebrate Baisakhi.
Kishtwar is sited on a plateau above the Chenab River and below the Nagin Sheer glacier. It is noted for the fine saffron grown in the area and for the many waterfalls close by.
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park:
Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in Jammu is interesting for the marked variations in topography and vegetation that occur here. Spread over an area of 400-sq-kms, the park contains 15 mammal species.
Mubarak Mandi Palace:
The oldest building in this Palace complex date to 1824. The architecture is blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even Baroque European influences. The most stunning segment is the Sheesh Mahal. The Pink Hall now houses of Dogra Art Museum which has miniature paintings of the various Hill schools.
Raghunath Temple in Jammu:
Situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples, this temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is outstanding and unique in Northern India.
Sudh Mahadev is well known for its archaeological importance, as a great pilgrimage centre and as a charming natural site. It stands on the banks of the holy Dewak River, held by some to be as sacred as the Ganges.
Main Attraction in Patnitop:
Trekking, Skiing & Aerosports
Best Time to visit in Patnitop:
Although Patnitop is an 'anytime' place, the best time for a visit are summer, during May-June, and autumn, September-October. If seeking snowboard joys, December to March is the time to be here.
110-km From Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir
Eco-Adventure activities in Patnitop:
Paragliding at Patnitop:
The take off site is at Dawariyai, on the Patnitop-Sanasar road. The area often called as the Billoo Di Powri point. Approx 400 plus steps have been carved out along the rock face to make the steep slope negotiable.The stairs eventually leading to Dawariyai, the "gateway". The exact dating of the work is still debatable. Any tourist can experience Paragliding, because you will be flying with a pilot.The flight will take off from Patnitop and land at Kud. The flight will last for 7min to 15 mins, depending upon the wind conditions.One is retrieved by car to the take off area. The organizers also give a good quality video of your, memorable flight.
High Flying from Natha Top:
Take off is from Natha Top and landing at Kud. The flight can be from 15 mins to an hour depending on the wind conditions.
20 km from Patnitop offers Paragliding, Camping, Trekking, Abseiling, Rock Climbing and scenic nature walks. "Extreme Himalayan Adventures" is promoting eco-adventure in Sanasar.
Sanasar is the name given to the two small villages of Sana and Sar in Jammu province, India.
Eco-Adventure activities in Sansar:
Tandem Paragliding Joyrides:-Introduced by "Extreme Hmalayan Adventures" Sanasar offers Tandem (pilot+passenger) paragliding joyrides. The low flying ride, take off area, is near the parking lot, with a flight path over the lake of Sansar, to landing in the meadow, below. The 'over a minute' short flight attaining an altitude of 150-200 feet, makes it one of the safest, enjoyable paragliding experience, in India. Sanasar is the second site, after Solang Nallah-Manali, in north India, to offer such tandem rides. The high flying site is at Natha Top and offers an 8- to 10- minute, depending on the wind condition, 1500-2000 feet high, tandem paragliding experience. The take off area is near the road, but one has to walk up, from the landing site, below. Safety is of paramount importance, and it is never compromised.
Wilderness Adventure Camps-Sanasar (WAC-Sanasar):
WAC-Sanasar, started 4 years ago by "Extreme Himalayan Adventures" is dedicated in promoting and providing wilderness adventure camping and adventure sports in general. The camp can accommodate about 100 participants, including boarding and loading. It is run by "Extreme Himalayan Adventures" in collaboration with the Dept of Tourism, Jammu.
Rock climbingWAC basic pitch offers a taste of the sport. Situated among the high conifers, the rock offers the natural feel of climbing.
AbseilingThe WAC Basic Rock offers a 25 feet, over the edge feel of descending the rock face with the help of a rope. It is a 'trust' exercise.
Shank Pal Temple is located on the Shank Pal ridge at an altitude of 2800 mts and is a 5 hr moderate trek. The 400 yr old temple, is dedicated to Nag Shank Pal. No mortar has been used, to join the stones of the temple.
Ladoo Ladi (meaning a boy and a girl, in local dialect) is a soft nature walk of 4 km, starting from Madha Top. Shanta Galais a pass on the Shanta ridge and offers the view of the Panchari valley on the other side of the ridge. The pass leads to the Lander area.
Surni Kund is a small pond on the high Shank Pal ridge.2 K\km from the Shank Pal Nag temple, it is a 7 hr demanding trek from Sanasar.
Katra / Vaishnodevi:
Katra serves as the base camp for pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. It has a thriving tourism industry that offers plenty of hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, fast-food joints that fit all kinds of budgets. Free accommodation is provided by some registered trusts in the form of Sarais for the poor. The number of pilgrims that visit the shrine every year has increased from 1.4 million in 1986 to 8.2 million in 2009. Over the years, a lot has changed, but one should not miss the opportunity to walk through the main bazaar (market) for buying (do not forget/hesitate to negotiate a bit) souvenirs, dryfruits, woolen garments, hosiery, leather jackets, etc.
To reach Vaishno Devi temple the pilgrims have to register at the Katra before starting the trek. By registering, the pilgrims get accidental insurance while on the trek for 1 lakh INR. It is a trek of 13.5 km.
There is another trek (1.5 km) from Vaishno Devi temple for Baba Bhaironnath. It is said that the pilgrimage is not complete until you visit this temple at last. The scenery throughout the trek is pictursque.
Environment-friendly auto rickshaws and helicopter services also have started now-a-days to make the journey a pleasant one.
Leh / Ladakh:
Buddhism, Islam. Hindu
Tourist Attractions :
Buddhist Monasteries, the Leh Palace.
Best Buys :
Tibetan handicraft items.
Best Hangouts :
Best Activity :
Trekking, Mountaineering, Camping, Water Rafting.
Nearby Tourist Destinations:
Jammu, Leh, Kargil, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, and Pahalgam.
Best time to visit in Leh / Ladakh :
June To End October
Leh, was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh District in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Leh, with an area of 45,110 km2, is the second largest district in the country (after Kutch, Gujarat) in terms of area.
The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. Leh is at an altitude of 3524 meters (11,562 ft). National Highway 1D connects it to Srinagar in the northwest.
- Rizong Monastery
- Likir Monastery
- Lamayuru Monastery
- Shey Monastery
- Stakana Monastery
- Cave Monastery
- Thiksey Monastery
- Spituk Monastery
- Stongdey Monastery
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.
The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6,000 m (19,700 ft). Its eastern part is known as Rupshu.
Lakes and Gardens in Jammu and Kasmir:
The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir) and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12.2 °F), freezing the lake.
The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin (although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.
At present, the Dal Lake and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious eutrophication problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments of around US $275 million (Rs 1100 crores) is being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendour.
Nagin Lake of Kashmir is an offshoot leading from the Dal Lake. The Nagin Lake is located to the east of the city, at the foothill of the mountain Zabarwan. On the edges of the Nageen Lake are a number of willow and poplar trees. The reflection of these tees in the water of the lake lends it a beautiful view. Surrounded by Shankaracharya hill (Takht-e-Suleiman) on the south and Hari Parbat on the west, the Nagin Lake of Kashmir presents a charming sight. Shikaras, ferrying people to and from the lake, are a fascinating feature of the lake. Bathing boats as well as water-skis and motor launches are also available for hire at the lake.
Wular Lake (also spelt Wullar) is a large fresh water lake in Bandipore district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake basin was formed as a result of tectonic activity and is fed by the Jhelum River. The lake's size varies from 12 to 100 square miles (30 to 260 square kilometers), depending on the season.
Surinsar is a beautiful lake situated about 42 km from Jammu, on the Jammu-Srinagar road, in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bordered by hills and covered with dense forest, the lake is a favorite picturesque spot in the state. During summer, the lake is covered with lotus flowers.
Legend says that Arjuna, the legendary hero of the Mahabharat, shot an arrow into the ground at Mansar. The arrow came out at Surinsar and thus both lakes - Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake were created.
The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention.
TSo Moriri Lake:
Also Known as ‘Mountain Lake’, Tso Moriri is located in the Rupshu valley situated in Changthang sub division of leh district, The Lake is about 28 km in length from north to south and is about 4-6 km in breadth and about 100 feet average in depth. Maximum depth of Tso Moriri Lake is 248 feet. It’s surrounded by barren hills with backdrop of snow-covered mountains. A Short range of snow covered mountains, which rise about 21000 feet, extends some distance to the north-west and terminates somewhat to north of the southern end of Tso moriri.
The Raigad fort was the place where Shivaji was crowned and where spent the rest of his life. Shivaji's samadhi and the remnants of his palace can be seen besides the fort today as well. The Ganga Sagar Lake flows in front of the fort. Covered with the snow clad peaks, the region is also famous for the Jijamata Palace. The splendid natural beauty of the lake and the Raigad Fort enable the place to be a traveller's paradise.
Nishat Bagh, is a Mughal garden built on the eastern side of the Dal Lake, close to the Srinagar city in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is the second largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley. The largest in size is the Shalimar Bagh, which is also located on the bank of the Dal Lake. ‘Nishat Bagh’is a Hindustani word, which means "Garden of Joy," "Garden of Gladness" and "Garden of Delight".
Shalimar Bagh, is a Mughal garden linked through a channel to the northeast of Dal Lake, on its right bank located at 34°08′56″N 74°52′23″E / 34.149°N 74.873°E / 34.149; 74.873 near Srinagar city in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its other names are Shalamar Garden, Shalamar Bagh, Farah Baksh and Faiz Baksh, and the other famous shore line garden in the vicinity is Nishat Bagh. The Bagh was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan, in 1619. The Bagh is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture. It is now public park.
Among the Mughal gardens of Kashmir Chashma Shahi fascinated Shahjahan, the fourth Mughal emperor, the most owing to the fact that it haunted him with the sweet memories of his beloved queen, Mumtaj Mahal who always accompanied him during his visit to these gardens. Once she fell ill and could not be cured despite several efforts of the royal Vaidyas and Haqueems and the chief of the medical staff of the court suggested that she must be allowed to visit some health resort especially during summer months and for that matter there was none the better than the valley of Kashmir that too Shahjahan preferred to stay at Pari Mahal along with his queen leaving behind all the busy schedule of political maneuvering. She enjoyed the fresh air and fresh vegetables and drank sweet water of Chashma Shahi resulting into miraculous recoupment in her health.
A historical place and monument to visit is Pari Mahal or Quntilon, meaning “House of Fairies”, situated above the Chashmashahi gardens nearby Srinagar. The Mahal is surrounded by a lovely large garden overlooking the Dal Lake and has lots of flowers and fruits and a spring in the middle. The Mahal is of brilliant architecture and styles and was once a Buddhist monastery before being an astrology school promoted by Dara Shikoh, the eldest of Emperor Shah Jahan’s sons.
Harwan is huge Garden lined with flower beds and massive Chinar Trees with a beautiful canal flowing right through the middle. The canal is fed from a beautiful lake which lies behind the garden. there is not much clutter of fountains and other fancy things but vast big green carpeted green lawns which form an ideal spot for picnics. This spot is very popular with the locals for picnics and excursions.
Bhaga Bhu Garden:
Situated 5 kms away from the Jammu city center, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tavi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago.
Inside, there is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. An extensive terraced garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu, has been developed around the fort.
Adventure Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir:
Mountaineering in Jammu and Kashmir:
One can climb the peaks of Kolahoi(5,425 m) and Harmukh (5,148 m), quickly making an alpine ascent. Similarly peaks in the Kishtwar region are not too high but offer technically complicated climbing with many challenging faces and ridges. The popular peaks are Sickle Moon 6,575 m ,Riger 6,001m, Brammah-I 6,416m,Crooked Finger 5,630m, Arjuna 6,230m, Katori 6,138m and Flat Top 6,100m.
In the Zanskar region peaks are located at the head of the Shafat glacier and include the famous peaks of Nun 7,135m and Kun 7,077m. Around these areWhite Needle 6,500m, Pinacle 6,930m and Z-1 6,400m. The 'Z' series also cluster around the Drang Drung glacier which is visible from the Pensita. In the Ladakh region are Stok Kangri 6,153m, Parcha Kangri 6,065m and Kanglcha 6,400m.
Winter Sports in Jammu and Kashmir:
The first fall of snow blankets the highlands and transforms the winter wonderland into the country's premier arena for action-packed skiing. Gulmarg has world-class ski slopes varying between 8,700 and 10,500 feet, the highest in India. The Gulmarg ski and chair lifts provide basic utilitarian facilities with a simple link-up for beginners. The high altitude skiers have to make their own way up to invigorating heights. Gulmarg's ski-shop has professional equipment imported from Australia and France, which can also be hired for temporary use. Facilities for skiing at Pahalgam are being developed and work on an institute of mountaineering and winter sports is already underway. Heli-skiing is also being introduced.
Fishing in Jammu and Kashmir:
Kashmir has rightly been called an angler's paradise, with a network of rivers and streams as well as high altitude lakes all abounding in trout, both brown and rainbow. Trout fishing in Kashmir is far cheaper than it is in any other part of the world. And most importantly, the Department of Fisheries, which controls angling in the valley, works hard to ensure that there is no depletion of stock by indiscriminate fishing, which means that you can revel in angling in ideal conditions.
Kashmir's fabled natural beauty needs no introduction. Crisscrossing the state are the well-known Sind and Lidder rivers and their tributaries, with a silvery network of smaller rivers and streams.
Trekking in Jammu and Kashmir:
Even in the chilling atmosphere at the heights of mountains, you will come across human life through the huts of Gujars. Another trek route that runs through Hemis, Markha and Padum extends till 13 days. This route is named as 'Chaddar' and is believed to be the most exciting trek around the globe. Kishtwar, Bhadarwar, and Sonmarg are other favorite trekking destinations for tourists.
Water Sports in Jammu and Kashmir:
Kashmir's two natural advantages are its mountains, and lakes & rivers. These waterways enhance the beauty of the land and are among the chief sources that attract tourists to its verdant valleys. But more than just a means of pleasure, the waterways are an activity-oriented way of discovering new leisure sports.
To those of you who are by nature passive, command a shikara on the Dal Lake and Nagin Lakes in Srinagar for just a crossing, or for a whole day; a variation on this can be the hiring of a motorboat, if you prefer travelling faster over water. Or better still, when the summer days are balmy, go water skiing.
White Water Rafting in Jammu and Kashmir:
Kashmir and Ladakh:
River Lidder, near Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir, is the ideal place for rafting. Due to the fact, that the slopes in this river is not very steep, it is ideal for amateurs. Here the river diverts into two stretches, which is idealistic for river rafting. River Indus flowing between Spituk and Saspol, are the ideal destinations for the inexperienced, while beyond Saspol, the river gets spurting and this area requires technically sound rafters. Upshi-Khaltsi, is an important run in the Indus.
The real ecstasy lies in rafting in river Zanskar, in Ladakh, which is considered to be a very ferocious river. Initially this river will appear very calm, and the pre conceived belief seems to be a little exaggeration, but with the course of time, encompassing the giant gorges, will reveal its true vehemence. This river course is strictly suitable for only the experienced and professional rafters. The Padum-Nimmu run is the most thrilling run on the Zanskar. The another famous run is the Phey – Nimmu route, which is crosses astonishing mountains.
Golfing in Jammu and Kashmir:
The Royal Springs Golf Club:
Built in between year 1900 and 2000, the golf course is considered the best golf course in entire India by many professional golfers.
Gulmarg Golf Club:
The course is situated at an altitude of 2650 m above sea level that makes it the highest green golf club in the world. If that's not enough to bring you to Gulmarg golf club, it is also one of the most scenic and oldest golf clubs in entire region set up by Britishers in the year 1904.
Paragliding in Jammu and Kashmir:
Batote that is located at a distance of 125 kilometers from Jammu is also a center for paragliding. Hot air ballooning in the Suru valley and the Zanskar area is a challenging activity.
The equipment for paragliding is easily available at the tourist office in Jammu. This equipment is also available at the local agencies in Jammu and Sanasar. The best months to go paragliding in Sanasar are May-June and September-October.
Pilgrimage Destinations in Jammu and Kashmir:
- Mata Vaishno Devi
- Raghunath Mandir
- Bawey Wali Mata
- Peer Kho
- Ranbireshwar temple
- Peer Mitha
- Panchbakhtar temple
- Peer Budhan Ali Shah or Peer Baba
- Shankaracharya Temple
- Hazratbal mosque
- Kheer Bhawani
- Hari Parbat Fort
- Shrine of saint Makhdoorn Sahib
- Sikh Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi
Food and Cuisine:
Picturesque greens, hill-stations, lakes and traditional art forms are undoubtedly the greatest attractions in Jammu and Kashmir. But the mouth-watering delicacies and exotic recipies also play a vital role in keeping the tourist bounded here. The Jammu and Kashmir cuisine is influenced by various communities that have settled in the state. You will observe a unique aroma and awesome flavor in the vast variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
The delicious food of J&K is believed to have evolved when the Timurs invaded Kashmir in the 15th century A.D. and thousands of expert cooks from Samarkand immigrated to cater to the Indian Kings. Those master cooks were called 'Wazas' and they worked under the guidance of 'Vasta Waza', the master chef. They offered the kings a grand feast, which is traditionally known as 'Wazwan' and is still in practice. The special grand feast is characterized by 36 different kinds of meals, out of which fifteen to thirty dishes are the varieties of meat. Today, Wazwan is not only a ritual but also a ceremony. During a trip to J&K, you can enjoy this luxurious food style. Kashmiri weddings are popular for the delicacies mastered by those chefs.
Different Styles of Preparing Food:
A variety of spices along with condiments and curd are used in good quantity in Kashmiri food. Curd is considered the major ingredient in most dishes - whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Local people prefer mustard oil for cooking purpose. They are also liberal with the use of the expensive saffron or kesar, which Kashmir is a big producer of. You can also savour rice of a superior grade.
Three different styles of cooking that exist in Kashmir are:
- Kashmiri Pandits
All the three styles not only differ in the style, but also in the ingredients, recipies and courses. A few differences exist because of the locally produced crops. On one hand the Kashmiri Pandits do not prefer much onion and garlic in their food, while contrary to this, the Muslims do. The Muslims avoid the use of asafoetida (hing) and curds, whereas the Kasmiri Pandits use them often.. However, the Hindu Brahmins or Kashmiri Pandits also cook non-vegetarian food for themselves, but they prefer mutton or lamb meat instead of chicken or beef.
Kabargah, Kofta (veg/non-veg), Dum Alu, mushrooms, bhaseeda (lotus stem/roots) and Methi Chaman are some of the delicacies of the region known for their sheer flavor and richness. Kashmir, also known as the land of fruits, serves a variety of fruit chats and sweets prepared from fruits. 'Firni' is one of the most popular desserts of the state.
There are, of course, plenty of restaurants serving north-Indian or south-Indian dishes as well. A few places are known for special Marwari and Maharashtran food.
Handicrafts in Jammu and Kashmir:
This flourishing handicrafts industry of Jammu & Kashmir not only offers you wonderful items, but also employs several tribal as well as general folks of the valley.
Kashmiri carpets have been appreciated since a long time for their intricate work. Their uniqueness lies in their manufacturing. These carpets are purely handmade, and are knotted, not tufted. You can choose different carpets from a variety of silk, woolen or silk. These are designed in colourful themes which can not be found anywhere in the world. The main art of carpet manufacturing is associated with the knotting part. These knots determine the durability and value of the carpet, in addition to the design and pattern. The more knots per square inch, the greater is the value and durability of carpet.
It is a lighter version of original carpets, stitched by using cotton and woolen textures. The price of these colourful floor coverings vary with the percentage of wool. A namda containing 80% wool will definitely be more expensive than one with 20% wool. The major difference in carpets and namdas lies in the price. While carpets are quite expensive, Namdas are available at affordable prices. Namdas are generally made by chain stitch embroidery, in woolen and cotton thread.
Kashmir's Pashmina shawls are world famous. Its fabric is extracted from the smooth fleecy wool of Kel goat. The local women who work as handloom artisans, extract this wool and knit with colourful threads.
A less expensive shawl is the Jamavar shawl. It is made from the dyed threads, in various themes, designs and figures.
Willows (trees with narrow leaves and catkins) aesthetically unique items such as shopping baskets, lampshades, tables and chairs etc etc. These trees are found in the low lying waterlogged lands or near the lakes.
Kashmir is popular for its three different grades of Papier Mache work. It is manufactured from wet and crushed paper, by moulding it to the desired shape. It is dried and painted for a final touch-up. They are distinct in artistry and colours. The most expensive one has gold work and you can also find those with bronze dust or gold poster paint. Varnish, which is applied to the finished product, imparts a high gloss and smoothness to the papier mache.
While exploring the lifestyle and specialties of Jammu and Kashmir, you can also find several other handicraft items made of Walnut Wood (handmade wooden products), Copper and Silverware (samovars, bowls, plates and trays) and Embroidery (locally called Kasida; considered the finest in the world).
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism / Tourist Information Offices of Jammu and Kashmir:
Tourist Reception Centre,
Jammu and Kashmir Department of Tourism,
Jammu and Kashmir Department of Tourism,
Jammu and Kashmir Department of Tourism,
Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Development Corporation,
Tourist Reception Centre,
Vir Marg, Tel: 579554, 546412.
The Director Tourism (Kashmir),
Tourist Reception centre,
Tel: 452690/91, Tel/Fax: 479547.
New Delhi:201 - 203, Kanishka Shopping Plaza,
19 Ashoka Road
Tel: 3345373, Fax: 3367881.
Mumbai:25 North Wing,
World Trade Centre,
Cuffe Parade, Colaba
Tel: 2189040, Fax: 2186172.
Tel: 2285791, Fax: 2281950.
Chennai:II - Floor, 36 / 36 - A,
North Usamn Road,
Tel / Fax : 8235958.
Ahmedabad:Airlines House, Lal Darwaza
Tel / Fax : 5503551.
Hyderabad:5 th Floor, Left Wing,
Chandra Vihar Complex
Tel / Fax: 4734806.
Culture of Jammu and Kashmir:
Ladakh is famous for its unique Indo-Tibetan culture. Chanting in Sanskrit and Tibetan language forms an integral part of Ladakh's Buddhist lifestyle. Annual masked dance festivals, weaving and archery are an important part of traditional life in Ladakh. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa, noodle soup; and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngampe, roasted barley flour. Typical garb includes gonchas of velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots, and gonads or hats. People, adorned with gold and silver ornaments and turquoise headgears throng the streets during various Ladakhi festivals.
The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir valley, performed by men of the Wattal region. The women perform the Rouff, another traditional folk dance. Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and handicrafts. Shikaras, traditional small wooden boats, and houseboats are a common feature in various lakes and rivers across the Valley.
The Constitution of India does not allow people from regions other than Jammu and Kashmir to purchase land in the state. As a consequence, houseboats became popular among those who were unable to purchase land in the Valley and has now become an integral part of the Kashmiri lifestyle.
Kawa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilled winter climate of Kashmir. Most of the buildings in the Valley and Ladakh are made from softwood and is influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Islamic architecture.
Jammu's Dogra culture and tradition is much similar to that of neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Traditional Punjabi festivals such as Lohri and Vaisakhi are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the region, along with Accession Day, an annual holiday which commemorates the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the Dominion of India. After Dogras, Gujjars form the second-largest ethnic group in Jammu. Known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle, Gujjars are also found in large numbers in the Kashmir valley. Similar to Gujjars, Gaddis are primarily herdsmen who hail from the Chamba region in Himachal Pradesh. Gaddis are generally associated with emotive music played on the flute. The Bakkarwalas found both in Jammu and the Vale of Kashmir are wholly nomadic pastoral people who move along the Himalayan slopes in search for pastures for their huge flocks of goats and sheep.
Education of Jammu and Kashmir:
In 1970, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir established its own education board and university. Education in the state is divided into primary, middle, high secondary, college and university level. Jammu and Kashmir follows 10+2 pattern for education of children. This is handled by Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (abbreviated as JKBOSE). Various private and public schools are recognized by the board to impart education to students. Board examinations are conducted for students in class VIII, X and XII. In addition there are various Kendriya Vidyalayas (run by the Government of India) and Indian Army schools that also impart secondary school education. These schools follow the Central Board of Secondary Education pattern.
Notable higher education or research institutes in Jammu and Kashmir include Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura Srinagar, National Institute of Technology Srinagar, Government College of Engineering and Technology, Jammu and the Government Medical College of Jammu. University-level education is provided by University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Islamic University of Science & Technology, Baba Ghulam Shah Badhshah University, Institution of Technicians and Engineers (Kashmir), and Government Degree College Kathua.