The land of sparkling rivers, placid lakes, majestic mountains and deep valleys – that is the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The distinct landscape divides the state into three diverse geographical regions of Jammu , Kashmir Valley and Ladakh regions. Not only does each region have its own charm, beauty, culture and topography, but put together, they encompass every range of activity a traveller may desire.
Towering mountains, bewitching lakes, holy shrines atop hillsides – that’s Jammu for you; nestling against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal range. Best known for its plethora of temples, Jammu is a colourful mix of pilgrimage sites and hill resorts; including Patnitop with its stately, old Chinar trees and gurgling streams and Sanasar, a peaceful meadow for a weekend retreat.
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, with its snow-capped mountains, enchanting valleys, coniferous forests and unbelievable, breathtaking beauty; it’s not for any mean reason that Kashmir is called the Switzerland of the east. Cherry blossoms, fields of saffron, sparkling rivers, serene lakes, stunning gardens – Kashmir has them all. The valley’s orchards are laden with apples, peaches, pears, walnuts; as the surroundings change their garments with ever passing season. Whether floating on a houseboat, sauntering past the orchards, soaking in the Mughal gardens or racing down the ski slopes – every moment is food for the soul. Small wonder then that when the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan first set his eyes on the vale, he is said to have uttered the words: “if there be Paradise on earth, then this is it, this is it, this is it.”
In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the delights of nature. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding etc. along the gentle slopes. Check out Gulmarg, the cup-shaped meadow of flowers; Pahalgam, the valley of shepherds; Sonamarg, the meadow of gold – or enjoy a round of putting on the world’s highest golf course.
State Capital : Srinagar
Of tourist interest: Dal Lake, Shalimar gardens, Nishat Bagh, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Kargil, Patnitop, Vaishno Devi cave etc.
Official Website : www.kashmirtourism.org