The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a symbol of eternal natural beauty since time immemorial. The once mountain retreat of Mughals, abode of Buddhist Lamas and Alps of India for the British rulers, was rightly termed as Jahangir’s valley of paradise.
It has been one of the most beautiful, attractive, serene, and most talked about yet most controversial tourist destination in India.
Thankfully, the things are getting better in the valley of lakes and houseboats after a disturbing era of insurgency of 20 years.
Kashmir is home to some of the highest and most beautiful parts of the Himalayas. It is necessary to dispel a doubt here that the entire Kashmir is not violent or affected by the insurgency. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is comprised of three major parts; the largely Hindu Jammu, a Buddhist dominated Laddakh and the Muslim majority Kashmir valley.
Laddakh is almost unaffected by the violent disturbances of Kashmir valley. Jammu is comparatively safer and Kashmir valley is getting better day by day; so you can travel to any part of the state including the Kashmir valley without any worries, if the security situation is normal over there.
The most beautiful city in the entire Kashmir valley is Srinagar. The scenic views of the valley vary according to the location you are at. The mountain peaks look heavenly from a distance, the sunlight and the clouds appear to be out of this world and deep blue sky makes us feel at peace and rejuvenated. Srinagar is also called the city of lakes. It is famous for enchanting Dal Lake, HazratBal shrine (Dargah) and the Mughal Gardens referred to as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. Pahelgam is another beautiful valley with a wildlife sanctuary, ropeways and wonderful tracking routes. Gulmarg is known for its exemplary scenic beauty, ski resorts and the highest golf course in the world.
Location Northern tip of India
Pakistan to the west
Afghanistan to the North
China to the East
Himachal Pradesh to the South
Latitude 32°17′ to 36°58′ North
Longitude 37°26′ to 80°30′ East
Area 2101437 sq kms
Climate Tropical in Jammu plains
Semi-arctic cold in Ladakh
Temperate in Kashmir and Jammu mountainous tracts
Max Temperature 440
Min Temperature 40
Average Annual Rainfall Jammu – 1115.9 mm
Leh – 92.6 mm
Srinagar – 650.5 mm
Capital Summer (May-October) – Srinagar
Winters (November-April) – Jammu
Population 76.77 Lakhs
Languages Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English
Religion Islam, Hindu, Buddhist
Best Time to Visit Jammu: October – April
Kashmir: March – October
Ladakh: March – October
Clothing Summer – Light cottons
Winter – Heavy/medium woolens
About Jammu and Kashmir
The tourists can embark in Jammu and Kashmir travel for a heavenly vacation in the lap of mountains. The travel enthusiasts have always referred Kashmir as the ‘Paradise on Earth’. The stand out beauty of the Himalayan Mountain range attracts tourists from all over the world. Himalaya, the world’s largest mountain range, which also features the highest mountain peak of the world can be distinctly viewed from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Leh, Gulmarg, Patnitop, Ladakh and Pahalgam are some of the important places here.
Jammu and Kashmir can be classified into three different regions. The foothill plains of Jammu, the magnificent mountains of Ladakh and the lakes and valleys of Kashmir that soar high up to the alpine passes. The mesmerizing beauty of the scintillating snow capped Himalayan Mountain range evokes romanticism.
How to reach Jammu and Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is located in the extreme north of India. It makes for one of the most visited states in the country and about four million Indian tourists visit the state every year. Presence of the sacred Vaishno Devi Temple in the state is the factor driving most of the people to the state. The political turmoil in the state doesn’t prevent the tourists from making their way to one of the most beautiful states in the country.
The state has four airports, namely:
Jammu Airport (Domestic)
Kargil Airport (Defense)
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh (Domestic)
Srinagar Airport (International).
Major airlines like Indian Airlines, Jet Airways operate regular flights to these airports.
The most important railway station in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the Jammu Tawi Station which receives trains from all the major Indian cities. Following are some of the trains that one can take to Jammu and Kashmir from major cities in India.
The state has a good road network connecting important neighbourhood states and cities like Delhi, Amritsar, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Shimla and Manali. National Highway 1A is the national highway connecting various cities of Jammu to each other and to the rest of India. One can also take JKSRTC (Jammu Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation) buses to travel within the state and the nearby states.
Travel within Jammu and Kashmir The buses operated by JKSRTC connects most points around the state. Some terrains of the state are not that easily accessible, for such areas 4wd jeeps are quicker, but a little more expensive option. Private jeeps are also available to travel within the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Tourism:-
Jammu and Kashmir offers scope for various adventure activities.
Trans Himalayan Jeep Safari, trekking and mountaineering are some of the adventure activities that can be enjoyed here. The ideal trekking month is from April to November. Other pulsating adventure sports that can be indulged in at various places in Kashmir include:
Motorbike Safari in Ladakh
Kayaking & Canoeing
Mountain Cycling in Ladakh
Snow Skiing in Gulmarg
River Rafting in Ladakh
Trekking in Kashmir Valley
Trekking in Zanskar
The travel to Jammu and Kashmir is made convenient by the air services to Leh and Srinagar from a number of Indian cities.
The bus services from Manali to Leh provide the other way to reach Jammu and Kashmir. The buses also ply at frequent intervals from Jammu to Srinagar. The railway station in Jammu is served by a number of trains from a few Indian cities.
There are a number of resorts, hotels and houseboats in Jammu and Kashmir. Few of the renowned hotels in Jammu and Kashmir include:
Hotel Akbar, Hotel Zamrud, Grand Hotel, Hotel Zahgeer Continental
The stay in houseboats is a unique experience. Few of the recognized houseboats on Dal Lake, Srinagar include Prince of Vale, Meena Houseboat, Newzealand Houseboat, Young Morning Star, Safina Houseboat.
Jammu & Kashmir Tourist Attractions
For the sightseeing in Jammu and Kashmir, the tourists can avail either the state operated buses or 4WD jeeps.
The Jammu and Kashmir travel is never complete if the following locations are not sighted:
Gulmarg, Kargil, Pahalgam, Vaishno Devi, Zanskar, Jammu, Leh, Ladakh, Patnitop, Srinagar, Sonamarg, Zangla.