Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jammu and Kashmir - Jewellery of Earth


The beautiful Kashmir valley looks like a paradise on earth. The valley is so beautiful that you will fall in love with it at the first sight itself. Infact, the charm and magnificence of Kashmir are beyond the scope of mere words. Kashmir filled with natural surrounding gives you a perfect place to beat the heat and dust of the summer months. With steep slopes, deep gorges and snow filled mountains throughout the year, Kashmir is a favorite destination for honeymoon makers.

The valley is distinctively marked by breath-taking lakes, fresh water streams, luscious fruits, magnificent forests, mighty mountains and lush meadows which makes it a paradise on Earth. The mountain-downs or “margs” are numerous on the tops of the hill ranges prominent being Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Yousmarg etc.

Famous valleys of Kashmir include: Lidder Valley, Sindh Valley, Lolab Valley, Bangus Valley, Dachigam Valley, Gulmarg Valley, Gurez Valley, Yousmarg Valley etc.

Carved tectonically, the valley of Kashmir is a longitudinal depression in the great north-western Himalayan range, situated at an altitude of 1590 mtrs (5209) feet.
Best Season:  March to October
Route Map:
View Larger Map

How to Reach:
By Air
Srinagar airport is approximately 14 km from the city. There are daily flights to Srinagar, operated by Indian Airlines (from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu) and Jet Airways (from Delhi and Jammu).

By Rail
Jammu Tawi, approximately 305 km far, is the nearest railhead for Srinagar. Trains from Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai and other cities arrive at this station only. During holiday season, when there is a heavy rush for Kashmir, additional trains operate for and from this station.

By Road
National Highway 1-A is the main highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu. J&K State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) as well as a number of private Super deluxe, A-class and B-class busses operate to and from the state. Private taxis are also available for traveling to Kashmir.

Interesting Tourist Places:

Gulmarg:  Gulmarg (Meadow of Flowers) is situated in the Baramulla district of Kashmir. It is 56 Kms southwest of the capital city Srinagar. The picturesque beauty and location of Gulmarg, make it one of the popular hill stations in the country. Dotted with colourful bluebells, daisies, forget-me-nots and buttercups, Gulmarg looks more beautiful during springs.

Pahalgam: The Valley of Shepherds:
Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C.

Sonamarg: The Meadow of Gold:    It has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months

Dal Lake
The sweet water lake is the Jewel in the crown of the Kashmir and has been the inspiration for poets and a major attraction for the tourists. The 6.4 Km long and 4 Km wide lake is divided into three parts - Gagri bal, Lokut Dal and Bod Dal. Dal Lake is known worldwide for Shikaras and Houseboats. Within the lake, two small islands called as Sona Lank (Gold Island) and Rupa Lank (Silver Island) are famous picnic spots. The tourists can enjoy Shikara rides, Kayaking, Canoeing and Angling here.

Srinagar: Srinagar is located in the heart of the Kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m(1530 feet) above sea level, spread on both sides of the river Jhelum. The Dal and Nagin lakes enhance its picturesque setting, while the changing play of the seasons and the salubrious climate ensures that the city is equally attractive to visitors around the year.         

Situated 145 Kms east of Srinagar, Amarnath is considered to be one of the major Hindu Dhams. Amarnath is known for an ice Siva-linga, which changes its size with the seasons. The linga becomes 6 ft high on the full moon day. The annual festival of Amarnath takes place at this cave temple during July-August on the full moon day.

Mughal Gardens
Situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, in the backdrop of the majestic hills, these beautiful gardens commands a magnificent view of the lake. . The Mughal gardens include Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Chashmeshahi Bagh.

Harwan Lake
Set amidst the lofty Mahadeo hills, the clean and pure water lake Harwan, offers the beautiful view of the surroundings. The Lake is the source of water for the huge garden lined with flower beds and high Chinar trees. The vast green lawns of the Harwan Lake make its ideal for picnics and excursions.

Katra serves as the base camp for pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi.
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.

Vaishno Devi:  The holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is situated at a distance of fourteen kilometers from Katra. From Katra, one has to trek uphill to reach the destined shrine. Located a top Mount Trikuta, the Vaishno Devi temple is considered to be one of the holiest places in India. There is also an influx of foreign tourists, apart from the domestic pilgrims turning out in hundreds, to get a darshan of the holy Mata. Zest for the unknown attracts the adventurous foreigners, since there’s a lot unexplained phenomenon and myths that surround Vaishno Devi Temple. For instance the natural rock formation or pindies, as they are popularly called, leaves one dumbfounded. The rock forms of Laxmi, Kali, and Saraswati are the only idols that one can find in the shrine.
Leh and Ladakh:

Ladakh, a part of Jammu & Kashmir state in north of India, consists of two districts, Leh and Kargil. Leh with and area of 45110 sq km makes it the largest district in India in terms of area. The district is bound by Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the west and China in the north and eastern part and Lahaul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh in Southeast. It is at a distance of 434 Km from Srinagar and 474 km from Manali.
Where to Stay:

Where to Eat:

Chinese Cuisine
  • J&KTDC Nun-Kun Restaurant (near Nehru Park)

  • Alka Salka (Shervani Road)

  • Lhasa (Boulevard)

Kashmiri Cuisine
  • Mughal Durbar (Shervani Road)

  • Ahdoos (Shervani Road)

  • Ruby (Lambert Lane)

  • Juniper (Lal Chowk)

Garden Cafes
  • Solace (Shervani Road)

  • Tao Cafe (Shervani Road)

  • Shamyana (Boulevard)

  • Dalgate

  • Shervani Road

Inexpensive Restaurants
  • Amira Kadal

  • Dalgate

Other hillstations in India:   

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