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Jammu & kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu 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.

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. Pakistan, which claims the territory as disputed, refers to it alternatively as Indian-occupied Kashmir or Indian-held Kashmir, while some international agencies such as the United Nations,call it Indian-administered Kashmir. The regions under the control of Pakistan are referred to as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK within India.

Places to Visit in Jammu and Kashmir

Amarnath, 'The Immortal God' is one of the many names of Lord Shiva. Just around 45 km away from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar, is one of the holiest temples in India dedicated to Lord Amarnath. It is actually a cave temple in which a natural Shivalingam is formed. Made of ice, this Shivalingam is one of the most venerated structures in India. The cave is situated at an altitude of 13000 feet above sea level. The reference of this sacred cave has been found in the ancient book of 'Rigveda' as well which shows it as one of the oldest pilgrimage places in India. The legend has it that, it is here Lord Shiva told the secret of creation and immortality to the daughter of Himalayas, Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva did not notice the two doves who were listening to every word spoken by Lord Shiva. The doves came to know about the secret and become immortal. They have made this cave their home. Many pilgrims have said that they have seen two doves inside the cave. The naturally formed lingam is the most spectacular and important feature of this cave. During the month of July and August, the formation of the lingam starts. On the full moon day, it attains complete form.

Amarnath Yatra

The Famous Amarnath yatra starts in the month of Shravan which is in the month of July and August according to Gregorian calendar. It is during this time the lingam is formed in the cave and to witness this many devotees take up this yatra. The yatra starts from the scenic hill station of Pahalgam. During the time of the yatra, many camps are set up in the vast empty lands where the pilgrims stay before the start of the yatra. The yatra takes around four to five days after which you return to Pahalgam. This yatra is organized by the Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir. There is also a special yatra officer who is appointed by the concerned govt. agency. The route to the Amarnath caves is one of the toughest treks in the state. Although now it has been made a bit easy as the 16 km distance between Pahalgam and Chandanwari is covered by a vehicle. As it is not an easy trek, it is advised that only people with good health take up this yatra.

The route to Amarnath is amazingly unique and spectacularly beautiful. These routes witness human interference only during this yatra, and thus absence of humans from the area has been of utter help in preserving the original beauty of the track. The main attraction on this route is without a doubt the Sheshnag Lake. This mountain lake is surrounded by seven identical peaks that resemble the head of a mythical snake called Sheshnag. After two days of difficult yet magical trek journey, the devotees reach the entrance of the cave early morning on the third day. The darshan (viewing) is going to be very speedy as the number of pilgrims waiting for their turn is simply mind-boggling.

Dal Lake has rightfully become an icon of the Kashmir tourism industry. A Himalayan urban lake, it has five basins and a number of channels that are well linked with each other. There are plenty of fishes in Dal Lake and fishery is the second largest industry of the region centered on the lake. The sparkling quiet waters of Dal surrounded by snow-capped mountains on its three sides, undoubtedly mark it as one of the most beautiful lakes of India. It is also the second largest lake in the State of Jammu and Kashmir with numerous gardens and orchards all along its shores. Houseboats form an indelible part of the scenery of the Dal Lake that are always ready to take tourists to a romantic and peaceful ride of the lake and soothe their nerves as the houseboat floats over the slightly rippling waters. They also offer some of the most exotic views of the splendid scenery of the Dal Lake.

There are Shikaras that look like small ornate versions of the gondolas of Venice that offers ferry rides to and from the banks of the lake to the houseboats. The shores of the Lake houses the distinct Moghul monuments and the campus of the Kashmir University while the two hillocks overlooking the lake house Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat temples. The glorious Mughal gardens on its shores contribute to the beauty of the Dal Lake. Out of about five hundred gardens laid down in 16th to 17th century, only a few still survive. There have been controversies about the origin of the Dal Lake. While some geologists believe that the origins of Dal Lake lie in the Pleistocene Oligotrophic Lake that once covered the entire valley of Kashmir, others just believe it to be a flood plain lake. The floating gardens of Dal Lake are considered a beauty in themselves. One can find a number of restaurants and hotels at the lakefront that have sprung up, encouraged by the large influx of tourists here.

Emperor Jehangir got the Shalimar Garden built for his wife Nur Jahan in 1616. A second garden Faiz Baksh, (The Bountiful) was added to it later during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658). Covering an area of approximately 539 m by 182 m, the Shalimar garden offers an amazing view over the other gardens, lakes and shallow terraces. Also known as the "garden of love", the Shalimar Mughal Gardens has four terraces, rising one above the other. The fourth terrace of the garden was, at one point of time, reserved for royal ladies. There is also a canal lined with polished stones running through the center of the Shalimar Bagh. The canal is responsible for supplying water to the garden from Harwan.

The top terrace of the Shalimar garden was reserved for the Mughal Emperor and the royal ladies of the court. In fact, the top terrace was the most wonderful one out of all the terraces. The terrace has a tank with a black stone pavilion in its middle. The pavilion, which once served as a banquet hall, is supported by fluted pillars made up of black marble. Other attractions of the Shalimar Bagh of Kashmir include a number of fountains, shaded trees and innumerable varieties of flowers that blossom in spring and autumn. Last but not the least, a light and sound show organized in the garden every evening, during the period of May to October, is simply superb.

Gulmarg Gondola in Gulmarg, in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir is the world s second highest operating cable car since the closure in 2008 of the Mérida cable car in Venezuela. It is also the longest cable car project in Asia. The 2-way ropeway has the capacity to ferry about 600 people per hour between Gulmarg and Kongdoor Mountain. This ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and the French firm Pomagalski. The second phase took 2 whole years to build and cost about USD 2.3 million. The project was launched with the intention of promoting skiing on Gulmarg slopes and for boosting Winter Tourism in Gulmarg.

Gulmarg is situated at 2650metres on a flat plateau at the base of Mt. Apharwat. The best and longest ski run of 3 kilometres in Gulmarg is accessed by the Gondola Cable Car Lift, which allows a ski run of 2,213 metres descent. The gondola ascends extends almost to the peak of Apharwat, at an elevation of 3980 metres above sea level. It provides lift served access to 1330 vertical metres of vast snow slopes. With the setting-up of Gondola Cable Car Lift from Gulmarg to Apharwat top, Gulmarg has become one of the highest lift-served ski resorts in the world. The total aerial distance covered by Gulmarg Gondola is 5 kilometres.

The Phase 2 of the Gondola Ride is a prime attraction as it gives panoramic views of the Himalayas as it keeps ascending higher and closer to the Apharwat Mountain. The cable car ascends 1,330 vertical metres to a height of nearly 4,000m.

The Gondola Lift operates in 2 phases – Gulmarg > Kongdoor and Kongdoor > Apharwat. Phase 1 of the Gulmarg Gondola Project starts in Gulmarg at 2’990 m has a vertical rise of 400 metres travelling at 5 metres per second, ferries 1500 people per hour from Gulmarg to a height of 3100 metres above sea level to middle station Kongdoor Mountain, from which skiers have access to numerous easy runs through the trees and to the groomed but narrow slopes.

The second section runs to over 4,000m, just below the peak of Apharwat. From the top most station, a 30-minute trek up would land on the peak. Any direction from this peak is ok for skiing for a couple of kilometres. Also, from this peak, the Line of Control (LOC) and Pakistan administered Kashmir are both visible.

Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country.

Originally called "Gaurimarg", the name of Lord Shiva's consort. In 16th century Yousuf Shah Chak changed its name to Gulmarg, meaning the place of roses. Sultan Yusuf Shah Chak, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was favourite of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.

The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there - roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.

The Winter Games Federation of India, during its annual general meeting declared Gulmarg as the winter sports capital of India. Coming from the apex body that organises winter sports in the country, this is indeed a great honour for Gulmarg.


A flat wooden board is taken up the hilltop and, without a navigator, allowed to slide downhill on the snow-covered slopes. Sledges as well as sledge-pullers are always available on hire.

Manasbal Lake is the deepest lake of Kashmir valley and perhaps the only one that develops stable summer stratification.

Manasbal Lake is classified as warm monomictic lake and circulates once in a year for a short time. The other lakes in the region either have weak stratification or are polymictic. Close to the northern shore are the ruins of a fort which was built in 17th century by a Moghul king to cater the needs of caravans that used to travel from Panjab to Srinagar On the south, overlooking the lake is a hillock-Ahtung which is used for limestone extraction. The eastern part is mainly mountainous and towards the north is an elevated plateau known as 'Karewa' consisting of lacustrine, fluviatile and loessic deposits.

The Manasbal Lake has no major inflow channels and the water supply is maintained through spring water inflow and precipitation. An outlet channel connects the lake with the Jhelum River. The outflow of water is regulated artificially.

Nagin Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes of Kashmir Valley. Located at the southern end of main Dal Lake, it shares the same panoramic view that enchants the tourists who visit the area. It is an interconnected water body which shares water from main Dal Lake through some interconnected channel. Like Dal Lake this too gets frozen during the winter season but in the summers it is filled with cool refreshing water. This is one of the popular ions of Kashmir valley which is surrounded with Shikaras and boats. One can have a brilliant experience of shopping in the lake. Nagin Lake is famous for having some boats which are full fledged shops. The tourists can buy food items as well as some handicraft material from these house boats which function as regular shops all through the year. Shopping at the middle of the lake is one of the most thrilling experiences which are often enjoyed by the visitors. Among the major shops the house boats also sell the famous Pashmina shawls.

Thus, mainly known for its scenic beauty and water shops, this is one of the most attractive sites in Kashmir which cannot be ignored. With its panoramic view this lake provides great opportunity for its visitors to enjoy a splendid ride on shikara.

Srinagar is a paradise for travelers all around the world. The picturesque sceneries, beautiful lakes and historical monuments make wonderful Sightseeing in Srinagar. Out of the many Tourist Attractions in Srinagar, Pari mahal in Srinagar calls for special mention. This ancient monument stands proudly revealing through its bricks, walls and surroundings the rich story of the past. Srinagar Overview tells is that Pari Mahal in Srinagar which was once the royal observatory is just five minutes drive from Cheshmashahi in Srinagar which is the smallest of all the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar. Pari Mahal in Srinagar was at a time a Buddhist monastery with a beautifully laid out garden which was later converted to a school of astrology. It was founded by Dara Shiko the eldest son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan's for his Sufi teacher, Mulla Shah. The beauty of Pari Mahal in Srinagar used to be at one time enhanced by the numerous springs which have dried up now. The beautiful Pari Mahal gardens are now under the possession of the state government and this heritage monument is fully maintained by them.

At night the beauty of the Pari Mahal in Srinagar is enhanced by the illuminating lights which bring out the beauty of this place. This beautiful monument is of great historical importance. Though it is now in ruins it speaks volumes of the magnanimous nature and taste of the Mughal princes. The rich history and culture of those times come alive when one sees through the ruins of the building. This is one of the most important places to see in Srinagar. The people who made these monuments are no more nor are they for whom they were built…..but still today these beautiful monuments stand tall telling the new generation about their tastes, likes and culture. They have become a pathway by which the new generation connects with the ancient times.

Srinagar is sure to make you feel enthralled and awe struck by its beauty that will for long linger in your mind. So, come soon and savor the rich experience.

The sacred temple of Shankaracharya occupies the top of the hills known as Takht-I-Sulaiman in the south-east of Srinagar. The site dates back to 250BC. The philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this place when he visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive Sanatan Dharma.

Before this date, the temple was known as Gopadri, as an earlier edifice on the same site was built by king Lalitaditya in the 6th century AD. In fact, the road below the hill, with residences of high- ranking State Government officials, is still known as Gupkar road. Built on a high octagonal plinth and approached by a flight of steps with side walls that once bore inscriptions, the main surviving shrine consists of a circular cell. It overlooks the Valley and can be approached by a motorable road. A modern ceiling covers the inner sanctum and an inscription in Persian traces its origin to the reign of Emperor Shah Jehan. The original ceiling was dome- shaped and the brick roof, it appears, is not more than a century old.

Rajtarangini states that it was first built by Jalauka, the son of great Emperor Ashoka, about 200 B.C. The temple was later rebuilt and dedicated to Jyesthesvara by Gopaditya, who ruled from 253 A.D. to 328. The hill was called Gopadri and the village at its foot on the south is still called Gopkar.

It is also said that once Shankaracharya, a famous Hindu saint, came to Kashmir from South India to revive Hinduism. He stayed on the top of the hill for sometime and the hill thus came to be known as Shankaracharya hill.

"The body of the temple is surrounded by a terrace enclosed by a stone wall or parapet, 3.5 feet high. This in following the outline of the basement, preserves its octagonal shape. The surrounding of the temple is reached by three flights of stone steps, numbering respectively 6,7 and eighteen, the last being encased between two walls. From the terrace another flight often steps leads to the door of the temple. The interior is a chamber, circular in plan, with a basin containing a lingam. Its general shape is that of a cone with four sides formed by the rectangular adjustment of gable-shaped slabs of masonry .... The interior of the temple is 14 feet in diameter; the ceiling is flat and 11 feet high; the walls which are 7.5 feet thick, are covered with white plaster composed of gypsum, and the roof is supported by four octagonal limestone pillars. The whole of the building is of stone, which is laid throughout in horizontal courses, no cement appearing to have been used ".

According to Hindu Mythology, the Sheshnag Lake is where Lord Shiva left his snake on his way up to the Amarnath Cave. Therefore this site is a popular site among Hindu pilgrims who are on the Amarnath Yatra.

Sheshnag Lake, a high altitude mountain lake of Kashmir came into existence during the post geosynclinal stage of the development of the Himalayas. Geosyncline is a geological term that refers to a major down-wrap in the earth’s crust, which would be about 1000 kilometres in length, in which sediments accumulate for many kilometres over millions of years. These sediments could be deformed and metamorphosed during mountain-building. So when a part of the surface of the earth sinks over a period of time, it forms a trough of hundreds of miles – which could be a narrow basin or a geologic rift.

The Sheshnag Lake lies between the two Himalayan Ranges – Pir Panjal and Zanskar. Archaeological evidence proves the human existence in this region from the Neolithic Age, especially at Burzahom, Bomai and Pahalgam.

Sheshnag Lake – a part of the Kashmir region, was ruled by the Mughals since the 15th Century. In latter part of the 1400s the Turko-Mughal Military General Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat ruled over Kashmir first on behalf of Sultan Said Khan of Kashgar and then on behalf of the Mughal Emperor Humayan. A polyglot and a historical writer, General Haider wrote the ‘Tarik-i-Rashidi’ – a personal memoir of the Central Asian History.

The Tulip Garden Festival Kashmir, also known as Indira Gandhi Memorial Garden(Siraj Bagh) is located in Zabrawan range, Srinagar, Kashmir, North India. Tulip Garden of Kashmir is Asia`s biggest Tulip garden, on the shores of the famous Dal lake. Tulip festival is held annually in the month of April when tulips are in full bloom. The garden looks like a silken carpet of bright coloured sprawling tulips. Best time to visit is March-April.

Nearly 60 varieties of beautiful and vibrant tulips grow in this garden, spread over 5 hectors of land. Tulips remain in bloom just for 15-20 days depending upon the temperature. “Red, yellow, variegated, pink, white, orange, light blue, and magenta are the main colors of tulips. The scene is simply charismatic with floral charm. The view remains in the memory of a visitor forever. Cultural programs, Kashmiri folk songs, sale of local handicrafts, and preparation of traditional Kashmiri cuisine forms an eminent part of the entertainment of visitors during the festival.

Festivals of flowers are very popular among the people of India. There are a number of festivals held in various parts of the country. Tulip festival is one of the most popular flower festivals in India. The festival is a great way to capture the flowering tulips of Kashmir as Srinagar has Asia's largest tulip garden. The Tulip Festival displays a large variety of tulips. Large number of tourists comes to the venue to catch the sight of these beautiful tulips. The festivals also feature a number of cultural programs, sale of local handicrafts, Kashmiri folk songs and other forms of arts. On visiting this festival, you will also be able to taste traditional cultural Kashmiri cuisine.

Wular lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for the annual floodwaters. The lake, along with the extensive marshes surrounding it, is an important natural habitat for wildlife. It is also an important habitat for fish, accounting for 60 per cent of the total fish production within the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is a source of livelihood for a large human population living along its fringes. The catchment area of the lake supports magnificent coniferous forests, alpine pastures and orchards, adding to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the wetland area.

In recognition of its biological, hydrological and socio-economic values, the lake was included in 1986 as a Wetland of National Importance under the Wetlands Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for intensive conservation and management purposes. Subsequently in 1990, it was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.


The Wular lake is densely populated with different macrophytic species. Three zones of vegetation viz. (i) emergent, (ii) rooted, floating - leaf type and (iii) submergent are distinguishable in the lake. All three zones are characterised by a specific type of life form embracing a distinctive assemblage of plant species.


The Wular lake is an important habitat for the fish fauna of the region. It provides about 60 per cent of the fish yield of the Kashmir region. The dominant fish species found in the Wular are: Cyprinus carpio, Barbus conchonius, Gambusia affinis, Nemacheilus sp., Crossocheilus latius, Schizothorax curvifrons, S.esocinus, S.planifrons, S.micropogon, S.longipinus and S.niger.


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