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Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Today Kashmir denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir (which consists of the divisions: the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh), the Pakistani-administered Gilgit–Baltistan and the Azad Kashmir provinces, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract.
Where is Kashmir
The Kashmir region has a total area of about 86,772 square miles (224,739 sq km) and much of it is undeveloped and dominated by large mountain ranges such as the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state under Indian administration. 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 Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, to the west and northwest respectively.
Kashmir - Paradise on Earth
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.
Beauty of Kashmir
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. The gushing rivers, sparkling waterfalls, scenic surrounding and the lush green forests of Kashmir add to its splendor.
Tourism in Kashmir
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.
Adventure in Kashmir
Kashmir valley is also popular for various adventure sports that it offers. Skiing, golf, trekking, river rafting, paragliding, camping and a number of other sports draw large number of tourists to the Kashmir valley. The handicrafts of Kashmir are almost as popular as its scenic beauty. The popular handicrafts of the valley are Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, papier-mâché products, exquisite woodwork, copperware, silverware, and a number of other crafts. All said and done, the beauty of Kashmir is unparalleled and it is truly known as the "Paradise on Earth".
Places to Visit in Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state in India. In the seventeenth century the Mughal emperor Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir. He said that if paradise is anywhere on the earth, it is here, while living in a houseboat on Dal Lake. "Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast." If there is ever a heaven on earth, its here, its here, its here. In Jammu and Kashmir the most important tourist places are Kashmir, Srinagar, the Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Jammu, and Ladakh. Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit.
Notable visitor attractions in Kashmir Valley
Gulmarg is well known for its amazing natural beauty and it is counted as one of the unique tourist destinations in the world. Gulmarg is surrounded by dense forest. This place is famous for its golf hikes and beautiful highland golf course. The natural beauty accompanied with clean fresh air and a beautiful environment highlights Gulmarg as a major tourist destination.
The way to reach Sonamarg or the Meadow of the gold is from the sindh valley. This valley also shows more amazing facet in kashmir. Sonamarg is located at an altitude of around 2730 meters from the sea level; it has Snow Mountains as its backdrop against the sky.
Raghunath Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shri Rama. All the inner walls of this temple are covered with gold, on three sides. Galleries of this temples are covered with ‘ Saligrams’. The other surrounding temples are related to other gods from the Ramayana. This temple is located in the centre or we can say in the heart of Jammu.
Bahu fort was modified and improved by Dogra Rulers of jammu but first built it was built by the Raja Bahulochan. This fort is located at a distance of around 5 km from the main city and perhaps is the oldest edifice in the Jammu. This fort is facing the Tawi River. There is a temple of goddess kali in the fort.
Mubarak Mandi Palace
Mubarak Palace was built with the touch of three different styles, Rajasthani, Mughal and Gothic. Most famous part of this Palace is the Sheesh Mahal segment. There is a Dogra Art Museum, which is a treasure house of miniature paintings from various hill schools.
This is of the holy places for Muslim saints. Here, people from all the religions comes in large number to pray, on Thursday.
Zanskar is located at a very high altitude in Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the best trekking destinations around the world. In Winter, Zanskar river freezes up, and get converted into an amazing adventures trek called Chadar-The Frozen River Trek.
The traditional name for the Zanskar Trek is Chadar Trek as the river becomes a snow sheet during winters due to heavy snowfall. It boasts of some of the lowest temperatures making it a challenging trek for the adventurers. The most isolated and inaccessible for nearly eight months in a year due to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes;
Tourist Locations In Kashmir Valley
- Gulmarg :- Skiing is popular in Gulmarg, showing cable car in a snow clad mountain. Vernag Spring and Mughal Garden- A fresh water spring and a Mughal garden next to it, spring is chief source of Jhelum River.
- Srinagar - Capital of Jammu and Kashmir, a popular hill station Dal lake - famous lake in Srinagar, with house boats called shikharas.
- Manasbal Lake
- Shalimar Gardens--Mughal Garden
- Nishant Gardens-Mughal Garden
- Chashme Shahi- Mughal Garden
- Badamwari Garden
- Pari Mahal- old monument of Pari Mahal, one can have full view of Dal Lake.
- Shankaracharya Temple- Ancient Temple of Lord Shiva
- Hari Parbat- Ancient Temple of Goddess Sharika Bhagwati and an old fort on this hill.
- Kheer Bhawani Temple
- Gulmarg - Popular hill station and skiing destination.
- Pahalgam - Hill station
- Betaab Valley- A lush green valley 15km from Pahalgam where the movie Betaab was shot.
- Sonmarg - Hill station
- Yusmarg - Hill station
- Aru - scenic valley
- Amarnath temple - pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees of Shiva.
- Eco-tourism places:Gurez, Dudhpathri, Bangus valley.
Tourist Locations In Jammu
- Patnitop: a view towards the mountains Vaishno Devi - famous shrine
- Patnitop - Hill station
- Bhaderwah - Hill station
- Eco-tourism places: Mantalai and Shivkhori
- Punj old fort
- Shahdra Sharif shrine
- Bhimgarh Fort
- Ramnagar Fort in Udhampur District