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Jammu and Kashmir

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View from the plains of Baisaran, near Pahalgam

Jammu and Kashmir [1] is the northernmost state occupied by India, disputed by Pakistan.

Jammu and Kashmir, as shown on the map of the Republic of India

Regions

  • Jammu — most will only stop here to change from train to bus en route to Kashmir, Jammu is the winter capital of state, it is famous for its temples
  • Kashmir Valley — some say it is Heaven on Earth, friendly people, beautiful gardens, vast lakes and pristine streams and stunning landscapes, it is all that but please see "Stay safe" below
  • Ladakh — truly amazing landscapes high up in the Himalayas, popular for trekking and with those on a search for the most serene place in the world

[[Image:Jammu_and_Kashmir_2.JPG|thumbnail|250px|right|A boat in Dal lake, Srinaga

khasmir

Cities

  • Jammu — the winter capital
  • Srinagar — the summer capital of the state, set around famous Dal Lake, with its floating houseboats
  • Gulmarg — decent skiing and the World's highest gondola
  • Katra — in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains and home of the holy Mata Vaishno Devi shrine
  • Leh — the jumping off point for treks and adventures around Ladakh
  • Pahalgam — a calm and serene place offering multiple trekking routes. Starting point of Amarnath Yatra
  • Patnitop — a small hill station in Jammu
  • Udhampur
  • Zab Baihk

Understand

British India's princely state of Jammu and Kashmir is now divided between India and Pakistan. India claims the entire area of the former state, whereas Pakistan regards the same area as "territory in dispute" awaiting a plebiscite. While some Kashmiris hope for an independent and unified Kashmir, the majority seem to simply want peace. It is a mountainous region of great beauty and diversity offering much in the way of outdoor activities and sights for the tourist. The unrest had pretty much completely shut down what was once a thriving tourist industry in Kashmir, and it’s now only starting to make a slow comeback. As a rule of thumb, the western area remains unsafe, while the eastern area (Ladakh) is fine - see "Stay safe" below.

The inhabitants of J&K belong to three religions, with Kashmir being mainly Muslim, Jammu being mainly Hindu and the Ladakhis divided almost equally between Buddhists and Muslims.

Talk

The state's official language is Urdu. However, the main languages spoken are Kashmiri in the Kashmir Valley, Ladakhi in Ladakh and Dogri in Jammu. Most people speak at least a little Hindi and you may even hear Punjabi.

As elsewhere in India, English is fairly widely spoken among the educated classes and those involved in the tourist industry.

Get in

Gulmarg
Patnitop

By plane

Flights operate to Srinagar and Leh. Try Indian Airlines [2], Jet Airways [3] and Air Deccan [4].

By train

The last stop on the railway line north is Udhampur, where you can catch onward buses and hire SUVs/MUVs (Tata Sumo / Toyota Innova/ Mahindra Scorpio). However it is better to get down in Jammu and catch a taxi from there as these are more readily available.

The Kashmir Railway is a railway line being built in India to connect the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. The Project officially coded USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link) starts from the city of Udhampur, 55 kilometres (34 mi) north of Jammu, and travels for 290 kilometres (180 mi) to the city of Baramulla on the northwestern edge of the Kashmir Valley. The route crosses major earthquake zones, and is subjected to extreme temperatures of cold and heat, as well as inhospitable terrain, making it an extremely challenging engineering project.

By bus

There are two ways to get in by land - via Jammu and up to Srinagar or via Manali in Himachal Pradesh and up to Leh.

Get around

  • Buses are operated by J&K SRTC to most points around the state.
  • 4wd jeeps are quicker, a little more expensive and reach more locations. Private hire jeeps are also available.

See

Gulmarg:

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.

Sonamarg:

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:

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:

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.

Peer Baba: This is of the holy places for Muslim saints. Here, people from all the religions comes in large number to pray, on Thursday.

Chadar Trek

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; Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

Eat

  • Pawan Fruit Ice cream near bakshi nagar in Jammu.
  • Kaladi(Special milk product like paneer) Kulcha in moti bazaar.
  • Phahalwan di hatti famous Sweet shop in Gandhi Nagar.
  • Eat kachalu at girdhari shop near pacca danga.
  • Good Non-Veg at Pape de hatti and pape the great- residency road,Paras raam de hatti at panjthirthi.

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; Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

Drink

Stay safe

Kashmir has been relatively calm in the past few years and the tourist surge in the past couple of years speaks for it. About half a million indian tourists and 40,000 foreign tourists visited Kashmir in 2009. In a bid to boost tourism, the central and state governments hosted Kashmir tourism festivals in Dubai and Britain (Oct 2009) and in other regions of the asian subcontinent


Ladakh is far removed from the tension and can be considered totally safe.

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