Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir also called J & K is the northern most state of India. Due to its natural beauty and charming places, Jammu and Kashmir has always been a dream destinations for global tourists. Since the time immemorial Kashmir Valley has been a source of inspiration for poets, and many of them named Kashmir a Paradise on Earth.

In fact, the Mughal Emperor Jehangir once said, "if there is paradise on earth, it is this, it is this". Kashmir is bestowed with lush green valleys, snow-capped mountains, gushing rivers, shimmering lakes, beautiful waterfalls and alpine meadows. Besides, the state is home to religious shrines like Hazratbal mosque, Vaishnodevi and Amarnath shrines and Buddhist monasteries.

For adventure seekers, Kashmir offers several excellent sites which have won worldwide recognition. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy the adventure sports of trekking, skiing, angling, rafting in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir is also famous for its rich handicrafts such as carpets, shawls, paper machie works and wood works. While visiting Kashmir, you make buy the handicraft items to bring them as souvenir alongwith you. Jammu and Srinagar are the summer and winter capitals of Jammu and Kashmir respectively. Other important destinations are Ladakh, Gulmarg and Pahalgam.

Srinagar : Situated in the heart of the Kashmir valley, Srinagar is divided into two parts by the river Jhelum. The Dal Lake is the prime attraction of Srinagar which is a maze of intricate waterways and channels. Besides Dal Lake other places of interest in Srinagar include the Mughal Gardens namely Chashmashahi Bagh, Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh, the Nagin Lake and Skaharacharya Temple.

Ladakh : Ladakh also called the Lama Land is situated at a distance of 400 kms from Srinagar. Set in varying altitudes, ranging between 9,000 feet and 25,170 feet, Ladakh is bounded by two of the highest mountain ranges, Himalayas and Karakoram. A place of great significance for Buddhists, Ladakh is home to several monasteries. Some of the famous attractions of Ladakh are Hemis Monastery, Thikse Monastery, Sankar Gompa, Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary and Nubra Valleys.

Gulmarg : A nature lover’s delight, Gulmarg can be described as a huge cut shaped meadow with undulating slopes ringed by fir trees and snow-capped peaks. Here at Gulmarg you can hear the birds song and the sound of the wind blowing through the pines. Gulmarg is a paradise for trekkers, as it is home to thrilling trek routes.

Sonamarg : Sonamarg lies 80 kms north-east of Srinagar at an altitude of 3,000 mts. Literally meaning the meadow of Gold, Sonamarg is a quiet valley carved by the river Sindh and encircled by the placid lakes and awesome glaciers.

Vaishnodevi : A holy site for Hindus, Vaishnodevi lies at 61 kms from Jammu. A 13 kms trek from Katra (50 kms from Jammu) takes you to Vaishnodevi shrine. Sightseeing places in and around Vaishnodevi shrine include Raghunath Mandir, Bhumika Mandir and Kalka Mandir. Other places of sightseeing include the Shalimar Park and the Chintamani Park.

Pahalgam : Pahalgam is situated 96 kms east of Srinagar at an elevation of 2,400 mts. Set amidst the amazing backdrop of upland meadow and hills covered with pine forests, Pahalgam offers perfect setting for a peaceful vacation. For adventure seekers Pahalgam offers excellent options of trekking and fishing.

Patnitop : One of the most beautiful hill stations of North India, Patnitop is situated at a height of 1,950 mts. Surrounded by thick forest and lush greenery of the pines, Patnitop is an ideal place for walks and picnics. You can even indulge yourself into pony rides along the lesser known trails and camps.


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