Jammu and Kashmir

Located in the folds of the Himalayas, the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is the northernmost state of India. J&K has two capitals because of the extreme weather conditions in winter. Srinagar is the summer capital and Jammu is the winter capital.

Jammu and Kashmir is divided primarily into three main regions: Kashmir valley, Ladakh, the cold desert and the plains of Jammu located in the foothills. The geographical diversity, topography and amicable climate make the state a popular tourist destination round the year.

Majestic heavenly mountains, lush green meadows, thick green forests, meandering rivers, serene lakes, beautiful colourful Mughal Gardens, ancient temples and monasteries, old forts and palaces, captivating landscapes and much more… the state of J&K has it all!

The state of J&K has fascinated people all across the world for hundreds of years now by its natural incomparable beauty.

If looked at closely, each region or sub-region of the state seems to be unique geographically, culturally as well as socially where people speak different languages, follow distinct customs and traditions and worship different deities.

Kashmir valley, known world over for its spectacular beauty, ancient shrines, Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake, Pahalgam and snowy peaks of Gulmarg, is popularly known as ‘Paradise on earth’.

The beauty of this oval shaped valley surrounded by the Himalayas on the North and the Pir Panjal range on the South, its serene and picturesque Dal Lake, the changing play of the seasons and the salubrious climate lure the tourists throughout the year.

As the legend goes, where lies this densely inhabited Kashmir valley was once a vast lake called Satt-e-Sar. The lake was drained by the great sage Kashyap to inhabit the Brahmins and the region later came to be known as Kashmir.

Down the centuries and eras, Kashmir valley saw a change of various rulers, each of whom left his mark in some form or the other.

Set in the foothills, against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal ranges, Jammu is the southernmost end of J&K and is the winter capital of the state.

Jammu bridges the gap between the extremes of the majestic Himalayas in the North and the dusty plains of Punjab in the south, by an array of hills and deep river valleys.

Once the capital of Dogra rulers, Jammu still basks in its past glory and its home to numerous temples and shrines which have brought the title of ‘The City of temples’ to the place.  Few of the most popular and oldest shrines are Raghunath temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Peer Kho, Dargah of Peer Budha Shah and Mahamaya Temple besides the renowned pilgrimage Vaishno Devi which is thronged by believers throughout the year. Jammu has various places of interest to the tourists.

Jammu’s history dates back to 14th century BC and the region has also been mentioned in the great epic ‘Mahabharata’. Also, archaeological excavations near Akhnoor have provided evidence that Jammu was once part of Harappan civilisation.

Ladakh, on the other hand, is a high-altitude cold desert which has been famously described by Fa Hien, the Chinese traveller as ‘The land where snow never melts’.

Bounded by the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges, Ladakh is situated at the western edge of the Tibetan plateau. Also famous as ‘Little Tibet’, Ladakh, gives a feel of another world altogether with Buddhism being the essence of life here. Densely dotted with gompas and monasteries, Ladakh is colourful and vibrant with warm and smiling people.


Shrines and places of worship

The state of J&K has a no. of places of worship providing tacit evidence of the belief and faith of the people in the Almighty. While many shrines are revered as pilgrimages and are thronged by thousands of believers, the others are age old shrines with their own reasons of significance.

Few of the most popular places of worship in J&K are Amarnath, Vaishno Devi, Khir Bhawani Temple, Shankaracharya Temple, Zeestha Devi Temple, Hazratbal Mosque, Jama Masjid, Charar-e-Shareif, Chhathi Padshahi Gurudwara, Tali Sahib Gurudwara and St. Paul’s Church.


Adventure Sports

The varying topography and geographical diversity within the state of Jammu and Kashmir makes way for a plethora of adventure sports activities all around.

Some of the popular adventure sports opportunities available in the region are white water rafting, skiing, water-skiing, snow-boarding, camping, surfing, rock climbing, paragliding and trekking.


Wildlife in J&K

The state of J&K has plenty of wildlife to boast of. While Ladakh is home to a no. of high altitude animals like yak, Tibetan antelope, snow leopard, Himalayan ibex etc., in Srinagar is located Dachigam National park which is home to the endangered hangul, the only species of red deer to be found in India besides an array of animals like Himalayan black bear, wild goat, musk deer and varieties of exotic Himalayan birds like golden eagle and bearded vulture.


Fairs and Festivals of J&K

People of J&K celebrate many festivals and fairs of which most important are Amarnath Yatra, Lohri, Baisakhi, Bahu Mela at Bahu fort in Jammu, Purmandal Mela on Shivratri in Purmandal (39 km from Jammu) and Jhiri Mela.


J&K Fast Facts

Capital: Srinagar in summer, Jammu in winter

Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism in Ladakh

Language: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi



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