J&K, as it is called, is one of the most beautiful state in India. Emperor Jahangir once said that if there was a paradise on Earth, it would be Kashmir. After the partition of India in 1947, Kashmir’s beauty became tainted by terrorism.
In recent years, tourism has increased again (although in a limited way). The increase in tourism may not be much, but it encourages tourists to take a chance and witness the ethereal wonder.
Jammu and Kashmir
For the purposes of practicality, we’ll divide the touristy spots into three regions.
- Jammu and Vaishno Devi
- Ladakh and Leh
- Kashmir and Amarnath
Things To Do In Jammu
Jammu region has a Hindu majority, unlike the Jammu and Kashmir as a whole which has a Muslim majority.
The most common language in Jammu is Dogri.
The people in Jammu have cultural similarities with their Punjabi neighbors to the south and have been ruled by Punjabi Maharajas over the course of history, but the hilly terrain of the land in contrast of the plains of Punjab has also made the people distinct in many ways.
Temples in Jammu
Jammu is also known as The City Of Temples. Below are some of the famous ones.
- Maha Maya Temple — on the By-pass Road behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Maha Maya Temple overlooking the Tawi River
- Martand Sun Temple — the most memorable and beautiful work of King Lalitaditya is the construction of spacious Martand temple, which the emperor got built in honor of the Sun God or Bhaskar
- Raghunath Mandir — situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples. This is a temple complex, each of the temples has their own Shikhara (tower)
- Ranbireshwar Temple — located on Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat
- Sudh Mahadev Temple — situated in the town of Chanhani in the western part of the Jammu
- Peer Baba Dargah — on the backside of the Civil Airport is famous Dargah of the Muslim saint, Peer Budhan Ali Shah
- Peer Kho Cave Temple — a cave shrine located on the Circular Road, 3.5 km from the heart of the town
Katra is a small town in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains famous for the Vaishno Devi Temple. It attracts millions of devotees every year.
Photo by Deepak CC BY SA 2.0
Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti also known as Chandi or Durga.
The words “maa” and “mata” are commonly used in India for “mother”, and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi.
- Amar Mahal Palace Museum — a beautiful red sandstone palace that has been converted into a museum. It stands amidst the most picturesque surroundings of Jammu
- Bagh-E-Bahu Park — these extensive gardens, laid around the Bahu Fort provide a pleasant view of the city. There is also a Fish Aquarium at Baag-e-Bahu
- Bahu Fort — Situated on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi
- Mubarak Mandi Palace — the oldest buildings in this Palace complex date to 1824
- Mansar Lake — the lake is a religious site – several old temples are located nearby.
- Patnitop — a small hill-station town in the Jammu Division
- Ranbir Canal — a small garden along the Ranbir Canal, 2 km from the heart of the town
Things To Do In Ladakh
Read: Ladakh Travel Guide
Things To Do In Kashmir
WARNING: Travel to Kashmir is strongly discouraged due to terrorist activity. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Azad Kashmir are both extremely dangerous. If you are planning to travel, seek help from local Army unit and follow their advise and leads.
Warning aside, Kashmir does not just have gorgeous scenery, but it also offers adventure sports. Whether it is white water rafting at Pahalgam or paragliding in Astanmarg Harwan, every place has something to offer.
The top two tourist hubs in Kashmir are:
Gulmarg is popular for winter sports, as it has the highest slopes in Asia. The facilities are not up to European standards, but they still have the raw materials to engage an adventurer.
A ride on the cable car up Apharwat Peak is a must, and why not? It is the highest gondola in the world.
Surrounding the shores of Dal Lake is a colorful Tulip Garden planted by the Tourism Board of India. Designed in 2009, it is one of a kind.
Badaam Vaari is another popular garden in Kashmir, but it is no flower garden. This garden has grown almond trees since the 16th century.
To get an idea of the essence of Kashmir visit Sonamarg, Kokernag, or Pahalgam.
How To Get Here
The Srinagar airport is the only one nearby and it only offers domestic flights. Delhi and Mumbai are the best cities to catch a flight to Srinagar. Another great option is to take a road trip.
The trip from Jammu to Srinagar is a once in a lifetime experience. The spellbinding scenery, the snowy adventures, and the delicious local dishes from dhabbas (roadside restaurants) all come together to make it an amazing experience.
Best Time To Visit
Summers and winters are both good times to visit Kashmir. The temperature is mild during summer. However, in winters the roads are tricky to navigate. Landslides are a daily phenomenon during the winter. Thus, you must be prepared for delays in reaching your destination.
December 21, 2017 1:02 am
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