JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Area: 22.2 lakh sq. kms
Language: Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu and English.
Best Time to Visit: Jammu from October to April
Kashmir from March to June and October November
Ladakh from April to July
Capital City: Srinagar
Airports: Jammu, Srinagar and Leh
The twin state of Jammu and Kashmir combined in one is the Northern most state of the Indian subcontinent. Sharing its borders with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the south the state has the most vulnerable international borders. To its north is China and Russian Turkistan. On its east is Chinese Tibet. On the west is the North West Frontier Provinces of Pakistan. The state is divided in three regions; Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The three different regions experience various weather conditions during the same time of the year. While it’s scorching hot in Jammu in May when the temperatures soar up to 40 degree centigrade, Srinagar experiences the most pleasant climate of the year. While Ladakh, is the place with most harsh climate. The maximum temperature in Ladakh during summers hardly goes above 25 degree centigrade.
About Jammu and Kashmir:
One of the largest states of the Indian Subcontinent, Jammu and Kashmir provides an extravagance of tourist destinations in India. Three distant lands with different cultures and physical structures combined into one make the huge state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The jewel in the crown of India. The verdant natural expanse, the backdrop of huge Himalayan ranges, the rugged mountains and slopes of the cold desert in Ladakh and Leh, the shrines dotting the skyline in Jammu and riot of colours in flowers and the white snow of Srinagar… the state has it all tat a tourist longs for. The land of communal harmony since ages, where the Hindus, Muslims and the Buddhists have stayed in peacefully for years together. The land that is famous for its shikaras and the tribal locals; the land that is famous for its snow and greenery, and the land that is also famous for its food and more recently the militancy in the region. The Mughals loved it, the British developed it and the Indians treasure it. The state of Jammu and Kashmir opens up with surprises for all at very corner. Truly a paradise on earth!!
The most sought after tourist destination by foreign as well as the local tourists. It is said that life takes a different turn after a visit to this place. Life before Kashmir and after it is not the same they say!! No doubt, a visit to paradise is sure to change one’s life! The landscape in this region is so varied that the artists would never like to leave this place. From the hilly and rugged terrains of Ladakh and Leh to the verdant in summer and snowy in winter, the valleys of Kashmir and the temples of Jammu, it is all there to inspire a poet, an artist or a musician.
The earliest known history of the region traces back to the 2nd century when Kashmir was annexed by emperor Kanishka and became a part of the Kushan Empire. The culture of Kashmir was preserved for many centuries and reached a high point during the time of the Great Utpala and Karota dynasties. For a period of over a thousand years the Jammu and Kashmir flourished under its various rulers.
A peaceful conversion of Hindus, Buddhists and tribal people, a major population, took place under the guidance of Shah Hamadan, the noted Persian leader, seeking refuge in the valley in the 14th century. It was under the patronage of the Islamic ruler Zain-ul-Ab-ul-Din, that Kashmir learnt many an art and handicrafts like the carpet weaving and papier-mâché for which it is famous, the world over.
But it was only during the rule of Akbar that the region prospered politically as he laid proper administrative systems there. He re –build the capital of the state, Srinagar and his son and grand son beautified the city with gardens.
With the gradual decline of the Mughal rule the Afghans came to power followed by the Sikh rulers of Punjab.
It was only in 1846 that Kashmir and the adjoining regions of Jammu, Baltistan and Ladakh became part of the Maharaja's state of Jammu and Kashmir. Four Dogra Maharajas ruled Kashmir during this period.
The house boats are an innovation of the British who were not allowed to buy land, but could neglect the beauty of this place and decided to build houses on water. The house boats are a different lifestyle all together.
With such diverse rulers and the people of this region no doubt are a different race altogether. The people from Ladakh region have the Mongolian origin while the Kashmiri pundits call themselves pure of Aryan origin. The clothes, the language the food in Kashmir everything is different from that of the rest of the India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir also enjoys a special provision in the constitution of India.
With being a tourists’ paradise, it is also the shoppers’ and connoisseurs’ paradise. The handicrafts of Jammu and Kashmir are world famous and especially their woolen pashmina shawls and the embroidery on the material. The paper Mache objects are also beautiful to carry as souvenirs. Equally famous is the Waazwaan of Kashmir, dry fruits and the wooden objects made of walnut wood. The Waazwaan basically consists of meat, chicken and fish dishes to be eaten along with rice. The eight course meal is famous for its spicy flavour. The hot kahwa the spiced tea actually rejuvenates your spirits in the chilly weather of Kashmir.
Although the turbulent recent past in the valley has put things off gear and the peaceful surroundings became the hideout of the terrorists. But Mother Nature ceases to shower its beauty on this beautiful land. After stable political governance, today Jammu and Kashmir are reviving their formal glory and tourists are once again thronging to the hottest destination on a tourist itinerary in India.