Place to Visit in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir

Tourism of Jammu & Kashmir


Kashmir valley is described as a paradise on earth. ChashmaShahisprings, Shalimar Bagh, Dal Lake, etc., in Srinagar; Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, etc., in the valley; Vaishno Devi temple and Patnitop near Jammu, etc., are important tourist centres. Pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi have registered a steep rise from 21.69 lakh in 1990 to 44.37 lakh in 1997. The number of pilgrims visiting Amarnath in Kashmir has gone up to 1.49 in 1998

GULMARG


Description: http://www.kashmirtourism.com/images/trekking_gulmarg.gif 


Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the state. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.

Description: http://www.kashmirtourism.com/images/gulmarg_cable_car.gif              Description: http://www.kashmirtourism.com/images/gulmarg6.gif

 

 

The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travelers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.

What to do:

Horse riding/Hiking
Cable car riding to Khilanmarg
Golf playing
Snow Skiing during winter months (End Dec -Middle March)

PAHALGAM - The Valley of Shepherds.

 

Description: http://www.kashmirtourism.com/images/pahalgam1.gif


Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges.


The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes.


Pahalgam has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal. There is a Shiva temple here, generally considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing temple, dating to the 5th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Lidder River

Description: Pahalgam - Lidder River

 

Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July to August). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 kms from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 kms away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 kms away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural shivling in the Amarnath cave, which waxes and wanes with the moon.

Horse Riding/Hiking

Pahalgam is the base of a major trek that passes along Aru and Kolohi Glacier

Golf

Pahalgam Club has a 9-hole golf course, which can be used by tourists. Golf sets can be hired on the spot.

 

Sonamarg - The Meadow of Gold.

 

Description: Kashmir - Sonamarg

 

The drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months.

Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes.
Sonamarg is also a base for undertaking the yatra to the holy Amarnath cave, during Sawan Purnima. For details about the yatra, refer to the Amaranathji Yatra Link.

 

How to get there

 

Description: Pahalgam - Lidder River

 

Sonamarg is situated at a distance of 84 kms from Srinagar, on the Srinagar-Ladakh Road. kashmirtourism.com operates regular buses as well as sightseeing buses during the season. The route passes through the picturesque town of Ganderbal (21 kms), Kangan (40 kms) and Gund of the Sindh Valley, before reaching the resort. Spectacular views of the Harmukh range dominate the horizon all along the route.

 

Tourist Information & Assistance


The Tourist Office at Sonamarg is within the premises of the Tourist Complex, behind the cafeteria. Tourists are advised to visit the office for information and assistance. In particular, trekking trips into the mountains should be undertaken only after consulting the Tourist Office at Srinagar or Sonamarg for safety and feasibility.

 

Amarnathji Yatra - a journey into faith

Description: Kashmir - Amarnathji Yatra

 

"The Himalayan pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander, adventure and spirituality"

One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time.

Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud."

 

Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in the Amarnathji cave. Unknown to them, a pair of mating pigeons eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pigeons-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).

Description: AmarnathJi - The Yatra Procession

 

The trek to Amarnathji, in the month of Shravan (July - August) has the devout flock to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a lingam, is formed naturally of an ice - stalagmite, and which waxes and wanes with the moon. By its side are, fascinatingly, two more ice - lingams, that of Parvati and of their son, Ganesha.

According to an ancient tale, there was once a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik who was given a sack of coal by a sadhu. Upon reaching home he discovered that the sack, in fact, contained gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed back to look for the sadhu and thank him, but on the spot of their meeting discovered a cave, and eventually this became a place of pilgrimage for all believers. To date, a percentage of the donations made by pilgrims are given to the descendants of Malik, and the remaining to the trust which manages the shrine.

 

Yet another legend has it that when Kashap Reshi drained the Kashmir valley of water (it was believed to have been a vast lake), the cave and the lingam were discovered by Bregish Reshi who was travelling the Himalayas. When people heard of the lingam, Amarnathji for them became Shiva's abode and a centre of pilgrimage.

Whatever the legends and the history of Amarnathji's discovery, it is today a very important centre of pilgrimage and though the route is as difficult to negotiate as it is exciting, every year, thousands of devotees come to pay homage before Shiva in one of his famous Himalayan abodes.

Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnathji stands at 3,888 m and is 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribes that the yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin the journey from Pahalgam, and cover the distance to Amarnathji and back in four or five days. Pahalgam is 96 km from Srinagar.

Since the base point for the pilgrim's trek is picturesque Pahalgam, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims. The conduct of the yatra is a gigantic task in which the State Government takes the assistance of the security departments for providing security and helping to keep the route open. All intermediate halting places have the same kind of facilities as are provided at Pahalgam, and a Yatra Officer is appointed to conduct the pilgrimage

 Description: Jammu - Pir Panjal MountainsJammu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nestled against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains, the region of Jammu constitutes the southernmost unit of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

It forms part of the transition between the Himalayan range in the north and the dusty plains of Punjab in the south. Between these two extremities lie a series of scrub-covered hills, forested mountain ranges and river valleys, encompassing several microclimatic regions that extend from Kishtawar in the north-east to Akhnoor in the south-west, and the historic town of Poonch in the north-west to the borders of Kangra (H P) in the south-east. The Shivalik hills cut across the area from the east to the west while the rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab cut their way through the region.

Physically, the region of Jammu is not homogenous. It is broadly divisible into three discernible zones determined by the terrain condition and the geo-climatic environment. The southern-most of these is the 'Outer Plains' zone comprising the skirt of level lands in Jammu and Kathua districts which merge into the plains of Punjab. Toward its north and north-east rises the 'Outer Hills' zone attaining heights of 2000 to 4000 ft above mean sea level. Basohli, Reasi and better parts of Rajouri district fall in this zone. The landscape here shows open scrubs that gradually thicken from low scrub to taller trees of acacias, rhododendrons, cacti, etc. Above this zone, the terrain becomes acute in incline, the vegetal cover rich and the climatic conditions increasingly salubrious.

 

Peer Khoh

Description: Ranbireshwar Temple in Jammu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peer Khoh is a cave shrine located on the Circular Road, 3.5 kms from the heart of the town. There is a naturally formed Shiva lingam in the cave which is quite mysterious as neither its antiquity nor its cause are known. Legend has it that the cave leads underground to many other cave shrines and even out of the country.

 

Ranbireshwar Temple

 

Located on Shalimar Road near the New Secretariat and built by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1883 AD, this historic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one central 'lingam' measuring seven-and-a-half ft in height, twelve Shiva 'lingams' of crystal measuring from 15" to 38" and galleries with thousands of others carved on stone slabs.

 

Raghunath Temple

Description: Taghunath Temple in jammu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by a group of other temples, this temple, dedicated toLord Rama, is outstanding and unique in northern India. Work on its construction was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh, founder of the principality of Jammu and Kashmir, in 1835 AD and was completed by his son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh, in 1860 AD. The inner walls of the main temple are covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are many galleries with innumerable 'saligrams'. The surrounding temples are dedicated to various Hindu deities from the epic Ramayana.

 

Ranbir Canal

Description: Bahu Fort and Gardens in Jammu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small garden along the Ranbir Canal, which runs through the city outskirts, provides a cool picnic spot during the summer. The canal branches off from the river Chenab at Akhnoor, 32 kms away. Its water remains icy-cold throughout the year and its banks serve as good viewpoints and walkways.

Bahu Fort & Gardens

 

Situated 5 kms away from the city centre, Bahu Fort stands on a rock face on the left bank of the river Tawi. Perhaps the oldest fort and edifice in the city, it was constructed originally by Raja Bahulochan over 3,000 years ago. The existing fort was more recently improved upon and extended by the Dogra rulers. Inside, there is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. An extensive terraced garden, known as Bagh-e-Bahu, has been developed around the fort.

 

Peer Baba

 

Behind the Civil Airport is the famous durgah of the Muslim saint, Peer Budhan Ali Shah. On Thursdays, Hindu and Sikh devotees who visit this shrine, vastly outnumber the Muslim devotees.

 

Mahamaya Temple and City Forest

Description: Mubarak Mandi Palace in Jammu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the bypass Road, behind Bahu Fort, the city forest surrounds the ancient Mahamaya temple overlooking the river Tawi. A small garden surrounded by acres of woods provides the best view of the city.

 

 

Mubarak Mandi Palace

 

The oldest buildings in this palace complex date back to 1824. The architecture is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even baroque elements. The most stunning segment is the Sheesh Mahal. "The Pink Hall" houses the Dogra Art Museum which has miniature paintings of the various Hill Schools.

 

Ladakh

 

Description: Ladakh - Snowfall Description: Ladakh- Mountains RangeLadakh is a land abounding in awesome physical features, set in an enormous and spectacular environment. Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalaya in the south, it is traversed by two other parallel chains, the Ladakh Range and the Zanskar Range.

In geological terms, this is a young land, formed a few million years ago. Its basic contours, uplifted by tectonic movements, have been modified over the millennia by the process of erosion due to wind and water, sculpted into the form that we see today.

Today a high-altitude desert, sheltered from the rain-bearing clouds of the Indian monsoon by the barrier of the Great Himalaya, Ladakh was once covered by an extensive lake system, the vestiges of which still exist on its south-east plateaux of Rupshu and Chushul, in the drainage basins or lakes of Tso-moriri, Tso-kar and Pangong-tso. But the main source of water is winter snowfall.

Description: Ladakh - Zanskar Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dras, Zanskar and the Suru Valley on the Himalaya's northern flanks receive heavy snow in winter, this feeds the glaciers from which melt water, carried down by streams, irrigates the fields in summer. For the rest of the region, the snow on the peaks is virtually the only source of water. As the crops grow, the villagers pray not for rain, but for sun to melt the glaciers and liberate their water.

 

Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging from about 9,000 ft (2,750 m) at Kargil to 25,170 ft (7,672m) at Saser Kangri, in the Karakoram Range. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 27C in the shade, while in winter they may at times plummet to minus 20C even in Leh. Surprisingly though, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time!

Area: 97,000 sq kms out of which nearly 38,000 sq. kms are under Chinese Occupation since 1962.

Population: Approx. 2.40 lakh in the 2 districts of Leh & Kargil.

Languages: Ladakhi including Balti / Purgi, Shina or Dardic, Urdu / Hindi.

Ethnic composition: Mongoloid/Tibetan, Dardic and assorted Indo-Aryan elements.

Altitude: Leh 3505 m, Kargil 2750 m

 

Description: Ladakh - KargilKargil

 

Description: Ladakh - Kargil

The western parts of Ladakh comprising the river valleys, which are drained and formed by the Himalayan tributaries of the high Indus, constitute Kargil district. Prominent among these are the spectacular valleys of Suru and Zanskar, which lie nestled along the northern flank of the Great Himalayan wall. The smaller lateral valleys of Drass, Wakha-Mulbek and Chiktan constitute important subsidiaries

This region formed part of the erstwhile Kingdom of Ladakh. In fact it is believed to be the first to be inhabited by the early colonizers of Ladakh, the Indo-Aryan Mons from across the Great Himalayan range, assorted Dard immigrants from down the Indus and the Gilgit valleys and itinerant nomads from the Tibetan highlands. Also, being contiguous with Baltistan, Kashmir, Kulu etc. these valleys are believed to have served as the initial recipients of successive ethnic and cultural influences emanating from the neighbouring regions. Thus, while the Mons are believed to have introduced north-Indian Buddhism to these valleys, the Dard and Balti immigrants are credited with introducing farming and the Tibetan nomads with the tradition of herding and animal husbandry.

 

Zanskar

About 20 kms south-east of Rangdum stands the Panzila axis, across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys. The Penzila pass (4,401m) is a picturesque tableland surrounded by snow-covered peaks.

As the Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of Penzi-la to the head of the Stod valley, the majestic " Drang-Drung" glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, "Drang-Drung" is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation. It is from the cliff-like snout of this extensive glacier that the Stod or Doda tributary of the Zanskar River rises.

Zanskar is a tri-armed valley system situated between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountains, the three arms radiating star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse. Here the Zanskar River comes into being by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap rivers. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region's approximately 14,000 strong, mainly Buddhist population, live.


 
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Kashmir valley is described as a paradise on earth. ChashmaShahisprings, Shalimar Bagh, Dal Lake, etc., in Srinagar; Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, etc., in the valley; Vaishno Devi temple and Patnitop near Jammu, etc., are important tourist centres.read more...
 
 
 
 
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