JAMMU & KASHMIR
Famed for its majestic beauty, the land of Jammu & Kashmir has been eulogized by poets, saints and travelers. The great Mughals, including a homesick Babur, fell in love with its beautiful valleys; the Emperor Jahangir was so overwhelmed by the beauty of its lakes and rivers that he transformed the state into a garden paradise.
With immaculately maintained gardens, rows of golden chinar trees, sparkling rivers, alpine pastures and a backdrop of snow peaks, Kashmir became a most sought-after destination. Jammu & Kashmir is now the jewel in the crown of the Indian Republic. Lying deep in the folds and foothills of the sentinel range of the Himalayas, one of the most beautiful of Indian states has become its most fiercely embattled region. A bone of contention between India and Pakistan, after partition in 1947, the Kashmir valley with a Muslim majority has been fought over for the past five decades. In this bitter struggle for supremacy, the land has been fractured, thousands of lives lost and the economy in shambles.
The largest of India’s mountain states, it is divided into three regions, the subtropical foothills of Jammu, the luxuriant Kashmir valley between Pir Panjal and Higher Himalayas and the cold desert of Ladakh. Ladakh, with its severe landscape, High Mountain passes, deep gorges, remained isolated from the rest of the country. A remote land with hardy people struggling against great physical and climatic odds, Ladakh had close ethnic and economic links with Tibet. Only in recent times has the region opened up to the outside world, revealing its ancient monasteries, rich cultural heritage and imposing landscape.
Capital: Srinagar (Summer) & Jammu (Winter)
Best Time of Visit:
- Most parts of the Kashmir valley are a year round destination with winter enhancing the natural beauty.
- It snows in the winter months in and around Srinagar and winters can be very severe but Gulmarg, particularly, is a popular winter games destination.
- Jammu has fairly hot summers, so the best time to visit Jammu and Kashmir is between October and April.
- Visitors traveling to the upper reaches of Ladakh or to Leh will find the summer months between May and October the perfect time of the year.
Min Days Required: 6 days
Places of Interest:
- Srinagar – Dal Lake, Shalimar Lake, Hazratbal Shrine, Nishat Bagh, Hari Parbat, Jamia Masjid, Chashme Shah
- Jammu – Sanasar, Bhaderwah, Vaishno Devi, Patnitop
- Leh – Nubra Valley, Thikse Monastery, Magnetic Hill, Leh Palace, Stok Monastery
- Gulmarg - Khilanmarg, Alpathar Lake, Gulmarg Gondola, Outer Circle Walk
- Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most state of India and comprises of three distinct climatic areas: The Arctic cold desert areas of Ladakh, the temperate Kashmir valley and sub-tropical region of Jammu.
- The arid desert zone of Ladakh gets little snowfall but the winters are severely cold. During the winter months, this region is cut off from the rest of the country except for a limited air connection.
- The valley of Kashmir has a temperate climate in summer with widespread and heavy snowfall in winter. The foothills of Jammu have a tropical climate with very hot summers and cold winters.
- The annual rainfall also varies from region to region with 92.6 mm in Leh, 650.5 mm in Srinagar and 1115.9 mm in Jammu.
- Jammu gets very warm in the summers with average temperatures between 43°C and 23°C while winters are severely cold with maximum temperatures around 26°C and minimum temperatures below 4.3°C.
- Srinagar has pleasanter summers with temperature in June-August between 25° C to 35° C. The mercury plummets to 7°C in spring (March to May) and autumn (October and November).
- In the winter months from December to February temperature drops to -10° C.
Things to carry:
- The answer of "what to wear while traveling in Kashmir" depends upon the season in which you are visiting the valley. If you are visiting the Kashmir valley in summers, then it is better to wear cotton clothes.
- Although, like other places in India, Kashmir is not very hot in summers, still, the weather is a little bit warm. For spring season and autumn season, light woolens are the perfect clothes to wear in Kashmir.
- This is because in spring as well as autumn, cool breeze blows in the valley. The winters in Kashmir are cold and chilly. So, in this season heavy woolens are the answer to the question of "how to dress up" in Kashmir, India.
How to get there:
- Jammu is connected via National Highway 1A, to all parts of India. The roads are well maintained all weather roads to cities like Amritsar (243 km), Chandigarh (436 km), Delhi (586 km) and Katra (48 km).
- J&K State Road Transport Corporation, other state roadways buses and private deluxe, air conditioned buses link places in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh to Jammu.
- Buses are available for Leh and Srinagar (293 km) at the Jammu Bus Terminus. Leh is connected via Srinagar (434 km) and by the new road from Manali (497 km) in Himachal Pradesh. The Leh-Srinagar National Highway officially opens from 15th May to 15th November, weather permitting.
- Jammu and Kashmir has three domestic airports at Jammu, Srinagar and Leh that are connected to Delhi and Mumbai.
- While Srinagar and Leh do not have train connections, the closest railhead is Jammu Tawi, 305 km from Srinagar.
- Jammu Tawi is connected by rail to Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Pune and other important destinations in India.