Kashmir is an exquisite valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountains. It is the crowning glory of India being the northern most state. The vibrant colors of the mountains, the blossoms and the wild flowers, the majestic beauty of the Dal Lake give it the impression of a Paradise on Earth and it has been an extremely popular tourist attraction ever since the ancient historical ages.
Till the 19th century, Kashmir was under the Muslim rule for four centuries. After that it passed into the hands of the Sikhs under Raja Ranjit Singh of Lahore. During the years 1947 and 1948 after the division of Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan when the then reigning Raja refused to accede to Pakistan, the Pakistani troops invaded Kashmir and the British troops helped the Maharaja to get rid of them under the condition that Kashmir would accede to India. The eastern region of the Princely State of Kashmir has been in the limelight for years because of the boundary dispute between India and Pakistan.
[caption id="attachment_968" align="alignright" width="384" caption="God Amarnath Shivling in Kashmir"][/caption]
How to reach
Kashmir is well connected by road to the major cities of India.
There are several major railheads in Kashmir such as Srinagar and Jammu.
Kashmir is connected by air to the rest of the world through Srinagar Airport.
Places to see
[caption id="attachment_969" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Sonmarg, meadow of gold, is 3000 metres above sea level and 87 km north-east of Srinagar is a popular tourist destination. The drive to Sonamargh is through Sindh valley, which ravels an another facet of the immortal beauty, Kashmir"][/caption]
Jammu, the city of temples, is dotted with innumerable temples and shrines and is a very peaceful and holy city. Srinagar, famous for its lakes and charming houseboats, and Gulmarg, an exquisitely beautiful meadow of blooming flowers, are both must-visit spots. Pahalgam is a place of legendary beauty and is the chosen destination of many Bollywood movie shootings and is, more importantly, the only saffron growing area in the whole of Asia. Sonmarg, a small hill station known as the Meadow of Gold, is known for its beautiful lakes and hosts of blooming flowers. Leh, the largest town in Ladakh has some very interesting places to offer to the tourists such as the Leh Palace and Leh Monastery. Zanskar is a very secluded Himalayan valley and remains inaccessible for almost eight months of the year and has to offer very fabulous view of the Drang-Drung glacier. Kargil is mainly known for its adventure activities. Patnitop is a secluded beautiful hill station 112 kms from Jammu. Amarnath and Hazratbal are two very important pilgrimage destinations that attract tourists from all corners of the country. Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve and Ramnagar National Park are two prominent wildlife sanctuaries worth visiting.
The intricate Kashmiri jaali work or embroidery is famous all over the world and has a huge demand even outside India. The embroidered sarees and shawls, bedspreads and table cloths are worth buying. Kashmiri wood carving in the form of cabinets, chairs, tables and other forms of furniture, and also jewellery boxes and caskets are worth shopping for.
[caption id="attachment_970" align="alignright" width="384" caption="A village in Nubra Valley, Jammu & Kashmir"][/caption]
Places to stay
Broadway Hotel, Centaur Lake View Hotel, Hotel Grand Mumtaz, Hotel Pine Palace, Hotel Heaven Retreat, Hotel Silver Star, Hotel Grand Habib, Hotel Madhuban, Senator Pine-n-Peak Hotel, Hotel Hilltop, Boulevard Hotel, Hotel Grand Intercontinental, Pahalgam Hotel, and Hotel Mountview are some options for a stay in Kashmir. Hotel Grand and Hotel Shahenshah are two luxurious options for stay.
Best time to visit
Most of the places of Kashmir can be visited all through the ear. Some very secluded valleys and towns in the heart of the Himalayas remain inaccessible during the winter months.
Weather in Kashmir is mainly on the colder side with plenty of snowfall and rainfall during the winter months.