Jammu & Kashmir
Nature has immensely endowed Kashmir with unfathomable beauty. It is universally agreed that the place is a “heaven on earth”, and it is rightly said so. The mesmerizing place lets you explore a snow-engulfed beauty of the Himalayas. The beauty of Jammu makes it one of the sought-out tourist destinations in India which must be visited at least once in a lifetime. A memorable vacation amidst the picturesque settings, Jammu gives the tourists an exquisite experience to cherish for a lifetime. Just like the charm of nature here, the warm hospitality provided by the people is truly heart-touching. There are some of the amazing places to stay in Jammu that will give you the best travel experience.
- Anantnag– Also known as Islamabad, Anantnag is the administrative headquarters of the Anantnag district in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. It is the third largest city in Jammu & Kashmir after Srinagar and Jammu. The term “Anantnag” derives from the Sanskrit name “Anantanāga” it is named after Ananta, the great serpent of Vishnu and the emblem of eternity.
- Baramulla – Paying an ode to the Hindu Mythology, Baramulla derives its name from the Sanskrit Varāhamūla, which is a combination of varaha (boar) and mūla (root or deep) meaning "boar's molar. Baramulla is a city and a municipality in the Baramulla district of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The city also goes by the name “Varmul” in Kashmiri.
- Doda – Considered as a popular religious site, Doda is a city in Jammu & Kashmir, India. It has many popular attractions, including Nathatop, Naag Mandir, Baglihar Dam, making it well worth a visit.
- Gulmarg – A popular summer retreat for tourists in Kashmir, Gulmarg is nestled in Pir Panjal Range and is endowed with splendid beauty. The valley is a magnificent tourist destination and is great for family vacation, honeymoon and snow adventure sports lovers. One of the most popular sports for which tourist visit Gulmarg is skiing.
- Jammu – Jammu city is the winter capital of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and is nestled in the Pir-Panjal Mountains. Jammu is known for its majestic temples, religious shrines and beautiful “Shikhar” and cultural heritage. The Vaishno Devi temple and Amarnath Yatra are the two majorly popular places visited by tourists.
- Kathua – Kathua is a city and a municipal council located in Kathua district of Jammu division. Kathua is known to have many small canals flowing throughout the town. In addition to gardens and canals, the district of Kathua also contains historical landmarks such as Jasrota Fort, Jasmergarh Fort and Bhadu Fort, which serves as a major tourist attraction in the region.
- Punch – Poonch” or “Punch” is a district in the Jammu Division of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The place is famous for fine tea (Musloom) and good horses.
- Rajouri – A town famous for its “Kalari”, Rajouri is a district in Jammu & Kashmir. The district is known for its fertility and mountainous region. Interestingly, Rajouri was also a part of the kingdom of Panchal Naresh and was known as 'the land of Kings'.
- Srinagar – Famously known as the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar is located at the heart of the Kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m above sea level. It is also called the city of lakes and the Venice of the East, which fascinates tourists from centuries with it's beautiful picturesque Himalayan backdrop, glittering lakes that are surrounded by houseboats and Shikaras and the majesty of Mughal architecture.
- Udhampur – Situated at an elevation of 2,500 feet in a valley of the Siwalik range, Udhampur is a southwestern town in the district of the Jammu & Kashmir union territory. The town is named after Udham Singh, eldest son of Gulab Singh, who was the founder of the Dogra dynasty. The town is covered with beautiful forests of Pine, Fur and Spruce.
The Kashmiri culture is very fascinating. The population in an ethno-linguistic group that can be juxtaposed with an Indo-Greek with their racial structure of the Kashmiris. Although, Kashmiri people are scattered and live in different parts of India they are mainly gathered in the Valley of Kashmir, Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban Thasils of Jammu Division. Their language is highly influenced by the Sanskrit language and mostly spoken by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Hindus. Their writing script consists of Arabic style. According to the sources, Wazwan and their culture is highly influenced by Central Asian and Persian culture. Their dance, music, cuisine, carpet weaving and Koshur Sufiana forms a significant part of Kashmiri identity. Kashmiri culture is mainly followed by people living in Kashmir valley and Doda of the Chenab region. The valley is known for the fine arts including traditional boats and houseboats, handicrafts and poetry.
PLACES TO VISIT
- Vaishno Devi – Popularly known as Mata Rani, Vaishnavi and Trikuta, Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. The Vaishno Devi temple is perched on the Trikuta hills. It is considered the most significant religious place amongst the devotees.
- Patnitop – Located in the Udhampur district of Jammu & Kashmir, Patnitop is a hill resort which is at an altitude of 2,024 m. The thriving hill top resort boasts of three fresh water springs with ice cold water, having medicinal properties.
- Pahalgam – Perched at an altitude of 2,130 m, Pahalgam is resplendent with beautiful hills and lush greenery. The town is the starting point for Amarnath Yatra and is an extremely tourist friendly place. Besides being popular for its picturesque view, the town is also a very popular spot for trekking for adventurous sports lovers.
- Sonamarg – Literally translated to “the land of gold”, Sonamarg is probably one of the most beautiful places in the entire country. Sonamarg is a striking silvery scene set against emerald meadows and blue sky, and is an all-time favorite place among the community of mountain photographers. It also serves as a base for major treks.
- Doda Kishtwar Sanasar – One of the lesser-known hill stations in Jammu-Kashmir region, Sanasar is an adventure enthusiasts' haven offering various activities such as paragliding, rock climbing, abseiling and trekking. The area is built in a cup-shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. Sanasar is named after two local lakes and will offer you a quieter side of Jammu and Kashmir infused with adventure and excitement on demand.
- Yusmarg – Considered by some as the best place in Jammu and Kashmir, mostly because of its undisturbed landscape, a less frequented but extremely beautiful hill station, Yusmarg is now connected by a very good motorable road. With the government working on its roads and connectivity, Yusmarg too, will soon become a tourist hub. At the moment, for those who enjoy trekking long distances and in the remotest of area, Yusmarg has forests with maple trees in them. Overall, Yusmarg is a beautiful place and can actually be called a mini hill stationed is a one of the most romantic places in the state.
- Kishtwar National Park – Kishtwar is on a plateau above Chenab River and below the Nagin sheer glacier, the area has saffron growth in a limited time and its harvesting is accompanied by ceremonies and festivals, this is typically during summer. Spread over an area of 400 sq.km the park contains 15 mammal species including the musk deer and Himalayan black and brown bear. Even though Kishtwar is not the only high-altitude wildlife sanctuary, it is made special because of its large variety of flora and fauna.
- Vaishno Devi Mandir – The North Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir is not only renowned for its awe-struck and stunning Himalayan landscapes, but is also quite popular among tourists for its spiritual sites. Situated at a distance of 2-3 hours, the Vaishno Devi temple is a scenic pilgrimage. Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess of Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati and Maha Lakshmi.
- Dal Lake – Reckoned to be the pride of Jammu and Kashmir, Dal Lake is the second largest lake in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the most popular attraction in Srinagar among tourists. The Shikara ride, houseboat, and floating vegetable market are the major highlights of the place.
- Shankaracharya Temple – The Shankaracharya Temple or Jyeshteshwara Temple is a popular Hindu Temple in Jammu and Kashmir which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar. Looking down upon the entire city of Srinagar, the place offers a very peaceful and serene ambience.
- Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden – Formerly known as Model Floriculture Center, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar is Asia’s largest tulip garden. With over 68 species and 1.5 million plants, the tulip garden looks no less than a picturesque scenery from a movie.
- Gulmarg Gondola – Your tour to Kashmir is incomplete if you have not tried the very famous and the biggest attraction of Jammu and Kashmir – Gulmarg Gondola. It is Asia’s largest and highest and world’s second largest and second highest cable car project. The scenic and romantic views of the mountains and valleys are an unforgettable and unmatched experience.
- Apharwat Peak – The Apharwat Peak is one of those places in Gulmarg that lends its place a breathtaking beauty. At a height of 4,200 m above sea level, the peak is positioned strategically close to the Line of Control with neighboring Pakistan and is covered in deep snow for most parts of the year. This is also the site where most of the winter sports in Gulmarg are organized.
Kashmir has some mouth-watering cuisine in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The popular dishes of meat are Kashmiri Kebab, Rogan Josh, Yakhni, Pasanda, Syun Alu and Methi Keema. The dishes are so lip smacking that one would be spoiled for choices. Some of the famous vegetarian dishes include Hak, Rajmah, Zarda, Tursh, Shree Pulao, Nadeir Yakhaen, and Ladyar Tsaman. These dishes are prepared with fresh vegetables with paneer to give an interesting taste to the cuisine. If you are dessert lover then you must try sevaiyaan, phirni and barfi among others which would make you fall in love with these sweets. Guest in Kashmir is welcomed with hot sheer tea and Kahwah which you have never tasted before. Kashmiri Pulao is also a famous dish worldwide which is prepared in almost every home at regular intervals. A large number of Kashmiri people also love hak or karam sag which is mostly made during winter to keep themselves protected from chilled weather.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The months between October to February is considered a favourable time to visit Jammu and Kashmir since the region receives snowfall during the span of these months and is the perfect time to take part in adventurous activities including paragliding. Although you can visit Jammu and Kashmir around the year too. Unveil the mystical beauty of Jammu and Kashmir every season, as it keeps surprising and mesmerizing you with its unfiltered beauty.
- Summer Season – The summers in Kashmir are marked with comparatively pleasant and comfortable weather than others. The temperature here fluctuates between 15-30 degree Celsius. People who visit Kashmir from a relatively warmer areas might find it cold here.
- Monsoon Season – You might witness monsoon here from the commencement of the month of July, lasting till the month of September. It becomes the best time to visit Kashmir valley, as during the monsoon, the lushness of Kashmir valley is particularly appealing. August is the perfect time to witness apple picking in Kashmir.
- Winter Season – It is ideally the best season of all to visit Kashmir. The winter season in Jammu and Kashmir begins from October and lasts till the month of February. Witness the beautiful snowfall and undertake the adventurous activities during this time of the year in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the best time of the year to plan a family vacation.
HOW TO REACH
- By Air – There are two main airports in Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu Airport is in the Jammu region, located about 8 km southwest to the city of Jammu. It is the major airport in Jammu. Some of the airlines operated by this airport are Alliance Air, Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Vistara & Go Air and the other is in Srinagar. The other airport in Kashmir Valley is Srinagar Airport, which is now known as Sheikh-Ul-Alam International Airport. It operates flights to the major cities of India like Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore & Jammu. Some of the flights operated by this airport are IndiGo, Air India and Jet Airways
- By Train – Since there is no railway station in Srinagar at present, the only nearest railway station to Srinagar is Jammu Tawi Railway Station. It is located almost 300 kilometers away from Srinagar. Jammu Tawi Railway Station operates daily trains like New Delhi-Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express, Jammu Mail & Jammu Tawi Express.
- By Road – Jammu & Kashmir enjoys a good road connectivity and can be reached by road. The National Highway (NH) 1 & NH44 connects Kashmir to major cities of India. The Jawahar Tunnel, which connects Jammu to the valley of Kashmir, also lies along this route. Buses operated by the J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) also connect Jammu to other nearby cities like Patnitop (110 km), Srinagar (264 km) and Amritsar (214 km).
A large number of festivals are celebrated by Kashmiri people with full joy and enthusiasm. Besides a panoramic view of the landscape, J & K is a home to rich cultural heritage and it is easily reflected by the festival celebration by the Kashmiri people. Some of the popular festivals are Baishakhi, Lohri, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hemis festival, Tulip Festival, Shikara Festival, Gurez Festival, Sindu Darshan and Domoche. A large number of people gather during the festive season and enjoy these auspicious days with lots of enthusiasm. Traditional dance, participation in painting, multi-cuisine and shops of handicrafts are an integral part of these festivals. Numerous fairs like Bahu Mela, Jhiri Mela and Craft Mela are also organized on some auspicious days where Kashmiri Culture is highlighted by those people. Kashmir is one of the best places where you can see rich heritage and culture along with its beauty.
There are plenty of hotels to choose from in Jammu and Kashmir for your stay. Some of the best stays in Jammu are listed below:
- Hotel Diamond
- Hotel Fortune Inn Riviera
- Meridian Palace
- Hotel Vardhaan
- Kohinoor Restaurant – Buffet and Ala Carte
- MintLeaf Restaurant
- Aroma Multicuisine Family restaurant
- Barbeque Nation – Jammu
- Mosaic Restaurant
- Oh Jammu
- The Grandstand
- The Lime Tree
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
What is the best time to visit Jammu and Kashmir?
Jammu and Kashmir is a mesmerizing place to visit all year round. Every season here reveals something new every time. Be it depends upon what season you want to travel in.
Is it safe to travel to Jammu and Kashmir?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to travel to Jammu and Kashmir
What is the best way to travel to Kashmir?
The best way to travel to Kashmir is through air. There are several airlines that operate from all the major cities in India to Kashmir. GoAir, Air India, and Jet Airways operate regular flights from Srinagar Airport to all the major cities in India. National Highway 1 connects Srinagar with Jammu, which is itself connected to all the major cities of India. The nearest railhead to Kashmir is Jammu Tawi.