Jammu and Kashmir is an Indian state which lies at its northernmost tip. The state lies on the Himalayan range. This state comprises of three regions: Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Jammu. It has a summer capital and a winter capital in Srinagar and Jammu respectively. The languages spoken in the state are Ladakhi, Dogri and Urdu. The Kashmir valley has been marred by violence since a long time and the area has been in constant dispute among India, Pakistan and China.
There are many valleys in Jammu and Kashmir namely the Chenab Valley, Tawi Valley, Sind Valley, Lidder Valley and Poonch Valley. Kashmir valley covers an area of 15,520 sq. kilometers. The biogeography is extensively diverse in the state. Some of the major rivers flowing through state are Ravi, Indus, Chenab, Tawi and Jhelum.
Why Visit the State
The famous Dal Lake flows through Srinagar and this is a delight to watch. The popular cities in Jammu and Kashmir for tourists are Gulmarg, Katra, Pahalgam, Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Zab Bahik, Udhampur and Patnitop. Gulmarg is home to the world’s highest gondola and has some good skiing spots. The city of Katra is located on the foothills of Trikuta mountain range and is home to Mata Vaishno Devi temple.
Leh and Pahalgam are popular for their trekking spots and attract a lot of trek enthusiasts. Patnitop is a hill station at Jammu and provides a scenic view of the entire landscape.
Sonamarg lies in the Sindh valley. The Snow Mountains lie in its backdrop and this site is a major tourist attraction. The Bahu fort and Mubarak Mandi Palace are two historic sites to visit. The Raghunath temple is a popular pilgrimage spot that is dedicated to Shri Rama. The Chadar trek is one of the highest trekking destinations in the state, and Ladakh is frequented by motorbike enthusiasts and a ride through this region can be an experience of a lifetime.
Exploring the Culture of Jammu and Kashmir
The Ladakh region boasts of a rich Indo-Tibetan culture. The Buddhists of Ladakh chant hymns in the Tibetan and Sanskrit language. Weaving, archery, dance festivals are an integral part of the traditional Ladakhi lifestyle. The Ladakhi cuisine has resemblance with that of the Tibetan food. Some of the popular dishes in Ladakh are noodle soup, tsampa and thupka. Tsampa is a dish made out of roasted barley flour.
Kashmir Valley has a rich heritage of fine arts which includes handicrafts, poetry and dances. The Dumhal is performed by the men-folk in the Wattal region. The Rouff is another traditional folk dance performed by women in the state. The Shikaras are very famous among tourists visiting the valley.
Kawa is the traditional green tea made with spices and almonds and it is generally consumed during winter. The Dogra culture in Jammu bears a resemblance to the cultures of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The ethnic groups in the state are Gujjars, Dogras, Gaddis and Bakkarwalas.
Facts for Tourists
Jammu and Kashmir is located at a very high altitude and hence the region experiences a cold climate. Carrying warm clothes is advisable. Women should avoid wearing revealing clothes. The use of drugs is prohibited in the state.