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My Ultimate Dream Vacation in Jammu & Kashmir
Albeit there are several beautiful places on this earth, I always dream myself to be in Jammu & Kashmir, the extreme part of North India. Several friends of mine have visited this lovely place and their photographs drag me to this nature’s paradise in my dreams. In my teen days, the Hindi movie ‘Kashmir ki Kali’ also took me to this heaven with its enchanting picturesque locations. This question, ‘where would your ultimate dream vacation be?’ from the honorable hubber 'crazyhorsesghost' immediately made me think about Jammu & Kashmir that I had wished to write a hub about.
Jammu & Kashmir is composed of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. While Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu's numerous shrines attract a lot of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.
In this hub, I would be listing the various popular tourist spots of Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh. I would be describing them in my later hubs.
1. Kashmir valley
The Kashmir Valley or Vale of Kashmir is a valley located between the Karakoram and the Pir Panjal Range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It has an area of about 135 km length and 32 km width, flanked by the Jhelum River. Mughal Emperor Jehangir called Kashmir, “Paradise on earth”.
Many Bollywood movies have been shot here, of which those starring Shammi Kapoor became popular super hit. Many of the songs have heroines in Kashmiri dress, shikaras in lakes, flowersellers and Mughal gardens as the scenic backdrop.
1. Verinag Spring and Mughal Garden- A fresh water spring Verinag, the chief source of Jhelum River and a Mughal garden next to it.
2. Srinagar – Summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, a popular hill station. It is here where Kashmir’s core beauty lies. Lakes, houseboats, gardens, flowers and other lovely scenic spots together make it to be called, ”Venice of the East”. Some of the breath-taking sights of Srinagar are
- Dal and Nagin Lake - famous lakes in Srinagar, with house boats called Shikaras.
- Manasbal Lake-natural stamping ground for several aquatic birds and has the sobriquet of ‘Supreme gem of all Kashmir Lakes’.
- Mughal gardens such as Shalimar Gardens, Nishat gardens, Chashme Shahi and Badamwari gardens
- Pari Mahal- From this old monument, you can overlook Dal Lake.
- Shankaracharya Temple- Ancient Temple of Lord Shiva on the summit overlooking Srinagar.
- Hazratbal Shrine – Mosque situated on the left side of Dal Lake
- Hari Parbat- Ancient Temple of Goddess Sharika Bhagwati and an old fort on this hill.
- Kheer Bhawani Temple-dedicated to Goddess Kheer Bhawani constructed over a sacred spring.
3. Gulmarg – meaning ‘meadow of roses’ is a popular hill station and skiing destination.
4. Pahalgam – is a town famous for its health resort.
5. Betaab Valley- A lush green valley 15 km from Pahalgam where the movie Betaab was shot with dense green vegetation and snow-clad mountains.
6. Sonamarg – yet another splendid country facet of Kashmir valley
7. Aru – A scenic valley popular for its meadows, mountains and a trekking base for Kolhoi glacier.
8. Amarnath temple - pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees of Shiva.
A song clip from Kashmir ki Kali movie
Jammu City is the “City of Temples” that anchors a big set of Hindu temples and shrines in the higher altitudes. With hills and valleys, Jammu’s panorama is beautiful with the incessant blessings of Gods residing here. The famous ‘Vaishnom Devi Mandir’ is situated in this heavenly place that gets visited by enormous devotees each year. The terrain of Jammu is formed by The Pir Panjal Range, the Trikuta Hills and the low-lying Tawi River basin. The Pir Panjal range separates Jammu from the Kashmir valley. The majority of people of Jammu are called Dogras and they speak the Dogri language. Major hillstations and temples of Jammu are:
- Vaishno Devi – a holy temple dedicated to Shakti in the hill tops of Vaishno Devi.
- Patnitop - hill station on the Shiwalik belt of the Himalayas
- Bhaderwah – a mountainous town also called as ‘Mini Kashmir’.
- Poonch – A valley that has a cool climate in the mountainous landscape of Jammu.
- Sanasar – hub for adventure activities
- Bhimgarh Fort – Reasy fort built on a hillock near Reasi, a town near Jammu.
- Ramnagar Fort in Udhampur District- Ramnagar is a historical small town named after its last ruler King RamSingh.
- Raghunath temple – consists of seven shrines each with its own Shikhara, one of the largest temple complexes in North India.
- Bahu Fort – the fort has a temple built within its precincts, whose presiding deity is Kali, goddess of Jammu.
- The Shivkhori cave – Located in the village Ransoo in Reasi district, Shivkhori attracts lakhs of devotees annually.
- Machel Mata – this goddess Durga shrine is located in the village Machel.
- Mansar Lake – a beautiful lake with forest-fringed hills.
A song clip from Jab Jab Phool Khile
Ladakh, meaning land of high passes has Kunlun mountain range (Karakoram) in its North and the great Himalayas in the South as boundaries. This sparsely populated land has Indo-Aryans and Tibetan descents as inhabitants. The remote mountainous beauty of deserts with Indus River meandering in between having bright hues sketched in some interior spots makes Ladakh, a truly exotic extravaganza. Buddhist Chortens and monasteries bless the place with a peaceful ambience. The main attractions of Ladakh are:
- Leh – A district in Ladakh spanning a large area with a historical kingdom of Tibet. Leh welcomes the wayfarer with
- Shanti Stupa - a Buddhist white-domed stupa (chorten) on a hilltop in Chanspa. Surrounding panorama really establishes the presence of Sri Buddha here.
- Leh Palace – Overlooking the Leh town, this palace is in its ruin built in Tibetan architectural style.
- Hemis gompa – a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Hemis.
- Leh trekking trails- There are several treks through the valleys where snow-clad mountain passes, lakes and cold deserts can be explored.
- Chamba temple - Chamba Temple of Leh is dedicated to Maitreya in Sanskrit, also known as Jampa in Tibetan – the ‘future Buddha’ or ‘the Buddha to come’.
- Jama Masjid – Situated in the heart of Leh, favorite mosque of Muslims.
- Jo Khang gompa- Located in the main bazaar of Leh, this Buddhist monastery houses the crowned Buddha.
- Sankar gompa – Another Buddhist monastery in Leh.
- Stok gompa or palace – This Buddhist monastery was the residence of Ladakhi royalty for some time.
- Zoravar fort- Built by the brave Dogra Rajput King Zoravar Singh
- Magnetic hill – The gravity hill, a type of optical illusion created by the rising and descending terrain.
2. Nubra Valley – scenic, secluded valley of sand dunes with towns of Deskit and Hundar.
3. Lake Moriri - one of the largest and high altitude lakes in the Changthang plateau.
4. Pangong Lake – this long, narrow, enchanting lake extends from India to Tibet.
5. Zanskar – the most isolated valley of all the trans-Himalayan valleys.
6. Gurdwara Pathar Sahib – This beautiful Sikh temple is built on the memory of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.
The beauty of Jammu & Kashmir is far beyond words. Each single spot inside the precincts of this naturally lavish, ornate place is a tourist destination. As Sri Buddha could find the truth in his search of salvation of mankind, the Buddhist culture prevalent in Jammu & Kashmir would be the reason for making it, ‘a paradise on earth’.
Is Jammu & Kashmir your ultimate dream vacation?
A song clip from the movie Junglee
Which movie song shot in Kashmir do you like most?
- Kashmir Valley Attractions; the Paradise on Earth
The Kashmir Valley or Vale of Kashmir is a valley located between the Karakoram and the Pir Panjal Range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It has an area of about 135 km length and 32 km width, flanked by the Jhelum River. Sparkling lakes, co
- Hill station Jammu; the city of temples
Jammu City is the “City of Temples” that anchors a big set of Hindu temples and shrines in the higher altitudes. With hills and valleys, Jammu’s panorama is beautiful with the incessant blessings of Gods residing here.
- Tourist attractions of Ladakh; the Land of High Pass...
Ladakh is a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the North and the main Great Himalayas to the South. This sparsely populated region is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.
© 2013 Radhika Sreekanth