On visiting the Valley of Kashmir, Jehangir, one of the great Mughal emperors, is said to have exclaimed;
"If there is paradise anywhere on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here."
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is the crowning glory of India. Perched high in the northern most region of the nation, Jammu and Kashmir is bound by Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. The state is speckled with numerous lakes, forests and mountains. Despite unrest, Jammu and Kashmir continues to attract tourists in its heavenly cradle. Needless to say there are a wide number of hotels in Jammu and Kashmir to cater to the accommodation needs of the tourists.
The most popular tourist attractions of Jammu and Kashmir are Katra, Leh Ladakh, Srinagar, Jammu, Vaishno Devi and Amarnath. Travelers often put up in the hotels of Jammu and Kashmir to enjoy pilgrimages, adventure sports and scenic beauty in the state. These travelers can choose from a wide variety of hotels in Jammu and Kashmir.
Strategically located Jammu and Kashmir State constitutes the northern most extremity of India.
Situated between 32.17 degree and 36.58 degree north latitude and 37.26 degree and 80.30 degree east longitude, the total area of the State is 22,22,236 sq. kms including 78114 sq kms under the illegal occupation of Pakistan and 42,685 sq kms under that of China, of which Pakistan illegally handed over 5130 sq kms to China. The State is bounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan and China from the West to the East.
The State is well connected with rest of the country by air, rail and road . The Indian Airlines and private airlines operate regular flights to Srinagar, Jammu and Leh.
The National Highway 1-A connects the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu with rest of the country. There are daily passenger trains connecting Jammu with most of the major cities of the country.
The State ranks 6th in area and 17th in population among the States and Union Territories of India. The State consists of 14 districts, 59 tehsils, 119 blocks, 3 municipalities, 54 towns and notified area committee, 6477 inhabited villages and 281 uninhabited villages.
History of Kashmir
According to a legend, the great sage Kashyap drained a lake and the Brahmins then inhabited it. The place came to be known as Kashmir. A land of turbulent past and present, the missionaries of Emperor Ashoka introduced the Buddhism in the region. The religion flourished under the rule of Kushan in 2nd Century. However, Hinduism continued to be the dominant religion of the region for many centuries. In the 7th Century, Durlabhavarrdhana founded the Karkota dynasty, which was replaced by Utpalas in 855 AD, which were succeeded by the Tantrins, Yaskaras, Guptas abd Loharas ruled respectively.
Cuisines of Kashmir
In the olden times, almost every Kashmiri home in the plains had a professional Kashmiri cook in residence, who were the masters of their art. Pure ghee and mustard oil was used freely and every mealtime was an event in itself. Gradually and with time, the ladies of the household learnt the art under the specialized training of these culinary masters and became as proficient as their 'gurus'.
Culture of Kashmir
Distinct from the rest of the country, Jammu and Kashmir sports a multifaceted, multicolored and unique cultural blend. Not only the geographical conditions of the state are different but it can also be set apart demographically with varied ethical and social entities, diversity of religions flourishing in the area, different language and cultural forms and heritage albeit with an over-reigning harmony that blends in with the serenity and beauty of the region.
Climate of Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir stretches between 32.17o to 36.58o North and the altitude rises steeply from 305 metres to 6910 metres above sea level. There are the hot plains of the Jammu Province and coldest dry tableland of Ladakh. The area has different weather conditions at different places because of the lofty mountains like the Pirpanjal, the Zanskar and the Karakoram that check the moisture-laden from entering the valleys.In summers, the outer plains and the outer hills receive rainfall from monsoon winds while in winters, winds from the Mediterranean cause snowfall and rainfall in the Valley of Kashmir.
People of Kashmir
According to historians, the ancestors of Kashmiris are early immigrants from India proper. With the spread of Buddhism, many scholars came to Kashmir from far-off lands for research and study. The contact of Kashmiris with the Roman, Greek and Persian civilizations resulted into a fusion of cultures. Most of the people claim their descent from the Indo-Aryan stock but one can easily find people belonging to diverse and different races inhabiting Kashmir with distinct looks, dresses, food habits, customs, speech and traditions.
Handicrafts of Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is not only home to the vast cultural and ethnic diversity but also the myriad arts and crafts that have been carefully nurtured for the centuries. A variety of motifs, techniques and crafts flourished in the land as the people from different regions flocked through this beautiful place and many of the skilled craftsmen decided to settle amidst its charming abundance of natural beauty.