Jammu & Kashmir, the sixth largest state of the Indian union, is mostly mountainous with stretches of valleys and some mountain lakes. Nature lovers from all over the world flock to this northernmost extremity of India for destinations such as Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Leh, Patnitop, and Ladakh, comparable to the Alps.
Come and explore the crown of India- where the natural beauty is blest by the Gods... where the misty morning sprawls over the snow clad peaks... where the sunlight gives a gentle touch to the woods and waters, valleys and hillside... If there is heaven on earth, it is here in the divine lands of Jammu & Kashmir !!
During winter months, the snow covered areas around Srinagar may give the impression of lack of tourist value to the valley, but it is a misconception. At this time, Gulmarg attracts a large number of tourists. It is a popular sporting destination for all who love such sports. For those who are planning a visit to Jammu, it is recommended that the summer months are avoided due the high temperatures that prevail in this area. October to April is the best suited time for tourists to Jammu and Kashmir.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, and you will surely fall in love with the charming and seductive nature. Srinagar, literally meaning "the city of wealth and abundance" in Sanskrit, boasts of a perfect location in the lap of the majestic snow peaked Himalayas. Srinagar’s magical beauty, breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear waters, the village of shepherds, the world famous Dal lake etc. are the assets that attract people from the world around. The place offers a wonderful vacation far away from the noise and pollution of urban areas.
While visiting Srinagar, visit the famous lakes . The popular Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful and visited lakes in the world. The lake surrounded by mountains, blossoming gardens and orchards, leaves you speechless. Try a pleasant ride in Shikaras and Houseboats . Subsidiary to the Dal, another famous water body is Nagin Lake, mostly visited for swimming, diving and boating.
As you walk over the Takht-e-Suleiman hill, you will find the Shankaracharya Temple. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is supposed to be the oldest shrine of Kashmir valley.
The landscaped Mughal Gardens are a paradise for nature lovers. Developed by the Mughals, Chashmashahi Garden, Nishat Gardena and Shalimar Garden are the three places that blossom with some of the rarest flowers in the world.
The nearby hilly areas provide opportunities for Fishing, Golf, Mountaineering, Skiing, Trekking, River Rafting, Paragliding, Aero Sports, Backpacking, Canoe Trips, Camping and Kayaking.
Gulmarg offers you a wonderful sight of grassy slopes filled with flowers. The word “Gulmarg”, literally meaning “the meadow of flowers” in Hindi, was coined by Sultan Yusuf Shah in the 16th century. Colourful Bluebells, Daisies, Forget Me Not and Buttercups draw a number of tourists from the world around. Apart from being one of the most beautiful hill stations in India, Gulmarg has something special for adventure seekers. Winters are perfect for skiing and trekking.
Gulmarg is wonderland for adventure sports lovers. The northern Pir Panjal Range is considered a perfect location for trekking. During your trip to Gulmarg, you have the privilege to visit the highest golf course in the world. The golf club was started by the British in 1904. Apart from this, it is also counted among the best skiing resorts in India.
Khilanmarg is a wonderful valley that provides a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayas. The air is aromatic because of countless colourful flowers. You will feel refreshed in the atmosphere of Khilanmarg valley.
Near the Apharwat peaks, flows the Alpather Lake. This alpine lake remains frozen till mid-June. Alpather Lake makes an exciting day's excursion for horse riding fans. Several tourists visit the shrine of Baba Reshi to pay a holy tribute. This Muslim shrine, built over the slopes below Gulmarg, witnesses thousands of devotees every year.
Pahalgam, popular as the valley of shepherds, is also the base camp for the pilgrims to the holy Amarnath cave. The place attracts tourists to explore its scenic beauty and the picturesque Liddar valley located in the high Himalayas. An ideal destination for hiking, trekking, and fishing, Pahalgam receives heavy snowfall from December to February. Its thick pine and cedar forests provide a natural habitat for the brown bear. During your vacations in Pahalgam, you may visit Hajan, a picnic spot, which lies on the way to Chandanwari.
River Liddar has a number of picnic spots around it. Spend some leisurely moments by the river bank.
Pahalgam is a part of Asia's only saffron growing area. While visiting Pahalgam, you can see the saffron plants in full bloom in the month of November.
It is an ideal place for adventure enthusiasts too. People love to go angling, trout fishing, horse riding, golf, snow skiing and trekking here. Pahalgam is the starting point of the Amarnath yatra, a pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath (abode of Lord Shiva). During the months of July/August, thousands of pilgrims pass through Pahalgam to reach the holy cave of Amarnath.
For a picturesque view of the snow clad mountains, take a walk in the Baisaran Pine Forests (5 km).
For all those adventure loving people who wish to enjoy camping at a hill station, Sonmarg is the ideal destination. Tourists flock to this small hill resort in heavy numbers to see the enchanting natural beauty and snow clad peaks. Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', Sonmarg is set amidst a valley of flowers and lakes. The word “Son” literally means “Gold” in Hindi, and this golden beauty covered with white snow is most attractive in the spring. The exotic flora of the region is nurtured by the Sindh river.
The dense forests of Sonmarg comprise of sycamore and alpine flowers, silver birch, fir and pine. The place is frequently visited by nature lovers in the search of tranquil peace and soothing natural beauty. The stunning blue water lakes and grasslands are the other attractions. The enchanting beauty of the towering snow clad mountains is a real treat to the eyes.
Enveloped by alpine trees, Sonmarg is a base camp for the holy Amarnath yatra. The yatra is organized during the month of July-August every year, and thousands of tourists are drawn towards Sonmarg.
While visiting Sonmarg, make sure you include a trip to Nilagrad, the confluence of mountain rivers with the Indus river. The most amazing aspect of this place is that the river water is pure red in colour, and is believed to have curative powers for skin ailments. People often take a bath in this water.
Krishnasar Lake, one of the most mesmerizing lakes in the chain of many Himalayan lakes, is a good spot for picnics. The place is surrounded by dense alpines and provides a cool and peaceul atmosphere at a height of 3801 m above sea level. People enjoy trout fishing and other water activities here. Vishansar is another popular lake.
Walk along the exotic grasslands of Baltal to explore the untouched beauty of Sonmarg. Situated at the foot of Zoji-la-pass (gateway to the Ladakh plateau, 3540 m from the sea level), Baltal is close to the Amarnath cave. Baltal grasslands witness a number of pilgrims during the Amarnath yatra.
the winter capital of the state of J&K- 'Jammu'- a major tourist destination offering divine natural beauty of the Shivaliks, Pir Panjal Range, Trikuta Hills and the low-lying Tawi River basin. Established as the “City ofTemples”, Jammu hosts various Hindu shrines including Vaishno Devi. The city reveals a great influence of Harappan civilisation, and dynasties like the Maurya, Kushan, Kushanshahs and Gupta, followed by the Mughals, Sikhs and the British.
Searching for an extraordinary viewpoint and walkway? Visit the Ranbir Canal. There is a small garden along this canal, which serves as a cool picnic spot in summer.
A 5 km from the city centre, will bring you to the famous Bahu Fort & Gardens. Standing on the bank of the river Tawi, the fort is believed to have been constructed around 3000 years back by Raja Bahulochan. There is a temple inside the fort, which is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Later the Dogra rulers, developed a beautiful terraced garden 'Bagh-e-Bahu' around the fort, which attracts many tourists.
Nature lovers are fond of visiting the Mansar Lake. The lake is surrounded by dense forests and hills. People flock to this lake for boating and to participate in the Baisakhi festival (a food and crafts festival organised by J&K Tourism).
Moving towards the west of the city, you will come to Akhnoor, the historic town of Jammu. Situated on the banks of Chenab river, the town is associated with the legend of Soni-Mahiwal. You can also observe the influence of the Indus-Valley civilization here.
For pilgrims, the city of Jammu and the nearby area offers several religious holy places like Vaishno Devi, Raghunath Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Mahamaya Temple and City Forest, Peer Khoh and Peer Baba.
Patnitop is yet another hill station that fulfills your dream of living in the snowy slopes of the Alps. Situated near the river Chenab, this beautiful town offers a unique atmosphere of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas. Patnitop was earlier known as “Patan da Talab”, meaning “Pond of the Princess”. It waas believed to be the bathing area for princesses. If you are a sports lover, this is the perfect location to enjoy sports like skiing and trekking.
Finding beautiful plateau and dense forests at a height of 2024 m from the sea level is itself a great attraction to draw tourists from the world around. People love to visit the Chenab Basin, formed by the Chenab river and mountains. The place is covered with a thick layer of snow in winters. Chinar garden and saffron fields provide a picteresque view of divine natural beauty.
People can go skiing, paragliding, camping, walking and trekking at Patnitop. Sundarani-Jungal Gali-Jasarkote-Sanasar route in Jangal Gali area is the perfect route for trekking. Besides, a 9-hole golf course lures tourists to Patnitop in summers.
You can also visit the Sudh Mahadev, a holy place near Patnitop. Several other religious holy places near Patnitop are Naag Temple, Vaishno Devi Temple, Buddha Amarnath Temple, and Bahu Fort & Temple.
Sanasar, the mini Gulmarg and one of the remotest region of India, is a wonderful hill station in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is built in a cup-shaped meadow surrounded by gigantic conifers. Recently, it has been developed as a golf course for its tourists. While visiting Sanasar, you are provided opportunities for paragliding, parasailing and horse riding also. All these adventure sports activities are controlled by J&K government authorities. The place is a paradise for those who want to explore their latent sporting spirits and sportsmanship. It is particularly famous for the wide range of sporting activities.
Sanasar is a wonderful destination for adventure sports. If you are tired of skiing and trekking amidst the hilly areas, visit Sanasar for the ultimate experience of Paragliding, Horse riding, Hot Air Ballooning and Camping.
You can also visit several tourist spots such as the Nag Temple, the Hidden Creek and the Waterfalls in the nearby areas during your trip. These places are capable of captivating your soul by their mesmerizing beauty.
Located at an altitude of about 2500 feet above sea level, Katra serves as the base camp for the Yatra (journey) to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji. Every year, more than 4.5 million pilgrims pass through Katra on their way to the holy shrine. The cave shrine of Goddess Vasihnodevi is located at an altitude of around 5,200 ft. A railhead is being made from Udhampur to Katra to facilitate the pilgrimage. Katra is the last destination uphill accessible by any modern transport (except the helicopter). Pilgrims cover the next 13 km to the holy shrine on horseback, palanquins, or on foot.
Vaishno Devi shrine is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimages in North India. Trikuta hill is the base camp for the journey to this shrine. The holy cave of Vaishno Devi is considered the abode of the Mother Goddess, who is worshipped in the forms of Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati, and Maha Lakshmi in India. This is not only a hindu pilgrimage or simply a temple, rather a site of spiritual cleansing.
Jahan Kosha, a huge cannon about one km from Katra, draws several tourists to see this craftsmanship of the 17th century. The canon is 17.5 ft long, weighs 16,880 lb, and has a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. There is a beautiful mosque 'Kadam Sarif' near the Johan Kosha, which is said to have a replica of the footprint of Hazrat Mohammad, the Prophet.