The northernmost state of the Indian subcontinent, Jammu and Kashmir, majestically crowns the country with its quintessential beauty and timeless natural landscapes. Often denoted by the acronym J&K, the state comprises of three regions which are Jammu & the Kashmir valley. It is mostly situated in the mountainous region of the Indian Himalayas which are the major supplier to the state’s scenic views and refreshing climate.
Rightly called as “Paradise on Earth”, J&K attracts large numbers of tourists by its multifaceted allures. The Kashmir region charms the visitors with the panoramic beauty of the Himalayas and its stunning lakes. The Jammu region is a hub for Hindu devotees as it houses numerous shrines, one of which is the Vaishno Devi Temple.
One also cannot miss a boat-ride in a Shikara in Kashmir as it is one of the major attractions offered by the valley. Houseboats are also popular among tourists. The Meeras Mahal in Noor Bagh, near Sopore, presents a vivid glimpse of the local culture and heritage. Gulmarg is a famous ski destination and is home to the world’s highest green golf course.
The state is also famed for its adventure activities like trekking, paragliding, skiing, rafting, mountain biking, snowboarding, and camping. J&k attracts millions of adventurers as well as pilgrims every year.
Also Read: A Guide to Rajasthan
Places to visit in Jammu & Kashmir:
- Srinagar is the summer capital of the state and is a popular hill station. Lying on the banks of river Jhelum and spreading around the famous Dal lake, the city is famous for its gardens, houseboats, Shikaras, and traditional handicrafts. It is endowed with freshwater springs and charming gardens like Shalimar Bagh, Chashme Shahi, and Nishat Bagh. The architectural genius of Pari Mahal, a seven terraced garden, is exemplary. Religious sites include Jamia Masjid, Hari Parbat, Shankaracharya Temple, Kheer Bhawani, Dargah Sharif, and Khanqah-e-Moula.
- Jammu, the winter capital of J&K, is the focal point of the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage which allures a large number of pilgrims every year. The city, like the rest of the cities of the state, is beautified with natural sceneries as well as man-made attractions. Amar Mahal Palace, Raghunath Temple, Mubarak Mandi Palace, and Dogra Art Museum reflect the legacy and culture of the region. Bahu Fort and Bagh-e-Bahu Garden also serve as points of interest for their impeccable beauty. The city architecture displays a fine blend of Mughal, British, and Indian styles.
- Gulmarg is a popular hill station and skiing destination. Also referred to as the “Heartland of winter sports in India”, it is Asia’s 7th best ski destination and apart from skiing, tobogganing, heli-skiing, and snowboarding are also enjoyed by people.
- Amarnath Temple is one of the holiest Shiva shrines in the country and every year devotees surpass the hardships of the difficult terrain to reach Amarnath Cave to make the holy pilgrimage.
- Vaishno Devi Temple is another pilgrimage site for the Hindu devotees and is the major contributor to the state’s religious tourism. Located in Katra, in Trikuta mountains, it is accessible through various modes of transportations.
- Patnitop is a beautiful hill-station perched at an altitude of 2,024 m. It is famous for its soothing climate and picturesque scenery.
- Sonamarg, also called as “Meadows of Gold” is also a popular destination for nature lovers as well as trekking enthusiasts. The place hosts several high altitude multi-day treks such as Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar Lake, etc. The lush green meadows are the attraction of this place.
- Mansar Lake is famous for its legendary sanctity as well as the spectacular environs. It is outlined with forest-covered hills. Due to its religious significance, people visit it to receive the divine blessings.
Things to do in Jammu and Kashmir:
Take a ride in a Shikara:
This is an experience offered exclusively by Jammu and Kashmir. Riding a Shikara in Dal lake with the colorful mélange of various other shikaras is a blissful experience.
Spend a night in a houseboat:
Houseboats have become an integral part of the region and offer some really exotic services. The stays are luxurious and are a must do.
Feast on the appetizing Kashmiri cuisine:
It is almost a sin to keep your taste buds from gorging on the delectable Kashmiri food. Rogan Josh, goshtaba, dum olav, and modhur pulav are some of the famous dishes.
With a variety of treks, trekking has become popular in the region. The treks range from easy to difficult and provide everyone with a wide range to choose from.
Participate in some adventure sports:
The state offers some of the best winter sports, therefore, one must go out and participate in one or the other sport. Activities like paragliding, snowboarding, rafting, and heli-skiing are also popular.
J&K is famous for its Pashmina shawls and handwoven carpets along with the local handicrafts. So, shopping becomes a must do in the state. One can go souvenir shopping and can also buy the traditional outfit called Phiran.