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Friday, 13 November 2020

Kashmir Tour : Heaven on Earth

 History of Kasmir in Short

                Kashmir's history has been recorded since 3450 B.C. through Rajatarangini, written by Kalhana. Kashmir has near about 5500 years of history, the Kashmir Kings lineage, and the Kashmir Valley formation of the pre-Mahabharat era, Kashyapa Rishi, cutting through the gaps in the Baramulla hills. Kashmir Kings Baladitya Name "Kashmir" means "desiccated land" (Sanskrit: Ka = water and Shimmer = desiccate). In Rajatarangini (Riverflow of Kings), a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana around 1150 CE, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake, which was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir Valley was drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmans to settle there. That's how Kashmir Pundits began to live in the valley with a human population.

    In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Shah Mir dynasty. Islamic monarchs ruled Kashmir for the next five centuries, including the Mughal Empire, which ruled from 1586 to 1751, and the Afghan Durrani Empire from 1747 to 1819. That year, Kashmir was conquered by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the territory from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu, became the new ruler of Kashmir. Under British Crown paramountcy (or tutelage) the rule of its descendants lasted until 1947, when the former princely state became a controversial language, now administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China.

On August 5, 2019, the President of India, Mr. Ramnath Kobind, invalidated Article 370 and Section 35 (a), diminishing the status and privileges of the special states of Jammu-Kashmir and dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two, they were declared as two Union Territories of India and Article 3 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, states that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.

Geographical Location

               Jammu and Kashmir are the Union Territory of India, is mainly located in the Himalayan highlands. Himachal Pradesh and Punjab state of India are located to the south of this Union Territory of India. Located north of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region and formerly the Union Territory of India are Ladakh. Pakistan occupies Gilgit-Baltistan in Kashmir-occupied Kashmir, on the west & northwest of the Line of Actual Control. Makes two Union Territories, namely Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The modern state of Jammu and Kashmir covers an area of 86024 square miles (prior to 1947) extending from 32 degrees 78 'to 36 degrees 58' N and from 73 degrees 27' to 80 degrees 72' E. 

Scenic Beauty of Kashmir

                Popularly known as the "Heaven on Earth," Jammu & Kashmir are world-renowned for their majestic splendour, Ice-capped peaks, rich wildlife, exquisite temples, warm hospitality, and local crafts. Travel to Jammu & Kashmir will be an unforgettable one as the state will not only cater to you with its stunning scenery and snow-covered mountain peaks but also to adventure sports.

                Nestled in the Himalayas, the Pir-Panjal and Karakoram mountain ranges are known for their geological elegance and gentleness. Jammu & Kashmir are dotted with the most stunning mountain ranges, vast glaciers, majestic monasteries, blue lakes, rivers, forests, lush forests & tall pine, alpine trees. Activities such as skiing, cycling, trekking, river rafting, paragliding, camping make the journey to Jammu & Kashmir more exciting, Amarnath Yatra and Vaishno Devi trekking draw a large number of pilgrims every year., Dal Lake, Kashmir Valley, Khardung La Pass, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, Shalimar Bagh are few of the main attractions of the state.

Srinagar :

                Known worldwide as ‘Heaven on Earth’, Srinagar is situated in the union territory of Jammu, on the banks of river Jhelum. As picturesque as the most beautiful artwork to ever be painted, Srinagar is renowned for the stationary houseboats and colourful Shikararas on Dal Lake.

                The key draw of Sringara, the gondola-type rowboats - Shikaras are used by the visitors to see sights like the Floating Vegetable Market, and the Mir Bahris – a vibrant group of citizens who stay on the lake itself. Known as the summer city of Jammu, Srinagar is home to some of the most beautiful Mughal-age gardens in India, with the top attractions being Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh & Chashm-E-Shahi Park.

            Srinagar is also popular for the Kashmiri shawls, Kashmiri apples & the dried fruits (almonds and walnuts) which can be purchased from the Lal Chowk Market. Severe snowfall affects the communication of Srinagar from December to February.

Communication

Nearest Airport : Srinagar International Airport (SXR)

            By train reach Jammu first, followed by a taxi or a bus ride to Srinagar. State buses are also available. Foreign visitors on visas are required to register on arrival at the airport or at their hotel or rowboat. Jammu has an outstanding airport with many flights from Delhi also. From Delhi, Srinagar is approx 840 km.

Vaishno Devi Temple :

            Vaishno Devi is a temple townhome to the popular Vaishno Devi Mandir. Commonly called Mata Rani, Vaishnavi & Trikuta, Vaishno Devi is a representation of the Hindu goddess of Durga. Located on the peaks of Trikuta, 13/14 km from Katra (in the union territory of Jammu), this famed shrine draws millions of devotees from all over the world. It is assumed that during the pooja and the aarti, the goddesses would come to the Holy Cave to pay their admiration to Mata Rani. Devotees claim Mata Rani herself calls the devotees to come here.

            Vaishno Devi is a spiritual trekking destination where pilgrims walk about 12/13 km uphill to visit the caves of one of 108 Shakti Peetha caves. It will take around 6-9 hours depending on the climate condition and the speed. Ponies and Palanquins, as well as helicopter services, are also available. All the way is decently lined with lots of shops selling sweets, vegetables & holy products. More than 1 crore devotees visit the Temple of Vaishno Devi every year.

Distance : Srinagar to Vaishno Devi - 255 Km approx.

Gulmarg :

            Located at an altitude of 2735 meters above sea level, Gulmarg is a famous skiing destination located in the Pir Panjal region of the Union territory of Kashmir. Encircled by ice-covered high-rise Himalayas, flower meadows, deep ravines, evergreen forested valleys, Gulmarg also has the 2nd highest Gondola journey of the world.

Gulmarg in Summer

                Among one of India's best honeymoon place, Gulmarg boasts of being a gorgeous town with no crowds like Manali and Shimla. Gulmarg has also been established as an adventure centre, as the Indian Ski and Mountaineering Institute is situated here. IISM offers a lot of trekking, mountaineering, hiking & mountain biking courses. There are several other private tour operators in Gulmarg who offer similar courses and facilities for hiking, snowboarding & trekking. Famous for its beautiful scenery, Gulmarg has also become a popular location for filming numerous Bollywood films.

Distance : Srinagar to Gulmarg - 55 Km (approx.)

Gulmarg ski point, Winter

Pahalgam :

        Located in the Anantnag district of Kashmir Valley, Pahalgam, the Valley of the Shepherds, is a picturesque hill station and a famous tourist destination. With untouched and stunning natural elegance, Pahalgam is a feast for the eyes and the senses. Immersed in lush greenery and attractive ranges of the Himalayas, Pahalgam is located on the shores of the Liddar River and is famous for adventure activities such as hiking, trekking, fishing.

                Pahalgam is the foundation of one of India's most important pilgrimages-the Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari is situated 17 km away. Away from Pahalgam, there is the real base camp of the Amarnath. Pahalgam provides a lot of outdoor leisure experiences, the most famous of which are adventure trekking activities. You will go on trekking trips to the Kolhoi Glaciers from a lovely village called Aru. Local residents are also selling sledding on frozen glaciers. The long stretches of the rivers in Pahalgam are the best place for people who love fishing for trout.


Distance : Srinagar to Pahalgam 55/60 Km and from Gulmarg to Pahalgam 95/100 Km approx.


Amarnath Yatra :

            Amarnath, situated in the union territory of Kashmir, is one of India's most popular pilgrimages to Lord Shiva worshippers. The cave of Amarnath has a consecrated Shivaling shaped naturally with ice, which represents Lord Shiva. Annually, millions of devotees from all over the world visit Amarnath for a demanding mountain trek called 'Amarnath Yatra.' Myth has it that this location is believed to be the same cave where Lord Shiva unveiled the secret of immortality and eternity to Goddess Parvati.

                Amarnath Cave is only open during the periods of July-August. There are two routes available for completing the Amarnath Yatra one is  Baltal or the other through Pahalgam. The Baltal road, though shorter, has a higher trek. The Pahalgam path is longer but is usually favoured by most devotees. It normally takes 3-5 days to get to Amarnath from the base stage. Helicopter services are also open to private operators on both paths.

Sonamarg :

                Sonamarg is a beautiful hill station in Kashmir, situated 85 km northeast of Srinagar. At an altitude of around 2790 km from the sea level, Sonamarg is renowned for its snow-covered plains, surrounded by magnificent glaciers and majestic lakes, which cast a subtle spell on visitors.

                Sonamarg is surrounded by the great Himalayan glaciers – the Kolhoi Glacier and the Machoi Glacier – and gives form to the prominent three Sisters of the Kashmir Valley. Towering over this delightful hill town are the peaks of Kolhoi Mountain, Amarnath Peak, Machoi Peak & Sirbal Peak, which make Songamarg a famous location.

            Sonamarg serves as the base camp for trekking routes leading to mountain lakes such as Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar & Kishansar. The valley is split into 2 halves by the Thajiwas range-on one side is the pine-covered Thajiwas spur famous for its camping site and on the other side, there are some breathtaking waterfalls and the Thajiwas glacier which is the main attraction of this region.

Distance : Srinagar to Sonamarg 85 Km (approx.)

Patni-Top :

            With endless grasslands and panoramic views of the ice-capped mountains of the Himalayas, Patnitop is the ideal place to encounter nature at its most scenic and widest. It's also known as Patni Top, a popular hill point in the Udhampur district of Jammu.

                In addition to the vast abundance of scenery, Patnitop is renowned for activities such as skiing and trekking as well as water springs, making it a famous tourist attraction. Sanasar, located 17 km away, is also renowned for paragliding, golf courses & extended sightseeing opportunities. Together they are sure to deliver one of the most stunning and breathtaking views and make the trip all the more fun with a host of adventurous activities.

Communication

Distance : Srinagar to  Patnitop approx 180 km.

Gurez Valley :

                The humdrum in Gurez Valley is the stunning fairytale scenery, spectacular backdrops, the musical hum of the garrulous river & cool air. The normal prospect of shepherds and fields felt like a Bambi scenery. This wonderful place is located just under the "LOC" Line of Control, which also makes this place the safest ground in India. Continuous patrolling and caution can be observed, which can make your journey more exciting. When the air and the atmosphere are at their peak, September is the best month to explore this wonderful city. If anyone loves valleys and nature, this must be included in the travel list in India.

Distance : Srinagar to LOC 150 Km and from Jammu 235 KM approx.

Best time to Visit : 

(September-Mid-November)

                Summers start in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of March and continue until May. The weather is usually mild during this time, although the nights are still cold. The state invites the pilgrims to the Amarnath Yatra during this season.

            J & K will witness the winters from November to February. With huge snowfall, travel, air access & water sources, the experience of Jammu and Kashmir, covered with a dense blanket of snow, is very simple.

Hotels : Plenty of Hotels, houseboats (at Dal lake) available throughout the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. One can select according to their/his/her choice. 

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