Jammu and Kashmir

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This article is all about Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India.

Submitted: January 16, 2018

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Submitted: January 16, 2018

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JAMMU AND KASHMIR- A PARADISE ON EARTH

 Janhangir, the Mughal emperor during his stay in the houseboat on Dal Lake in the seventeenth century said "Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast", which translates to "if there is ever a heaven on earth, its here" ….meaning "if there is ever a heaven on earth, its here". Since then Kashmir valley is commonly known as THE PARADISE ON EARTH.

Jammu and Kashmir happens to be the northernmost state of India. This particular state was ruled by the Hindu kings, but during Akbar’s reign Jammu and Kashmir became a part of the Mughal empire and thereafter it was ruled by the Muslim Sultans. With the end of the Afghan rule Jammu and Kashmir was conquered by the Sikh kingdom of Punjab in 1819. Ranjit Singh passed on the territory to Maharaja Gulab Singh. In the same year Kashmir was also handed over to maharaja Gulab Singh , after the crucial battle of Sabroon under the Treaty of Amritsar. In the year 1947, the state of Jammu and Kashmir became the issue of armed attack from Pakistan and the then ruler namely the Maharaja granted the state to India on 26th October 1947 by signing the instruments of accession. India contacted the then United Nations in January 1949. Since then Kashmir became the subject of conflict and controversy between India and Pakistan.

Jammu and Kashmir has an altitude of 395 meters to 6910 meters. Due to the rough and rocky landscape, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a diverse climate. In summer, the climate is pleasant due to the rainfall on the outer hills and plains. The temperature drops as the moisture loaded winds hit the high peaks. As the Kashmir Valley is located on a  higher altitude , it enjoys a colder climate than that of the outer plains. Snowfall occurs in winter because of the Mediterranean winds. Winters are very cold and dry whereas summers are quite moderate and are of short duration. With the rise of every altitude the temperature decreases and sooner or later snowfall occurs in the higher mountain ranges.

 Jammu and Kashmir being the northern most state of India, is surrounded by Afghanistan and China in the north, the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the south, China in the east , and in the west it shares the border with the North-West Frontier Province and the Punjab Province of Pakistan. The state covers an area of 222,236 sq km.

Jhelum , Chenab, kishanganga, Tawi, Ravi, are the main rivers of Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir is primarily divided into three regions :

  • Jammu :  The foothill plains lies in Jammu. Jammu happens to be the winter capital of the state , while Srinagar turns out to be the summer capital .

 

  • Kashmir Valley:  The other name of Kashmir valley is “Heaven on Earth”, it has achieved such name because of its beautiful gardens, massive lakes, unspoiled natural streams, spectacular landscapes and the sociable , kind , welcoming people. On the whole the Kashmir valley can be described as “The Incredible Kashmir”.

 

  • Ladakh : Ladakh is famous for its serenity and stunning landscapes high up in the Himalayas. Ladakh is also very popular for trekking.

 

The cities of Jammu and Kashmir are as follows:

 

  • Jammu : The winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Srinagar: located around the very famous Dal Lake , with the beautiful houseboats floating on it is the summer capital.
  • Gulmarg : This place is a famous hill station and a very renowned skiing destination. Gulmarg is also known as the highest gondola of India.
  • Katra The location of katra is in the foothills of Trikuta mountains. The sacred temple of  Mata Vaishno Devi is located in Katra.
  • Leh :  Leh is the capital of  Ladakh. It is the centre of all adventures and treks that take place in Ladakh.
  • Pahalgam : Pahalgam is the starting point of Amarnath yatra, every year Amarnath yatra starts from Pahalgam. This  tranquil and peaceful place offers multiple trekking routes.
  • Patnitop -  Is a small hill station in Jammu.
  • Udhampur
  • Zab Baihk

According  to Census 2011, population  of  Jammu and Kashmir  1, 25,41,302. Muslim , Hindus, Budhhists, Sikhs communities are present in Jammu and Kashmir. Islam is  practised  largely in this state, thus it is needless to mention that Muslim community forms the major section of the society. Hindus are also divided into different  sections like, Rajputs, Brahmans, Jats, and Khatris. Long time ago, the Kashmir Valley was also a home for a particular community  known  as the Kashmiri  Pandits or the Kashmiri Brahmins. Years back, this particular community also predominantly inhabited  the Kashmir valley . As per the Central Intelligence Agency Estimate, the greater portion of the Kashmiri Pandits were internally displaced because of the riots, political tensions, and several Economic issues.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir holds the merit of having many-sided, multi-coloured and exclusive cultural mixture ,this particular  feature, along with the other features like , geography, demography,ethics and other social  units make the state unique. The art and architechture, fair and festivals, rites and rituals , prophets , epics, histories, legends, languages, mountains, rooted in the ageless era of history of Kashmir say a lot about the unity and diversity with matchless cultural consistency and cultural amenity. Early Indo-Aryanic Civilization originated and thrived in Kashmir,and in that period Kashmir was the highest learning centre of Sanskrit and Persian. Kashmir was the first state to accept Islam when it arrived in India.

On the other hand, Ladakh has been the hub of Tantrayan Budhhism since years. Jammu has has been ruled by the Rajas and Maharajas ,so the cultural, historical and social links of all the varied cultural and linguistic divisions of the state has been strengthened and developed. The ageless archeological monuments and remains exhibit the proof of the exclusive cultural traditions of the northern most state of India.

Urdu is the official language of Jammu and Kashmir. Nevertheless, in Kashmir Valley the principal language spoken is Kashmiri, Ladakhi in Ladakh  and Dogri in Jammu. Hindi is almost treated as the second language of the state. English is usually spoken amongst the educated class of people and those who are associated with the tourism industry.

Majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are involved in subsistence agriculture of various kinds on terraced slopes, each and every crop is grown according to the local conditions. The staple crop in Jammu and Kashmir is rice. Rice is planted in May, and harvested in late September. Corn or maize, millet, pulses or legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils, cotton , tobacco and rice are the chief summer crops. Wheat and barley are the main spring crops. Several temperate fruits and vegetables are grown in areas nearby urban markets or in well-watered areas with rich organic soils.

The Kashmiris are quite fervent about their food ,their spicy meat dishes and the  subtle flavour of saffron is very popular . Meat being the chief food, almost all the special dishes have mutton as their main ingredient.

Jammu and Kashmir has very restricted mineral and fossil-fuel resources, most of these are found in the Jammu region. Small reserves of natural gas is found near Jammu, bauxite and gypsum deposits are found in Udhampur district. Other minerals available include limestone, coal, zinc and copper. All available resources are being utilised  to the fullest extent due to the extreme pressure of population. Fish, water chestnuts, hydroelectric power, are provided by the rivers and lakes. The mountains provide several kinds of timber and pasture for livestock.

Tourism forms an integral part of the economy of Kashmir, but due to the militant activities , tourism industry of Jammu and Kashmir is suffering to a large extent. Nevertheless, the holy shrines of Jammu and the buddhist monestries of Ladakh attract numerous tourists from all over India. In the year 2011, reports say  more than a million tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir.

The main tourists places of Jammu and Kashmir are as follows:

Gulmarg

Gulmarg is famous for its mind-blowing natural beauty , vast golf course , skiing facility, it is considered to be one of the exclusive tourist destinations of the world.

Vaishno Devi

The Holy Shrine of Vaishno Devi is located on top of the trikuta Hills in the town of Katra.

 Sonmarg

Sonmarg is also known as the Meadow of the gold . Sonmarg is located at an altitude of around 2730 m from sea level. The beauty of Sonmarg lies in its snow covered mountains set against the background of  the blue sky.

Raghunath Temple

Raghunath Temple is situated in the heart of Jammu. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Rama. All the inner walls of this temple are covered with gold on three sides. Galleries of this temple are covered with “Saligrams”.

Bahu Fort

Bahu Fort was actually built by Raja Bahulochan, and later it was modified and developed the Dogra Rulers. This fort happens to be the oldest structure in Jammu and its distance from the main city is 5km. Facing the Tawi river this fort is a home to a temple of Goddess Kali.

Mubarak Mandi Palace

Mubarak Mandi Palace was constructed with the touch of three different styles, Rajasthani,Mughal,and Gothic. The unique part of this palace is the Sheesh Mahal.There is a Dogra Art Museum, which serves as the treasure house of miniature paintings from various hill schools.

Peer Baba

One of the sacred places for the muslim saints. People from all religions come in large number, to pray on Thursday.

Chadar Trek

Zanskar river is located at a very high altitude in Jammu and Kashmir, it is one of the world’s best trekking spot. In winter the Zanskar river freezes up, and gets transformed into an incredible adventures trek called Chadar- The Frozen River Trek.

Khilanmarg

Khilanmarg is another favourite tourist destination with amazing scenic beauty. The very famous Liddar Valley is a noticeable feature.

Some other known tourist destinations are Achabal, Kokernag, and Gurez.

Verinag Spring and Mughal Garden

A fresh water spring with Mughal garden adjacent to it. This spring is the chief source of Jhelum River. Shalimar Gardens, Nishant Gardens , Chashme Shahi are all different segments of the Mughal Garden.

 

Amarnath Temple

Amarnath Temple is the very famous pilgrimage spot for Hindu devotees of Lord Shiva.

Srinagar

Srinagar is a famous hill station. The Summer Capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dal Lake

This the the very well known  Lake of Srinagar, with the attractive house boats called shikaras.

Pari Mahal

Its an Old monument. From here one can have the full view of Dal Lake.

Shankaracharya Temple

This temple is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva.

Pahalgam

A very popular hill station.

Betaab Valley

This is a  plush green valley from pahalgam. The movie Betaab was shot in this valley.

Leh

Leh is the capital of Ladakh. It is famous for its famous monasteries.

Nubra Valley

The valley with lot of scenic beauty attracts numerous tourists every year.

Lake Moriri

This Lake is one of the largest high altitude Lakes of the world.

Pangong Lake

This lake is very famous in Ladakh, the Lake is divided between India and China.

Suru Valley

Origin of  several glaciers.

 

Drass

Drass happens to be the world’s  second coldest inhabitated place. In 1999 , this was the site of the  Kargil War , Drass War Memorial  is a very famous tourist destination.

The other places of tourist attractions are: Manasbal Lake, Badamwari Garden, Hari Parbat, Kheer Bhawani Temple, Martand sun Temple, Yusmarg and Aru, Gurez, dudhpatri, Bangus Valley, gurdwara Pathar Sahib.

Hotels in Jammu and Kashmir cater best service and comfort to the tourists of all category. Jammu and Kashmir is a home to both star and non star hotels. Besides hotels there are many resorts, restaurants, and cafes which satisfy all the requirements of the tourists.

Reaching Jammu and Kashmir is quite easy as it is accessible from various parts of the country by different modes of transport. Airports are located in Srinagar and Leh.

Music and dance form an integral part of Kashmiri culture. Dumhal is a very popular dance performed by men of the Wattal region . Rouff is another folk dance performed by women. Folk music and folk dances of Kashmir are very famous. Dresses worn by both the sexes are attractive enough.

In the month of July, Hemis Festival is held, uncountable tourists from all over the world assemble to watch the very popular masked dance. Similarly, monasteries also have their own festivals. The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department organizes Ladakh Festival in the month of September. This festival bring forward the folk dances, art and craft, sporting events and rituals of Ladakh in front of the world.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir can be termed as the jewelled crown of India with excessive beauty of the Himalayas. Rajtarangini, the chronology of Kashmiri kings written by Kalhana, praises the extravagant beauty of Kashmir as “Kasmira Parvati Parkosh; Tat Swami ch Maheswara”- meaning…Kashmir is as beautiful as Goddess Parvati manifest and its owner is the Lord Shiva himself.

 

 

 

 

 




 


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