Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir, India's northernmost state, consists of three regions differing in topography and culture. In the south, Jammu is a transition zone from the Indian plains to the Himalayas. Jammu was the stronghold of Hindu Dogra kings and abounds with popular temples and secluded forest retreats. It includes the city of Jammu, the state's winter capital. The Kashmir Valley, the second region, is a large, fertile, region enclosed by the high snow-capped ridges of the Pir Panjal range to the west and south, and the main Himalaya range to the east. Its' population is predominantly Muslim, with a history that can be traced back to the 14th century. It includes the city of Srinagar, the state's summer capital. Ladakh is the northern-most region of the state, with a bleak terrain of barren mountains. Hilltop monasteries make Ladakh one of the best living traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the world today.
The state has been subject to political unrest since the late 1980s. The following is for information only, travellers are advised to contact their embassy in Delhi before travelling to these regions.
The state's summer capital used to be India's most popular hill station, and a favourite locale for shooting Hindi films. Visit:
Fast Facts of Jammu & Kashmir
Places To Visit in Jammu & Kashmir
At one time the exclusive hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Kashmir, this park contains the last viable population of hangul, related to the red deer of Europe. There are some 20 other mammal species including the snow leopard, and over 150 species of fauna.
Ladakh is the north-eastern part of J&K. Leh, at 9,500 feet above sea level, is its capital. To its north and north-east is the disputed Aksai Chin area adjoining China and Tibet. To the west and north-west lies Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, including the highest active battlefield of the world: Siachen Glacier. This land of high passes marks the boundary between the peaks of the western Himalaya and the vast Tibetan plateau. Opened up to tourism in 1974, Ladakh has been variously described as 'the Moonland', 'Little Tibet' and even 'the last Shangri La'. It is one of the most remote regions of India, a cold desert that extends to vertigo inducing heights of over 25,000 feet. The second coldest inhabited place on earth, Draz, is located in western Ladakh. The Ladakhis' roots lie in Tibet. Their predominantly Buddhist culture revolves around gompas (monasteries) and chortans (stupas). The population are engaged mostly in rudimentary agriculture, livestock farming and lately, tourism. Among the not-to-be missed gompas, are the ones at Alchi, Phayang, Thikse and Hemis. some of the finest specimens of Buddhist art - in the form of frescos, wall paintings and tankhas, many of them a few centuries old. Some of the old, priceless artefacts displayed only during the annual festivals are a rare treat to see. The themes are invariably religious, emphasizing the purity, the humility and the power of shakt.
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