Kashmir, a verdant green valley, well nestled in the Himalayas against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains is said to be the Paradise on Earth. The silvery lakes and sparkling fresh water streams, pine and deodar forests, green meadows and grassy slopes mark this magical land. Surrounded on both sides by River Jhelum the valley of Kashmir comprises of Kishtwar, Ladakh & Zanskar ranges. A tour to Kashmir takes you to the land of amazing beauty, exquisite fruits and exotic flora.
The most magnificent trees native to Kashmir are the Chinar trees found uniformly throughout the valley. Mountain ranges in the valley have dense deodar, pine and fir trees. Walnut, willow, almond and cider add up to the floral wealth of Kashmir. The hilly regions of Doda, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri have leopard, cheetah and deer, wild sheep, bear, brown musk shrew, and muskrat. The dense forests of Kashmir are ideal for sport lovers and adventure bugs.
In Kashmir Tour, one should not miss the unique experience of staying in the houseboat constructed of cedar wood floating on the Dal lake. The well furnished houseboats popularly known as Shikaras offer all you need for a luxurious stay. Apart from houseboats, there are also some good economy hotels that are economic enough to meet the traveller's requirements.
History of Kashmir
Kalhana, the first writer of the Indian history, gave a vivid account of the history of Kashmir before the 10th century AD. In 1587, Akbar included Kashmir into his vast empire. Jahangir, son of Akbar and next Mughal ruler, visited Kashmir 13 times and created two beautiful gardens, the Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, on the bank of Dal Lake. After two centuries of peace and development, Kashmir came under the rule of the Pathans in 1752, when the Afghan ruler Abdul Shah Abdali attacked this region on the request of local noblemen. The Pathans established a rule of terror here, no better than that of Aurangzeb, the last important Mughal ruler.
In 1819, the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh invaded this region, ruling Kashmir for 27 years. From 1846 to 1957, the Dogras ruled over this region when British defeated Ranjit Singh and handed over the administration to Maharaja Gulab Singh. The state authorities decided to merge with India in 1948 after India's independence.
Tourist Places in Kashmir
The summer capital of and Kashmir Srinagar (1,768 metres) is 900 km north of Delhi via Pathankot, and Jammu.
Sonamarg is 84 km from Srinagar along the Srinagar - Leh Highway at an altitude of 2740 metres. The river Sindh making the valley quite captivating shapes the town. Known as the meadow of gold strewn with the alpine flowers and surrounded by towering mountains; it is the most beautiful part of Kashmir.
This place is around 96 kms from Srinagar, heralded by gushing, silvery streams of ice - water and by densely wooded mountains. Pahalgam appears round the corner against a background of mountains and glistering glaciers with streams rushing past. The place is quite famous as the starting point of Amarnath yatra. Pahalgam is the starting point for many trekking trails, such as to the Kolohoi Glacier, Amarnath, Zanskar and Kargil.
The large meadow of Gulmarg is 52 kms southwest of Srinagar. The name means meadow of flowers and it is also an excellent base for trekking, ideal for adventure seekers. In winter it turns into India's premier skiing resort.
How to Reach Kashmir
Srinagar is connected through regular flights to Delhi, Jammu and Leh. Jammu is the nearest railhead if one wants to reach Kashmir through railways.