Jammu and Kashmir Information
The second largest city of the state and its summer capital, Jammu is situated on a Shivalick hillock, with the river Tawi flowing by at the foot of the hill. Jammu is said to have been founded by Jamboo Lochan some 3,000 years back. The city has long been a centre of Indian culture and arts. It is especially famous for its exquisite Pahari School of Miniature Paintings. There are many Hindu, Muslim and Sikh shrines, but the best known is Raghunath Temple in the heart of the city, built in 1835.60 km. north-east of Jammu is the famous shrine of Vaishno Devi. The holy cave shrine situated at the altitude of 5,300 feet is visited by thousands of devotees every year. The traditional pilgrimage is made during the Navaratra, preceeding Dussehra in October and preceeding Ram Navmi in late March or April.
East-South of Jammu near Daihousie (Himachal) is Basohli, the birth place of renowned art of Pahari Miniatures. It is in tradition of the great Ajanta Art. Its wide spread influence can he seen on many other schools popular in Jammu and neighboring Himachal.
Situated on the banks of river Devaka, Sudh Mahadev is associated with many Shiva myths. Pilgrims in thousands congregate at the shrine during the three days festival of Ashadh Purnima in July-August. There is a regular bus service to Sudh Mahadev from Jammu, however, an eight kilometer pleasant walking orjeepable road connects Sudh Mahadev with beautiful hill resort of Patnitop on Jammu-Srinagar highway.
The Kashmir Valley
Kashmir is described variously as the paradise on earth, the dream-land, the choicest creation of God, etc. Jehanghir is said to have quoted the following Persian Sher in praise of Kashmir. The same sher is etched in the walls of the Diwan-i-Aam in Red Fort Delhi which means if there be paradisc an where on the earth; it is here, it is here, it is here! The vale of Kashmir in its sheer beauty and enchantment surpasses even the imagination. Kashmir is unmatched by any other country for its pristine loveliness, placid lakes reflecting like a mirror, the scenic beauty, green meadows laced by gurgling streams, luxurious houseboats, stately chinar, tall snow capped mountain, the highest golf course in the world, flowers of many hues and scents and the proverbial beauty of its maidens.
By air Srinagar is just an hour and ten minutes’ flight. There are daily air services between Delhi and Srinagar, or you can take a train between Delhi and Srinagar, or you can take a train to Jammu and then travel by bus to Srinagar. Several deluxe bus services operate between Jammu and Srinagar daily. There are a number of places of tourist’s interest enroute and around Jammu which have been described briefly below.
Situated at the height of 2,079 meters, Sanasar is one of the most captivating hill stations. The lush green vale of Sanasar, full of lofty conifers, a wide open meadow and a small lake, is really very enchanting. In summers the local tribes gather here to resound the vale with tilting music.
Kud, at 1,738 meters height, is a fascinating for its sylvan slopes and serene, refreshing surroundings, Especially a spring called “Swami-ki Bovli”, in a thick alcove about 1 .5 km. away from Kud is a popular tourist attraction.
This little table land, a popular hill resort, situated at the altitude of 2,024 meters, is becoming very popular with the tourists because of its very pleasant surroundings. There is a Rest House and a hotel. Shive Garh, Pathora, and Kariah are some fascinating sites.
Twelve km. from Patnitop on the national highway is Batote at 1,560 meters. It is connected with Kund and Patnitop by a number of bridle and footpaths passing through thickly wooded forests and of captivating scenic beauty. There is a Tourist Bungalow and a number of hotels.
This land-piece is famous for saffron and the rare blue sapphires. Well known for its numerous water falls, the one facing the town across Chandrabhaga (Chenab) is one of the highest waterfalls. In the neighborhood is the famous shrine of 18 armed goddess at Sarthal. A trekking route from here leads to Srinagar.
Bhadarwah or Badarwah
Bhadarwah is another such fascinating place. Full of beauteous meadows and glens, there is also a 4,400 meters high Kaplash Lake where, a fortnight after Raksha Bandhan a big fair is held. A week later that fair shifts to Bhadarwah.
This more than 2,00 years old capital of the valley was founded by Ashoka the Great (3rd century BC.). The original city of Srinagar was called Srinagari. The present city was built by Pravarsena II(17-139 AD) adjoining the old city. Srinagar literally means the City of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. The following spots in or near Srinagar are great tourist attractions.
Gracefully spread on both the sides of the river Jhelum or Vitasta, Srinagar, derives most of its scenic beauty by this grand lake. The Dal Lake, east of the city at the foot of Shridhara (Zabarwan) mountain, is 6 by 3 km. The lake is divided into Gagznibal, Lokutdal, Boddal and Nagin by a series of causeways. The Lokutdal and the Boddal each have an island in the centre, called Rupa Lank (Silver Island) and Sona Lank (Gold Island). The former is to the south while the later is to the north of the lake. Rupa Lank is also knows as “Char Chinari” as it has four majestic chinar trees on it. The Shankaracharya and the Han Parvat are on the west of the Dal Lake. It is really paradisal to stroll in the Mughal Gardens, or to explore the network of waterways, that lace the city, in a shikara a Kashmiri paddle boat. The gentle murmur of the river water or the soft splash of the floating gardens and markets of vegetables and flowers on the lake are an echo of the leisurely and easy-paced life style of the city.
Topped by the ruins of a fort, Hari Parvat hill, to the north-east of Srinagar, is said to have grown out of a small rock, dropped by Parvati (Goddess) on the water hole to kill the demons, who were taking rest there. Amidst delectable scenic surroundings, the hill is apopular picnic spot. The temple there is very sacred to the Hindus and hundreds of people visit it every day. Pravarsena II founded his capital city at the foot of this hill and built a Shiva Temple, which is now in ruins. The thick massive walls around the fort were built by Atta Mohammad Khan, the Afghan Governor in 1776.
305 meter Shankaracharya hill or Takhti south of the Dal Lake, behind the Boulevard, rich in legend and love, is held holy by the Hindus and the Muslims. The Temple atop the hill is centuries old, but the present shrine is of later origin. A millennium back, the Adi Shankaracharya visited the shrine. Then Abhinavagupta was the Acharya of Srinagar University. He met Adi Shankar and had long philosophical and religious dialogues with him. Since Shankaracharya’s visit, the hill is known by his name, the hill and the temple overlooking the city offer a panoramic view of the city.
Near Naim Bagh, on the western shores of the Dal, is one of the most sacred Muslim shrines. In this mosque is preserved a hair from the beard of Prophet Mohammed. This holy relic was brought here by Khwaja Noor-ud din in 1700 A.D. from Bijapur (Karnataka). Thousands congregate here to have a ‘Deedar’ of the holy relic on ten specific dates of the year. The grand mosque built by Shah Jahan, is a very fine example of Mughal and Kashmiri architectural synthises. The fairs held four times a year, are attended with great reverence by the people of all faiths.
This magnificent wooden mosque, originally built by Sultan Sikandar in 100 AD and enlarged by his son Zainul Abidin in 1402, has been destroyed three times by fire, but each time it emerged more beautiful than before. It is a typical example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The present mosque was rebuilt during the time of Dogra King Pratap Singh.
This stone mosque on the opposite bank of the river Jhelum near Fateh Kadal in the heart of the city, was built by Empress Nurjehan, in 1623.
Pari Mahal or the Palace of the Fairies nearby Chasma Shahi on the spur of a hill, was built by Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jehan. It was a terraced college where plilosophical discussions were held in those days. The ruined arched tarrace are now turned into a botanical garden.
South-West of Hazratbal, a part of the Dal Lake, separated by a causeway is Nagin Lake or ‘the Jewel on the Ring’ surrounded by tall green chinars, poplars, etc., forming a ring, the lakelet, appears like a sapphire set in an emerald ring. The nearby Nagin Bagh is full of many kinds of beautiful trees such as chinar, poplars, willow, cherry apricot, apple and almond. It is a popular haunt of many song-birds. On its lovely banks is Nagin Club which has a bar and a restaurant. Nagin Lake, calm and quite, is aparadise for swimmers, divers, water skiing enthusiasts and those fond of aquatic holiday.
This Island park, named after the first Prime Minister of India, has a swimming pool. a boat club, a garden and a restaurant. In the evening illuminated by thousands of lights, it turns into fairy land to the great delight of the tourists.
Shalimar (The Abode of Love)
16 km. east of Srinagar, this divine piece is the creation of Emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife Nur Jehan. This beautiful garden, 539 by 182 meters in area, has four terraces, rising one above the other. A canal lined with polished stones and supplied with water from Harwan, runs through the centre of the garden. The fourt terrace, by far the best, with a grand pavillion of black stones, was reserved for the royal ladies in the days long past. A Light & Sound (Son-et-Lumiere) is held every evening from May to October.
Nishat Bagh (The Pleasure Grove)
Bordering the Dal Lake, at the foot of Zabaravan Hill, this famous garden was laid out by Asaf Khan, the brother of Empress Nur Jehan in 1633. It is 548 by 338 meters in area, and a canal lined with polished stone runs through the centre of it. It has ten terraces and two pavilions. One of these is double storied, and enclosed on tow sides by lovely latticed windows.
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