The newly carved UT of Jammu & Kashmir is an emerald set in pearls with the sound of gushing water, the aroma of pine trees, the vibrancy of saffron and mighty mountains where the air is cool and the water is sweet. It is the home of bustling bazaars, scenic splendor, Sufi shrines, flavorful cuisines and exquisite monuments. The place is the benefactor of supreme bliss and happiness. The Natural beauty and delightful locations have made Jammu and Kashmir, a favored destination for tourists across the world. The area of J&K is 2,22,236 square kilometers with a population of 1.25 Crores. Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir from May to October and Jammu in winter from November to April.
Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty and has often been referred to as the 'Switzerland of the East'. The heart of the area is the fertile Vale of Kashmir (known as The Valley), which lies between the Himalayas and the PirPanjal range of mountains. Kashmir, mostly has mild climate and is well known for its Handicrafts, in particular, its shawls and carpets.
The city of Jammu was built by the Dogra rulers as its capital and adorned it with numerous temples and shrines now known as the city of Temples. It is dotted with some historical temples like the Raghunath Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Peer Kho Temple, Panjbakhtar Temple which are over a hundred years old.
With the perspective of Industrial growth, Industries and Commerce Department has the mandate to attract fresh investment in the UT.
Places to Visit
The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with bounties of nature, shrines for peace of mind and soul and magnificent places of historical and cultural significance. There are numerous places of tourist’s interest to visit in Jammu and Kashmir.
Visit the water bodies in the lower Shiwalik Himalayas, Kashmir valley and the high mountains of the Kashmir Himalayas for a complex and vibrant ecosystem. One can almost see the whole city travelling through these lakes. These tranquil and snowy lakes have been a major attraction of this paradise on earth. Several scenic lakes with multi-faceted eco-system and grandeur, which epitomize the state of Jammu and Kashmir are:
Popular as the jewel in the crown of Kashmir, the Dal Lake is the most famous and most visited lake in the state. Lined with Mughal-era gardens, the lake is rich in lotus, water lilies and water chestnuts. It is among those major destinations that let you free to enjoy life on water in the houseboats. One can have the pleasure of Shikara rides, kayaking, canoeing and other water activities in the Dal.
Located east of Kashmir, the lake lies on the foothills of the mountain Zabarwan. A number of willow and poplar trees lining the lake, Shankaracharya hill on the south and Hari Parbat on the west provide a charming view to the surroundings.
With a width and length of approximately 10 and 24 km respectively, Wullar Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. The lake gives about 60 percent of the fish yield of the region. It is a perfect location between the cities of Sopore and Bandipore and provides a marvelous view of the majestic hills on one side and steep valleys on the other. Moreover, a renowned bird watcher's paradise, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is also situated near the Lake.
With wooded hills all around, thick forests in the backdrop and countless lotus flowers on the surface, the beautiful Surinsar lake is a great picturesque tourist spot situated about 42 km from Jammu. According to Hindu mythology, the lake originated when Arjuna, the hero of the epic Mahabharata, shot an arrow to the land.
Popular for the food and crafts festival, the Mansar Lake draws thousands of tourists every year around Baisakhi. Apart from the scenic beauty and landscapes, the lake has several religious values too. Situated about 40 km south of Udhampur, the Mansar lake is surrounded by dense forests and hills. The lake is counted among major tourists destinations because of boating facilities and its religious values owing to Sheeshnag shrine. Flickering of seasonal birds, tortoise and fish of different species can be observed while boating in the calm Mansar Lake.
Temples form an important element in the personality and uniqueness of the Union Territory of J&K. Be it the Kashmir region or Jammu the population is predominantly Hindu. This explains the presence of number of temples in the state, surrounded by lakes, rivers, snow and alpines. Jammu is popularly known as "The city of Temples". From Amarnath and Raghunath to Vaishnodevi, the state attracts pilgrims in hordes throughout the year, as great religious importance is attached to these places. Most of these are known for their unique architecture, solitude, and peaceful environment. A few major temples in Jammu and Kashmir are listed below:
Amarnath Ji Shrine (Pahalgam)
Surrounded by fairly steep hills, the Amarnath Ji Shrine is considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing shrine, dating back to the 5th century. This Shiva temple is situated in a narrow gorge on the far end of Lidder Valley at an altitude of 3888 m. The 'Yatra' to Amarnath, one of the principal Hindu Dhams, starts from Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, in the month of Sawan (July to August). The temple is famous for a 'Shiva-Lingam', (a natural formation of ice, in the month of July/August) believed to wax and wane according the moon's cycle.
Raghunath Temple (Jammu)
Wish to visit a temple with lakhs of "Saligrams" (the divine stone of Lord Vishnu)? Raghunath temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is a divine place in the heart of Jammu with seven shrines. The most important shrine belongs to the eighth incarnation of Vishnu- 'Rama', who is considered the patron deity of the Dogra community. The cluster of temples in the nearby area (all dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses related to the epic Ramayana) makes it the largest temple complex in North India. The temple was completed in 25 long years (1835-1860) by Maharaja Gulab Singh and his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine (Jammu)
Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine is India's second most visited religious shrine, after Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The temple is dedicated to Mata Rani or Vaishnavi, a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. It is located near the town of Katra, in Reasi district. Pilgrims walk up the backbreaking journey to the shrine located high over the Trikuta hill at an altitude of about 5200 ft. Devotees worship the three forms of Goddess Vaishnavi here: Mahal Kali, Mahal Lakshmi, and Mahal Saraswati. It is believed that anybody who walks to the abode to ask for a boon rarely goes back disappointed.
Shankaracharya Temple (Srinagar)
Shankaracharya Temple, located in the south-eastern part of Kashmir, is an excellent example to showcase the ancient Kashmiri architecture. Built on the picturesque location of Gopadari Hill, this Shiva temple stands on a solid rock and consists of an octagonal basement of 13 layers. The temple was built in 371 B.C. The main shrine is built in a circular chamber and offers a wonderful view of Kashmir Valley, comprising of enchanting lakes and the majestic Himalayas.
Jammu and Kashmir is declared a 'paradise on earth' because of its marvelous natural beauty. J&K's hill stations make you experience the outstanding heights and engaging climate. A few destinations offer tranquil peace in cool natural surroundings, while some are known for various adventure sports.
This beautiful serene hill station has all the attractions that an ideal hilly tourist destination should have. The place is rich in dense pines, snow clad peaks, waterways, freshwater springs, adventure sports and a unique climate. At an altitude of 2024 metres, you will find a huge golf course too. Sudh Mahadev is another sacred spot situated close to Patnitop.
Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', Sonmarg is an ideal place for camping. Countless colourful flowers and the holy Sindh river form a perfect gateway to Ladakh. Nature lovers can spot dense forests of alpine flowers, silver birch, fir and pine, and various lakes. Most importantly, this hill station serves as a base camp for the holy Amarnath yatra, which is organized in July-August every year.
Spreading the sweet fragrance and aroma in Baramula district, the meadow of flowers- Gulmarg is quite close to Srinagar. This hill station is popular for its grassy slopes of flowers and the highest golf course in the world.