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Jammu & Kashmir Travel Guide


One of the largest states of the Indian union, Jammu and Kashmir covers an area of 2,22,236 sq km. This includes 78,114 sq km under illegal occupation of Pakistan, 5,180 sq km handed over by Pakistan to China, and 37,555 sq km under occupation of China.Kashmir is rightly said to be the nature's grand finale of beauty. In this masterpiece of earth's creation seasons in strong individuality vie with one another in putting up exquisite patterns of charm and loveliness. This state holds the glorious history of the valiant kings, the placid lakes, the greenery of the forests and the amazing rivers. The sunny gardens, romantic house boots and Lakes are waiting to see you. You will never want to return back home after witnessing the alien beauty of the region.



Geographically, the Jammu and Kashmir state is divided into four zones :

  • 1. The mountainous and semi- mountainous plain commonly known as Kandi belt.
  • 2. Hills including Siwalik ranges.
  • 3. Mountains of Kashmir valley and Pir Panjal range.
  • 4. Tibetan tract of Ladakh and Kargil.



The colourful flower season starts from the middle of March and April. May and June find fruit trees laden with many hued carpets of flowers decking the meadows and hill slopes. One of the most attractive aspects of Kashmir is its adventure prospects which includes trekking, mountaineering, fishing, rafting, heli- skiing to trans Himalayan Jeep Safari. June and July is the best time for swimming, sun-bathing, surf-riding and trekking. August and September are good for fishing trout and mahseer in ice-cold mountain streams. Big and small game are to be found aplenty in September and October; Autumn is the fruit season and also a good time for trekking. December to February is the season for winter sports in Gulmarg. The state experiences extreme climates in the summer and winter. The weather is pleasant from October onwards. However the best time to enjoy Kashmir and the adventures of Ladakh region is between the months of May and September.




  • Lohri : The Lohri festival, marking the culmination of the cold season, is celebrated with zest every where. Children go from door to door to collect subscriptions for the community bonfires. When the fires are lit at night, the young and old gather round the flaming fires throwing parched grain, coins and other offerings into these with gusto. Gay dancing at the venues goes on for hours.
  • Holi : On the occasion of the Holi festival, Muslims and Sikhs join Hindus in spraying friends with pails of coloured water. This spring festival, replete with revelry, last three days in the cities and villages.
  • Navaratri : During Navratri, Jammu is crowded with pilgrims on the way to or returning from the shrine. The city wears a festive look, with pilgrims carrying staves and wearing mauli (yellow and red thread) garlands and amulets.
  • Baisakhi : Melas are held in the city and principal towns on Baisakhi or New year day. Bhangra and other dances rendered by troupes are enjoyed by the people.
  • Ramnavami : This festival is celebrated by the people of Jammu. Processions are taken out - the centre of attention being tableaux, presenting scenes from the Epic, Ramayana.
  • Shivratri : It is a three-day festival in Jammu and is celebrated with éclat at Purmandal, Billavar and Jhandi. The shrine of Shiv Khori is visited by pilgrims on this occasion.
  • Gurpurabs : The Gurpurabs, especially Guru Ravi Das's birthday is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Jammu city. Public meetings follow Kirtans and Bhajans.
  • Tihar : It is an interesting festival observed in Bhadarwah and Kishtwar in the months of Chaitra (March-April). Springs and baulis receive a spring-cleaning and this is followed on the next day by worship of nagas (serpents), to whom rice and floral offerings are made.
  • Sankrant : Sankrant or the beginning of a month (in Bikrami era) is regarded as a sacred day by Hindus. Women bathe in rivers and observe a day's fast.


  • Navaratra : The New Year day falls on first Navaratra - the first day of the new moon in the month of Chaitra. In every Hindu home, it begins with an invocation to Lakshmi, the goddess of bounty. In every family, a young lady lays a large plate with paddy, sugar, curds, fruits, walnut, coins, a mirror, ink-holder and the New year scroll. Early in the morning she shows the plate to every inmate and thus seeks the blessings of the goddess for moral and material development of members of the family.
  • Navroz : The Navroz festival of the Shia Muslims comes a week after the New year day. They celebrate this nine-day festival with good eating and activities showing a spirit of gay abandon, in contrast to recitation of religious dirges that characterise most of their festivals.
  • Durga Ashtami : During the month of April they celebrate Durga Ashtami, followed by Ramnavami. It is the birthday of Lord Rama. For the Kashmiri pandits the day is also connected with goddess Durga, and they celebrate it with a feast of rice and meat viands, after the prayers.
  • Vikrami Samvat : In the middle of April or on the Baisakhi day, starts the New year of the Vikrami Samvat. The day presents a grand spectacle of colour and gaiety on the Dal lake and in the gardens that flank it.
  • Urs or Ziarats : The Urs (or Ziarats) is a typical Kashmiri festival. It is held annually at the shrines of Muslim saints on their death anniversaries. There is a saying " It snows when the Urs of Meesha Sahib is held, it is windy when the Urs of Batamol Sahib takes place, it rains on the occasion of the Urs of Bahauddin". These Urs are popular despite the rigours of weather. This is celebrated in different parts of Srinagar, not only by Muslims but Hindus and Sikhs as well. An interesting feature of the Urs celebrations at Batamaloo (the locality in Srinagar named after the saint Batamol Sahib) and in Anantag (Rishi Mol's anniversary) is that both Muslims and Hindus abstain from taking meat during the course of the festival.
  • Shab-i Mairaj /Shab-i-Barat : Muslim festivals which are celebrated nationally, include Shab-i Mairaj which is followed by Shab-i-Barat. The dates of these festivals change in accordance with the appearance of the moon and shift by 10 days each year. During the night of Shab-i-Barat, the Muslims keep vigil. Legend goes that on this night the Holy prophet visits each house and relieves the pains of suffering humanity.
  • Ramzan : Another Muslim festival of this area is Ramzan. During the month of Ramzan, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking during the day.
  • Jeth Ashtami / Har Ashtami : Jeth Ashtami is succeeded by Har Ashtami in a month. These two days are the birthday and the incarnation day, respectively, of the Rajnya goddess. Hindus fast on these days and go on a pilgrimage to Kheer Bhawani, a well known spring-girt temple at Tulmula dedicated to the Goddess Rajnya Devi. After a bath in the cool stream nearby, incense and candles are burnt at the altar of the goddess.



The State is rich in flora and fauna. In Jammu, the flora ranges from the thorn bush type of the arid plain to the temperate and alpine flora of the higher altitudes. Of the broad leaf trees there are maple, horse chestnuts, silver fir etc. At the higher altitudes there are birch, rhododendron, Berbers and a large number of herbal plants. In the hilly regions of Doda, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri there is a large and varied fauna including leopard, cheetah and deer, wild sheep, bear, brown musk shrew, muskrat. Varieties of snakes, bats, lizards and frogs are also found in the region. The game birds in Jammu include chakor, snow partridge, pheasants, and peacock.Kashmir abounds in rich flora. The Valley that has been described as the `Paradise` on Earth is full of many hues of woods and game. The most magnificent of the Kashmir trees is the Chinar found throughout the valley. It grows to giant size and girth. The trees presents itself in various enchanting colours through the cycle of the seasons among which its autumnal look is breath-taking. The dense forests of Kashmir are a delight to the sport-lovers and adventures for whom there are Ibex, Snow Leopard, Musk deer, wolf, Markhor, Red bear, Black bear and Leopard.

  • By Air : Nearest Jammu airport is 8 Kms. from the city centre. Indian Airlines operates scheduled from Jammu to Delhi- and Srinagar / Leh. Jet Airways also operates services between Jammu - Delhi and Jammu - Srinagar.
  • By Rail : Jammu Tawi is an important railhead of the Northern Railways serving the Jammu and Kashmir state.
  • By Road : Jammu falls on National Highway 1-A and is connected by National Highway network to all parts of the country.


  • Anantnag (Kashmir South) : The district is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and hospitality. It is also a symbol of secularism and tolerance. These qualities have bound the people of the district together for centuries. All sects of the society live in harmony without any prejudice. They are credited to have unity in diversity.Anantnag district is bestowed with religious wealth in the forms of numerous shrines and places of worship. These worth visiting places include Mattan (Bawan) Temple, Martand Temple, Holy Cave of Amarnath Ji, Ziarat Hazrat Zain-ud-Din Wali, Nagbal, Khir Bhawani Asthapan (Devibal), Uma Devi of Uma Nagri, Bumzu or Bhaumajo Caves, Chapel of John Bishop and Nagdandi.
  • Budgam : Budgam is the smallest district in Jammu & Kashmir covering 1% area of the whole state and 6% of the total population of the state.
  • Budgam offers many stunning locales and has tremendous tourism potential that has largely remained unexplored. The worth visiting places are Tosamaidan, Nilnag and Khag.
  • Baramula (Kashmir North) : The city of Baramulla was founded by Raja Bhimsina. From the very beginning, Baramulla has enjoyed a great position on the religious map of the country. The construction of Hindu Teeratha and Buddist Vihars made the city scared to Hindus as well as Buddhists. It was also visited by several Muslim emperors in the 15th century. Hence Baramulla became a confluence of all religions. Some of the worth visiting places in the district are: Gulmarg (46 Kms fromSrinagar), Wular Lake, Vijimarg, Mahalishamarg and Uri.
  • Doda : Doda district is one spread over an area of 11,691 Sq. Kms.The district shares common border with Anantnag District of Kashmir in the north; south-west and south are bordered by the Districts of Udhampur, Kathua and Chamba areas of Himachal Pradesh. From east and south-east is located the Leh District of Jammu & Kashmir. It is the 3rd largest district of Jammu & Kashmir in terms of area after Leh and Kargil.Doda with its large forest area, snow-clad peaks, virgin trekking routes, health resorts and pilgrimages, offers a variety of tourist spots to the visitors. The worth visiting sites are: Lal Draman, Kailash Yatra, Gupt Ganga and Vasukinag, Reushra, Zumum Palmar, Sarthal, and Machail. Apart from these, the district offers a good number of trekking routes for the adventurers to pass through places with unbelievable captivating scenic beauty.
  • Kargil : Kargil derives its name from two words Khar and rkil. Khar means castle and rkil means centre thus a place between castles as the place lay between many kingdoms. Kargil nestles in the Himalayans and it enjoys a cold temperate climate. The temperature of this region falls below -40°C during winters. The total area covered by the district is 14036 sq. kms with a population of 119307 persons out of which 85% are Muslims and the rest are Buddhists and Hindus.The major tourist destinations in the district are: Zanskar (Penzila to Padum Karsha and Zangla), Sani, Rangdum Monastery, ZongkhulStongday, Phugthal Monastery, Padum, Zangla, Mulbekh Chamba & Monastery and Shargole Monastery etc.
  • Kathua : Kathua has rich Pahari culture which resembles the culture of Himachal Pradesh. Most of the people are agriculture dependent and cultivate major crops like paddy, wheat, maize etc. Dogri/Pahari is the main language spoken by the people of this district.Kathua has some small beautiful valleys and religious shrines visited by thousands of visitors every year. The worth visiting places in the district are: Jodia Di Mata, Dhoula Wali Mata, Banjal, Chandel, Panyalag, Dullangal, Chhatargalla, Sarthal and Duggan. The small orchards of apples, almonds and walnuts are added attractions.
  • Kupwara (Muzaffarabad) : Kupwara is the backward frontier District of Kashmir Valley, full of scenic beauty. Dense forests and rich wild life make it significant from tourism and wildlife point of view. Nature has been very kind to this district which abounds snow clad mountains, evergreen forests and green meadows all around. The district portrays the scenic beauty of the grazing grounds of cattle and sheep, chirping birds, charming surroundings and glittering springs.
  • Ladakh (Leh) : The region of Ladakh bears close similarity to the barren moonscape. Here snowcapped mountains of the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram reach several thousands feet up to the arch of azure sky. Quaint little hamlets and crumbling old monasteries hide in the rocky cliffs. The prayer flags flutter in the wind and the river Indus meanders gracefully through the towering willows and poplars.The most attractive features of the landscape of Leh are the Buddhist monasteries. These monasteries or gompas are situated on the highest points of the mountain spurs. These monasteries celebrate their annual festivals in winter marked by gay mask dances.
  • Pulwama : Pulwama is a part of the beautiful valley of Kashmir and is surrounded by Srinagar in the north, Budgam and Poonch districts in the west and by Anantnag district in the south and east. The district has some worth visiting sites including archeological monuments, beautiful spots including springs, streams, water falls, fragrant flowers, delicious fruits and other natural sceneries and religious shrines. Some of the important shrines and temples in the district are Khankha Tral built by Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, the great saint and scholar of Iran, besides the town Awantipora present the remnant of the building and sculptures of the time of the king of Avantivarman.
  • Poonch : Poonch is one of the 14 districts of Jammu & Kashmir and is popularly known as Mini Kashmir. It is the smallest district of the state and also the remotest one. Poonch town is the district head quarter of Poonch district. The district is bounded by the actual line of control (LoC) on three sides.Some of these religious shrines are: Gurudwara Nangali Sahib, Mandir Budha Amar Nath ji, Ramkund Mandir, Shri Dashnami Akhara Mandir, Ziarat Chhote Shah Sahib and Ziarat Sain Illahi Bakash Sahib. These shrines are widely visited by tourists from the whole world.
  • Rajauri : Rajouri is located in the western part of Jammu division. The district covers an area of 2630 sq. km with uneven physical features. It is surrounded by the districts of Poonch, Udhampur and Jammu in different directions.Rajouri is also notable for many charming spots which include Rajouri fort, Gurudwara Chhati, Padshahi, Balidan Bhavan, Rama Temple, Jama Masjid and Shiv Mandir.
  • Srinagar : Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir is situated in the centre of Kashmir Valley and is surrounded by five districts. In the north it is flanked by Kargil, in the South by Pulwama, in the north-west by Budgam. It is the most populated district of J & K and the largest city of the state.
  • Udhampur : It is located in the southeastern part of the state and is surrounded by Rajouri district in the west, Anantnag in the north, Doda district in the northeast, Kathua district in the southeast and Jammu district in the southwest. The district has a great variation in climate due to variation in altitude. The area is characterized by occasional snowfall and severe cold in winter.The Vaishno Devi shrine is a very important shrine for the Hindus and the most famous tourist attraction of this district. Udhampur is also an important military cantonment of the district.

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