In the seventeenth century the Mughal emperor Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir while living in a house-boat on the mesmerizing Dal Lake and said, “Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto.” What Jahangir meant was that if there is ever a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here. And he certainly wasn’t exaggerating.
About Jammu & Kashmir
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons. Always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the landscape from the north and south respectively. They are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys, forested with orchards and decorated by lily laden lakes. The Mughals aptly called Kashmir ‘Paradise on Earth’ when they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the valley’s cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, waterfront gardens. Now they are collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these gardens, and the rivalries that centred around their ownership.They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite craftmanship among people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world.
Holidaying in Kashmir
Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised.In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dew orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in a shikara and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favoured ones.
Places to Visit
Gulmarg’s legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty. It also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country’s premier ski resort in the winter. The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there. Roads bordered by rigid avenues of Poplar Tree give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature’s colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance
PahalgamSituated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd’s village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir’s premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 25 degree celsius. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers’ lodges.Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Film-goers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes.
Sonamarg – The Meadow of GoldThe drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months. Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes.
Best Time To Visit
The joyous chirping of birds, orchards heavy with fruits, alpine meadows dotted with grazing herds, and shepherds lilting with their music – a vivid mosaic of this place – takes shape before your wandering eye. It presents a picture of an unforgettable tapestry which is amongst the most beautiful any place in the world has to offer.
Fruits spill out of brimming baskets; strawberries and cherries, peaches and apricots; all the bounty of a fertile land. Pale green paddy fields rise in tiered steps upon the hills. In the high meadows, trout are jumping in rushing, snow-fed streams. The encircling snow-capped mountains provide a perfect setting for a valley that’s vibrantly alive.
The misty morning sprawls over the vivacious valleys, the flushing meadows wrap the hillsides like a cloak. The sunlight softly caresses the leaves, the dew drops sparkle like diamonds to welcome the new day. The rustle of the fallen leaves adds to the music of the place and the sweet fragrance of flowers lingers on…
The white sheet of snow spread far and wide concealing the resonating beauty of this paradise. The soft snowflakes adorning the coniferous, the misty hazy breath, the chilly breeze gently tingling your senses, the tender sunlight deflecting from the ice capped peaks and spreading the much-needed warmth. All so milky and pure. It is the picture of true heaven on earth.
World Tours & Travels presents the bouquet of nature’s beauty at its best, a 5 Nights/6 Days Holiday in Jammu & Kashmir only for INR 13999* per person and Honeymoon in Kashmir packages for INR 17499* per person. For further details and advance booking for the Summer of 2013 call us today!
*Prices are Ex-Srinagar
Content Courtesy : Kashmir Tourisim.Com