About Kashmir

The sheer beauty and grandeur of the Kashmir Valley cannot be captured in plain words. Set at the foot of the awesome Himalayas, with the splendid Jhelum river meandering through it, this land of raw natural magnificence has enticed people from all over the world, for centuries. Kashmir is home to some of India's famous sites that leave the onlooker mesmerized. The valley is so beautiful that you will fall in love with it at the first sight itself. Infact, the charm and magnificence of Kashmir are beyond the scope of mere words.

The Kashmir valley region is famous for it picturesque natural beauty and among other things is known for its Dal Lake that reflects the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks., these are the Mogul Gardens, the floating vegetable and flower markets and the unique experience of staying on a houseboat. The Valley is known for its fresh apples and the intricate embroidery stitching that is done on the traditional warm kurtas, for both, men and womenThe creation of Kashmir is a story that has, like so much else in this land, an air of fantasy and other-worldliness. Once upon a time, the Valley was a vast lake, `deep as the sky', and the playground of the gods. But it was haunted by a demon that plundered and ravaged the people living on its shores. In despair, they appealed to the saint Kashyap to save them, which he did by striking a depression to the west and draining the lake of its waters. The demon was slain, and the Valley was named after its savior, Kashyapa-mar, or Kashmir. Strange as this may seem, paleontologists have reported discoveries of coral and other marine fossils at great heights here.Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realized. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700 m 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 shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favored ones the scenic beauty of Kashmir has given it the name of “heaven on earth ". The Shankaracharya Temple provides excellent views of the valley of Kashmir. Other places of tourist attractions are the famous Mughal Gardens of Shalimar and Gulmarg, which offers spectacular scenic beauty. It is also the place where "yatra" to the shrine of Amarnath begins. In Srinagar, one can also enjoy boating in cushioned shikaras across the Dal and Nagin Lakes.

History of Kashmir
Kashmir, "The Paradise on Earth", is a history in making. Kashmir has a glorious past, a painful present and an uncertain future. The history of Kashmir is well documented and there are ample reminders of the ancient inhabitants of this valley, still lying around in Kashmir. Mythological tradition has it that, the valley originally was a huge lake called "Satisar" [land of Goddess Sati, consort of Lord Shiva], and its waters were blocked near Varamulla [present town of Baramulla]. Modern geologists also confirm this myth as true. According to the oldest manuscript on Kashmir "Nilvat Puran", in Satisar there lived a demon named Jalod Bowa who killed and devoured the people of this region. A great saint named Kashyap, heard about the havoc that this demon was wrecking and performed penance for a long time. He was blessed by god and was able to cut the mountain, near Varamulla. This made it possible for the Satisar Lake to be drained into the plains below, and the land of Kashmir appeared. The demon was killed and the grateful people named the valley as "Kashyap-mar" and "Kashyap Pura". Kashmir also implies "land desiccated from water", as it is derived from two words viz., "ka" (water) and Shimeer (to desiccate). Over the years it was ruled by different ruler including Ashoka the great who founded Srinagar & spread Buddhism in the Kashmir region. It was from here that Buddhism travelled to Central Asia, Tibet, China etc over the ages. Then Kashmir came under attack from the Huns, who brought untold miseries to the people of Kashmir. The next notable dynasty was the KARKOTA dynasty (beginning of the 8th century). Huen Tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim, visited Kashmir during the rule of the 1st Karkota ruler Durlabhvardhan. After the Karkota rule, Kashmir again fell upon bad days and it was in 855 - 56 A.D that Maharaja Awantivarman of the Utpal dynasty brought some semblance to the chaos that was reigning. From 1089 to 1101 A.D., King Harsha ruled Kashmir. His reign was however a story of lawlessness and misdeeds. During this period, Mongols invaded Kashmir and plundered the state extensively. In 1579 the greatest of all the Mughal rulers Akbar, visited Kashmir and fell in love with it. Thus began a love affair which was to result in some of the most beautiful gardens and monuments that cannot be found anywhere in India. The Mughals aptly called Kashmir 'Paradise on Earth'. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar's many formal waterfront gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these gardens, and the rivalries that centered around their ownership. They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite artisanship among these people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world. Shalimar and Nishat gardens built on the banks of Dal Lake were Jahangir’s gift to the valley. Jahangir also laid down gardens at Achabal and Verinag.The Pathan rule can easily be called the darkest period of Kashmiri history. The valley was plundered and looted and the people were in a bad shape.In 1819, 50,000 troops of the Maharaja invaded Kashmir and drove out the Pathans. Sikh rule lasted for 27 years. The fighting between the Sikhs and the Britishers lead to Kashmir being transferred to Maharaja Gulab Singh who belonged to the DOGRA CLAN. In fact Maharaja Gulab Singh was the only Indian ruler to have carved out a state from the ruins of the Sikh empire. India became independent on the 15th of August 1947 but Kashmir became the bone of contention between the newly formed countries of India and Pakistan. Kashmir at the time of India's independence was a Muslim majority state ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. As the king was vacillating about which country to join, a Pakistani invasion prompted the king to seek help from India. Since then Kashmir has become the flash point between the two neighbors. As of now, India occupies 2/3rds of Kashmir. Further, in 1962, the Chinese invaded and occupied a part of Ladakh, increasing tensions in this area. The situation is still not normal as yet, but the people of Kashmir wait eagerly for peace to return

How to reach

By Air
Kashmir is directly connected with Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Jammu & Mumbai through air links. Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Kingfisher, Spice Jet, Goa Air, Jet Lite and all other airlines provide daily flights.

By Rail
Jammu is the nearest railway station at a distance of 300 km from the Srinagar where regular train services take you to the rest major cities of India.

By Road
National Highway 1A connects Jammu from Punjab and also to the rest of the state, including the capital Srinagar.