Kashmir, an emerald valley, cradeled in the Himalayas against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains is said to be the Paradise on Earth. The silvery streams and sparkling fresh water lakes, pine and Deodar forests, green meadows and grassy slopes characterise this magical land. A tour to Kashmir takes you to the land of amazing beauty, exquisite fruits and exotic flora.
The most magnificent and exclusive trees in Kashmir are the Chinar trees found throughout the valley. Mountain ranges in the valley have dense deodar, pine and fir trees. Walnut, willow, almond and cider add up to the floral wealth of Kashmir. When it comes to the fauna, the hilly regions of Doda, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri have leopard, cheetah and deer, wild sheep, bear, brown musk shrew, and muskrat. Varieties of snakes, bats, lizards and frogs are also found in the region. The dense forests of Kashmir are ideal for you if you are a sport lover and adventurer. The winged game includes ducks, goose, partridge, chakor, pheasant, wagtails, herons, water pigeons, warblers, and doves. The arid desert of Ladakh has some 240 species of local and migratory birds including the black-necked crane for the bird lovers.
In Kashmir Tour, other than the tourist places and beautiful natural landscapes, one should also not miss the unique experience of staying in the houseboat constructed of cedar wood floating on the Dal lake. The well furnished houseboats popularly known as Shikaras offer all you require for a confortable stay. Apart from houseboats, there are also some good budget hotels that are economic enough to meet the traveller's requirements.
History of Kashmir
Kashmir is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Kalhana, the first writer of the Indian history, gave a vivid account of the history of Kashmir before the 10th century AD. In 1587, Akbar annexed Kashmir into his vast empire. Jahangir, son of Akbar and next Mughal ruler, visited Kashmir 13 times and created two beautiful gardens on the bank of Dal Lake, namely, the Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. After two centuries of peace and development, Kashmir came into the hands of the Pathans in 1752, when the Afghan ruler Abdul Shah Abdali attacked this region on the request of local noblemen. The Pathans established a rule of terror here, no better than that of Aurangzeb, the last important Mughal ruler.
In 1819, the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed this region ruling Kashmir for 27 years. From 1846 to 1957, the Dogras ruled over this region when British defeated Ranjit Singh and handed over the administration to Maharaja Gulab Singh. During India's freedom struggle, people from this state participated extensively under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah and decided to merge with India in 1948 after India's independence.
Tourist Places in Kashmir
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar (1,768 metres) is 900 km north of Delhi via Pathankot, and Jammu. Surrounded on both sides by River Jhelum the valley of Kashmir comprises of Kishtwar, Ladakh & Zanskar ranges.
At an altitude of 2740 metres, Sonamarg is 84 km from Srinagar along the Srinagar - Leh Highway. The town lies in the heart of a beautiful valley shaped by the river Sindh. Known as the meadow of gold strewn with the loveliest of alpine flowers and surrounded by towering mountains; it is the most beautiful part of Kasmir.
This place is 96 kms from Srinagarand is heralded by gushing, silvery streams of ice - water and by densely wooded mountains. Pahalgam appears round the corner against a back ground of mountains and glistering glaciers with streams rushing past mainly famous as the starting point of Amarnath yatra. Pahalgam is the commencingpoint for many trekking trails, such as to the Kolohoi Glacier, Amarnath, Zanskar and Kargil.
The large meadow of Gulmarg is 52 kms south-west of Srinagar. The name means meadow of flowers and in spring you can see its appellation turning true. This is also an excellent base for trekking, ideal for adventure seekers. In winter it becomes India's premier skiing resort.
How to Reach Kashmir
Srinagar is connected through flights to Delhi , Jammu and Leh. Jammu is the nearest railhead if one want to have Kashmir Tour.