Why Kashmir in India is known as Heaven On Earth

Some one has once said that if there is any heaven on earth then it is in Kashmir. The beauty of this place can easily enchant the mind of any individual. The snowy mountains, lush green grasses, forest etc. together creates a memorable moment in the life of a person. And that is the reason why thousands of tourists are attracted towards this destination every year.
Kashmir is known as one the most beautiful places in India where time stands still. Water, in all or any forms, is one of Kashmir’s charms like rivers, lakes, springs, make music all over the valley. The alluring and majestic sweeps of forested mountains are tempered with miles of flowering meadows. Where beauty knows no bounds, where heart knows no worries, Kashmir, the name says it all. The land where every step makes you feel closer to heaven. The smell of pure air enticing the spirit, gives you a panacian effect. The snow filled mountains, the splendid dal lake, the apple orchids, the sweet smell of saffron, the hospitality of the civilians, every experience is a moment to cherish.

Emperor Jahangir once said about Kashmir

Gir firdaus baru e zameen ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast

Meaning, ‘If there is paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”

      Set like a jeweled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its colours 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. Here they lay, with great love and care. Soak your memories in a warm cup of Kahwah Tea, while indulging in the varied landscapes of Kashmir. Take in the crisp misty air, while gorging on warm Kashmiri pulao and mutton rogan josh. Feel your heart synchronize with the gushing waters that travel from the glaciers above. Dust the snow off your shoulders after a long trek up a hill and watch the sun-kissed, snow-capped mountains. Kashmir has a variety of terrains ranging from lakes, snow-capped mountains and coniferous kissed hills to glacier fed rivers. On one hand, Kashmir is covered with wild untouched terrain and on the other; there are fields of saffron and orchards of apples awaiting their full bloom. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, ice skating, 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.

We reached Jammu (around 2 pm) afternoon through Himgiri express.

Our itinerary

Day1-Reaching Jammu. Stay overnight.

Day 2-Jammu sightseeing and reaching Katra postlunch.Nightstay Katra.

Day 3-Katra sightseeing.Nightstay at Katra.

Day 4-Early morning Vaishno Devi Darshan through helicopter and return. Post lunch transfer to Kud (Patnitop) .Overnight stay at Kud.

Day 5-Transfer to Pahelgam.Nightstay at Pahelgam.

Day 6- Pahelgam sightseeing.Post lunch transfer to Gulmarg.Nightstay at Gulmarg.

Day 7- Gulmarg sightseeing .Postlunch transfer to Srinagar.Overnight stay at Srinagar.

Day 8-Srinagar sightseeing and overnight stays.

Day 9- Day tour at Sonamarg and back to Srinagar for nightstay.

Day 10-Half day Dal Lake tour and transfer to houseboat. Overnight stay at houseboat.

Day 11-Airport transfer and back to Mumbai via Jammu and  Delhi.

 

DAY 1

 

In Jammu we booked 2 double bedded non AC rooms in JKTDC hotel . There are various types of rooms in JKTDC lodging facility. Rooms have TV and attached bathrooms.For details click below link

HOTEL JAMMU RESIDENCY , JKTDC

In Jammu we booked 2 double bedded non AC rooms in JKTDC hotel Jammu Residency. There are various types of rooms in JKTDC lodging facility. Rooms have TV and attached bathrooms.

After making ourselves fresh we went to the restaurant to take our lunch. It is a multi cuisine restaurant and well decorated .I advice not to take food there as the price is very high and quantity is also very less.

Located 300 meters from renowned Raghunath Temple (Lord Rama Temple).Located 13 kms from Jammu Airport and 6 kms from Jammu Tawi railway station.Ample parking space within hotel premises.

Rooms are good with attached bath . It is really value for money.You can book it online clicking following link

 

https://jktdc.co.in/

After making ourselves fresh we went to the restaurant to take our lunch. It is a multi cuisine restaurant and well decorated .I advice not to take food there as the price is very high and quantity is also very less.

Jammu has historically been the capital of Jammu Province and the winter capital of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir princely state (1846–1952).

The city name figures in the ancient book Mahabharata. Excavation near Akhnoor, 32 kilometres  from Jammu city, provides evidence that Jammu was once part of the Harappan civilization. Remains from the Maurya, Kushan and Gupta periods have also been found in Jammu.

Jammu is also mentioned in accounts of the campaigns of Timur. The area witnessed changes of control following invasions by Mughals and Sikhs, before finally falling under the control of the British. Then came the Dogra Rule that revived its ancient glory by building great temples, mosques, renovated old shrines, built educational institutes and many more. Jammu had no rail services until 1971, when the Indian Railways laid the Pathankot – Jammu Tawi Broad Gauge line. The new Jammu Tawi station was opened in 1975.

In the evening we strolled around our hotel. Here the main bazaars – Vir Marg, Raghunath Bazaar and Hari Market – are famous for Kashmiri handicrafts, traditional Dogra jewellery and various dry fruits, chiefly walnuts (‘akhrot’) and almonds. Jammu is also known for the superlative quality of its ‘basmati’ rice, ‘rajma’ (red beans), ‘ampapar’ (dried and candied mango peel), ‘anardana’ (dried pomegranate seeds) and ‘barfi’ (milk sweets).

 

Now as per commitment in heading

FACT 1-KASHMIR WAS FORMERLY A LAKE

According to “Rajtarangini”, a historical write up for Kashmir written by Kalhana,  Kashmir Valley was formerly a lake and the water was drained Rishi Kashyap by cutting a gap in the hills at Baramulla. It is proven with the fact that Kashmir is bowl shaped and the word KASHMIR if broken in two parts means DRIED OUT LAND since KA means WATER and SHIMEERA, which means DRIED OUT.

FACT 2- JAMMU AND KASHMIR TOPS THE LIST OF MOST CORRUPT STATES OF INDIA

Money works everywhere in Jammu and Kashmir. A survey found out that the Jammu and Kashmir police department tops the corruption chart, followed by  the forest department, land records/registration and housing. Electricity, banking, education, water supply and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme fell under the other corrupt services in the state.

FEW INFORMATION ABOUT JAMMU & KASHMIR FROM MY RESEARCH, CAN’T ABLE RESIST TO SHARE

1) The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir Valley, performed by men of the Wattal region. The women perform the Rouff, another traditional folk dance.

2) Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and handicrafts.

3) The Constitution of India does not allow people from regions other than Jammu and Kashmir to purchase land in the state. As a consequence, houseboats became popular among those who were unable to purchase land in the Valley and has now become an integral part of the Kashmiri lifestyle.

4) Kawa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilly winter climate of Kashmir.

5) Jammu’s Dogra culture and tradition is very similar to that of neighboring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Traditional Punjabi festivals such as Lohri and Vaisakhi are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the region, along with Accession Day, an annual holiday which commemorates the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the Dominion of India.

6) After Dogras, Gujjars form the second-largest ethnic group in Jammu. Known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle, Gujjars are also found in large numbers in the Kashmir Valley. Similar to Gujjars, Gaddis are primarily herdsmen who hail from the Chamba region in Himachal Pradesh. Gaddis is generally associated with emotive music played on the flute. The Bakkarwalas found both in Jammu and the Kashmir valley is wholly nomadic pastoral people who move along the Himalayan slopes in search of pastures for their huge flocks of goats and sheep.

FAMOUS PERSONALITY OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR

Alla Rakha-    Ustad Allarakha Qureshi , popularly known as Alla Rakha, was an Indian tabla player specialized in Hindustani Classical music. He was a frequent accompanist of sitar player Ravi Shankar.

Shivkumar Sharma- Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an Indian santoor player from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The santoor is a folk instrument.

Alia Bhatt- Alia Bhatt is a British film actress and singer who works in Bollywood. Born into the Bhatt family, she is the daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan.

Anupam Kher- Anupam Kher  is an Indian actor and the current Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India. He has appeared in over 500 films in several languages and many plays.

Jeevan- Jeevan, born as Omkar Nath Dhar in Srinagar , was an Indian Bollywood actor who played the role of Narad Muni in mythological films of the 1950s a total of 49 times. Later, he played the role of a villain in many films of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. His son Kiran Kumar is also an actor.

K L Saigal- Om Prakash was an Indian character actor. He was born in Jammu, as Om Prakash Chibber

Vidhu Vinod Chopra- Vidhu Vinod Chopra is an Indian film director, screenwriter and producer. Parinda, 1942: A Love Story , Munna Bhai film series (Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munna Bhai) and 3 Idiots are some of his highly popular films.

Suresh Raina- Suresh Kumar Raina  is an Indian professional cricketer. An aggressive left-handed middle-order batsman and an occasional off-spin bowler, he is considered as one of the best fielders in world cricket.

MORE TIPS FROM MY KASHMIR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

1) Understand your trip plan very cautiously like how many points cab driver will take you. Take everything in written.

2) Set your payment plan while booking cab at travel agency. Like how much you will pay in advance and how much will you in subsequent phases.

3) Tell your driver clearly that he should stop where ever you want.

4) Take your Songs inventory (of your choice) with you otherwise you may end up other songs not of your choice.

5) Check that your driver had proper sleep because it is very risky to drive on Jammu-Srinagar Highway.

6) Don’t pre-book your hotel or houseboat. Without seeing you should not decide.

7) Do thorough research on internet about good hotels, restaurant, houseboats and prices etc.

8) Always leave early for Gulmarg and Pahalgam else you may miss few beautiful places.

9) Make a proper Itinerary and stick to your plan. Don’t trust your driver or Local people; they will tell you things beneficial to them only.

10) Have all important contact numbers with you.

11) Don’t buy Chingu from any shop in Kashmir.

12) Make sure your TV, Geyser and other appliances are working in hotel room.

13) Try to bargain everything there. For Shawl, carpets and other local made things you can expect discount up to 70%. Don’t hesitate in speaking your price.

14) There are benefits of booking vehicle on day to day basis. It would be up to you to drop the vehicle, if behavior of driver does not suit; whereas you can always continue the driver, if his behavior is okay!

15) Even if you book vehicle for whole trip, don’t give more than one days fare as advance. Several time drivers insist on getting tank full for the whole trip, but you would have to deny it.

16) Take Postpaid mobiles only, as prepaid mobiles from outside the state is banned by Government and will not work.

17) Weather in Kashmir is very unpredictable. Get some woolen clothes and raincoat along with umbrella which is required while stay in the Hotel. Otherwise, Raincoats and Snow Jackets are easily available for Rent in Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam etc.

18) While booking Hotel ask for a price with room heater and electric blanket (for all season) and Warm water availability. Always bargain. Why should you feel shy if Kashmiris don’t feel it when quoting astronomical prices? As I said earlier, Kashmiris have got lot of Experience in tourism; they leave no stone unturned to extract money from their big source: TOURIST.

19) If you are a couple or going in small group then always prefer Jammu Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) buses (Available near Tourist Reception Center (TRC)). They run especially for tourist and are on same day return pattern. If you are planning to halt then return by bus next day evening then book tickets accordingly. They are very cheap as compared to Taxi (Rs. 220 v/s Rs. 2200) and are very reliable. Don’t buy things where driver of bus stops. They also might have commission. Reach the destination and look out for things on your own.

20) Only buy Dry-fruits (Walnut, Almond and pista nuts only, other dry-fruits are imported). Don’t buy clothes and shawls (even from villages). All are very costly and are imported from Amritsar and Delhi.

21) Take precautions while going high altitude, some breathing problem may occur.

2 2) Never believe on the words of locals, howsoever nice, hospitable and reliable they seem to be. Everyone is linked with the nexus of commission. Always discover your own ways and decide according to your wish.

23)  Never follows the advise of Hotel receptionist or Taxi driver (remember Commission Nexus).

24) Never opt for photography by Local photographer.
22) Pony Ride: Never agree to the amount of which Pony-wala tells you at first. Start with the 10 % of that amount and settle within 20 %. Always be ready to walk up to the point. It’s easy and more enjoyable. Never believe the words of Pony-wala about the difficulties and dangers. Don’t argue or bargain too much.

23) Shikara Ride: Rates are displayed everywhere in Dal lake. Even in that, bargain a little.

Happy traveling!

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