Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir


Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Sindh Valley and Lidder Valley. Some major tourist attractions in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, the Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop and Jammu. Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath which has had significant impact on the state’s economy.

Kashmir Valley is one of the top tourist destinations of India. Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world’s highest green golf course. The decrease in violence in the union territory has boosted the territory’s economy, specifically tourism.

Jammu and Kashmir is also famous for its scenic beauty, flower gardens, apple farms and more. It attracts tourists for its unique handicrafts and the world-famous Kashmiri Shawls.

Major attractions

Gulmarg

According to CNN, Gulmarg is the “heartland of winter sports in India” and was rated as Asia’s seventh best ski destination. The town is accessible from Srinagar by road via Tangmarg.

An abandoned GOI hotel structure in Gulmarg

The road climbs uphill in the last 12 kilometres to Gulmarg passing through forests of pine and fir. Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift.

Jammu

Tourism is the largest industry in Jammu city. It is also a focal point for the pilgrims going to Vaishno Devi and Kashmir valley as it is second last railway terminal in North India. All the routes leading to Kashmir, Poonch, Doda and Laddakh start from Jammu city. So throughout the year, the city remains full of people from all the parts of India. Places of interest include old historic palaces like Mubarak Mandi Palace, Purani Mandi, Rani Park, Amar Mahal, Bahu Fort, Raghunath Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, Karbala, Peer Meetha, Old city.

Pahalgam

Pahalgam is a town and a notified area committee in Anantnag district of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a popular tourist destination and hill station. Its lush green meadows and pristine waters attract thousands of tourists from all over the world each year. It is located 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Anantnag on the banks of Lidder River at an altitude of 7,200 feet (2,200 m). Pahalgam is the headquarters of one of the five tehsils of Anantnag district. Pahalgam is associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari, located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Pahalgam is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the months of July–August.

Sonmarg

Sonmarg, which means ‘meadow of gold’ has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh meanders along here and abounds with trout and mahseer, snow trout can be caught in the main river. In late April when Sonmarg is open for road transport, the visitors can have access to snow which is furnished all over like a white carpet. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, a major attraction during the summer months.

The climate of Sonmarg is very bracing; but the rainfall is frequent though not heavy, except for two or three days at a time in July and August with fine spell in between. From Sonmarg, trekking routes lead to the Himalayan lakes of Vishansar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Gangabal Lake and Gadsar Lake, stocked with Snowtrout and Brown trout and Satsar, glacier-fed and surrounded by banks of alpine flowers.

A close by excursion is to Baltal, 15 km east of Sonmarg. This little valley lies at the foot of the Zojila, only a day’s journey away from the sacred cave of Amarnath is a base camp for Amarnath yatra. Trekkers can also reach the starkly splendid roof-top of the world Leh, by crossing over the Zoji La pass.

At Sonmarg the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department is organising river rafting tournaments yearly, which has recently seen the participation of teams abroad.

A large number of Hindi movies have been filmed in Sonmarg.

Srinagar

Srinagar is one of several places that have been called the “Venice of the East”. Lakes around the city include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nigeen Lake. Apart from Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake, Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake both lie to the north of Srinagar. Wular Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia.

Srinagar has some Mughal gardens, forming a part of those laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent. Those of Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chashma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; the Naseem Bagh. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in the city, set up in 1969. The Indian government has included these gardens under “Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir” in the tentative list for sites to be included in world Heritage sites.

The Sher Garhi Palace houses administrative buildings from the state government.[citation needed] Another palace of the Maharajas, the Gulab Bhavan, has now become the Lalit Grand Palace hotel.

The Shankaracharya Temple which lies on a hill top in the middle of the city, besides the Kheer Bhawani Temple are important Hindu temples in the city.

Verinag

Verinag (/ˈvrnɑːɡ/; or Vitastatra is a tourist place and a notified area committee with tehsil status (Shahabad Bala Verinag) in Anantnag district in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is about 26 kilometers away from Anantnag and approximately 78 kilometres south-east from Srinagar which is the summer capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Verinag is also the first tourist spot of Kashmir Valley when travelling by road from Jammu, the winter capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir towards Srinagar, the summer capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies at the entry point of Kashmir Valley right after crossing Jawahar Tunnel and is also known as Gateway of Kashmir.

A major tourist attraction of this place is Verinag Spring, for which this place is named. There is an octagonal stone basin at Verinag Spring and an arcade surrounding it which were built by Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1620 A.D. Later, a beautiful garden next to this spring, was laid out by his son Shah Jahan. This spring is known to never dry up or overflow. Verinag Spring is also the major source of river Jhelum. Verinag Spring and Mughal Arcade surrounding it is officially recognized by Archaeological Survey of India as a Monument of National Importance.

Transport

The primary methods of transport in Jammu and Kashmir are by road and air. It has access to the rest of India through the Banihal road tunnel near Qazigund on national highway NH 1A and through NH 1B that passes through Sinthan pass and Kishtwar.

Jammu and Kashmir has 2 civil airports. The Jammu Airport and the Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport in Srinagar. They receive direct flights from New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Jammu and Kashmir has a 119 km (74 mi) long modern railway line that started in October 2009 and connects Baramulla in the western part of the valley to Srinagar and Qazigund. It further links the Kashmir Valley to Banihal across the Pir Panjal mountains through the new 11.215 km (6.969 mi) long Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel or Banihal rail tunnel from 26 June 2013. Banihal railway station will be linked to the rest of India in another few years as the construction of the railway line from Jammu to Banihal progresses steadily.

 

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