The state of Jammu & Kashmir is a region of widely varying people and geography. In the south, Jammu is a transition zone from the Indian plains to the Himalayas. Nature has lavishly endowed Kashmir with certain distinctive features that are paralleled by few alpine regions in the world. It is the land of snow clad mountains that shares a common boundary with Afghanistan, China and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of the Indian Union. Known for its extravagant natural beauty this land formed a major caravan route in ancient times.
Trade relations through these routes between China and Central Asia made it a land inhabited by various religious and cultural groups. It was during the reign of Kashyapa that the various wandering groups led a settled life; Buddhist influenced Kashmir during the rule of Ashoka and the present town of Srinagar were founded by Kashyapa. This place was earlier called 'Srinagari' or Purandhisthan. The Brahmins who inhabited these areas admired and adored Buddhism too. From the regions of Kashmir Buddhism spread throughout Ladakh, Tibet, Central Asia and China. Various traditions co-existed until the advent of the Muslims.
The Mughal had a deep influence on this land and introduced various reforms in the revenue industry and other areas that added to the progress of Kashmir. In 1820 Maharaj Gulab Singh got the Jagir of Jammu from Maharaj Ranjit Sigh. He is said to have laid the foundation of the Dogra dynasty. In 1846 Kashmir was sold to Maharaj Gulab Singh. Thus the two areas of Kashmir and Jammu were integrated into a single political unit. A few chieftains who formed part of the administration were of the Hunza, Kishtwar, Gilgit Ladakh. During the Dogra dynasty trade improved, along with the preservation and promotion of forestry.
The list of things to do is long, however this is the brief.
- Enjoy a Shikara ride in the Dal Lake. You can also swim in the lake.
- Stay in a houseboat.
- Take a walk on the streets of Old City [downtown Srinagar].
- Enjoy Paragliding in Astanmarg Harwan Srinagar. You can try the Tandem 15 min ride or the long 1 hour+ XC Cross country Ride. The takeoff is from Astanmarg at 7400 Ft and you fly down to 5300 Ft . The views from the top is simply breathtaking. Call the Pilots Directly +91 9419476551 & +91 9419476552
- Srinagar Flight Go trekking.
- In winters you can go on a skiing/snowboarding adventure at Gulmarg.
- If you are lucky enough to find the lakes frozen during winters, take a walk on the Dal Lake. But be careful.
- Enjoy white water rafting at Phalgam
- Visit the Gardens made by Mughal kings on the banks of the Dal Lake in the foothills of Zabarwan mountains.
- Cheshma-i-Shahee- this word literally means "The Grand Spring". Built by the Mughals, this garden has a spring that was quite famous for it's pure water. However, please don't drink the water upfront since quality has deteriorated over time. There is a well connected road that passes through a forest and goes uphill from here to "Pari Mahal". Again there is a garden at Pari Mahal. The walls etc around Pari Mahal have been preserved since Mughal times. The view from Pari Mahal is spectacular since you can see most of the city and Dal lake from here.
- Nishat Garden: A beautiful garden with a lot of fountains, majestic Chinar trees and good views of the Dal Lake.
- Shalimar garden: The most famous of all the Mughal gardens. This garden has a lot of Chinar trees some of which are around 400 years old. This garden was developed by the famous Mughal emperor Jehangeer and was arguably his favourite.
- Harwan Garden: The last of the Mughal gardens further up from Shalimar. The good thing about visiting these gardens is that all of these gardens fall on the same route so you can practically visit all of them at your lesuire on the same trip.
- During Spring season visit Asia's largest tulip garden.
- Go fishing in any of the lakes in Srinagar. The licence to fish costs about $US5 per day during the summers. The resort of "Aharbal" offers excellent fishing opportunities: there's a great waterfall too. "Daksum" is very famous for its scenic mountain beauty and clear, sparkling streams with bountiful of catch. Then there's "Frislin" in Pahalgam and Yousmarg to name a few.
- If you are visiting high altitude lakes (some of the few zero pollution lakes on the planet) don't forget "Tulin Lake" located at at altitude of approximately 4,000 metres above sea level. The 25 kilometre trek starts from Pahalgam. Tulin Lake is just one among the many high altitude lakes in Kashmir.
- Rafting in pahalgam in Liddar river
- Shankaracharya temple in Srinagar
- Golf Club in Pahalgam.
- "Betaab Valley", also in Pahalgam gets it's name from a hit Bollywood romantic movie that was almost entirely shot here.