A window to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh
What is so great about Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh?
Jammu and Kashmir has a curious intermingling of cultures and religions, festivals and rituals, quite diverse and different from elsewhere in India. The state is divided into three broad segments: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Kashmir has the maximum population at 53%, Jammu has 45%, while remote and difficult to access Ladakh, is a stark, sparsely inhabited moonscape of incredible rough-hewn beauty.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is mostly nestled in the Himalayan Mountains. Jammu, Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh are it’s three divisions and all these regions have three distinct climates.
The people of Jammu area have close cultural similarities with neighboring Punjab state. They are predominantly Muslim in the west, speaking Hindi and Urdu, and Hindu in the east where Hindi, Punjabi, and Dogri are commonly spoken. In the northwest, Muslims form the majority in the Punch region. Jammu, the seat of the erstwhile Rajas and Maharajas was enriched by the cultural, historical and social bonds of all the diverse ethnic influences.
Known as the "City of Temples," mountainside Jammu draws over 10 million pilgrims each year but also offers the casual visitor a wealth of attractions combing religion, art, and nature perched at south of Himalayan range.
Tourism in Jammu revolves around pilgrimage sites important to both Hindus and Muslims, shrines of saints, Hindu cave temples, historic forts, and winter sports. Witness one of the Hindu festivals, or hike around the hill stations to observe mesmerizing panoramas of chestnut, oak, deodar, and pine trees.
The Kashmir Valley
Paradise on Earth
The inhabitants of the valley of Kashmir are mainly Muslim and speak either Urdu or Kashmiri. The Kashmiri language belongs to the Dardic branch of the Indo-Aryan group of languages and is rich in folklore and literature.
Kashmir has been the learning centre of both Sanskrit and Persian where early Indo-Aryanic civilizations had originated and flourished. The advent of Islam brought with it the finest traditions of Persian civilization, art and culture.
Kashmir has always been a big fascination for the nature lovers. The snowy peaks and the frozen lakes and rivers are worth exploring in winters here. With a cool temperature for most of the year one can enjoy in all seasons. Kashmir is a dream destination for most of the people.
The Kashmir Valley, also known as the Paradise on earth , is renowned for its breath-taking mountainous landscapes and Lakes. Kashmir has also been known to be the eminent learning centre of Sanskrit and Persia.
A journey of few days in Kashmir carries one into regions of new valleys, customs and people. The valley of Kashmir changes character with seasons. Three Himalayan ranges - Karakoram, Zanskar and Pir Panjal - constitute the landscape of the Kashmir region. What catches one's fancy the most in Kashmir is the natures treasure of beauty and breathtaking scenes of the villages situated in the laps of the greens of forests. There are four such seasons in Kashmir i.e Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Ladakh has been popular for being the living centre of Tantrayan Buddhism and is popularly called Little Tibet for its snow-covered mountains and the ancient Buddhist culture which dates back to the 2nd century.
The sparsely inhabited Ladakh region and beyond is home mainly to Buddhist peoples speaking Balti and Ladakhi. For those interested in Tibetology and Buddhism, Ladakh is a dream come true. Ladakhis are known for their integrity, simplicity and humanity. Famous for their mask and scarf dances, flutes and cymbals and monastic festivals, Ladakh is the repository of an ancient cultural heritage and has been the highest living centre of Tantric Buddhism.
Area: 86,904 km²
Population: 274,289 (2011)
Largest city: Leh