Welcome To Kashmir !

Introduction

Kashmir is known for its unearthly beauty, which has earned it the sobriquet of being the " Paradise on Earth". Kashmir Valley is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The decade old political and civil turmoil in the region has not taken anything away from the beauty of Kashmir. With peace returning to the Kashmir Valley, it has now become a tourist hot spot owing to its amazing cultural diversity, the sheer beauty of the mighty Himalayas, and the green valleys whose beauty has attracted a horde of migrants from West Asia and Central Asia down the ages.

Kashmir region starts near Banihal, 17 Kilometers (11 miles) before the Jawahar Tunnel, where the dominant language changes from Dogri to Kashmiri and more of the houses and costumes are in the Kashmiri style. The landscape blossoms north of the pass where the lush fields of the vale of Kashmir stretch away to the north. This is certainly one of the most beautiful regions in Asia, and since the time of the Mughal emperors it has provided a popular escape from the summers of the North Indian plains. The image of houseboats reflected in the waters of Dal Lake against a backdrop of snowcapped Zabarwan Mountains is a reality, but this is only part of what Kashmir has to offer. The valley, or vale, is a large oval plain 136 kilometers (85 miles0 long and up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide, with Srinagars, at 1,593 meters (5,225 feet), at the approximate centre. Although Srinagar is the focal point of any visit to the area, the nearby villages of Gulmarg and Pahalgam have developed into major destinations in their own right. The area has become a national centre for a range of sports of which Walking, Trekking, Climbing, Golf, Skiing and Fishing are only a few.

Summer is no longer the only season to visit Kashmir. The autumn colors and the saffron harvest near Pampore and a wonderful backdrop to a low altitude trek from mid-December to early March there is some excellent skiing in the early summer the trout begin to bite and the snow-fed streams come to life. From June onwards the oppressive heat of the plains makes the cooler days in and around Srinagar even more attractive.

Statistics

Area:

The main Kashmir valley is 100 km (62 mi) wide and 15,520.3 km2 (5,992.4 sq mi) in area

Population:

Total: 5,476,970 (Muslims (97.16%), Hindus (1.84%), Sikhs (0.88%), Buddhist/others (0.11%))

Religion:

Muslims (97.16%), Hindus (1.84%), Sikhs (0.88%), Buddhist/others (0.11%)

Language:

Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English

Temperature:

Max 29.5C to Min-1.9C.

Weather:

The weather in Kashmir is like that of Europe, as it can rain any time in any season. It is always advisable to carry rain proofs and warm clothes for children and senior citizens. A large part of your tour will be spent at high altitude destinations where rainfall is frequent and evenings always a few degrees colder than Srinagar in spring well as summer.

The variety of flowers in spring and fruits in summer will make your tour memorable. Autumn and winter season are full of fun and chill. Autumn with dry, yellow and reddish leaves has a charm of its own and in winter, be delight to walk over the white blanket of snow.

How To Reach:

Air:

Srinagar airport is approximately 14 km from the city. There are daily flights to Srinagar, operated by Indian Airlines (from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu) and other Private Airlines like Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Kingfisher, Jet Airways (from Delhi and Jammu).

By Rail:

Jammu Tawi, approximately 305 km far, is the nearest railhead for Srinagar. Trains from Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai and other cities arrive at this station only. During holiday season, when there is a heavy rush for Kashmir, additional trains operate for and from this station.

By Road:

National Highway 1-A is the main highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu. J&K State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) as well as a number of private Super deluxe, A-class and B-class busses operate to and from the state. Private taxis are also available for traveling to Kashmir. This is one of the most adventurous though a bit strenuous travel track in India.

Best Time To Visit:

For anyone interested in visiting the valley, the first question is "when to visit Kashmir, India" or the ideal time to visit the Kashmir valley. Well Kashmir is all-season destination but still the best time to visit Kashmir is during the months of March to October. During this period the weather conditions in Kashmir are at their best.

This period covers three seasons in Kashmir i.e., spring (March-early May), summers (early May-late August) and autumn (September-November). The blossoms of spring, the cool weather of summer and the gold and red hues of autumn all provide the peak season for Kashmir travel. From December to early March is the winter season for Kashmir, when the entire valley wears a white blanket of snow. For those, who enjoy chilling weather and are interested in skiing, winter is the time to be in Kashmir.

Facilities

Shopping

Srinagar is a handicraft-lover's delight. Beauty abounds in the different artefacts of papier mache lacquered and painted in floral designs, wood carvings and screens, carpets soft and fine in typical oriental designs. Silk, woollen shawls embroidered in traditional paisley and crewel work are other popular buys.

Accommodation

From European-style hotels to decorative houseboats, private guest houses and tourist huts, every facility is provided in Srinagar. It is just fabulous to enjoy staying at a luxury houseboat riding all around the lake in shikara, sitting in the balcony of the House boat viewing the beautiful landscape of Kashmir

Houseboats

The houseboats in Dal Lake are available right from Dalgate through Nehru Park interiors upto the old Kabotar Khana point. Mostly housed in the lake at close distance from the boulevard houseboats are positioned back to back in rows in Dal Lake. Each houseboat offers a different and breathtaking view. Around Nageen lake good number of houseboat are available which can be reached via oId city and the Nishat offshore road. Budget class houseboats are also available at river Jhelum near Bund, Zero Bridge and also at the Chinar Bagh River near Dalgate

Srinagar Houseboat rooms have tariffs ranging from Rs.300 to Rs. 3000 according to categories D, C,.B , A and Deluxe. The houseboat owners and travel agents of Srinagar make advance and onspot reservation of the houseboat rooms in a required budget. Tourist can also get assistance at J&K tourism, Tourist Reception Centre or at House Boat Owners association,Travel Division opposite TRC.

Hotels and Guesthouses

Srinagar has abundant hotel accommodation cater to the needs of every tourist. Star hotels like Inter Continental Grand Palace and Centaur are on the Boulevard, whereas Broadway and Grand Mumtaz are near Kashmir Golf Club. A, B, & C category Hotels are in the price range of Rs.1500 - Rs.5000. The guest houses are in the range of Rs.600- Rs.1500.

Hotels and guest houses are available right from Lal Chowk towads Residency Road, Dalgate and Boulevard as well as near Amira Kadal,Jehangir Chowk, Kohankhan, Bishember Nagar, Khayam chowk, Sonawar, Raj Bagh, Ishber and outskirts of Srinagar.

Important Contacts

Airports Contact Numbers

Srinagar +91-194- 2303635 Jammu +91-191- 2431917 Leh (Ladakh) +91-1982- 253076

J&K State Road Transport Corporation

Srinagar +91-194- 245510 Jammu +91-191- 2473245 New Delhi +91-11- 23934232 / 32965527 Leh(Ladakh) +91-1982- 25208

Railway Station, Jammu Tawi

+91-191- 2476078

Tourist Reception Centers

TRC, Srinagar +91-194- 2452691 TRC, Jammu +91-191- 2548172 /2520432

Divisional Commissioner's Offices

Kashmir +91-194- 2472580 Jammu +91-191- 2544665 / 2544045

Foreigner's Registration Offices

Srinagar +91-194-2483588 Jammu +91-191-2542676 Leh (Ladakh) +91-1982- 252200