Jammu and Kashmir

The beautiful mountainous landscape of Kashmir valley, numerous shrines of Jammu and the remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture of Ladakh, justify the exclamation of Emperor Jahangir, If there is ever a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.
The northernmost state of India is home to many beautiful valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch Valley, Sindh Valley and Lidder Valley. Srinagar is the summer capital and Jammu the winter capital of the state. The official language is Urdu, while the main spoken languages are Kashmiri in Kashmir Valley, Dogri in Jammu and Ladakhi in Ladakh. Most people speak at least a little Hindi.
One can arrive here by air to Srinagar and Leh or board a train till Jammu or Udhampur. By road entry is via Jammu upto Srinagar and via Manali upto Leh.
Kashmir Valley is a land of beautiful gardens like Shalimar and Nishant gardens, vast lakes like Dal Lake and Manasbal Lake, pristine streams and friendly people. Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Patnitop are hill stations offering enchanting view of Snow Mountains. Raghunath Temple, Bahu Fort, Mubarak Mandi Palace, Peer Baba, Vaishno Devi, Pari Mahal, Hari Parbat Shankaracharya Temple, Amarnath, Bhimgarh Fort and Ramnagar fort are some of the pilgrimage and historical sites.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh is famous for monasteries. Zanskar Trek is a great adventure tourism destination. Nubra Valley, Lake Moriri and Pangong Lake offer truly amazing landscapes high up in the Himalayas.

Ladakh, What else

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The plan for the next two days was to visit Pangong Lake. It is situated at a height of about 4250 m (13,900 ft) and is 134 km long. It extends from India to Tibet and two thirds of the length the lake falls in China. The distance from Leh to Pangong is nearly 160 kms, and it takes 6-7 hours to reach. The roads have been well kept, but do get messy in between due to mountain slides and constant water flowing from the hills.

The drive is quite scenic and during the entire trip, not more than 50-60 cars passed us from the other side. A permit is needed for the journey and the same is verified at 7 check posts at various passes. Dorje had it all arranged, all we needed to do was relax in the car and enjoy the journey!

We started at 9 am in the morning and crossed Shey,Thiksey village and left all signs of inhabitation behind us with the beautiful hills and the long road for a company. As we started climbing up the hill, the temperature began to fall. We did see few small villages en route. On getting out of the car at Changla Pass, the third highest pass in the world (5270 m./17,300 ft.), we could actually feel the chill in the air piercing through our skin and lack of oxygen made breathing feel like an exercise. This was the highest point of the trip to Pangong.

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Road Trip to Amarnath – Anantnag to Yatra-Trek

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At 7 PM we reached the base camp at Baltal, this road is operational only for 5-6 months in a year for carrying necessary items for the military deployed in the region at higher altitudes, the rest of the year the entire area is covered by snow. Baltal is a picturesque meadow on the bank of River Sindh flowing with all its might amidst, leaving a fertile land at the foot of the Zozi-la-pass, at an altitude of 3000 mtrs., winter here is as low as minus 10 degree Celsius. The public vehicles are parked far from the base camp and pilgrims are allowed to enter towards the base camp only after thorough checking with all prohibited items kept out. The private vehicles and the local taxis are however, allowed to park near the main entry of the base camp in the temporary parking lot alongside the river adjacent to the helipad. We therefore, parked our car at the parking lot retaining the rucksack with necessary items in it for the journey next morning. The entire meadow was converted into a temporary base camp with rows of colorful tents and shops selling necessary items like clothes, woolens, jackets, shawls, shoes, brush, paste, soap, shampoo, rain coats, umbrellas and what not as in any village fare. Hundreds of ponies braying and spreading dung polluted the atmosphere with pungent smell and the ground muddy.

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Road Trip to Amarnath from Delhi – Reaching Kashmir (almost)

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Just after coming out of the tunnel we were in Anantnag district, a completely different landscape awaited to greet us in the heavenly adobe that accrue the thrill with lush greenery of the valley, even the air seems filled with exotic fragrance and one impromptu feel younger in heart and jubilant and ecstatically romantic. A view point with a board of TITANIC VIEW POINT is ideally located on the left side of the highway and no visitors I guess can pass without a short break at this point. The Kashmiri handicrafts are available at sale by mobile vendors, no idea of its authenticity however, nothing wrong in bargaining. A few snaps to banta hai boss and so we did. After a short break, a few clicks and filling our lungs with the refreshing oxygen, we were back on wheels with a better pace both because of the extra energy gained at the previous halt and also the road now was broader and straighter.

Suddenly after driving a few minutes from the Jawahar Tunnel, we were stunned by the sight of agitating wild mob on the highway equipped with Lathis, Swords and knives, shouting aloud and stone pelting on something which was not visible. A few trucks and local cars were on halt and waiting helplessly. I kept my car away from the site of turbulence and positioned it in a way that it can easily be turned around in case of emergency to flee. Honestly, all our smiles vanished and vulnerable thoughts engulfed our mind. I pretended to be calm and showing some dare went off the car to ask about the incident to a couple in a local JK number Alto. They smiled and replied, everything will come under control after the CRPF arrive the venue. We found the J&K Police standing mute with no actions against the agitating mob.

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The Paradise on Earth – Kashmir

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…Srinagar’s Tulip Garden is Asia’s largest Tulip garden, which was opened just few days back for the season. It had more than 3 lakh flowers in full bloom imported from Holland…A single visit to House Boat was sufficient to clear all our doubts regarding safely of child, mosquitoes, stinking issues blah blah. We changed our minds and negotiated with the owner of “PANZEY” (House Boat) and settled there for all 3 three nights.

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Heaven on Earth: Leh-the Himalayan Kingdom

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A long day trip starting with visiting Thikshey monastery and Shey palace, roads were the worst effect of Ladakh fresh flood (Ladakh cloud burst, 2010). On the way we crossed the school, which is so much famous for Amir Khan starrier Hindi movie “3 idiots”. School is totally renovated by Amir Khan and 3 idiot’s donation after destroying on the flood. After visiting that location, we back to another monastery Hemis and after that we reached an excellent location of Leigh, Sangam, where two rivers meet up, Indus and Xansar

Water of both rivers has a different color and up to a long distance you can see the difference of color flowing together. The road towards Sangam and Hemis is amazingly beautiful, where you can get two beautiful landmarks of the journey, 1st is Pather Sahib Gurudwara,

We had our one of excellent food of Ladakh on there (even it was good then Bangla sahib or golden temple- I can bet). Gurudwara is managed and maintain by Indian Army and 2nd is Magnetic Hill, where earth magnet attracts your metal toward a specific distance, specially you can try with your car, you don’t need to do anything, and your car or any materials automatically started moving to a specific distance

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Summer in Kashmir

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Doodhpathri is a beautiful place with carpet like meadows. You will find cattle grazing and shepherd boys. It is called the valley of milk because it produces rich milk in large quantity. I truly loved this place and also managed to click some pictures with the shepherd boy and his sheep. Check out the mud huts where the Gujjar live. Lazing around the meadows is a must.

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