Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), India's fascinating Northern most state awes the tourist with its wide cultural and geographical contrast. It consists of three regions differing in topography and culture - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The region of Jammu includes the city of Jammu, situated on the north Indian plains, a short distance from the Shivalik Hills. North of the Shivaliks the rest of the Jammu region is drained by the Chenab River whose vast catchment area includes several narrow valleys that extend deep into the high Himalayas. The region of Jammu is predominantly Hindu, although there are small pockets of Muslim communities. Jammu was the stronghold of Hindu Dogra kings and abounds with popular temples and secluded forest retreats.

The Kashmir Valley, north of Jammu, is a fertile verdant region enclosed by high snow-capped ridges of the Pir Panjal range to the west and south and the main Himalayan range to the east. Its population is predominantly Muslim with a rich Islamic history that can be traced to the 14th century. The Mughal rulers were always happy to retreat here from the heat of the plains. They developed their formal garden style art to its greatest heights in Kashmir. The State's summer capital Srinagar is located in this valley. Kashmir has been involved in a political controversy ever since the independence of India, with parts of it under the occupation of Pakistan and China. With easing diplomatic relations with neighbours, peace is slowly but firmly making a comeback to Kashmir.