Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jammu & Kashmir At A Glance

jammu and kashmir detailed map

A photographer paradise, wildest and 'aggressive' mountains and perhaps the most controversial destination of the world, Jammu & Kashmir has the absorbing capacity of traveler with its sublime beauty and there is as much hidden as revealed. The land has an ancient history of invasion because of its borderline location with Western and Southern Asian countries and charming landscapes. The state is located in the northernmost state of India and shielded by Himalayan mountains. The land is in the midst of conflict and controversy for long but after almost 20 years of isolation, situation comes at a normal point and overland travelers are again drifting back to the state and enjoy houseboats, skiing, trekking and other activities.

Jammu & Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the Pakistani administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, to the west and northwest respectively. Jammu & Kashmir is divided into three parts; Jammu, majority of population is Hindu, Kashmir, the conflict place, which is often termed as Paradise on Earth, mainly a tourist hot spot as well as Kashmiri insurgency. And the last and most calm place is the Ladakh region also known as 'Little Tibet'. Ladakh is absolutely secluded place and far behind from Kashmiri insurgency. The place is covered by rugged snow-capped mountains wedged in by roaring rivers.

History of Jammu & Kashmir

In Hindu mythology Kashmir is mentioned and later on the valley was a center of Buddhist religion. The relics of Buddhist and some significant temples in Jammu & Kashmir testifies the fact. During the Mughal reigns most of the temples and Buddhist stupas got destroyed but lenient Akbar (1556-1605) protected Kashmiri pandits and acknowledged the Kashmiri style of painting. During the Colonial rule, Kashmir valley was under the loose grip of Sikh rulers of Jammu and soon British snatched the land from them and Kashmir was handed to Hindu Dogra dynasty, who ruled the state from 1846 until independence. The main conflict started after the partition and it gained the momentum when Pashtun tribesmen attacked Kashmir, backed by the new government in Pakistan. The then Prime Minister Mr. Nehru sent troop to secure the border and resulted first India Pakistan war.

The Kashmir Valley has had been a reason of conflict for two countries and in 1949, the UN established a tenuous border known as the Line of Control but Pakistan attacked the land in 1965, and continued the conflict. The Hindu and Buddhist population in the valley are with the Indian but the Muslim demand autonomy and thus in 1990, Kashmir was placed under the direct control of Central Government. This led to bloody war between terrorists and Indian Army and unexplained massacre of innocent lives. Although a general election held in 1996 led to calls for the division of Kashmir along religious lines, but subsequently rejected by Delhi.

Geographic & Climate of Jammu & Kashmir

snowfall in kashmir valley

Jammu & Kashmir lies at a high altitude and this affects on its geography and the climate. The most of the vegetation of the state is covered by thorn scrub forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. On the high elevation, the broadleaf forests and western Himalayan subtropical pine forests are found. This makes it a biogeographically diverse land.

Because of its rugged topography, the climate of Jammu & Kashmir varies greatly. During Summers Jammu city experiences hot and humid weather and can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F). The regions of Ladakh and Zanskar experience extreme cold and dry. Annual precipitation is only around 100 mm (4inches) per year and humidity is very low. The region perches at the height of 3000 meters above sea level and winters are nearly impossible to access the place. In Zanskar, the average January temperature is -20 °C (-4 °F) with extremes as low as -40 °C (-40 °F).


Muslims is the major religion of the state. Other religions in the state are Buddhist, Hindus and Sikhs. The people of Ladakh are of Indo-Tibetan origin, while the southern area of Jammu includes many communities tracing their ancestry to the nearby Indian states of Haryana and Punjab, as wll as the city of Delhi. 95% of the total population of Kashmiri Brahmins are also called Kashmiri Pandits. In totality, the Muslims constitute 67% of the population, the Hindus about 30%, the Buddhists 1%, and the Sikhs 2% of the population.

Culture & Heritage of Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir has a distinct and colorful culture that attract travelers from all over the world. Kashmiri festivals are colorful and organized with much fanfare. The famous dance called Dumhal is performed by men of the Wattal region. The traditional folk dance Rouff is performed by the women of Kashmir. The valley is famed for its fine arts, music, poetry and handicrafts. Ladakh is famous for its Indo-Tibetan culture. The lifestyle is Buddhist and form an integral part of their culture. there are number of festivals celebrated in Ladakh throughout the years but annual masked dance festivals, weaving and archery are an important part of traditional life in Ladakh.

hemis festival in ladakh hemis monastery kashmir culture

For your Information

Like any other states of India, capital city of J&K Srinagar follows normal business hours but most shops, banks and offices shut for several hours at lunchtime on Friday for Muslim prayers. It is advisable to finish all urgent work on Thursday. Srinagar generally experience dead silence after 8 pm, so there are less possibilities to find a rickshaw or shikara after hours.

Related Story

Jammu & Kashmir Tourist Information 

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