There are places you give your heart to, and then there is Jammu & Kashmir, the destination you give your soul to. No doubt, the surreal natural beauty of Jammu & Kashmir can leave you asking for more, but it is the culture and hospitality in this North Indian state that let you catch feelings. Home to Greater and Lesser Himalayan Peaks that are your companions while travelling, Jammu and Kashmir is divided into three prime regions-Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. The striking contrast in each of the three regions, in terms of landscape and culture, is what makes this travel destination in North India an unparalleled one. Jammu that is blessed with Vaishno Devi as a significant pilgrimage destination is also dotted with scenic tourist places. Divided into ten districts, this region in the UT is home to many worth visiting places like Doda District, which is a hub of adventure activities and nature retreats.
Adorned with the meandering Chenab River; Muslim and Hindu pilgrimage sites like Jasmia Masjids & Ziyarats; Vasukinag Temple and Gupt Ganga; and the lush meadows of Lal Draman and Dal Draman with their fir and deodar forests, Doda District is a must-visit in Jammu. The Kishtwar District is another must-see destination in Jammu with Greater Himalayas, Chenab River, and saffron fields to festoon it. Often dubbed the Land of Saffron, this district has valleys like Dacchan, Marwah, Wadwan, Padder & Chatroo has some exciting trekking trails for the adventurists at heart. The other districts in Jammu also have a plethora of tourism places ranging from forts to temples to naturally spectacular places. A common mistake that we all make is associating lush greenery and scenic spots with Kashmir, whereas the truth is Jammu is blessed with many destinations that are perfect for nature sightseeing. Sawajian, Loran, and Valley of Seven Lakes in Poonch District are some of the best places Jammu has in store. The region also has Hindu mythological significance making an ideal destination not only to perform pilgrimage in Vaishno Devi but at various religious places in Jammu. Kashmir, the universally accepted paradise-like destination, can have no equal.
The Vale, as it is commonly addressed, is everything nature’s beauty is about. From its commercial hub of Srinagar where the pristine Dal Lake catches your sight to the dreamy valleys around Pahalgam to the skiing resort of Gulmarg, Kashmir gives numerous reasons to visit to those who see falling in love with a place is a right way to explore. This region in the state is a hub of adventure activities, the most common being trekking and skiing. Amongst the top treks in Kashmir are the Great Lakes Trek and Tarsar Marsar Lakes trek. On the other side, the picturesque Gulmarg turns into the best skiing destination in India during the winters when the snow covers it fine gradients. Kashmir Valley is also ideal for savouring one of the most delectable cuisines in India. The flavours are as subtle as its people, and the aroma can create that reverse nostalgia scenario.
Kashmir boasts being a place to visit all year round with each season offering a new travelling experience. A different yet equally surreal region of Ladakh is a visual treat. Adorned with an exceptional landscape comprising rolling barren mountains, alpine azure lakes, shimmering rivers and streams, Ladakh is no less than a land out of a fairytale. This top destination in Jammu & Kashmir is dotted with innumerable Buddhist Monasteries, which also add to its beauty and spiritual aura. Amongst the top attractions and pilgrimage destinations, are Hemis and Thiksey Monasteries, both reflect the finest of Ladakhi architecture. Ladakh is inarguably an adventurist’s paradise with great opportunities of trekking, mountaineering, motorbiking as well as mountain biking. Its Zanskar Region is particularly famous for its winter Chadar Trek where the adventure lovers get an exceptional experience of walking over a frozen river. The Nubra Valley Region of Ladakh has two prime attractions – Hunder Village, a cold desert where one can see the double-humped/Bactrian camels and Diskit Monastery, where a 32 m tall Jampa Buddha is seated in all his glory. Ladakh’s major city, Leh, is a reflection of rich culture, architecture, and history, it is in fact, the place where you first fall for Ladakh.