| Kashmir the paradise on Earth
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons - always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the landscape from the north and south respectively. They are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys, forested with orchards and decorated by lily-laden lakes.
The Verinag Spring
The Mughals aptly called Kashmir ‘Paradise on Earth’ where they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the valley’s cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, waterfront gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these gardens, and the rivalries that centred around their ownership. They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite artisanship among these people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world.
Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700 m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favored ones.
Place to Visit
Gulmarg is also known as "The Meadow of Flowers" and in spring is just like that. With pretty views and green undulating country, Gulmarg is often called Switzerland of India. During winters it is famous for Skking and often National level skiing competition takes place here. Gulmarg has the fine 18 hole Green Golf course and is highest in the world (2680 meters) and is one of the Indias prime winter ski resorts. The Cable car "Gondola" has 60 cable cons that ferry the tourists right upto the height of 3090 meters from 2690 meters at the base (Gulmarg). A circular road, 11 Km in length, runs right round the Gulmarg through pleasant pine forests with excellent views over the Kashmir Valley. Nanga Parbat is visible to the north and Haramukh and Sunset Peak to the south-east.
The meadow of flowers "Gulmarg" is in the shape of a bowl, it is 3.5 Km in length and 1 Km wide. It comprises grassy slopes, with a small scattering of houses. The bowl is encircled by firclad hills, and in the distance are snow covered peaks.
Sonamarg is a quite valley, carved by the Sindh river and circled by placid lakes and awesome glaciers. Sonamarg is also known as "The Golden Meadow". At an altitude of 2740 meters, 85 Kms northeast of Srinagar, the road that leads to Sonamarg is almost like heading for an enchanted journey into Wonderland of Nature.
The road that intially winds under the shadow of the mountain, crosses the Sindh at Wayil, 27 Kms from Srinagar, where the Valley widens.
Onward, past Kangan and Gund, the road runs through peaceful pastoral land, the snowclad Harmukh range, and after a steep rise is the entrance to the "Meadows of Sonamarg". Sonamarg is also known as "Gateway of Ladakh".
Pahalgam Pahalgam also known as "Valley of Shepherds" is located on the beautiful river Lidder which flows right through the town. Pahalgam is surrounded by soaring, hill slopes covered with groves of pine, with snow capped peaks rising behind them, providing a scenic backdrop. Pahalgam is about 96 Kms. east of Srinagar and at an altitude of 2130 meters, turned into the popular holiday resort it is today, it was the preserve of nomadic shepherds. The beauty of Pahalgam remains unspoilt. Pahalgam is famous place for Indian Film Industry ( BOLLYWOOD) and it is famous for its beautiful scenery, flora and fauna, springs and streams.
Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking.