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Travel Destination-Jammu & Kashmir

Tags: lake valley

Jammu & Kashmir (Northmost Frontier of India)

Kashmir is one of India's most beautiful and touristically popular regions and has been since the time of the great Moghul emperors. It’s probably most famous for the houseboats on picturesque Dal Lake you’ve not really been to Kashmir until you’ve not really been to Kashmir until you’ve stayed on one - but there’s a lot more to the Kashmir Valley than just lazing on board.
Jammu and Kashmir is really three regions: the foothill plains of Jammu; the lakes and blue valleys of Kashmir rising to alpine passes, the high altitude plains and starkly beautiful mountains of Ladakh, which lies beyond those passes. It's enough to move one to poetry. Among the most attractive part that this Indian state has is the adventure oppurtunities that can be seggragated into trekking, mountaineering and Trans Himalayan Jeep Safari

Climate of: Jammu & Kashmir
Minimum Temperature: -40°C (Ladakh Region)
Maximum Temperature: 40°C (Jammu Region)
Climate is the one basic factor, which makes the state of J&K hard to resist for tourists. While winter is not exactly a suitable time to visit the Ladakh region, but for trekkers and adventurers May to September are blissful months, opening numerous trekking opportunities to explore this remote region. Jammu, the winter capital of the state is at its best after October, just like Kashmir is an ideal destination for summers. Anyway sports enthusiasts will get plenty of options to try out their favorites winter sport activity here.

Situated at a height of only 300 metres, Jammu has the three-season weather typical of the Indian plains. The best time of year in Jammu is the cool season from early October to about February-March. In October, immediately after the monsoon finishes, the weather will be cool and fresh, the skies clear and dust free. Later in the cool season, December and January in particular, it can get quite crisp with temperatures as low as 50 C at night.
In February-March the temperature starts to climb as you enter the hot season. By April, May and June it gets uncomfortably hot and dry. Since there has been no rain for some time the air is very dusty and the temperature scarcely seems to drop at night. Towards the end of the hot season the mercury sill sit at 400 C or above for days on end. Finally, the monsoon arrives around the beginning of July; the dust is immediately cleared out of the air although for some time the temperature change is merely from hot and dry to hot and sticky.

At an altitude of over 1,000 metres the Kashmir Valley is much cooler than Jammu and it is at its best in the months of May-June for visiting to get a respite from the hot, airless plains. At this time the daily temperatures are around 200 C, a delightfully cool contrast to the 400 C temperatures common on the plains to the south. In July and August it can get rather hotter and the valley somewhat humid and still - the simple solution is to move out to one of the smaller resorts that lie around the valley rim. At places likeSrinagar, Pahalgam,Gulmarg and Sonmarg the altitude ensures cooler weather even in mid summer.




Dal Lake is Srinagar's jewel, a vast, mirror-flat sheet of water reflecting the carved wooden balconies of the houseboats and the misty peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains. Flotillas of gaily painted shikaras (gondola-like taxi boats) skiff around the lake, transporting goods to market, children to school and travellers from houseboat to shore. If you want to photograph the lake, bring a long lens and a polarising filter to cut down the glare from the water.Most visitors to Srinagar stay out on Dal Lake in one of the delightful houseboats left behind from the Raj, but landlubbers can hire shikaras for tours around the lake, visiting floating gardens and the floating flower and vegetable market. It's a colourful spectacle, but expect plenty of attention from souvenir vendors.Shikaras can be hired from boat stations all along the lakeshore and official rates are displayed on noticeboards. You can comission a shuttle to your houseboat, and an hour paddling around the backwaters will cost a fee as well, either on shore or at your houseboat.


Nagin Lake got its name from the trees surrounding the lake. Popularly known as the 'Jewel in the Ring’, it is one of the impressive lakes in east Srinagar. The lake with its deep blue waters is separated from the Dal Lake by a thin causeway and is an exciting tourist spot with number of houseboats dwindling in the calm waters.Nagin Lake is a perfect place to go for swimming as it is less crowded and deeper. Water Skiing & sailing on fiberglass boats can also be enjoyed here. May to September is considered to be the best time to visit here. Hazratbal Mosque is a close by attraction to visit.
From above Zero Bridge to below Badshah Bridge one can walk along the banks of the Jhelum River on the popular footpath known as the bund. It's a pleasant relaxing place to stroll along and many Doonga houseboats can be seen beside it. The GPO, the government handicrafts emporium and a string of handicraft shops are all close beside the Bund.
The Shri Pratap Singh museum is in Lal Mandi, just south of the river between zero bridge and Amira Kadal. It has an interesting collection of exhibits relevant to Kashmir including illustrated tiles excavated near Harwan.The museum is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm except on Wednesdays when it is closed and admission is free.
Kashmir was a favourite of the Mughal emperors who visited it as often as they could. Cool and refreshing after the plains of North India where the business of governance kept them, they planted gardens with stepped terraces and flowing watercourses. When they rested in their gardens, they dreamt they were in paradise.The next garden along the road that encircles the Dal is the Nishat, built by empress Nur Jahan's brother Asaf Khan. The largest of the gardens, Nishat has several terraces, a central watercourse and a majestic site between the Dal and the Zabarwan hills.
The third Mughal garden - the Shalimar - was planted by Jehangir, the Mughal emperor, whose love for Kashmir was legendary. Shaded by magnificent Chinar trees, the Shalimar is a series of stone pavilions and flowing water with paint box bright flowerbeds.
The Shalimar were built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan, 'light of the world' in 1616. Although it is known today as the 'garden of love' it was originally named the Farah Bakhsh or 'delightful garden'.The garden is built in four terraces with traditional water channel running down the middle. The gardens measure 540 by 183 metres. During the Mughal period the top terraces used be reserved for the emperor and the ladies of the court and was the most magnificent. It included a pavilion made of black stone in the middle of the tank. Black Marble fluted pillars supported the pavilion, which was used as a banquet hall.
Shalimar Bagh has an air of seclusion and repose, and its rows of fountains and shaded trees seem to recede towards the snowcapped mountains. A sound and light show is put on here every evening during the May to October tourist season.
The old Sufi college of Pari Mahal, the 'palace of the fairies', is only a short distance above the Chasma Shahi gardens. One can easily walk from the gardens up to the Pari Mahal then follow a footpath directly down the hill to the road that runs by the Oberoi Palace Hotel. The Pari Mahal consists of a series of arched terraces. Recently it has been turned into a very pleasant and well-kept garden with fine views over Dal Lake. It's attractively sited on a spur of the Zabarwan Mountains. The gardens are beautifully kept even today and a Son Et Lumiere show is put on here every evening during the May to October tourist season.
The Nishat Bagh is another lovely garden with its 12 terraces representing the 12 signs of the zodiac, which descend gradually and seem to almost merge into the lake. It is situated on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the backdrop of Zabarwan hills. With its flowerbeds, trees, fountains, the Nishat presents a dramatic sight. The gardens were designed in 1633 by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, and follow the same pattern as the Shalimar gardens with a polished stone channel running down the centre and a series of terraces.

It's the largest of the Mughal gardens measuring 548 metres by 338 metres, and often the most crowed. The walks beside the channel are bordered with lines of cypresses and Chinars. Also found within its vicinity are some remains of Mughal period buildings including a double storey pavilion enclosed on two sides latticed windows.
Directly behind the garden is the Gopi Tirth, a small spring gushing forth crystal clear water, which feeds the garden water.

Cheshma Shahi is the first Mughal garden one will pass after Nehru Park. Built at a height above the city, its views are as stupendous as its layout. The smallest of Srinagar's Mughal gardens, Cheshma Shahi has only three terraces in addition to a natural spring of water enclosed in a stone pavilion.Smallest of the Srinagar Mughal gardens, measuring just 108 metres by 38 metres, the Chasma Shahi, or 'Royal Spring', are well up the hillside, above the Nehru Memorial Park. The fresh water spring in these pleasant, quieter gardens is reputed to have medicinal properties.
The gardens were laid out in 1632 by Ali Mardan Khan and include three terraces, an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains. The water from the spring supplies the fountains and then goes through the floor of the pavilion and falls to the lower terrace in a fine cascade of five metres, over a polished black stone chute.Some extensions have recently been made to the gardens. Like all the gardens the Chasma Shahi is open from sunrise to sunset but unlike the other gardens this is the only one, which charges admission. There is a small shrine, the Chasma Sahibi, near the gardens, which also has a fresh water spring


Hazratbal Mosque is located in a village of the same name on the banks of the Dal. Its pristine white marble elegance is reflected in the waters of the lake.
Hazratbal's special significance is derived from the fact that it houses a hair of the prophet Muhammad. This is displayed to the public on religious occasions, usually accompanied by fairs. Apart from these occasions, Friday prayers are offered at Hazratbal and attended by throngs of people. Hazratbal is remarkable for being the only domed mosque in Srinagar; the others having distinct pagoda like roofs. The shrine – mosque complex is situated on the western shore of the Dal Lake opposite Nishat Bagh and commands a grand view of the lake and the mountain beyond. 

The ancient Sankaracharya Temple, also known as the Jyesteswara Temple, is found on top of the hill Takht-i-Sulaiman or "Throne of Solomon", at the hight of 350m. Overlooking the lake, Adi Shankaracharya (788-820AC) lived, meditated and did Tapas (penance) here to review Hinduism which had been eclipsed by Buddhism. He worshipped the Shiva Lingam, which is still found in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Information bords on the spot tells, that Adi Shankaracharya "attained spiritual knowledge" at this particular place and after that went out and formed the four Hindu schools of Advaita, the philosophy of non-dualism.
The temple was built by Jalauka, the son of the great Emperor Ashoka, about 200 B.C. 
King Gopadatta of Kashmir who ruled from 79 to 109AD, rebuilt it and dedicated the temple to Jyesteswara. 
The hill was called Gopadri and the village at its foot on the south is still called Gopkar.

To the West of the Dal Lake, is the Harbat Parbat Hill overlooking Srinagar. An ancient Mughal Fort, the Hari Parbat Fort is assumed to be built during the 18th century by an Afghan Governer, Atta Mohammad Khan. A long stretch of walls is seen around the hill and it was constructed in 1590 by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The fort is accessible by taxis or on foot. Maintained by the Archaeological department, the fort is an attractive historical monument of Srinagar. State Archaeological Department issues the required permission to visit the fort. Other attractions nearby are Lalmandi Square and Sharika Devi Temple.

The Sharika Devi Temple is situated on westerns slope of the Hari Parvat in Srinagar. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Jagadamba Sharika Bhagwati, an incarnation of Mata Durga/ Shakti. The idol inside the temple has 18 arms and is regarded as the presiding deity of the Srinagar by Hindu followers. This temple is regarded as one of the most sacred sites by Kashmiri Pandits, this day is celebrated as Har Navum. The shrine is thronged with devotees in large number on the birthday of Sharika Bhagwati. They offer a special offering locally termed as 'Taher Charvan' (A dish of boiled rice with turmeric, oil and salt and another dish is of cooked liver of goat) to the goddess. 

With frontage and interiors covered in elaborately coloured wood carvings , this distinctively spired 1730s Khanqah of Shah-i-Hamadan is Srinagar’s most beautiful historic building. Non-Muslim visitors can peek through the door but may not enter. The building stands on the site of one of Kashmir’s first mosques, founded by Persian saint Mir Sayed Ali Hamadani. Nicknamed ‘Shah’, Hamadani had arrived in 1372, one of 700 refugees fleeing Timur’s conquest of Iran. He is said to have converted 37,000 people to Sufi Islam, and it’s also likely that his retinue introduced Kashmiris to the Persian art of fine carpet-making.


Sonmarg is one of the smallest resorts in Kashmir, lying in the heart of a gorgeous valley carved by the river Sindh.. Also known as "Golden meadow", this place gets its name 'Son' meaning golden, from the bloom of yellow crocuses that fill this valley in the spring. It can be reached by roads, which runs through the picturesque Sind valley flanked on one side by the densely populated slopes and many varieties of alpine flowers.

Located at 87 km from Srinagar, the place is renowned for trekking and hiking trails. The snow clad peaks in the Himalaya and the undulated hilly mountainous regions are perfectly suitable for all types of trekking expeditions. Sonamarg is the base camp for many trekking expeditions. The major treks passing through various mountain lakes such as Gangabal, Vishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Kishansar has its base at Sonamarg. The trekking routes offer all types of challenges, from mild to most hard. The pleasant climate with mild summer and cold winter make this place an ideal location for trekkers to explore the natural beauty and challenging treks. 

Attractions of Sonmarg:

Krishnasar Lake is a prominent place among tourists interested in trout fishing. This beautiful lake is situated at an elevation of around 3,801 m above sea level. This lake, along with the Vishansar Lake, can be reached via the Nichinai Pass.


Nilagrad River is located at a distance of about 6 km from Sonmarg and is popular because of its reddish water. It is believed that the reddish water of this river bears medicinal properties. Hence, people come every Sunday here, in large numbers to bathe in the river. The river further merges with the Indus River at the Baltic Colony.Tourists visiting this place can also seeKrishnasar lake and Vishansar Lake, which are located nearby.


Vishansar Lake, located at an altitude of 3710 m above sea level is 1 km long and 0.6 km wide. Located around 20 km fromSonmarg, this lake is one the prominent tourist attractions in the valley of Kashmir. During summers, this lake is surrounded by lush green grasslands but it freezes during winters. The Krishansar Lake and the glaciers are the main source of Vishansar Lake. This lake flows out through a small stream and further divides in two, of which one serves as a source to the Neelum River while the other becomes a tributary of the Nallah Sindh.To reach Vishansar Lake by road, tourists can take NH 1D till Shitkadi Village from where ponies can be hired for covering another 20 km. This lake can also be reached from Nichinai pass, which is another famous tourist attraction located at an elevation of 4084 m from sea level.

At around 5Kms,Thajiwas Glacier is a wonderful place where nature blooms at its best. There is a meadow at the bottom that remainscovered with lush Pine and Fir trees. The place has a number of natural waterfalls and is an ideal spot for camping with mighty Himalayas around.


Zoji-La Pass also known as the Himalayan Gateway to Ladakh or Zoji Darra is located at a distance of about 20 km from Sonmarg. It is located at an elevation of  3465 m above sea level, in the Himalayan Ranges. Notably, Zoji-La Pass is the second largest pass after Fotu La Pass, which is 4108 m above sea level in between Leh and Kargil.Considered as the most dangerous passes in Kashmir, Zoji-La Pass is encircled with snow covered mountains,Kashmir Valley, Drass valley and forests. Moreover, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous passes in the valley. The place remains closed all year round due to heavy rainfall except for the spring season. Tourists can visit this place via National Highway 1, which connects the cities of Leh and Srinagar.


Satsar Lake is located in the vicinity of Sonmargand rests at an altitude of 3600 m above sea level. Adventure enthusiasts can reach this place by trekking  across Sonamarg. The scenic beauty of the place is enhanced by beautiful trees and alpine flowers that surround the lake.

Pahalgam, popular as the valley of shepherds, is also the base camp for the pilgrims to the holy Amarnath cave. The place attracts tourists to explore its scenic beauty and the picturesque Liddar valley located in the high Himalayas. An ideal destination for hiking, trekking, and fishing, Pahalgam receives heavy snowfall from December to February. Its thick pine and cedar forests provide a natural habitat for the brown bear. 
Baisaran, a calm and attractively beautiful meadow, is a nearby attraction. This meadow is located at an altitude of 2,438 m above the sea level. Snow clad mountains and lusting pine forests add the beauty of this meadow. One can have breathtaking views of Pahalgam valley and the Lidder river valley from this hilltop. Snow covered Tulian Lake is another impressive spot for natural views located nearby Pahalgam.

Lidder valley with mind blowing and eye catching natural views, the snow flowing river Lidder and the ancient temple Mamal Shiva temple are all very attractive nearby attractions in Pahalgam. Pahalgam offers all necessary facilities for the tourists to have a rejuvenating and impressive vacation travel.

Attractions in Pahalgam:
Lidder River is a 73 kms long river in the Kashmir region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The river flows through the scenic town of Pahalgam and is one of the important attractions of the region, where adventure enthusiasts can enjoy angling, trekking and rafting

Considered as one of the important tributaries of the Indus River, Lidder River is the main source of water for Anantnag and its nearby areas, which is only accessible via trekking. The beautiful Lidder valley from which the river derives its name adds to the scenic beauty as the peaceful environs of the valley rejuvenate your tired mind, body and soul.

Take a walk along the Lidder River and if you want to enjoy angling here then do remember to bring your own equipments as they are not available here. Other than that you may visit Kolahoi Glacier.   

  • ARU VALLEY:        
Aru Valley is a small scenic village located 12 km from Pahalgam. The drive up to the village is alluring too. The location of the village among the grasslands, make this place a tourist delight. It is reachable by walking along a mountain path. The village also serves as the start point for trekking to Kolahoi glacier. Another long trek for the serious trekker is to Sonmarg, which can be covered in 3 days! Besides, the valley is also known to be a good site for camping. Instead of taking the regular pony ride it is recommended that tourists explore the surrounding valley on foot to get a full sense of its beauty.


Located on the way to Chandanwari, the valley was named Betaab after the Bollywood movie by the same name! Earlier known as Hajan Valley, after the release of the movie, it was renamed as major part of the movie was shot here.

Set amid picture perfect environs complete with snowcapped mountains, gurgling streams, colorful willow trees & the warm sun,making it an ideal for an artist’s canvas! The valley is a walk-able distance from Pahalgam.

The crystal clear &highly chilly water of the stream bubbling down from the snowy hills is a delight.

 Tulian Lake is located at an altitude of 3353 m, 11 km away from Baisaran and 16 km from Pahalgam. This snow-covered lake is surrounded by peaks that rise to a height of more than 300 m above its shores. Tulian Lake is set along a trek route via Baisaran, and thus can be reached by hiring ponies from near the centre of the town.

Chandanwari is located about 16 kms from Pahalgam. It is famous for its snow bridge. This is the starting point of the Amarnath yatra, which takes place every year during July-August. The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be travelled by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony.


Sheshnag Lake is a high altitude mountain lake at an elevation of 12,000 feet above sea level and is located 31 kilometres Northeast of Pahalgam at 34.094, 75.497 coordinates, near Vavjan. It’s a two-day trek - one-way from Pahalgam to reach the Sheshnag Lake. Sheshnag is a light-tealcoloured lake which is frozen till mid June.
The Sheshnag Lake falls on the Amarnath yatra circuit between Pahalgam and Amarnath Cave.

Pissu Top – also called ‘Pissu Ghati’ is a rocky mountain of 11,500 feet altitude 3 KM from Chandanwari


Located in the Baramulla district, 57 km southwest of Srinagar, Gulmarg is a hill station with unparalleled natural beauty. The place is situated in a pine surrounded basin of the Pir Panjal range. Perched at an altitude of 2730 meters above sea level, Gulmarg was discovered as a hill resort in 1927 during the British rule in India. The place was originally called “Gaurimarg” by the local people, but the name was changed to 'Gulmarg' by Sultan Yusuf Shah in the 16th century.

Sultan was highly inspired by the beauty of the grassy slopes and flower meadows of Gulmarg. This destination served as a popular resort during the mughal empire. Even the great emperor Jahangir once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from this valley. Gulmarg also boasts of having the highest green golf course in the world. The best time to visit Gulmarg is during winters between "November to February".

  • Tourist attractions of Gulmarg:


Shrine of Baba Reshi, dedicated to Muslim scholar and saint Baba Reshi, is a sacred mosque in the valley of Gulmarg. This tomb was built in 1480. Baba Reshi was an important courtier during the periodof King of Kashmir Zain-ul-Abidin and is considered as a holy shrine. The five century old shrine was constructed with the architectural styles of Persian and Mughals. The shrine is located in a vast expanse of greenish lawns and it can accommodate many thousands at a time. This sacred tomb is a highly revered religious attraction and thousands of devotees visit this shrine every year. Tourists can access by local means of transportation such as sledges.

Khilanmarg is a small valley, which is the site for Gulmarg'swinter ski runs. Carpeted with flowers in the spring season, the meadow offers beautiful views the surrounding peaks and the Kashmir Valley. It can be reached by a 600-m ascent from the destination. From the peak, views of Himalayas, Nanga parbat, and the twin 7,100-m peaks of Nun and Kun can be availed.


13 km from Gulmarg, lies the Alpather Lake at the foot of the Apharwat peaks. The lake is covered with snow throughout the year. It is frozen until June and even later one can see lumps of ice floating in the lake. The lake and the nearby area is an ideal place for trekking.


Gulmarg boasts of the world’s highest and Asia’s longest cable car project Gulmarg Gondola. The ropeway, which has 36 cabins, ferries about 600 tourists to and fro the Afarwat peak and comprises 35 towers and 30 stations and takes skiers to a height of 4,390 mt. The ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and French firm Poma Glaski.
The cable car, which has been extended further by 2.65 km, connects the bowl-shaped Kongdoori Valley at 10,000 ft (3,930 mt) with Afarwat, situated 13 km from Gulmarg, and at an altitude of 13,400 ft (4,390 mt). The second phase from Kangdoori to Afarwat was finished well ahead of time.
The second phase from Kongdoori to Afarwat (about 5 km) was completed in a record time of about two years at a cost of Rs 11 crore and opened on May 28 last year. The French company had also built the first phase of the cable car project, connecting Gulmarg to Kongdoori, in 1998.

  • JAMMU:
Renowned as city of temples with attractive surroundings, a perfect destination for those looking for secluded atmosphere, Jammu is located at the foot hills of great Himalayas and is the winter capital of the state Jammu and Kashmir. It is believed that Raja Jamboolochan founded this exotic city in 14th century BC. The city, which figured in ancient epic Mahabharata, was named first as Jamboo, but later it has become Jammu. History and archeological evidence says that Jammu was the integral part of Harappa civilization.

Jammu city is known for its ancient temples, imposing palaces and historically renowned places.Adventure sports are the main characteristic of this amazing city. Tourists are challenged with many opportunities like mountaineering, nature walks, trekking and Rafting.

Tourist Attractions of Jammu:
Surinsar, at a distance of 9 kms from Mansar is a smaller lake but as picturesque with an island situated in the middle. Religious taboos do not permit swimming or boating in the lake. It is a wetland and a bird sanctuary rich in flora and fauna. Water birds of all variety make this lake a bird watcher’s haven.     


Mansar lake, with its length more than a mile and width half-a-mile, is a very attractive lake in the midst of lusting greeneries surrounded by forest-covered hills. It is considered as a very holy site known from mythological periods sharing the sanctity and legacy of Mansa Sarovar. It is a very popular base of tourists.

A temple for a snake god,Sheshnag, is located on the banks of lake. It is believed that it is auspicious for newly wed couples to seek blessings of Sheshnag by performing three parikarma around the lake. Holy dip in the Mansar Lake is assumed to be purifying the sins.

A temple of Durga and two other ancient temples Narasimha and Parvathi Shiva (Umapati Mahadev) are located in the close proximity of the Mansar Lake. Mansar Lake is an ideal spot for boating, amidst the lusting greeneries of Jammu. There is a wildlife sanctuary nearby.    


Amar Mahal, constructed by King Raja Amar of Dogra in 1890s, is planned by a French architect and looks like a French chateau withI ndian artisans. This beautiful architectural monument served as the Royal family residence for many years. It was made out of red sand stone. Later the palace was turned to museum with rich collections of paintings, books, inscriptions and sculpturesDurbar hall of the museum is very attractive and is adorned with family portraits of rulers of Jammu and Kashmir along with magnificient Pahari paintings. The exhibits like throne of Maharaja Hari Singh, made of 120 kg solid gold, are spectacular. The library in Amar Mahal Museum has more than twenty thousand books collected during the last 50 years. The collection also comprises of some exceptional volumes from the library of Raja Amar Singh.   

The subcontinent's largest underground aquarium in Jammu's Bagh-I-Bahu area is drawing a large number of tourists ever since it was opened to the public.Besides students, the aquarium has become a centre of attraction for tourists, giving them an opportunity to revel in the exotic aquatic world. The aquarium has attracted large number of tourists visiting the State. The aquarium-cum-awareness centre comprises of 24 aquarium caves including 13 small caves for holding freshwater fishes, two large caves for holding marine water fishes and nine medium sized aquariums for holding marine and fresh water fishes. It has state-of-the-art equipment, a public gallery, museum, laboratory and a multimedia conference hall. The entrance is designed in the shape of the mouth of a fish and the exit in the shape of a fish tail. The aquarium houses a museum where 400 varieties of freshwater and marine fish are on display.

The oldest buildings in this palace complex date back to 1824. The architecture is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal and even baroque elements. The most stunning segment is the Sheesh Mahal. "The Pink Hall" houses the Dogra Art Museum which has miniature paintings of the various Hill Schools.Dogra Art Gallery: The Dogra Art Gallery at Mubarak Mandi Complex is open from 10:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m (winter); 8 a.m to 1:30 p.m (summer); Monday closed. Exhibits include fine miniatures of the Jammu and Basohli School of painting.

  • PATNITOP:   

The name of the station is actually a distortion of the original name which was “Patan da Talab”. It is translated roughly as “Pond of the Princess”. This came about due to the fact that in olden times, there used to be a pond in the meadows of Patnitop where the king’s daughter would often take her bath. Now, part of that pond still exists. It is said that when the British came and occupied India, they had a hard time recording an English spelling of the Indian name for their revenue records. Over the years, the name Patan Da Talab eventually changed to Patnitop.
The hill town offers beautiful scenic landscapes enveloped by lush, green forests. The place is perfect for families to hold their picnics, with beautiful spots found around the town. Sanasar in particular was chosen by the state tourism for major development, adding in spots specifically for picnics and expanding the 6-hole golf course to 9 holes. Backpackers and hikers can also enjoy pleasant walks in and around the station; Patnitop is actually a good starting place for many treks to the nearby mountains. A popular one among hikers and trekkers is a one-day walk to Shiva Garh, some 11 kilometers away from Patnitop, all at an altitude of about 3,500 meters. During the winters, the hill station is covered with a thick mantle of snow which makes it perfect for snow activities such as skiing. Paragliding is also a booming sport, with paragliding rides being offered at Dawariyai. The flight will take off at Patnitop and land at Kud, lasting about 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the wind conditions.
Getting to Patnitop can be done via land, with taxis and buses available at the cities of Jammu, Katra and Udhampur. It takes about 3 and a half hours if riding in a taxi while a bus trip takes about 5 hours. Accommodations include huts and tourist bungalows, all managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department.

The cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Deviji or Trikuta Bhagwati has been a source of faith and fulfillment to millions of its devotees across the world. The pilgrimage to the Shrine holds great significance for the devotees. Mata's cave shrine is nestled in the mighty Trikuta mountain 61 kilometres north of Jammu at a height of 5,200 feet above the sea level in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Throughout the year, a huge mass of humanity climbs up the steep pathways that cut across the hillside for mile after mile to get a glimpse of the divine Mata. According to popular belief, anybody who walks the Himalayan trail to her abode to ask for a boon rarely goes back disappointed. Many of her devotee comebacks to her year after year to pay homage regardless of their faith or belief, creed or class, caste or religion, for Mata Vaishno Devi transcends all such barriers.According to popular legend, more than 700 years ago Vaishno Devi, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, used to pray to Lord Rama and had taken vow of celibacy. Bhairon Nath, a demon god, tried to behold her after getting attracted to her extraordinary beauty. Making use of his evil powers, Bhairon Nath was able to see her going towards the Trikuta mountains and gave her a chase. The Goddess felt thirsty at Banganga and shot an arrow into the earth from where water gushed out. Charan Paduka, marked by the imprints of her feet, is the place where she rested. The Goddess then meditated in the cave at Adhkawari. It took Bhairon Nath nine months to locate her, the reason why the cave is known as Garbh Joon. Mata Vaishno Devi blasted an opening at the other end of the cave with Her Trident when the demon god located her.

On arriving at the Holy Cave at Darbar, she assumed the form of Maha Kali and cut off Bhairon Nath's head which was flung up the mountain by the force of the blow and fell at the place where the Bhairon Temple is now located. The boulder at the mouth of the Holy Cave according to the legend is the petrified torso of Bhairon Nath who was granted divine forgiveness by the benevolent Mata in his dying moments.


The holy journey of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 13 km. of terrain on foot to reach the well known shrine. One kilometer away from Katra, you would find Banganga, place where Mata quenched her thirst and at 6 kms, the holy cave at Adhkawari.After the commencement of their yatra, the yatris (pilgrims) are advised to obtain a yatra slip only from the Yatra Registration Counter at the Tourism Reception Centre, Katra Bus Stand and nowhere else. Without an authentic yatra slip, crossing of Banganga check-post will not be allowed. The yatra slip is absolutely free but is necessary to commence the yatra.
Pilgrims can obtain caps, canvas shoes, sticks etc. on hire for the holy yatra. Pithus (people who carry weight on their backs) can be hired for carrying luggage and small children. Those who have problems in climbing on the mountains can hire the services of a pony or dandi (palenquin). It is advised that you should avail of the services of only registered people be it the pithu, pony or the dandiwalla and keep his token with yourself for the period he is engaged.The entire 13 km route is quite wide and tiled. Besides, the whole path is lit up every night by powerful sodium vapour lamps. The entire route which leads to the shrine is swept and cleaned from time to time throughout the day. Yatris are requested to keep the path clean.
Shelter cum sheds and shelter cum cafeterias are setup throughout the route for the convenience of the visitors. Pure vegetarian food is available at these outlets. Price charts are exhibited at all these outlets prominently. Drinking water has been made available all along the route, with water coolers and storage facilities for the benefit of the devotees. Public utilities with automatic flushing systems along the track and at the Bhawan are also provided to make your yatra hassle free.
After 6 kms of trekking, you would reach Adhkawari, the holy cave where Mata meditated for nine months. Do visit the cave. After 9.5 kms from Katra, you would reach Sanji Chhat where you can rest for sometime. Accommodation is also available at this place. Mata Vaishno Devi's Bhawan is just 3.5 kms away from this place.On reaching Mata's Bhawan, you'll be required to show your yatra slip at the Registration Office and obtain the batch number provided on the slip. This number is important as it will determine your place in the queue for Mata's darshan.

On reaching Bhawan you'll be required to have a bath and change your clothes. Be sure to get your luggage and leather items booked in the cloak rooms and obtain the receipt. Book the valuables separately and obtain the receipt. You can also get blankets on a refundable deposit of Rs.100. Before entering the Bhawan, buy Prasad, Chunri and Coconuts from the shops situated at the entrance of the Bhawan as an offering.    
The shrine is visited all through the year, but the path is difficult during the winters due to snowfall so apart from the winter season you can visit the holy shrine anytime throughout the year.Mata's cave shrine is nestled in the mighty Trikuta mountain 61 kilometres north of Jammu. 

Budgam is a very important tourist destination in the region, and it is well known for its splendid natural beauty. Budgam is an important center for tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, but at no point is the town of Budgam crowded and brimming with noisy tourists. During your trip to Budgam, you can visit Yousmarg, which is a very popular tourist hotspot in the region. Located at an altitude of around 7500 feet, Yousmarg consists of many meadows that you can take a walk through. You can also opt for a horse ride through the meadows of Yousmarg, and this is a popular option too. 
While in Budgam, you can visit the lake of Nilnag. Nilnag is a very beautiful lake that derives its name from its color (as Nil means Blue in the local tongue). This lake is surrounded by forests on all sides, and many families travel to this lake from the nearby regions in order to picnic near the lake. You can also go trout fishing in the streams of Dood Ganga during your trip to Budgam. 
There are many springs present in the region too, and these can be visited as well. Some of the famous springs are Nara Nag, Sut Haran, Pushkar Nag and Gandhak Nag.

Attractions in Budgam:


Yousmarg is a high mountain valley which remains covered with snow clad hills and the grasslands of Pine and Fir. Yousmarg is located 80 Kms south of Jammu and Kashmir state, on the bank of Doodganga River.Being the gateway of the Kashmir Valley, Yousmarg was a halting station for the visitors during their visit to the valley. It has always been a place of religious importance. Yousmarg travel guide is full of historical and pilgrim references. The Sunset Peak and the Tatakooti Peak are the famous peaks of the region which captivates large number of tourists.

Nilnag is a beautiful blue-water lake, situated 4 kms downhill from Yousmarg, connected by a bridle path through dense forests. The place is a wonderful picnic spot where tourists are mesmerised by wonderful natural surroundings. Nilnag is also approachable from Nowgam village. The 13-km uphill journey is a superb trek that brings many other beauty spots to limelight.

Doodh-e-pathri is yet another bowl shaped valley about 42 kms form Srinagar. It is a recent discovery in the valley covered with the green carpeted small meadow set in the heart of mountains to the south-west of Srinagar. It is an ideal picnic spot can be visited from here. A two hour drive from Srinagar  will take you to acres upon acres of grassy meadow ringed by forests of pine, and towering beyond them, awesome and majestic snow clad mountains. A flowing river resounds with soft wind passing through the pine trees of the enclosures of the valley. It is also called as a "Valley of Milk" because it produces rich milk in a large quantity. It is said that the cattle grazing in the meadows of Doode e Pather, produces rich milk in large quantity , this reason it is called the "valley of milk" Doodh e Pather. The shepherds from different areas travel to this place along with their cattle's and stay there for days together. This area also connected to Gurez valley on its north.

Nara Nag is a spring located near the Khag village and is famously known as Narain Nag. It is said that Tosamaidan Lake is the originof the spring, which merges with Nara Nag only after flowing various miles below the soil.It is also said that ascetic sprinkled turmeric after the dung fell in the lake and the water appeared yellow in colour. The beautiful surroundings of the lake are the attraction here.

10 kms uphill from Yousmarg, one can go trekking to Sang-e-Safed, which serves as base for Mt. Tatakoti.En Route to this place there are many meadows like Liddermar, where one could have a night's halt. Sang-e-Safed is an oval-shaped meadow bisected by
the Dood Ganga stream. Mornings and evenings are very refreshing here. Another enchanting meadow in the area is Haigin, 4
kms from Yousmarg. Surrounded by dense pine trees, the place is a famous picnic spot.

A Little away from the famous meadow of Tosamaidan and close to the Line of Actual Control in the midst of thick forest is situated this enchanting spring. The legend has it that during his 12-year long exile (Vanvas) Ram Chander passed through these woods and stayed here along with Lakshman and Sita. Sita, it is said, would bath in the spring which consequently got its name from her as Sita Haran. The name got later changed to Sut Haran. Close to the spring is a rock which, according to the legend, was used by Sita to sit on. The spring is also said to be the origin of a small lake, Tosamaidan. The water of the spring is very sweet.

Being located in lap of the Himalayas, Kargil serves as an important base for undertaking adventure tourism and trips to the exotic Zanskar Valley and other Himalayan regions. Visitors travelling between Srinagar and Leh have to make a night halt here before starting the second leg of their journey.

The town and its suburban villages lie nestled along the valley system formed by the confluence of the Suru River and its tributary, the Wakha-chhu. The land along the narrow valley floor and the hillsides are neatly terraced and intensively cultivated to grow barely, wheat, peas and several other cereals, besides a variety of vegetables. Thick plantations of poplars and willows, besides rich orchards of apricot, apple and mulberry, adorn the area to form a rich oasis against the backdrop of the undulating mountains. Kargil area is famous for its fine apricots. In May the countryside surrounding the town gets awash with the white apricot blossoms, while in August the ripening fruits lend an orange hue to the landscape. Kargil is convenient base for undertaking adventure activities like trekking, mountaineering, camping, river- rafting, etc. in the high Himalayan valleys. It is also a conv

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