jammuJammu is the Duggar land where the past still has a living presence. It is the land of grand ancient temples, and beautiful palaces all nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is said that, on becoming King, the Suryavanshi Jambu Lochan went on a hunt and, crossing the Tawi, found a deer and a tiger drinking water from the same tank. His ministers explained that this meant that the soil of the place was so virtuous that no living creature bore enmity against another. Raja Jambu Lochan, who lived in the later Vedic period, decided to found his capital, Jambupura, on his soil, on the right bank of the Tawi, overlooking his brother king Bahu's fort. Today the temple of Maha Kali (better known as Bahu or Bawey Wali Mata), located in the Bahufort, is considered second only to Mata Vaishno Devi in terms of mystical power. The present temple was built shortly after the coronation of Maharaja Gulab Singh, in 1822. The existing fort, as well as the Manasabdar's palace inside it, was constructed in 1820.Jammu is justly famous for its temples. In fact it is known as the city of temples and the every fame of its, tends to overshadow its palaces, forts, forests and powerful ziarats. If Bahu Mata is the presiding deity of Jammu, the Dargah of Peer Budhan Ali Shah is the other shrine that protects Jammuites. The other major tourist attraction is the Raghunath Temple Complex. Maharaja Gulab Singh began the construction of the Raghunath Mandir Complex in the crowded downtown Bazaar named after it, in 1851. It was left to his son, Ranbir Singh, to inaugurate it six years later perhaps the most popular temple north of Benares, it contains representations of almost entire Hindu pantheon, though the emphasis falls on the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The complex houses a rich collection of ancient texts and manuscripts
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Location - Strategically located, the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes the northern most extremity of India. Situated between 32.17 degree and 36.58 degree north latitude and 37.26 degree and 80.30 degree east longitude, the total area of the State is 2,222,236 sq. kms including 78,114 sq kms under the illegal occupation of Pakistan and 42,685 sq kms under that of China, of which Pakistan illegally handed over 5,130 sq kms to China. The State is bounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan and China from the West to the East.The State is well connected with rest of the country by air, rail and road. The Indian Airlines and private airlines operate regular flights to Srinagar, Jammu and Leh.The National Highway 1-A connects the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu with rest of the country. There are daily passenger trains connecting Jammu with most of the major cities of the country.The State ranks 6th in area and 17th in population among the States and Union Territories of India. The State consists of 14 districts, 59 tehsils, 119 blocks, 3 municipalities, 54 towns and notified area committee, 6,477 inhabited villages and 281 uninhabited villages.
It has four geographical zones of Sub-mountain and semi-mountain plain known as kandi or dry belt, The Shivalak ranges, The high mountain zone constituting the Kashmir Valley, Pir Panjal range and its off-shoots includingDoda, Poonch and Rajouri districts and part of Kathua and Udhampur districts. The middle run of the Indus river comprising Leh and Kargil.The State of Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most state of India comprising three distinct Climatic regions viz. Arctic cold desert areas of Ladakh, temperate Kashmir valley and sub-tropical region of Jammu.There is a sharp rise of altitude from 1,000 feet to 28,250 feet above the sea level within State's four degree of latitude.The climate varies from tropical in Jammu plains to semi-arctic cold in Ladakh with Kashmir and Jammu mountainous tracts having temprate climatic conditions. The annual rainfall also varies from region to region with 92.6 mm in Leh, 650.5 mm in Srinagar and 1115.9 mm in Jammu. A large part of the State forms part of the Himalayan Mountains. The State is geologically constituted of rocks varying from the oldest period of the earth's history to the youngest present day river and lake deposits.
Kashmir abounds in rich flora. The Valley, which has been described as the 'Paradise on Earth,' is full of many hues of flora and fauna. The most magnificent of the Kashmir trees is the Chinar found throughout the valley. It grows to giant size and girth. The tree presents itself in various enchanting colours through the cycle of the seasons among which its autumnal look is breath-taking. Mountain ranges in the Valley have dense deodar, pine and fir. Walnut, willow, almond and cider also add to the rich flora of Kashmir.The dense forests of Kashmir are a delight to the sport-lovers and adventures for whom there are Ibex, Snow Leopard, Musk deer, wolf, Markhor, Red bear, Black bear and Leopard. The birds include ducks, goose, partridge, chakor, pheasant, wagtails, herons, water pigeons, warblers, and doves. In the otherwise arid desert of Ladakh some 240 species of local and migratory birds have been identified including black-necked crane.The Ladakh fauna includes yak, Himalayan Ibex, Tibetan antelope, snow leopard, wild ass, red bear and gazelle.A major portion of J&K State consists of the western Himalayas, which besides many lofty mountain ranges with varying heights of 3,000 to 6,000 metres and above, also abound in rivers, lakes, passes, glaciers, plateaus and plains. The number of streams, brooks, hill torrents and rivers is also fairly large. The most important rivers are the Indus, Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi.
Important Facts : Jammu & Kashmir Capital :Summer (May-October)-SrinagarWinters (Novemenber-April)JammuLanguages :Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi, Dogri, Pahari, Ladakhi,Area :2,22,236 Sq Kms.
Kashmir has four distinct seasons, each with its own peculiar character and distinctive charm. These are spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Spring, which extends roughly from March to early May, is when a million blossoms carpet the ground. The weather during this time can be gloriously pleasant at 23oC or chilly and windy at 6oC. This is the season when Srinagar experiences rains, but the showers are brief.
Summer extends from May until the end of August. Light woollens may be required to wear out of Srinagar. In higher altitudes night temperatures drop slightly. Srinagar at this time experiences day temperatures of between 25oC and 35oC. At this time, the whole valley is a mosaic of varying shades of green - rice fields, meadows, trees, etc. and Srinagar with its lakes and waterways is a heaven after the scorching heat of the Indian plains.
The onset of autumn, perhaps Kashmir's loveliest season, is towards September, when green turns to gold and then to russet and red. The highes t day temperatures in September are around 23oC and night temperatures dip to 10oC by October, and further drop by November, when heavy woollens are essential.
Through December, to the beginning of March is winter time, which presents Srinagar in yet another mood. Bare, snow-covered landscapes being watched from beside the warmth of a fi re is a joy that cannot be described to anyone who has not experienced it. Some houseboats and hotels remain open in winter-these are either centrally heated or heated with ‘bukharis’, a typically Kashmiri stove kept alight with embers of wood, quite
Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.
The journey to Gulmarg is almost nearly as enchanting as reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer's rich emerald, or autumn's golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.General Information
Area : 3.5 km long; 1km wide Altitude 2,650 m
Gulmarg is 56 kms from Srinagar
Alpine lake at Penzila Zanskar
About 20 kms south-east of Rangdum stands the Panzila axis, across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys. The Penzila pass (4,401m) is a picturesque tableland surrounded by snow-covered peaks. As the Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of Penzi-la to the head of the Stod valley, the majestic " Drang-Drung" glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, "Drang-Drung" is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation. It is from the cliff-like snout of this extensive glacier that the Stod or Doda tributary of the Zanskar River rises.
Zanskar is a tri-armed valley system situated between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountains, the three arms radiating star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse. Here the Zanskar River comes into being by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap rivers. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region's approximately 14,000 strong, mainly Buddhist population, live.Spread over an estimated geographical area of 5000 sq kms of mountainous territory, Zanskar is surrounded by high-rise mountains and deep gorges.It remains inaccessible for nearly 8 months a year due to heavy winter snowfall resulting in closure of all access passes, including the Penzi-la. This geographical isolation and the esoteric nature of Buddhism practised here have enabled its inhabitants to preserve their identity, so that to-day Zanskar is the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh. Closer observation of the lifestyle evokes admiration for a people who have learnt to live in perfect harmony with the unique environment.