Jammu and Kashmir

View from the plains of Baisaran, near Pahalgam

Jammu and Kashmir (Urdu: مقبوضہ کشمیر) is the northernmost state of India.

Jammu and Kashmir, as shown on the map of the Republic of India

Regions

A boat in Dal lake, Srinagar

Cities

Here are nine of the most notable cities.

Other destinations

Understand

Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29–30 days. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Non-muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite. Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world. Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country. Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

  • 6 June – 5 July 2016 (1437 AH)
  • 27 May – 24 June 2017 (1438 AH)
  • 16 May – 14 June 2018 (1439 AH)
  • 6 May – 3 June 2019 (1440 AH)
  • 24 April – 23 May 2020 (1441 AH)

If you're planning to travel to Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.

British India's princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is now divided between the Republic of India and Pakistan, with a smaller section (the Aksai Chin region) under the control of China after having been conquered in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. India claims the entire area of the former state, whereas Pakistan regards the same area as "territory in dispute" awaiting a plebiscite. While some Kashmiris hope for an independent and unified Kashmir, the majority seem to simply want peace. It is a mountainous region of great beauty and diversity offering much in the way of outdoor activities and sights for the tourist. The unrest had pretty much completely shut down what was once a thriving tourist industry in Kashmir, and it’s now only starting to make a slow comeback. As a rule of thumb, the western area remains unsafe, while the eastern area (Ladakh) is fine - see "Stay safe" below. Today, Jammu and Kashmir is one of two Muslim-majority administrative divisions in India, the other being the Lakshadweep Islands. It has an area of 101,473km² (39,179 sq mi).

The inhabitants of J&K belong to three religions, with Kashmir being mainly Muslim, Jammu being mainly Hindu and the Ladakhis divided almost equally between Buddhists and Muslims.

Talk

The state's official language is Urdu. However, the main languages spoken are Kashmiri in the Kashmir Valley, Ladakhi in Ladakh and Dogri in Jammu. Most people speak at least a little Hindi and you may even hear Punjabi.

As elsewhere in India, English is fairly widely spoken among the educated classes and those involved in the tourist industry.

Get in

Gulmarg
Patnitop

By plane

Flights operate to Srinagar and Leh. Try Indian Airlines or Jet Airways.

By train

The last stop on the railway line north is Udhampur, where you can catch onward buses and hire SUVs/MUVs (Tata Sumo / Toyota Innova/ Mahindra Scorpio). However it is better to get down in Jammu and catch a taxi from there as these are more readily available.

The Kashmir Railway is a railway line being built in India to connect the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. The Project officially coded USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Railway Link) starts from the city of Udhampur, 55 kilometres (34 mi) north of Jammu, and travels for 290 kilometres (180 mi) to the city of Baramulla on the northwestern edge of the Kashmir Valley. The route crosses major earthquake zones, and is subjected to extreme temperatures of cold and heat, as well as inhospitable terrain, making it an extremely challenging engineering project.

By bus

There are two ways to get in by land - via Jammu and up to Srinagar or via Manali in Himachal Pradesh and up to Leh.

Get around

By bus

Buses are operated by J&K SRTC to most points around the state. They offer package tour to Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Yusmarg, Ular lake, City tour, etc. There is Tourist information center, where one get the tickets plus info.

By jeep

4WD jeeps are quicker, a little more expensive and reach more locations. Private hire jeeps are also available.

See

Leh Palace, Ladakh

Do

Trekking in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar serves as a base for many trekking expeditions which lead to Himalayan alpine high altitude lakes of Kashmir valley which has a great scope for adventure tourism. These high altitude alpine lakes have no access by any transport, they include Vishansar Lake, Nundkol Lake, Tarsar Lake, Gadsar Lake, Satsar Lake and so on. Many trekking units organise and operate trekking packages to these mountain lakes.

Chadar Trek

Zanskar is located at a very high altitude in Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the best trekking destinations around the world. In Winter, Zanskar river freezes up, and get converted into an amazing adventures trek called Chadar-The Frozen River Trek. The traditional name for the Zanskar Trek is Chadar Trek as the river becomes a snow sheet during winters due to heavy snowfall. It boasts of some of the lowest temperatures making it a challenging trek for the adventurers. The most isolated and inaccessible for nearly eight months in a year due to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes; Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

Shikara ride

Shikaras are the limousines of the Dal lake. Lay comfortably in soft cushions and while the shikara cruises around the lake while vendors come along in their boats selling handicrafts. Also look for a jetski ride in summers.

Eat

Drink

Two local specialities are kehwa, which is a special beverage prepared with saffron and dry fruits, and nun chai, which is a pink, salty tea.

Stay safe

The situation in the province is far from stable. Outbursts of politically motivated violence are possible, especially around Srinagar. Demonstrations and rallies can rapidly turn violent. It is vital for travelers to maintain good situational awareness.

In addition, clashes across the Line of Control between India and Pakistan are also not uncommon, and hostilities between India and China are unlikely but did occur in the past, so check on current conditions before you go.

Ladakh is removed from the tension and can be considered safe.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.