Jammu and Kashmir

Overview

A fractured political past in one of the most fragile parts of the country, has never taken away the glory that Jammu and Kashmir has celebrated for years. Epitomised constantly and an alleged muse for Bollywood since the 1970s, the serene Dal Lake and lofty mountains of the state are etched forever in the minds of people. Fortunately, with some peace returning to the region, tourism has taken an upsurge again. Even though with notable pilgrim centres like Vaishno Devi, a certain set of tourists have always thronged the state, but a renewed interest has been seen through a foreign lense and that of the urban Indian traveller. This is bringing about the real change in the state of travel here. What needs to be kept in mind is the high impact of tourism on the maintaining the ecological balance here. The rather untouched part of the state, Leh has been inundated with adventure seekers for the past decade and become a biker's Mecca. Apart from this, the turbulent rivers and majestic mountains have always provided the necessary thrill adventure lovers. Visit the Pangong Tso Lake, drive atop the highest motorable road and stop for maggi at the highest cafe run by the Indian Army. The Nubra Valley also provides breathtaking views and a serene landscape, off Leh. Travel to Jammu and Kashmir to soak in the melodious language, some hot kawah tea and the local lifestyle. Stay with a local family to be well guided, safe and get a local insight into the region. Don't forget to pick up some impressive carpets from here.

Location

Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state in India.

History

The capital of Jammu and Kashmir is Srinagar and its history can be traced back to further than 3rd century BC. It was founded by the King Pravarasena II and in the 1st century, it was under the Kushans who strengthened Buddhist influence. It is the largest Indian city with a non-hindu population. Ladkah is the other important area in J&K. It is home the most stunning landscapes in India and is the world's only cold desert. The region's history has been dominated by Buddhism and Ladakh is often called Little Tibet. Its history can be seen in many monasteries and palaces.

Cuisine

Natives of J&K are primarily non vegetarian. But due to the importance of tourism vegetarian can be easily found. Regional specialties are Kashmiri and Mughlai dishes. Most of Srinagar's best restaurants and cafes are located in Lal chowk or on Boulevard. Kahwah is a traditional Kashmiri drink. It is like a green tea with saffron, cinnamon and cardamom. It is usually served with sugar or honey and crushed nuts. Namkeen Chai also called Nun Chai or pink tea is also famous. Compared to bigger cities, food in Leh, Ladakh is simple yet unforgettable. This is a cold desert hence crops aren’t grown wildly but every meal is a hearty one. People shouldn't come with the expectation of fine dining in restaurants and cafes.

Language

People including drivers don't speak English well. The aid of passersby maybe needed to communicate. Getting directions and address written down at the hotel or homestay is a good idea. And it's suggested that you should sound like you know where to go. This prevents auto drivers from fleecing visitors. Read more
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