Many people have written zillions of words to describe the magnificent beauty of Jammu and Kashmir. When asked Jahangir on his deathbed about his cherished desire, he is credited to have said ;”Kashmir, the rest is worthless “. Therefore there is no doubt about how beautiful this state is. But words can’t do justice to It’s pristine natural beauty unless one itself visits this place. With lots of things to see, we have enlisted the best spots of Jammu and Kashmir Where one can go and enjoy. Read below.
Sacred and Religious Sites in Kashmir
Raghunath Temple – It is located at Sui , in west of Jammu City . It consists of a complex of 7 Hindu shrines, each with its own Shikhara. It is the largest temple complex of North India. It has many shrines but the presiding deity is Lord Rama. The temple has Mughal architecture with spiral shaped towers with gold plated spires except the tower over main shrine which has Sikh architectural style.
The walls are decorated with 300 well crafted image of deities. Painting in the temple are based on themes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. The temple is opened from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Shankaracharya Temple – It is situated on the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is also known as Jyesteshwara temple or Pas-Pahab by Buddhists. It is situated on a solid rock and has 243 steps leading up to the temple area and another 8-10 to temple hall. Views of Srinagar are possible from top of the hill. The Aarti starts at 5:30 AM in morning and 6:00 PM in evening
Jama Masjid – It is situated at Nowhatta in the middle of Old City in Jammu and Kashmir. It is built by Sultan Sikandar Shah Kashmiri under the order of Mir Mohammad Hamadani. It has similarities to Buddhist pagodas and constructed in Persian Style. It has a water tank with a fountain playing in the center. The Mehtab of Mosque is built of Kashmir glazed black stones with picturesque arch on which 99 inscribed attributes of Allah surrounded by inscription of Sura Kuma in Tagraalphabet are written. The Masjid can hold numerous devotees.
Amarnath Cave – It is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir reached through Pahalgam town. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains. It is opened only during the summers as rest of the year it is covered with snow. Inside the high Amarnath cave, a stalagmite is formed due to freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor and grows vertically from the cave floor. It is considered to be Shiva Lingam by Hindus. Lingam represents Lord Shiva. The best time to go is from July to August. Millions of devotees visit here every year.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – This gurudwara is constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak and is about 25 miles away from Leh on Leh Kargil Road, 1200ft above sea level. Visitors are advised to consult their doctors and arrange proper woolen cloths before embarking on this journey as the temperature falls beyond 20 degree in winter.
Alchi Monastery – It is also known as Alchi Gompa and is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district. The complex comprises of 4 separate settlements in Alchi village in lower Ladakh region. Out of these 4, Alchi monastery is said to be the oldest and famous. It is built according to the local tradition. Inscriptions in the preserved monuments ascribe it to a Tibetan Nobel called kal-Dan Shes-Rab. The assembly hall or the Dukhang is built in Kashmiri style.
Hazratbal Shrine – It is a Muslim shrine in Hazratbal, Srinagar. It contains a relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair pf prophet Muhammad. It is situated on the left bank of Dal Lake, Srinagar and is considered to be Kashmir ‘s holiest Muslim shrine.
Martand Sun Temple
Martand Sun Temple – This temple is dedicated to Surya and was built during the 8th century. It is located 5 miles from the Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. It is built on top of a plateau from where one can view the whole of Kashmir valley. It is an example of excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture which has blended the Gupta, Chinese, Roman forms of architecture. It is the largest example of Peristyle in Kashmir.
Gardens in Jammu and Kashmir
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden – It is the largest tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 30 hectares. It is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan range. Apart from Tulips, many other species of flowers are found here like Hyacinth, Daffodils, Ranunculus etc. There is an annual celebration called “Tulip Festival”. It is opened only in the month of April.
Shalimar Bagh – It is a Mughal garden in Srinagar located in Rainawari. It was built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan. It is also called “Crown of Srinagar”. The garden has 3 Terraces fitted with fountains and with Chinar. This garden is well known for Chinis khanaa, or arched niches behind garden waterfalls. It is opened from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Badamwari Garden – It is located on hills of Koh-e-Maran in Srinagar. This garden is well maintained and has lots of almond trees. There is a marvelous dome built in middle of garden as well. The trees reach full bloom during spring season.
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden – This botanical garden was set up in 1969 near Chashma-e-Shahi in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru. It has collections of 150,00 ornamental plants and huge collection of Oak varieties. It also has rare collection of Kashmiri Tropical plants. There are total 4 divisions, Plant Introduction Centre, Research Section, Recreational Garden and botanical garden. Boating facility is available as well.
Nasim Bagh – It is situated near Dal lake in Srinagar. The highlights of this garden are tall Chinar trees which are planted from the Mughal time. These trees are reddish in color and add beauty to this garden. The best time to visit is May to June.
Nature and Wildlife Areas in Jammu and Kashmir
Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary
Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary – It is located 22 Km from Srinagar. The name itself means ’10 villages” which could be in memory of 10 villages that were relocated for its formation. It consists of coniferous forests. Most of the grassland is covered by colourful flowers and various animal species are found here. Musk deer, leopard, Kashmir Grey Langur, Jackal and birds like Woodpecker, babbler, Cinnamon sparrow and many other species are found here.
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve – This biosphere reserve is located in the Southwest region of Srinagar. It is a dreamland for nature lovers as well as travelers. This reserve has the rarest as well as endangered species of animals and plants. It covers an area of 180 square km. It consists of coniferous forest (90%) and is home to various flora and fauna. Best time to go for bird watching is March to May otherwise for traveling it is September to March.
Lolab Valley – It is an Himalayan valley located in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an oval shaped valley. This valley is covered with dense forests and consist of trees like Pine and Fir. Fruit trees such as apple, cherry, peach, apricot, walnut are found here. Therefore it is called “Fruit bowl of Jammu and Kashmir “. Wild animals like Musk deer, Leopard, Hangul cam be seen here. It also has a Spring near to it called “Lavnag” which is famous for its Crystal clear water and is 3 feet deep.
Betaab Valley – This valley is situated in Anantnag and got It’s name from Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh’s debut film “Betaab”. This valley is surrounded by lush green meadows and Snow clad mountains and dense vegetation. It serves as a base camp for trekking and further exploration of mountains. There is a children’s amusement park nearby for kids.
Waterbodies in Jammu and Kashmir
Nigeen Lake – It is also called as Nageen lake and is mildly Eutrophic lake located in Srinagar. It is surrounded by a large Number of Willow and Poplar trees because of which it came to be as known as “Nageena” or “Nageen”(local language) meaning “the jewel in the ring”. Apart from houseboat staying and Shikhara Ride, One can enjoy Water Skiing, Motor rides and Sailing as well. This lake is ideal for swimming as well but because of the deteriorating water quality it is not advised.
Dal Lake – This Urban lake is second largest lake in State and named as the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir “. This lake is very popular as a visitor’s attraction and a summer resort. Swimming, Snow Skiing, Boating, Canoeing are famous activities done here. Visitors can even relax in houseboats. Various types of flora and fauna can also be seen here.
Manasbal Lake – It is located in the Ganderbal District in Jammu and Kashmir. This lake is surrounded by Lotus flowers at the periphery which makes it more attracting. This place is ideal for bird watching as it is one of the largest natural stamping grounds if Aquatic birds. Activities like Water Skiing can be done here. Best time to visit is in the month of May to August.
Gangabal Lake – It is also called as Gangbal Lake and is situated in the foothills of Mount Haramukh in Ganderbal District in north of Srinagar. Activities like trekking can be done here and it is a truly paradise place. Best month to visit is from July to September.
Mansar Lake – This lake is situated 62 km from Jammu and is fringed by forest covered hills. Besides being a popular place, it is also considered as a holy site for newly weds. Ancient temples are also present near the lake. This lake is ideal for boating. There is a small zoo as well along with a garden nearby. Food stalls and ice cream stalls are also available Where one can enjoy food along with the scenic beauty of the lake.
Surinsar Lake – This lake is 29 km away from Jammu and Kashmir. Lots of fishes can be found in the lake. There is a bungalow nearby the lake Where one can rest. There is also a small jungle at the center where one can reach via boats.
Vishansar Lake – It is an alpine high altitude Oligotrophic lake situated at Sonamarg. During summers, it is surrounded by green lush meadows where locals graze their flocks. During winters, this lake freezes. It is a beautiful lake with snow covered mountains. It is ideal for trekking. Glacier mountains makes this place a paradise.