Kashmir (East)/ Cashmere (West)/ Kashir(Local) is considered to be one of the most beautiful place on the planet. It is a fairyland of dancing streams, scintillating rivers, clear blue lakes and boundless forests with beautiful Pine, Deodar and Chinar trees, mountains full of snow, enormous glaciers, lush green meadows, marvellous waterfalls and beautiful orchards. The landscape is stunningly beautiful. It is well deservedly called the “Paradise on earth” and “Switzerland of The East”.
Kashmir Valley is a unique oval plain with the dimensions of 135kms and 32kms. The valley lies nestled in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. The average altitude of the Valley is around 1,800m. The place is exquisitely beautiful, surrounded by varied mountains. The mountains vary in form, height and colour.Harmukh, with an altitude of 5,150m, stands to the east. It isan intimidating mountain range guarding the Indus valley. Gwasha Brari (5,425), Mahadev and the Amarnath peak (5,280m) lie in to the South. On the south-west is the Pir-Panjal range with peaks 4,500m high. Karakorams and the Himalayan ranges, including the imposing Nanga Parbat (7,980m) lies to the north.Nanga Parbat remains covered with snow round the year and are the fifth highest peak in the world. It is also named Diamir, the King of mountains.
The land of Kashmir is very fertile, so the main occupation of people is agriculture. Rice grows in abundance. Other crops and vegetables also grow in good amount. World famous saffron is grown here in the Pampore region of Pulwama district. However in the cities people adopt different kinds of occupations to sustain their livelihoods. Kashiris famous for producing world class handicrafts. The population in region is mostly Muslim.
Kashmir Valley consists of ten districts:
This capital city is located in the centre of the valley at an altitude of 1624 metres. The city is situated on the banks of River Jhelum. River Jhelum is often referred to as the Lifeline of Kashmir. The two parts of the city are connected by nine bridges spanning and Jhelum more bridges are being constructed. At places boats are used to cross the river.
Srinagar has a total area of 294 sq. km. The city was established by King PraversenaII around 2000 years ago. Srinagar literally means “city of wealth”. It is one of the prime cities in Kashmir and a favourite with tourists.Dal Lake is the major landmark in Srinagar. It is the top tourist attraction. The lake is famous for its houseboats. Houseboats and leisure-rides in Shikaras (Flat-bottomed boats with a cloth canopy) add to the charm of the lakes. You must stay in the beautiful houseboats on the lakes to catch the true essence of your Srinagar tour. Equipped with advanced facilities and earnest hospitality, the houseboats are ideal dwelling for the tourists. Antique wooden mosques and other religious places are some of the main lures of Srinagar sightseeing. Chinars, Poplars, artistic woodcarving, Paper-machie, embroidery, shawls, silk, silver wares, willow work, handicrafts, Mughal Gardens, Shrines, temples, hills and much more constitutes the essence of Srinagar.
Formerly named Islamabad, Anantnag is the second biggest town after Srinagar and situated 52km to the South of Srinagar. It covers an area of 3,984 sq. km.literally meaning “Infinite Springs”,Anantnag is an important town of the region. It is known for holy springs, sulphur springs and many holy places. Famous tourist resorts – Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Aru, Betab Valley, Achabal, Kokarnag, Daksum fall in the vicinity of this district. It is a town full of life and activity. Also known for its GABA industry, shawls, woollen cloths, Lois, Pattus and other handicrafts are manufactured here. At the town’s heart lies Lal-chowk, its commercial centre.
There are a few Shrines located in the main town. An important Shrine is located on a mountain in Aishmuqam, on way to Pahalgam. The Shrine is dedicated to Zaina Shah, a sufi saint who used to meditate in a cave there. The cave shrine is high on the mountain. A stair with over a hundred steps takes the devotees there. A temple is located in Mattan area. On way to Anantnag from Srinagar, there are many archaeological sites.
Baramulla or Varmul is historically very important for cachemire. It is believed that Kashmir valley was originally a vast lake, Satisar, which got drained by deepening of the Baramulla gorge.Baramulla is located in north, on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Highway. It was earlier called the Gateway of Kashmir. It was founded by Raja Bhimsina in 2306 BC. Baramulla is situated in North on Jhelum after its emergence from the Wullar, 55 km from Srinagar. It covers an area of 4,588 sq. kilometres.The Old town of Baramulla is located on the right bank of the river and the new town is located on the left.
Many travellers including Chinese Hieun Tsang have travelled to this historic town. Mughal rulers and Emperor Akbar also visited this town. As this was the Gateway of Kashmir, it used to be their halting station.Baramulla is mentioned in many ancient texts and legends.
Baramulla is a beautiful district comprising of some famous tourist places in Kashmir including the world famous Gulmarg. Gulmarg is the top tourist destination in J&K. It has been rated as one of the top 5 skiing destinations in the world. Some other tourist places include Khilanmarg, Apharwat, Tangmarg, Drang.
Another important district of the valley of Kashmir. It is a foot hill situated in close proximity of the Pir-Panjal range about 55 km to the South of region. It has an area ofShopian is well connected with some important districts of Jammu & Kashmir including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Rajouri and Poonch. The chief attraction that has developed in the district recently is the re-opening of the Mughal Road. Mughal Road in the past connected Srinagar with Lahore. However the route was closed and now is being re-opened, now, connecting Shopian with the Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu. On completion, the route will be an alternative link between J&K.
The Mughal Road is exquisitely beautiful and people are thronging it in huge numbers. Many bike and car rallies have also been organised in the hilly road. Other attractive places in the district areAharbal (famous for its fierce waterfalls), Kounsernag, Kongwatan, Lahanthour, Sedow, Herpora etc. Jama Mosque of Shopian is a historical monument, built by Mughals. It has some important historic shrines as well as other religious centres.
Bandipora is another newly carved put district of Kashmir. It is located the banks of Wular Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Asia.
Bandipore is situated on the banks of the Wular, the largest fresh-water lake in Asia which is home to a lot of migratory birds. Inadvertent dumping of the polluted river waters and sewage affluence has led to a pandemic growth of algae in the waters of the Wular which is threatening the lake and its supporting life itself. Bandipore is also a stepping town to the higher reaches of Razdan, Gurez and Tragbal.
The famous lolab valley in Kupwara district is adjacent to the Bandipora. It is just 30 km from Bandipura via Aaloosa village. Once this road is upgraded it will become a lifeline of the lolab valley and it will provide an additional route to the Kupwara district.
This district is closely linked with the capital city Srinagar. Budgam was earlier a part of Srinagar district and it was made a district only in 1979. It covers an area of roughly 1,371 sq. km. It was one of the largest districts of Kashmir until recently. Eight blocks constitute this district: Beerwah, Nagam, Budgam, B K Pora, Khan Sahib, Khag, Narbal and Chadoora. Budgam is known for unlimited springs and streams that flow throughout the district. Many springs run throughout the district. In Khag block only there are 30 springs of varying sizes. These springs provide fresh water round the year. One of the most famous springs of the district is Nilnag.
Ganderbal is one of the newly made districts of Jammu Kashmir. It was recently carved out from Srinagar district. It covers a large area of the district lies in close proximity of Srinagar and Bandipura. It got some of the most beautiful locations of Kashmir under its area. These places include Sonamarg, the Golden meadow and the deepest lake Manasbal. The district is situated on the banks of River Sindh. The district is known for its three hydro-electric power plants. The water from the river Indus is used in these power plants. The water is also used for drinking in Srinagar.
Another newly made district, Kulgam was carved out from Anantnag district. Five blocks constitute the district-Quimoh, Pahloo, D.H.Pora, Devsar and Kulgam. The district headquarters, Kulgam town is located on Jammu-Srinagar highway. It is situated at a distance of about 68 km from Srinagar and about 17 km from Anantnag. It is a picturesque area lying nestled in the PirPanjal range. The district is well connected by road with its neihghbouring districts Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Ramban.
Kupwara is a frontier district located in North Kashmir, about 90 km from Srinagar. It covers an area of 2,379 sq. km. It has an altitude of 5,300 ft. The district is located close to the border between India and Pakistan, between the Shamsbari and PirPanjal mountain ranges. Kupwara or Kupwor, as it is known locally, was a part of Baramulla district until 1979, after which it was given a district status. Karnah, Handwara and Kupwara are the three main administrative units of the district.
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