Our planet Earth is beautiful in its entirety. It offers all kinds of landforms to explore, be it mountains, valleys, plains etc. The seven continents ( Asia, North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe & Antarctica ) have it’s own natural and man-made environment to attract people around the world and show-off. The famous tourist attractions include Taj Mahal in Agra ( India ), Statue of Liberty in New York Bay ( USA ) and so on. But rarely you find a place which as a whole is a destination worth watching/seeing.
Let me tell you a story. In the end of December 2019, I met a lot of students from Kashmir University, India. I interacted with them, literally day and night as long as possible and hence we developed an emotional connection. As we all are aware that happiness isn’t long-lasting, they had to leave for their hometown. Socializing with them, I really understood the aesthetics of Kashmir, also known as J&K i.e. Jammu & Kashmir ( the only heaven on our Blue ), and therefore I believe that it’s the dream place to visit. It’s like the sky studded with stars, which appeal equally. It has numerous destinations for holidaymakers and is full of surprises.
One can reach Kashmir via road, rail or air. The biggest entertainer is the time spent on road ( Zojila and Khardungla crossings ). On an airplane, you can see the never-ending Himalayas. The main parts of the state are Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. J&K has two capitals – Jammu in winters and Srinagar in summers. It’s also known as the Switzerland of India. It has gardens, cragged terrains (snow-covered mountains & arrogant hills ), inclined meadows promoting rock-climbing, trekking, skiing, snowboarding, camping, paragliding…
Srinagar is well-known for lakes, Dal Lake being the most gorgeous one and visited globally. On its perimeter lies the mountains, gardens and orchards, leaving you spellbound. Shikaras and Houseboats are available for sightseeing in the sweet waters. Gulmarg is a paradise for those who love adventure sports. Trekking is preferred at the Northern Pir Panjal Range. You’ll get the opportunity to see the highest golf course in the world ( initiated in 1904 by the British ).
Pahalgam earned the fame of Valley of Shepherds. It also ( besides Sonmarg ) serves as a shelter for pilgrims to sacred Amarnath cave/yatra. Liddar Valley in the Himalayas is the magnet. It’s a perfect location for hiking, fishing… Ranbir Canal in Jammu is a great picnic corner during summers. Patnitop, a hill station ( so-called Pond of the Princess or Patan da Talab ), makes your snowy dreams come true. It’s located close to river Chenab with an air of the Himalayan Shivalik range.
Engulfed by mammoth conifers and constructed in a cup-shaped meadow, Sanasar is one of the remotest regions in India, a fantastic hill station, and a golf course. Katra/ Vaishno Devi is situated at a height of around 2500 feet above sea level and no less than 4.5 million pilgrims travel through it to reach the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi .
Leh Ladakh allures the seekers of lofty monasteries and Buddhist celebrations. Little Tibet – Ladakh faces no competition, set amongst the Karakoram and the Great Himalayan mountain ranges. Previously, Kargil was the heart of the trade road of the Pan-Asian network. On their path to Central Asia, merchants transporting tea, poppy, ivory, brocade, silk, carpets, etc. went across it. If you wanna feel the uttermost winters and socialize with the sturdy folks, come to trans-Himalayan valley – Zanskar, with the Buddhists as the majority group. For couples, Nubra Valley (the valley of flowers ) is the hotspot.
Kashmiris happen to be damn cool hosts, be it the tourist guides or the locals. They are friendly, warm and well-versed with the art of hospitality. Special Tourist Police is there to aid the tourists in all the possible ways and to protect them against harrassment, pestering, overcharging, toting and more.
Though Kashmir is vulnerable to civil unrest and violence and that too unexpectedly ( at any moment ), the people over there are no less humans than us. They believe in brotherhood, peace and solidarity. And when you’ll get there, you won’t even regret the first glance. And when you’ll get there, you won’t even regret the first glance. And please don’t take my words as the sole proof as I’ve learnt from my life that you can never tell what something is like unless you experience it yourself, not just read the tales or hear the anecdotes about it.
Author Bio – Mandeep Singh, 23 years old student from Chandigarh ( Punjab, India ).He was a participant of International Essay Competition,March,2019