JAMMU- “If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here”.
This Persian couplet itself defines the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir when it comes to the Tourism potential of the Union Territory.
Jammu and Kashmir encompasses tropical, subtropical and temperate climatic weather patterns, which therefore make it distinct from other parts of the country. A huge trans Himalayan landscape presents a diverse socio- geographical landscape to the onlookers and visitors. Himalayas, the young fold mountains of the world with snow cladded peaks throughout the year and also home to the highest peak of the world offer a wider platform for adventurous activities here and they form an undisputable source of allurement to the visitors from other Indian states and foreign countries as well.
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into two divisions; Jammu division and Kashmir division which adds an important component of diversity to the Union Territory. Both the regions have an immense potential for tourism due to stupendous and mesmerizing geographical landscaping.
Kashmir is well known for its scenic beauty, verdant valleys, lush green vegetation, snow cladded mountains, fascinating gardens, enchanting and enthralling lakes, wonderful panoramic view points, natural water falls, deep gorges, apple valleys, poplar trees, deodar trees, snow laden snow fields and huge glaciers, meandering rivers zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks etc.
The region falls mainly in subtropical and temperate latitudes with harsh winters triggered by western disturbances and western winds. The region also experiences rainy season in summers. Geographically, the valley is a basin shaped structure interspersed in between middle Himalayas in south and greater Himalayas in north with places of immense tourism potential.
Be it Dal lake, Mughal gardens, Nishat bagh, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Doodhpathri, Tosa maidan, Aharbal, Kokernag, Achabal, Sonamarg, wular lake, Nagin lake, Shankracharya temple, Khirbhawani and Amarnath shrine etc, Kashmir Valley gives varied options for visitors to experience the scenic and scintillating beauty here.
The valley maintains its charm in all the seasons. Ski enthusiasts can enjoy the exotic Himalayan landscape during winters. Gulmarg, popularly known as the meadow of flowers, is an ideal haven for adventure enthusiasts. Along with skiing, trekking, snowboarding, golfing, mount biking, and fishing are other exhilarating alternatives one can enjoy in Gulmarg.
Similarly in summer months, the numerous Alpine Lakes are favourite go to places for trekkers and campers giving them a chance to explore the adventurous potential of Kashmir valley.
Like Kashmir, Jammu division is also bestowed with natural beauty. The region falls in between pirpanjal range of middle Himalayas in north and kandi belt in south. The region falls mainly in tropical and subtropical latitudes and harbours many tourist places. Jammu exhibits all the qualities that make it a most sought after tourist destination.
Jammu, popularly known as the ‘city of temples’ is known for its ancient temples, shrines, gardens and forts. Some famous shrines like Raghunath temple, Ranbireshwar temple, Mahamaya temple,Bahu temple, Peer baba, and Peer kho are prominent religious places to visit.
The Bahu temple is situated inside the majestic Bahu fort is dedicated to goddess kali called bawe wali Mata. Besides the temple, a travel enthusiast can also enjoy the architectural grandeur of Bahu fort as well as Mubarak mandi complex. The aquarium at Bagh-e- Bahu which is largest underground aquarium in the country, also gives a mesmerizing experience to tourists.
Other places of Jammu division also give an enthralling experience to visitors. Rajouri district which is 158 km away from Jammu is blessed with many picturesque and charming places. Dehra ki galli, Thana Mandi and Koteranka are some places apt for sightseeing in the district. The magnificent Rajouri fort, Balidan Bhavan, Dhanidar fort and Rama temple are other most fascinating tourist destinations here.
Udhampur is known for its majestic tourist destinations like Basantgarh, panchari, sudhmahadev, latti etc. The krimchi temple of ancient era is also one of the major tourist attractions of district.
Reasi is famous all over the world for Katra town and shrine of Shri Mata Vaishnu Devi. Another major destination, the worlds highest bridge over river Chenab in Reasi is all set to become another fascinating place to visit in the district in coming months.
Similarly, Kathua is known for the shrine of Mata Sukrala and ancient Shiv temple of Billawar. Machhedi, a hilly village about 30 km from billawar is known for its beauty. Atal Setu at Basohli, Ranjit Sagar Dam and Purthu are other enthralling tourist destinations in district kathua. Bani and sarthal are also beautiful places in district kathua known for deodar trees, snow cladded mountains and undulating topography and possess huge tourism potential.
In short one can say that Jammu and Kashmir is naturally bestowed with such a landscape which has made it one of the popular tourist destination across the globe. In recent months, several unexplored and untapped places have been brought on the map of tourism here, thereby giving visitors a more scope for leisure and recreation.