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Jammu and Kashmir
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Tourist Attractions of Jammu and Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir embodies the poetry of nature, which no human language can interpret in words. Majestic ice capped mountains, verdant woods, lively rivers and placid lakes form the landscape of the state. The state can be divided in 3 distinct regions, namely:

* The foothill plains of Jammu,
* Kashmir Valley
* Mountainous Ladakh

All three are strikingly varied from one another in terms of geography, culture, religion and climate. So the tourist attraction in Jammu and Kashmir not only lies in the outstanding sceneries, but also in its cultural variation from one area to another.

The southernmost region of the state is nestled at the foothills of the Pir Panjal Mountains. The rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab make their way through the region carving spectacular gorges.

Jammu is known as the city of temples as a number of temples wrapped in age-old myths dot the area. Also there are quite a few forts and palaces. Some important places of interest are: Ranbireshwar Temple, Raghunath Temple, Bahu Fort & Gardens, Peer Baba, Mahamaya Temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple, Amar Mahal Palace, Sudh Mahadev temple, Gauri Kund, Mansar Lake, Purmandal.

Apart from these, 48kms away from Jammu, the shrine of the Goddess Vaishnodevi is one of the most important tourist attractions in Jammu and Kashmir. It is considered one of the most sacred places worship among the Hindus.

In the resplendent valley of Kashmir, the nature in this region keeps changing her wardrobe lending it different hues in every season. The Mughal emperor fell in love with the landscape of lily-laden lakes inn the backdrop of mighty Himalayas. They decorated the city ofSrinagar with manicured waterfront gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. The city has quite a few picturesque lakes rimmed with Shikaras (houseboats). Here also you find some old temples and mosques of exquisite architecture. Some important attractions in Kashmir valley are: Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chashma Shahi, Pari Mahal, Hazratbal Mosque, Jama Masjid, Shankaracharya Temple, Makhdoom Sahib, Martand, Awantipur.

The mountain resort of Gulmarg lies close to Srinagar within this valley. At an altitude of 2,650mtrs it is the highest green golf course in the world and a premier ski resort in the winter.

Another important site in the region is Pahalgam. Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the river Lidder, Pahalgam is a hill station of breathtaking beauty.

At a distance of 46 Kms from Pahalgam and 141 Kms from Srinagar, Amarnathji is an important pilgrimage in the region. Devout Hindus undertake the long tedious trek to reach the caves during the months of July-August, when icon of Lord Shiva, is formed naturally of an ice-stalagmite.

Ladakh : The region of Ladakh bears close similarity to the barren moonscape. Here snowcapped mountains of the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram reach several thousands feet up to the arch of azure sky. Quaint little hamlets and crumbling old monasteries hide in the rocky cliffs. The prayer flags flutter in the wind and the river Indus meanders gracefully through the towering willows and poplars.Leh is the most significant town in the region, which also serves as the base for exploring further towards the Himalayas. Important sites in Leh-Ladakh region are: Leh palace, Shey Palace, Stok Palace, monasteries of Phiyang, Hemis, Thiksey, Likir, Spituk, Alchi, Lakes of Pangong and Tso-moriri etc. If you have a passion for adventure, you can also opt for river rafting, mountain climbing and trekking.

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