Kashmir the pradise on Earth
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is
a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons
- always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges,
the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the
landscape from the north and south respectively. They are
the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys,
forested with orchards and decorated by lily-laden lakes.
The Mughals aptly called Kashmir ‘Paradise on Earth’
where they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the
valley’s cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with
great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, waterfront
gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes
of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these
gardens, and the rivalries that centred around their ownership.
They also patronized the development of art & craft among
the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite
artisanship among thes people and making the handicrafts of
the land prized gifts all over the world.
Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised.
In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing,
tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes.
In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes
and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights
the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700
m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for
prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed
alleys of lakes in shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats
are some of the most favoured ones.
Kashmir has four distinct seasons, each with its own peculiar
character and distinctive charm. These are spring, summer,
autumn and winter.
Spring- which extends roughly from March
to early May, is when a million blossoms carpet the ground.
The weather during this time can be gloriously pleasant at
23oC or chilly and windy at 6oC. This is the season when Srinagar
experiences rains, but the showers are brief.
Summer- extends from May until the
end of August. Light woollens may be required to wear out
of Srinagar. In higher altitudes night temperatures drop slightly.
Srinagar at this time experiences day temperatures of between
25oC and 35oC. At this time, the whole valley is a mosaic
of varying shades of green - rice fields, meadows, trees,
etc. and Srinagar with its lakes and waterways is a heaven
after the scorching heat of the Indian plains.
Autumn- the onset of autumn, perhaps Kashmir's
loveliest season, is towards September, when green turns to
gold and then to russet and red. The highest day temperatures
in September are around 23oC and night temperatures dip to
10oC by October, and further drop by November, when heavy
woollens are essential.
Winter- from December to the beginning of March is
winter time, which presents Srinagar in yet another mood.
Bare, snow-covered landscapes being watched from beside the
warmth of a fire is a joy that cannot be described to anyone
who has not experienced it. Some houseboats and hotels remain
open in winter-these are either centrally heated or heated
with ‘bukharis’, a typically Kashmiri stove kept
alight with embers of wood, quite effective in the winter.
How to reach
Srinagar-- the summer capital of State, is connected by direct
flights operated by Indian Airlines / Jet Airways / Sahara
Airways, etc. There are daily direct flights from Delhi /
Jammu to Srinagar. For details/reservation
Daily Super delux / Sleeper buses also run from Delhi to
Srinagar. For details/reservation Click
Jammu-Tawi is the nearest rail head for the travellers to
Srinagar. There are overnight trains operating from Delhi
to Jammu viz. Shalimar Express / Jammu Mail / Jhelum Express
/ Pooja Express / Uttar Sampark Kranti Express, besides day
trains Viz. Malva Express / Super fast Express. Jammu is also
connected by train with Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chennai and other
cities in the Country.
Delux buses and Taxies also operate from Jammu to Srinagar
for the passengers arriving Jammu by train. For details/reservation