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Sunday, August 20, 2017 11:29           
• J & K Tour
 
Places Of Interest

Dal Lake: The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance

Pahalgam: Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam(2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C. A number of hotels anThe north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions : the foothill plains of Jammu; the lakes and blue valleys of Kashmir rising to alpine passes, the high altitude plains and starkly beautiful mountains of Ladakh which lies beyond those passes. The Kashmir valley is blessed with exotic natural beauty of landscape and water bodies, out of them, the most famous and appealing is the Dal Lake. Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes of India and the second largest in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains from three sides and a large number of gardens and orchards have been laid along the shores. Moving forward, houseboats, houses and vegetation cease abruptly, and two enormous sheet-like expanses of water, the Bod Dal & Lokut Dal, come into view. Leading from the Dal lake is the smaller Nagin Lake. Here, the waters are edged by trees of willow and poplar whose reflection is mirrored in the lake. The waters of the lakes are pleasantly cool from mid-May to mid-September. Nagin Lake, which is farther from town and have magnificent views of the mountains.
These water bodies are of great ecological and socio-economic significance. These lake with its multi-faceted eco-system and grandeur has been captivating the national as well as the international tourists from all over. Both the lakes are dotted with water lilies and are mobile shops of moving shikaras. Salesmen paddle from boat to boat, selling everything you could want such as cold drinks, fruits, nuts, fresh flowers, film, baked goods, papier-mache boxes, woolen shawls, silk carpets, leather goods, money-changing services and on and on. The lake tour offers one a visit to the Mughal Gardens and other sites on the lakeside including the famous Hazratbal mosque.

Mughal Gardens: Kashmir was a favourite of the Mughal emperor who visited it as often as they could. Cool and refreshing after the plains of North India where the business of governance kept them, they planted gardens with stepped terraces and flowing water courses. When they rested in their gardens, they dreamt they were in paradise. Cheshmashahi is the first Mughal garden you will pass after Nehru Park. Built at a height above the city, its views are as stupendous as its layout. The smallest of Srinagar's Mughal gardens, Cheshmashahi has only three terraces in addition to a natural spring of water enclosed in a stone pavilion. The next garden along the road that encircles the Dal is the Nishat, built by Empress Nur Jahan's bother Asaf Khan. The largest of the gardens, Nishat has several terraces, a central water course and a majestic site between the Dal and the Zabarwan hills.

The third Mughal garden, the Shalimar: was planted by Jehangir, the Mughal emperor, whose love for Kashmir was legendary. Shaded by magnificent chinar trees, the Shalimar is a series of stone pavilions and flowing water with paint - box bright flower beds.

Across the Dal from Shalimar is the mosque of Hazrat bal, the only one of its kind architecturally in Kashmir. Made of white marble with a dome and a minaret, Hazrat bal is the repository of a single hair of the Prophet Mohammed, exhibited to the public on certain days of the year.

Gulmarg: Gulmarg's legendary beauty, it is one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.
d lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including J&K TDC's huts.

Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.
The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes. Pahalgam has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal. There is a Shiva temple here, generally considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing temple, dating to the 5th century.

Sonamarg: The drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months. Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes.

Patnitop: 112 kms from Jammu. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes. Enveloped by thickly wooded forests, Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with a thick mantle of snow thusproviding opportunities for   various snow games  including skiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. The occupancy of the huts and Dak Banglow is full in summer months. There is ambitious plan of Patnitop Development Authority to develop Patnitop, Kud, Sud-Mahadev, Mantalai circuit. The costruction work of Mall Road at Kud is also proposed to be taken up. Trekking route from Kud to Patnitop-Sanasar has already been completed. The complete tourist circuit covers Jammu-Katra-VaishnoDeviji, Kud-Sanasar, Patnitop-Gourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, extending upto Latti-Dhuna.

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