PARADISE ON EARTH
?Agar firdous baroye zameen ast, hami asto, hami asto, hami ast?
For centuries the beauty of the Valley of Kashmir has charmed its visitors. Jahangir, the famous Mughal emperor, described Kashmir as the Paradise on Earth. Bernier, the first European to visit Kashmir, writing in 1665 said: ?In truth, the kingdom surpasses in beauty all that my warmest imagination had anticipated?.
The saucer shaped valley of Kashmir lies in the very heart of the Himalayas with a length of 84 miles, breadth of 20-25 miles and an average mean height of 5,600 feet above sea level. The valley has a lot to offer to both the pleasure seeking tourist and the adventure seeking tourist. First among the places of interest to be described must be Srinagar, the city of the Sun and the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. National Highway (NH1) connects Srinagar to Jammu via the famous Banihal Tunnel. The picturesque drive from Jammu to Srinagar zigzags through the mountains and is lined with pine and furtrees. Srinagar airport has direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai and all major airlines have daily flights to Srinagar. Located in the heart of Kashmir Valley, at an altitude of 1,700 meters, Srinagar is famous for its Lakes and Mughal Gardens. The Dal and the Nigeen Lake enhance its picturesque setting while the salubrious climate makes the city an attractive all season destination. Located on the shores of the Dal Lake, the Royal Springs Golf Course provides picturesque settings for a game of golf. Designed by Robert Trent Jones the course was voted as the best golf course in India.
At an hour?s drive from Srinagar Airport, lies the mesmerizing meadow of flowers- Gulmarg. A popular tourist destination for decades, Gulmarg boasts of the worlds highest 18 hole Golf Course and is famous for winter sports. According to Sylvain Saudan, world?s best known adventure skier and an honorary citizen of Kashmir, Kashmir offers a skiing area as wide as the Northern and Southern Alps brought together. Ninety kilometers from Srinagar, is Pahalgam or the Valley of Shepherds. The main charm of Pahalgam lies in its natural scenery and the views of the mountains. Pahalgam serves as the main camping ground for various treks. Other than the above mentioned popular tourist spots, Kashmir also has many other beautiful places such as Yousmarg, Sonmarg, LolabValley, Achbal etc.