Our country comprises beautiful and scenic mountain ranges, lakes, valleys, islands, scenic landscapes, tall buildings standing out in metropolitan cities, the lesser known suburban regions, the lush green lands in the interiors of villages, historical monuments, palaces, religious centers, heritage sites and the list goes on.
A traveler can find a never ending list to keep exploring new destinations with a variety offered at every place. Every place seems so unique, hidden in its own beauty, its own offerings and very different in culture and traditions. India is a multicultural, multi linguistic country and the traditions that we follow are very different from one region to the other.
A very well known destination, a traveler’s paradise and literally, a heaven on earth is Kashmir. Kashmir has much to offer in terms of its magnificent beauty, marvelous snow capped mountain ranges, snow clad hillocks, beautiful lakes, evergreen gardens, lush cultivations, a mesmerizing beauty that can hardly be described in words.
It’s the center of attraction for many reasons – be it the captivating beauty of the place, the cross border terrorism issues, the political sagas or the fear and terror associated with the place. The place of Kashmir is always in news for all these reasons.
It is like the proud jewel of India, but always prone to controversies from centuries and debates are still on regarding many burning issues with respect to the valley. Inhabitants of Kashmir spend their lives in fear and it’s a totally sensitive place in matters of politics and security and the government too, has made special provisions for the people dwelling there.
The Beauty of the Valley
The Kashmir valley is housed in the mountain ranges of the Himalayas and is almost always snow clad throughout the year. Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the border states of Kashmir within our country. To the east of Kashmir lies China and Tibet and surrounded by Pakistan on the west.
Kashmir valley is one of the biggest valleys in the country and extends to an area of 105 sq. kilometer. River Jhelum is the main river of Kashmir and it flows into different regions of Kashmir by branching out at various points and has many names to its tributaries. Other important rivers of the valley include the Chenab and the Indus rivers.
Summers in Kashmir are very mild and between the months of May and August. From September till November is the monsoon season and by the end of November, the climate becomes even chiller on the onset of winter. The climate is mostly monsoonal in this region.
From December till late February is the actual winter season and temperatures can go down to extremes in this part of the year. Between march and April, it is the spring season in Kashmir when travelers can actually visit the place to find the valley decorated by nature’s best colors and lush greenery covered at all corners.
Visiting the snow capped mountains from December till early march makes one wonder of the power of nature and the waterfront gardens offer picturesque views of flora. The forest cover in this region is home to many wild animals and birds, some of which are rare species not found anywhere else on the planet.
Owing to variations in land topographies and extremes of temperatures, the valley is quite different in its flora and fauna as well. The Karakoram Range has very thick forest cover. As the mountains are snow capped for major parts of the year, cultivation of crops becomes extremely difficult.
One can spot floating flowers on lakes and other sustainable breeds of flowers in this region. The place offers rich and thriving environment for aquatic lives under the snow clad lakes. Roses, tulips, hyacinth, golden collyriums, hollyhocks, marigolds, sunflowers, jasmines and periwinkles are some of the common flower varieties of this region.
Common trees found in this region are walnut trees, almond trees, chinar or maple trees, cedars, birch trees and blue pines. Wildlife in this region has animal inhabitants ranging from leopards, jackals, hill foxes, hanguls, musk deers, black bears, langurs etc. The valley is home to 120 species of birds and some of them are bulbuls and pheasants.
Terrorism Issues in Kashmir
The Kashmir valley is infamous for many controversies rising out of political agendas. Liberation of people staying in the valley has been a long burning issue since ages together and continues to haunt the inhabitants even today. Bloodshed and impositions of curfews are a common sight in the valley and the imposition of army at sensitive areas continue throughout the year at the place.
A part of the valley which is infiltrated by militants and infamously called PoK in political terms seems to be a bigger question mark for generations to come. The Kashmir issue remains as unsolved one to this day and both countries, India and Pakistan have been shedding blood over the years regarding the rights over Kashmir.
These issues have given way to terrorist attacks in the place and have fuelled cross border terrorism between the two nations. Both the governments have tried many times to resolve disputes between the two nations and free the area off terrorist activities, but have not reached the success path as yet.
Civilizations have given ways to new inroads and generations have rolled by, yet the mystery of the burning issue of terrorism seems to be haunting the country at large even to this day.
Popular places to Visit
There are many peak points and hill views that are famous for providing spectacular views of the valley. Most common places of interest for travelers include a visit to the Dal lake, Shankaracharya Hills, the Amarnath caves, Vaishno Devi temple, the world famous Indira Gandhi tulip gardens, Jama Masjid , Gulmarg, Srinagar, Pahalgam, the Mughal gardens of Srinagar, the glaciers of Sonamarg, Ladakh, Leh, etc.
Kashmir is world famous for its saffron production. Around 80% of the population depends on agriculture and saffron plays an important role in the export industry of the place. The main region where saffron is produced is Pulwama, Budgam and Srinagar districts.
The world famous saffron from Iran gave inroads to the production at Kashmir and the climatic conditions at the place make it possible for the rich cultivation and export qualities. It finds many uses, it is given to pregnant women, and it is used in many industries such as food and beverage industries and food preparations such as food colors and the famous chyawanprash.
The produce is limited to this state alone and hence the cost of saffron is sky high. Around 7.3 percent of the total world’s produce of saffron can be contributed to the state of Kashmir.
The valley has a rich landscape and culture that cannot be found anywhere else in the region. People of Kashmir have been fighting for their peace and freedom since centuries but their voices are yet to be heard. Terror and fear of their lives have made them live a very constrained life.
Education and other medical services are provided by the government but everyday life still continues to be scary for the inhabitants. The government of Kashmir has taken many security measures and provided relief to the inhabitants of the place, yet they cannot live without fear.
The place is well connected by rail, road and air from all major cities of towns of the country. The people depend on agricultural productions and small scale industrial productions for their daily livelihood. The youth of the valley need to be well educated and crimes against them must be stopped at once, providing liberation of the Kashmir valley.
Popular Industries of Kashmir
The valley of Kashmir is also very famous for its industrial productions, mainly the textile industries – woolen and silk textiles, carpet making industries, paper industries, forest and agricultural based produces. The valley of Kashmir, from a very long time, has been very famous for carpet making and shawl making industries.
Many of these industries are small, home-based units and women of the house are also equally skilled to take up such activities. The pashmina shawls of the valley are world famous. Skilled artisans exhibit their skills in wooden and handicraft industries.
Leather industries, artisans and weavers also find employment in the valley. The thick forest cover has given rise to many paper industries in the valley. Preparation of resins, lacs, turpentine, lubricants, etc is other activities of the people of this region.