Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It
is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and
Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal
Pradesh and Punjab.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the
Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer
capital, and Jammu, its winter capital. While the
Kashmir valley, often known as Paradise on Earth, is
famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu's
numerous shrines attracts tens of thousands of Hindu and
Muslim pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as
"Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain
beauty and Buddhist culture.
Geography and climate
Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the
Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch
Valley, Sind Valley and Lidder Valley. The main Kashmir
valley is 100 km (62
mi) wide and 15,520.3 km2 (5,992.4 sq mi) in area. The
Himalayas divide the Kashmir valley from Ladakh while
the Pir Panjal range, which encloses the valley from the
west and the south, separates it from the Great Plains
of northern India. Along the northeastern flank of the
Valley runs the main range of the Himalayas. This
densely settled and beautiful valley has an average
height of 1,850 metres (6,100 ft) above sea-level but
the surrounding Pir Panjal range has an average
elevation of 5,000 metres (16,000 ft).
The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan river which
flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Tawi, Ravi
and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the
state. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan
glaciers. With an average altitude of 5,753 metres
(18,870 ft) above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is 70
km (43 mi) long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.
The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to
its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the
climate is typically monsoonal, though the region is
sufficiently far west to average 40 to 50 mm (1.6 to 2
inches) of rain per months between January and March. In
the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up
to 40 °C (104 °F) whilst in July and August, very heavy
though erratic rainfall occurs with monthly extremes of
up to 650 millimetres (25.5 inches). In September,
rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but
extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of
around 29 °C (84 °F).
Across from the Pir Panjal range, the South Asian
monsoon is no longer a factor and most precipitation
falls in the spring from southwest cloudbands. Because
of its closeness to the Arabian Sea, Srinagar receives
as much as 25 inches (635 millimetres) of rain from this
source, with the wettest months being March to May with
around 85 millimetres (3.3 inches) per month. Across
from the main Himalaya Range, even the southwest
cloudbands break up and the climate of Ladakh and
Zanskar is extremely dry and cold. Annual precipitation
is only around 100 mm (4 inches) per year and humidity
is very low. This region, almost all above 3,000 metres
(9,750 ft) above sea level and winters are extremely
cold. In Zanskar, the average January temperature is -20
°C (-4 °F) with extremes as low as -40 °C (-40 °F). All
the rivers freeze over and locals actually do river
crossings during this period because their high levels
from glacier melt in summer inhibits crossing. In summer
in Ladakh and Zanskar, days are typically a warm 20 °C
(68 °F) but with the low humidity and thin air nights
can still be cold.
The Seasons in Jammu & Kashmir
The seasons are marked with sudden change and the year
is divided into six seasons of two months each.
» Spring March 15 to May 15.
» Summer May 15 to July 15.
» Rainy Season July 15 to Sept. 15.
» Autumn Sept. 15 to Nov. 15.
» Winter Nov. 15 to Jan 15.
» Ice Cold Jan. 15 to March 15.
» From December 24 to March 8 temperature is often below
zero. Strong winds blow from south and southeast. There
is snowfall during winter and there are thick black
clouds in the sky.
Kashmir, the land of fruits and nuts is also famous for
its well known for flavoursome Kashmiri Cuisines, more
for the non-vegetarian dishes. Traditional Kashmiri form
of cooking is known as Wazhawan and consists of mostly
non-vegetarian dishes. Kashmir serves the choicest
selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian food in
multiple flavours to suit every pocket. Multihued
restaurants are available all along the major spots of
Kashmir. The rich and aromatic flavour of the foods
suites all the tastes and tongues unique to Kashmiri
cuisine. Most Kashmiris including the Brahmins (Kashmiri
Pandits) are meat eaters.
Kashmir has developed its own specialties in cooking -
its cuisine is unique. Locally grown varieties of rice
are sweetly fragrant and very light. All the dishes are
built around the main course of rice. The delicious saag,
is made from thick-leafed green leafy vegetable called 'hak'
that grows throughout the year. Lotus root is also an
important produce for boat dwelling people and makes a
very good substitute for meat.
Fresh vegetables are used in season. Morel mushrooms
called as 'guhchi' are harvested and consumed fresh in
summer. They are expensive therefore used only for
specific occasions such as religious and wedding feasts.
Their hearty flavor enlivens pilafs and other meatless
dishes. Corn bread is an alternative for rice.
The tea in Kashmir is not the one taken by most Indians,
rather it is spice scented green tea called "kahava"
poured from a samovar, a large metal kettle.
Kashmiri handicrafts is world renowned and been
appreciated since long time by the people all around the
world. The exclusive items in tastes are
difficult to find elsewhere in the world. Kashmir
produces some of its very own handicraft items for the
people interested in Kashmiri Handicrafts and items.
Though some duplicates are found in several places,
which people sell and purchase by the name of Kashmiri
Handicrafts. The intricacy and delicacy is difficult to
find in others works
Kashmiri carpets are very well
known for their intricate and delicate piece of work. It
may well be the single most extravagant purchase during
your tour to Kashmir. Kashmiri carpets are world famous
for two things - firstly, they are hand made and
secondly, they are always knotted, never tufted. The
yarn used normally is silk, wool or silk & wool. Woollen
carpets always have a cotton base (Warp & Weft),
The carpets are woven with certain motifs in vibrant
colours. The finest of Kashmiri carpets are available at
major showrooms. The amiable blend of colours makes the
Kashmiri carpet a most loved possession. The colour and
the design details differentiate it from any other
The knotting of the carpet is the most important aspect
of carpet weaving. The knots of the carpets determines
its durability and value, in addition to its design and
pattern. The more knots per square inch, the greater
becomes the value and durability of each carpet.
There are three different grades of Papier Mache work,
although if looked at a glance all looks quite same.
Some are actually cardboard or wood. The idea is to
provide a cheaper product for someone who wants the look
of Papier Mache at cheaper price.
To make a Papier Mache, first paper is soaked in water
till it breaks apart. It is then crushed, mixed with an
adhesive solution, shaped over moulds, and allowed to
dry and set before being painted and given the final
Bright colours are used on the designs painted on
objects of Papier Mache. They are distinct in artistry
and colours. Gold is used on most objects, either as the
only color, or as the highlight for any particular
motif. Apart from the design, the type of gold used also
determines the price of the object. The pure gold work
which has an unrivalled luster, is far more expensive
than bronze dust or gold poster paint. It also has much
longer life and will never fade or tarnish. Varnish
which is applied to the finished product, imparts a high
gloss and smoothness which increases with every coat