The Indian-administrated state of Jammu and Kashmir incorporates three separate regions: Hindu Jammu, Buddhist Ladakh and the Muslim Kashmir.
The Kashmir Valley is one of India’s most mysterious, untamed and controversial destinations. With some of the highest and most impenetrably impressive landscapes on earth; the area is sometimes called the Alps of India or Jehangir’s Valley of Paradise.
In ancient times, it was the mountain retreat of warring Mughals and pacifist Buddhist lamas and an erstwhile paradise for British colonialists who lived a life of luxury along the placid Lake Dal.
After 20 years of simmering strife, Jammu and Kashmir is safer than it has been for decades and visitors are returning to this legendary destination, seeking out the houseboats of Srinagrar or trekking in the mountains north of Pahalgam.
The world’s highest mountain passes connect Ladakh, Zanskar, Kashmir, Lahaul, Spiti and Manali. Northeastern Ladakh has been untouched for centuries because of its remote location and offers a slice of paradise surrounded by glacier-fed rivers and frosted mountains.
Relaxing on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir | Trekking to scenic highpoints in Ladakh | Morning prayer ceremonies in the monasteries around Leh
Mughal emperors called the Kashmir valley ‘Paradise on Earth’