Jammu and Kashmir Travel Guide

Introduction        Jammu-Kashmir Region     Ladakh-Zanskar Region


The Kashmir in simple words as we know is “Paradise on Earth” a truly paradise one has to visit to believe it. The perfect destinations for Honeymoon Holidays, Pilgrimage Tours, Many adventure related activities, Fishing, Skiing. Golfing etc. The Jewel of India is one of the most popular tourist destination for year around. It has the best scenic landscape, the most revered pilgrimage places, astonishing gardens, multifaceted culture, Lakes and some of the highest passes of the world.  It has everything for everyone.

Ladakh “the land of High Passes” with Zanskar are the region inhabited by the community of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent and the reason why it closely resembles like Tibet. The place is one of the few places on this planet where you find the most contrast climatic conditions it is believed that you can get Sun burn and frost bite together. It is regarded as cold desert with immense beauty with one of the most sparsely populated in India. The place has the highest habitat in Indian with average of 3000 m above sea level. Rangdum is the highest inhabited region in the Suru valley. There are places with extreme like Drass is the second coldest inhabited place on earth, Khardungla Pass is the world highest motorable road, Pangong Lake is the highest brackish lake of the world.

Jammu-Kashmir Region:


Known as the gateway of Kashmir lies just at an elevation of 300 mts from sea level. The Jammu is regarded as the pilgrimage center and the most visited pilgrimage destination is Katra for Vaishnodevi located at a distance of 51 kms from Jammu. Further one has to hike about 14 kms of trek route from Katra Banganga. For those who can’t afford to trek can take Palki, Horse/Pony, or Pitthu. There are various accommodation facilities at Katra ranging from budget to Luxury category.


 Located in the heart of Kashmir is this 2000 yrs old city at an altitude of 1700 mtrs from sea level. It is also the gateways of Ladakh there are many local attractions located in Srinagar some of them are Mughal Garden, Nishant Bagh, Hazratbal Shrine and Sankaracharya Temple. There is nothing like doing Shikara Ride on Dal Lake and staying in Houseboat having 2 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms with attached bathroom, Sitting and sun Deck. There is one attendant who stays with the guest to serve foods and other services.

There are beautiful lakes like Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, Manasbal Lake, Wular Lake etc.

Katra and Vaishnodevi:

Katra is one of the holiest place situated at a distance of 51 kms from Jammu which is now well connected by Indian railway. Katra is a town and the gateway for Mata Vaishnodevi and for any pilgrimage visiting to Mata Vaishnodevi one has to register here in Katra Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board. There are plenty of hotel options ranging from budget to 5* hotels. Katra is situated at a height of 750 m above sea level while Bhawan is situated at an altitude of  160 m above sea level. There are even Dharamshala who provide free accommodation The Bhawan is located at a distance of about 14 kms from Katra tough most preferred to trek and for them who can’t there are facilities like Ponies, Electric Vehicles, Palkis and Pithus. One can even take a helicopter and fly till SanjiChat. One who travels to Bhawan also travels to Bhairon temple which is another 1.5 kms uphill. 


Located at a distance of 81 kms from Katra is easy escape from scorching heat of Jammu and nearby places. It’s also one of the nearest Hill station from Jammu and located at an elevation of 1950 m and surrounded by lush green forest of pines.


Located at an elevation of 2400 mts from sea level is a very popular destination which literally means “Shepherds Village” and is base camp for Amarnath Trekking. The place is also famous for angling.


Literally means “Meadows of flowers” is located at an elevation of 2690 mts and 56 kms from Srinagar. In winter the place become the hub for Skiing. In summer time the beauty of Gulmarg is indescribable in good clear sky you can see the Naga Parwat and other surrounding peaks. It has world’s highest Golf course and one should not forget taking Gondola rides which take you to a height of 3095 mts.


Literally means “Golden Meadows” is located at a distance of 80 kms from Srinagar at an elevation of 2800 mts. It is also the base for Amarnath and Harmukh Range. This beautiful place is also angler’s paradise.


Kargil lies at a distance of 204 kms and 234 kms from Srinagar and Leh making it choice for overnight halt in between journey. It is also the gateway of Zansker the places like Rangdum, Padum. The Kargil is located on the bank of Suru River. Kargil become a household name after Kargil War of 1999 one can still see the shell mark.


This beautiful place is famous for Kashmiri Sufi Saint and is just 50 kms away from Srinagar. One can go to Nilnag Lake by foot or by pony.

Amaranth Cave:

Amarnath is a famous pilgrimage center located at an altitude of 3888 m above sea level. The holy place is approachable through trek from Pahalgam which usually takes around 4-5 days which is 45 kms. There is another route from Baltal by Helicopter services which is near to Sonmarg The whole route comes alive during the Yatra all halting points provides with the basic facilities for pilgrimage with lodging. The Yatra commences in the month of Shravan and for 2017 it is scheduled to start from 29th June 2017. The registration process has been started. Kindly visit the link below for more information’s. A stalagmite is formed due to freezing of water drops creating Shiva Linga this has been mentioned in many ancient text it is popularly belief that the lingam shape changes with the phase of the moon.

Ladakh-Zanskar Region:


Leh is the largest city of Ladakh and Zanskar region and the capital of Leh region. Leh is also the second largest district after Kutch of Gujarat. Leh is situated at the elevation of 3524 m above sea level. The only road which connects for brief period during summer is from Manali-Sarchu-Leh and Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road. It has cold desert climate with scanty rainfall and long winter session from October to March end.

There are attractions in and around Leh the major of them are:

  1. Leh Palace.
  2. Shanti Stupa
  3. Leh Palace.
  4. Spituk Monastery.
  5. Stok Palace and Stok Monastery.
  6. Thiksey monastery.
  7. Alchi Monastery.
  8. Shey Monastery.
  9. Sham Valley.
  10. The sangam of Zanker and Indus River.
  11. Magnetic Hill.
  12. Hemmis Monastery.

Other places with long distances are:

  1. Tsomoriri Lake.
  2. Khardung La
  3. Pangong Tso
  4. Siachen Glacier.
  5. Hunder Valley.
  6. Rangdum Monastery
  7. Phuktal Monastery.
  8. Padum
  9. Kargil
  10. Nubra Valley
  11. Melbuk


Lamayuru lies en route Kargil at a distance of 107 kms from Leh a great place to experience the local Ladakhi culture in the purest and original form. It has famous Lamayuru Monastery which is the home for 150 monks it has rich collection of artifacts, Wall Paintings, Thangkas, Statue and Carpets. The most popular attractions of this place is Moons land a striking landscape feature similar to lunar surface.

Pangong Lake:

Pangong Lake is one of the largest and the highest brackish lake of the world situated at a height of 4350 m above sea level and lies at a distance of about 180 kms from Leh city which passes through Changla Pass the third highest motorable pass of the world. The lake was made popular after the series of Bollywood and Tollywood flicks has been shot here namely 3 Idiots, Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Fugly etc. The Pangong tour can be done in a day but we suggest you to take one night halt at this beautiful scenic place as you might get a better views of the places around. The lake is 5 kms at its broadest and 134 kms long most part of which lies in Tibet or under the control of Chinese Territory.  

Tso Moriri Lake:

The Lake lies at a distance of about 250 kms from Leh and is located at an elevation of 4500 m above sea level is higher than Pangong Tso lake but smaller than Pangong Tso. The Lake is 7 kms wide at its broadest point and 20 kms long. It has been included in the Ramsar Wetland conservation Reserve. The lake is located in remote areas and there is now accommodation one has to take tents and foods for overnight stay. Though during season time tented accommodation are available but a prior booking is required.


Rangdum is a vast alluvial plain approachable by rugged dried river bed surface. Here stood the gallantry Rangdum Gompa and is situated in the mid of Kargil and Padum. If going through Kargil one might have to spend night here as the terrain is very rugged and occasionally you need a break your journey. It lies at a distance of about 25 kms from Pensi La located at an elevation of 4,400 m above sea level. The Monastery is about 200 years old and the monastery is home to about 30-35 monks.


Interesting fact of the place is that it has been named after Padmasambhava with just a population of about 1000 and yet regarded as the crowded place in Zanskar region. The village of Padum lies at an elevation of 3657 m the nearest and one of the most famous and important monastery is Karsha Monastery. One can get basic accommodation facilities, Post Office, Internet Café and few shops. Padum lies at a distance of about 2014 kms from Kargil via Pinse La and usually take more than 1 days with one night halt at Randum.

Nubra Valley:

Nubra Valley is one of the remotest yet much popular tourist place in Ladakh. One has to cross the highest motorable road of Khardungla Pass at 5602 m above sea level to reach this beautiful cold desert valley. Visit to the land of brazen beauty perched at an average height of 3048 m visit to Diskit Gompa perched high above can be reached by car but to get the best experience of the place one should hike upto the monastery. Near to Diskit is the Hunder Village you will see Bactrian camel grazing in the backdrop landscape of braided Shyok River.

Phuktal Monastery:

Phuktal is the institute of learning of Buddhism with traditional and modern curriculum. It has been the center of learning since 2550 yrs ago and due to its location this was an obvious choice for retreat, meditation, learning and teachings. Still the traditional has been carried out and there are student of nearby Lungnak valley enrolled for their basic education as educating is one of the main focus the Phugtal is doing. They are educated free with boarding and lodging.  The monastery is located in the natural cave with natural source of water the water of the cave has great healing potential there is even Tibetan medicine center though there is a road under construction and is about to complete.

Karsha Gompa/Monastery:

Karshan Gompa is the largest and most important Monasteries of Zanskar the construction of the Gompa is attributed to Padmasambhava. The Gompa is believe to be one of the Oldest and is now controlled by younger brother of Dalai Lama. There are about 100 monks who resides here it has bone relics of Dorje Rinchen. The Monastery lies at a distance of 14 kms from Padum village.

Drang Drung Glacier:

Drang Drung Glacier or the Durung Drung Glacier lies near to Pensi La 4400 m above sea level. It lies on the way to Padum from Kargil. The Glacier is the largest which is about 23 kms n length situated at a distance of 142 kms from Kargil. The Zanskar River originates from this glacier.

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