Land and the People
~ Other provinces of the State
province of Jammu lies between the ‘outer hills’
region bounding the Valley of Kashmir in the south,
and the hilly tract extending to the plains of
Punjab. The Ravi river flows in the east of this
region and the river Jhelum in the west. The Chenab
issues forth from the mountains into the plains near
the town of Akhnoor and flows through the Jammu
district before entering the plains of Punjab (now
original inhabitants of Jammu are called Dogras.
They speak Dogri language, a mixture of Sanskrit,
Punjabi and Persian. A sturdy people, the Dogras are
divided into several castes and sects. Their staple
food consists of rice, wheat and pulses. Their dress
is simple - a short coat or a flowing shirt, with
pyjamas loose at the knees and tight-fitting at the
city, the winter capital of the state, stands on one
of the spurs of a rugged hill overlooking the plains
and river Tawi. It covers an area of 20.36 sq. kms.
Its average altitude is 305 meters. The temperature
varies from 23.40C to 430C in summer and from 4.30C
to 26.20C in winter.
province is rich in minerals. Coal, bauxite, copper,
zinc and lead are abundant. Sapphire mines are
located at higher elevations in the Papar valley.
Kishtwar is famous for mines of sapphire and rubies.
Kishtwar and Bhadarwah, with heavily forested
mountains are rich in pine, fir and deodar.
city is famous for temples. Amongst the temples in
the city, the Raghunath Mandir, dedicated to Lord
Rama, takes pride of the place. It consists of a
cluster of temples which makes it the largest temple
complex in Northern India. It contains
representatives of almost the entire Hindu Pantheon,
which makes it a rare sight to see. Work on this
temple was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1835
AD and was completed by his son, Maharaja Ranbir
Singh in 1860 AD. Inner walls of the main temple are
covered with gold sheet on three sides. There are
many galleries with lakhs of 'Saligrams'.
Surrounding temples are dedicated to various Gods
and Goddesses connected with the epic Ramayana.
Ranbireshwar Temple, located on the Shalamar Road,
has one central 'Lingam' measuring 7.5 feet in
height, 12 Shiva ‘Lingams’ of crystal measuring
12" to 18" and galleries with thousands of
'Saligrams' fixed on stone slabs.
of tourist interest in the Jammu province are Mansar
Lake, Surinsar Lake, Patnitop (altitude 2024
meters), Kud resort (altitude 1738 meters), Batote
resort (altitude 1560 meters), Sudh Mahadev (a holy
spot near Patnitop, where a Trishul and a Mace, said
to belong to Lord Shiva is worshipped), Gauri Kund
(legendry spring where Goddess Parvati used to
bathe), Sanasar (cup shaped meadow surrounded by
gigantic conifers, also a golf course), Chenani
valley, P.mp3andal (40 kms. from Jammu city, often
referred to as Chhota Kashi) etc.
famous shrine of Mata Vaishnodeviji is located in
the Trikuta hills near Katra, 50 Kms. from Jammu
city. About 4 million pilgrims visit this Shrine
places of tourist interest, located in the city of
Jammu are Baghe-E-Bahu, Bahu Fort, Amar Singh
Palace, Mahamaya Temple & Mubarak Mandi Palace.
bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain
ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, is the
biggest district of the state with an area of 97782
sq. kms. One of the highest habitations in the
world, Ladakh has an altitude ranging between 2400
meters to 4500 meters. The barren mountain ranges
stretch through the area from south-east to
north-west. Its valleys, about 500 sq. kms. in area,
lie along the headwaters of the Indus, the Sutlej
and the Chenab rivers. The mighty river Indus,
having originated from near the Kailash mountain and
the Mansarovar lake in Tibet, flows in an almost
straight line from the north-west to the south-east
of Ladakh. Glaciers and the snow-capped mountains
encircling the crystal-clear lakes enhance the
rugged beauty of Ladakh further.
temperatures of Ladakh rarely exceed about 270C in
the shade, while in winter, they may plummet to
minus 200C even in Leh. It is said that only in
Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in
the shade, suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at
the same time.
is connected to rest of the country by two motorable
roads, one leading to Srinagar via Zoji-la (open
from early June to November) and the other to Manali
in Himachal via Rohtang Pass (open from July to
interesting spectacle in Ladakh is presented by hot
springs and geysers roaring and throwing steaming
hot water up to a height of 15 meters and projecting
fantastic rainbow colours. These fountains of water
present an interesting phenomenon in winter when the
boiling water comes down in the shape of ice blocks
with the impact of chilly winds, and f.mp3 mounds
next to the geysers.
the Ladakh range and in the north of Leh, is the
road to Khardung-la (altitude 5600 meters), the
highest road in the world. Further on, is the
Pangong Lake, situated at an altitude of 4267
meters, six to seven kms. at its widest point and
130 kms. long. It is bisected by the international
border between India and China.
people of Ladakh region have Mongoloid, or more
accurately, Turanian features. They call themselves
Bo-pa, the ancient Bhauttas. They speak Ladakhi
language, which is a dialect of Tibetan. It is
written in the Tibetan script. Some scholars,
however aver that their script is a f.mp3 of
Devanagari, which was prevalent in Kashmir in the
original population of Ladakh may have been Dards,
an Indo-Aryan race, but immigration from Tibet,
perhaps a millennium or so ago, largely overwhelmed
the culture of Dards and obliterated their racial
characteristics. In eastern and central Ladakh,
today's population seems to be mostly of Tibetan
origin. In and around Kargil, there is much in
people's appearance that suggests a mixed origin.
The exception to this generalisation is the Arghons,
a community of Muslims in Leh, the descendants of
marriages between local women and Kashmiri or
Central Asian merchants. The staple food of the
Ladakhis is grim - a kind of barley, which is eaten
as bread or mixed with butter and tea as a paste.
They are invariable meat-eaters. A local drink
called chang is consumed in ample quantities.
reached Tibet from India via Ladakh, and there are
ancient Buddhist rock engravings all over the
region, even in areas like Dras and the Lower Suru
Valley. Until some years ago, Ladakh used to be the
gateway to Tibet, connecting India with Tibet and
east Turkistan. As such, it was an important trade
centre, besides being the meeting point of the
Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and Islamic cultures and
the capital of Ladakh province is 3521 meters above
sea level. Leh town is full of orchards, groves,
gardens and monasteries and is crowded with people.
Places of tourist interest in the Leh town are
Sengge Namgyal's nine-storey Palace, Jo-khang, a
modern ecumenical Buddhist temple, Shanti Stupa,
Spituk Gompa etc.
biggest and most famous of the monastic festivals is
that of Hemis and is dedicated to Padmasambhava.
Every 12 years, the Gompa's greatest treasure, a
huge thangka -a religious icon painted or
embroidered on cloth, is ritually exhibited.
about 2750 meters above the sea level, is also
enclosed by a network of mountains. River Suru runs
through the area. People of Kargil profess Islam and
are engaged in f.mp3ing and sheep raising.
another village inhabited by a population of mixed
Kashmiri and Dard origins, is the second coldest
p.mp3anently inhabited spot in the world.
Wular Lake in Kashmir is the largest fresh water
lake in India. It is about 16 Kms. long and 9 .6 Kms
wide with ill-defined shores. This lake lies between
Bandipore and Sopore at a distance of 75 Kms. from
Srinagar. The Jhelum enters this lake from the
south-east and leaves it from the west. St.mp3s rise
in the lake everyday in the afternoon. The deepest
part of the lake is at Watlab towards the hill
called Baba Sukhuruddin in the north-west. Many
small streams, Harbuji, Aarah, Erin and Pohru join
Anchar Lake is a swampy area. The Sind Nallah enters
this lake from one side and flows out from the
other. It is about 8 Kms long and 3 Kms. wide.
Ganderbal is a famous township on its north-west
Mansbal Lake is at a distance of 29 Kms. from
Srinagar and is situated at Safapore (Tehsil
Ganderbal). It is 5 Kms long and 1 Km. wide. It is
connected with the Jhelum by a canal near Sumbal.
Mughal Emperors have built a summer palace on its
Harvan Lake is situated at a distance of 21 Kms from
Srinagar. It is 278 meters long, 137 meters wide and
18 metres deep. This lake is a source of water
supply to Srinagar city.
Hokarsar Lake lies on Baramulla road about 13 Kms.
from Srinagar. It is about 5 Kms. long and 1.5 Kms.
wide. Willow trees are grown in abundance around its
Konsarnag or Vishno Pad Lake is situated in the Pir
Panjal range at a height of 4000 meters above sea
level to the south of Shopian. It is about 5 Kms.
long and 3 Kms. wide and is the source of the river
Vishav. It is at a distance of 34 Kms. from Shopian.
Gangabal Lake is situated at a height of 3570.4
meters on the peak of H.mp3ukh mountain. Hindus
consider it a sacred lake.
Sheshnag Lake is situated near Vavjan, enroute to
Shri Amarnath cave. It is at a distance of 28 Kms.
Neelang Lake is situated in Tehsil Badgam at a
distance of 10 Kms from Nagam. It is a beautiful
lake with dense forests around it.
are two more lakes, Tarsar and Marsar that lie on
the northern slope of the H.mp3ukh mountain. Marsar
lake is the origin of the Canal Sharab Kohl that
provides water to the fountains that play in the
Mughal Gardens. Marsar lake flows into the Lidar
which is one of the largest tributaries of the
and Dokhsar are two frozen lakes situated at H.mp3ukh
Mountain. These are said to be two tear drops of
Parvati; one a w.mp3 tear drop indicating happiness
and other a cold one showing grief.
Tradition and the Mughal Contribution
conspicuous contribution by the Mughals to the
architectural wealth of Kashmir lies in the large
number of gardens with their schemes of fountains
and cascades which they built at several beauty
spots in the Valley. Today they are major attraction
to the tourists, both Indian and foreign. Their
importance can not be underestimated.
history of the garden designs in Kashmir is closely
associated with Buddhist landscape gardening in
China. From ancient times, flowers and plants
have been admired and cultivated in India. Flower
cultivation was almost a religious compulsion with
Hindus - one had to make early morning offering of
flowers to the deity. The ancient Indian, like the
Chinese preferred still-water, lotus bearing waters
pent up within paved embankments.
the propagation of the Buddhist doctrine, the lotus
assumed a special significance. Kashmir, endowed
with springs, lakes, glens and beautiful flowers is
truly Nature's own garden, requiring hardly any
human effort to improve upon. However, slopes
touching water reservoirs or areas around springs
were well utilised by the early Hindus in
laying out landscape gardens.
Aurel Stein found evidence of the existence of
gardens and ponds with lotuses along the route from
Kashmir to Khotan. It, according to him and other
travellers, is both reasonable and safe to believe
that the Hindu and the Budhist missionaries,
especially the Kashmirians, carried the garden
tradition with them into China and beyond to Japan.
The Kashmirian Budhist monk, Dh.mp3amitra founded a
Vihara at Tunghuang in China and planted more than
1000 trees round it.
Central Asia and Persia, the garden tradition took a
different shape under the Muslim rule. The first
condition was always the availability of life giving
water. Water was directed through paved channels to
a central reservoir. Artificial cascades and
fountains were introduced. This f.mp3ed a distinct
feature in their garden designs.
Mughals from Babar to Shahjehan were great lovers of
gardens. Babar had developed a taste to garden
designs in Samarkand and Farghana, where Indian
garden design had undergone considerable changes as
mentioned. The Mughals reintroduced the old Indian
art from their homeland. The Mughal gardens in India
are copied from the gardens in Turkistan and Persia.
Kashmir was brought under the Mughal sway by Akbar
who found the place resembling his original homeland
in Turkistan. His successor Jehangir and his queen
Nurjehan excelled all others in laying out gardens
in Kashmir. Shahjehan improved upon them and laid
some new ones. Also did some nobles, governors,
princes and princesses responsible for laying some
best example of the existence of a garden tradition
in Kashmir from ancient times, is provided by the
famous Shalimar Garden on the Dal Lake. A garden
existed here in ancient times. During the reign of
Pravarsena II, the founder of Srinagar city, there
is said to be a villa called Mar Shalla or the Hall
of Love. The king used to visit a saint named Sukram
Swami living near Harwan. On his way to his Ashram,
or back from it to his place, the king used to rest
at his garden villa. In the course of time, the
villa vanished and the village came to be known as
1619, Jehangir laid out a garden at this spot,
calling it 'Farahbaksh' or 'Delightful'. Eleven
years later, Zaffar Khan, a governor of Kashmir,
extended it and the addition was called 'Faizbaksh'
or 'Beautiful'. In the course of time, this came to
be called as Shalamar Garden.
is laid in typically Mughal design. It is
rectangular in shape, the area being divided into a
series of parterres. Being at the foot of a hill, it
has become easier to divide it in four terraces.
There is a line of tanks along the middle of the
whole length of the garden. These are connected by a
canal. The tanks and the canal have their own scheme
of fountains and cascades. The canal and the tanks
are lined with polished lime stone resembling black
marble. The water to feed there, is brought from
Harwan stream flowing in the back of the garden. The
water enters at the upper end and flows down from
terrace to terrace feeding numerous fountains. After
leaving the garden, the water finally joins the lake
by a canal.
garden is tastefully laid. There are flower beds on
either bank of the canal and around small lawns.
Decorative plants lend their ch.mp3, especially in
the evenings in the artificial light. Huge Chinars
provide shade to the visitors.
fourth terrace was private portion of the garden,
where the ladies of the harem stayed. It contains a
magnificent black-stone pavilion on a 65 feet square
platf.mp3. The pavilion is surrounded by a reservoir
52 yards square and about 3.5 feet deep. It is lined
with stones and has 140 fountains.
is said that Jehangir had the intense delight of
making up quarrel he had with his ch.mp3ing queen Nur
Jehan, 'the light of the world' while resting here.