History of Jammu Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir falls into three regions. Jammu is on the plains, populated by Dogras and Punjabis, who are primarily Hindu, and Sikh Punjabi, Dogri, Kashmiri, Urdu and Hindi are all spoken here.

The Kashmir Valley, the second region, only became easily accessible with the construction of the Jawahar Tunnel in 1958. Before that the Pir Panjal range, daunting even in summer, ensured Kashmir's winter isolation. Even now the road may be blocked for weeks by snow and landslides. Kashmir includes the valley and surrounding mountains that stretch from Banihal northwards into Pakistan.

A large part of northern Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan. The present border between the two countries (known as the Line of Control) is the ceasefire line from the 1948-49 war. At Independence it was still undecided which country Kashmir was to enter. The Hindu ruler took his majority Muslim population into the Indian Union in 1948, under circumstances that are still heavily disputed, particularly by Pakistan. The referendum on the issue of accession, promised by Nehru, has never been allowed to take place and, with intransigence on both sides, there seems little hope of any imminent settlement.

The third region, Ladakh, was formerly a kingdom of Western Tibet, but following invasions by the Dogras in the 19th century it was annexed by India. Geographically and culturally it has more in common with Tibet than with India. Ladakhi is closely allied to Tibetan, and Buddhism is the predominant religion, although there are many Muslim Ladakhis.

Places

  • Srinagar
  • Pahalgam
  • Gulmarg
  • Sonmarg
  • Katra
  • Kargil
  • Jammu
  • Houseboat
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3 NT Srinagar, 1 NT Gulmarg, 2 NT Pahalgam , 2 NT Katra

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