Jammu & Kashmir, a piece of heaven on earth, is the 19th largest state in India and it is located mostly all in the Himalayan mountains. It is also the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. J&K consists of three main regions – Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Jammu Kashmir is the only state in India to share its borders with just two other states, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, both to its south. Its international neighbors include Pakistan to its west and north, and China to its east, separated by the Line of Actual Control. J&K could be called the home of valleys. The main Kashmir Valley is massive, stretching 100 kms in width and covering an area of 15000 sq. km.
Between the three, the state offers beautiful verdant mountains and valleys, religious shrines and remote mountains. The people here are warm and hospitable, and they will welcome you into their land and homes easily. Each of these regions has its own culture, and this is evident in their daily lives and also their lifestyle. Whatever your reason for visiting J&K, whether it is to enjoy the beauty, or test your limits while trekking the mountains, or simply to discover serenity and peace, J&K will offer you several reasons to keep coming back for more. One can never run out of places to explore in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The land is brimming with picturesque vistas, amazing flora, stunning architecture and there are quaint homestays and eco-friendly resorts that visitors can choose from. Those with an adventurous bent of mind will find a plethora of activities waiting for them. And finally, if you are spiritually inclined, the numerous religious shrines will show you the way to peace and serenity.
Kashmir is an epitome of natural beauty, and it is renowned the world over for that. You can soak your senses on the many lakes, gardens and hill stations that attract thousands of tourists every year. Take perfect pictures and take-home memories of a perfect holiday at Tulip Garden, Dal Lake, Sonmarg, Apharqat peak and Mughal Gardens.
The Jammu & Kashmir is known for its religious shrines. The state abounds with important pilgrimage sites for people of all religions, whether Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist. There are people who travel from far to pay homage, and others who visit to feast their eyes upon the beauty of some of these ancient structures. Raghunath Temple, Shankaracharya Temple, Jamia Masjid, Amarnath Cave and Vaishno Devi.
The beautiful sanctuaries of Jammu and Kashmir reward the nature seeker with views of diverse topography as well as the rarest species of wildlife. The state has several national parks and sanctuaries, aimed at protecting some of these endangered species. Lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of the hangul (Kashmiri stag), leopard, wild cats, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan marmot, musk deer, and a species of wild goat. Himalayan birds like pheasants, the golden eagle and the bearded vultures can also be spotted. Add these natural forests to your itinerary, Dachigam National Park, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary, Kishtwar High Altitude National Park and Overa National Park.
The Culture of Jammu and Kashmir is based on the dances, music and festivals of the people. Its rich, varied history means its arts and crafts have a multi-religious and multi-ethnic flavor. Kashmiris are known the world over for their handicrafts. There is much Persian influence in the floral designs that are typical of Kashmiri art. When in J&K, visitors can pick up souvenirs in the form of Carpets, Shawls, Rugs, Woven baskets, Walnut wood furniture, Beaten silver and copper wares and Silver jewellery. The people of Jammu and Kashmir include dance in all their celebrations. The music is melodious and artists use instruments such as chhaina, narshingha, flute, drums etc. The festivals of Jammu and Kashmir truly demonstrate ‘unity in diversity’. Even though the state is divided into three distinct regions, with their individual religions and way of life, nothing brings the different communities together like celebrations do. The joy and enthusiasm is infectious and has to be experienced to be understood. Baisakhi, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha,and Lohri.
The Jhelum is the only major river that flows through the Kashmir Valley. Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab are the other rivers of the state. Since Jammu and Kashmir has a wide range of elevations, its biogeography is diverse. The land is fertile, and the valley is known for producing some of the finest in rice, vegetables and fruits. The valley is also famous for the quality of its wool.
Jammu and Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in India, and it pulls visitors in every season. If you like the pristine beauty of snow, then winter is the best time to visit. Spring is perfect for nature enthusiasts and young couples, while summer is ideal for families with kids or elderly people when the weather is warmer.
Following the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019, there has been a quantum jump in the number of domestic tourists heading to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. As per the Survey Conducted by ministry of tourism deputy secretary Kiriti Gaikwad revealed that around 1,61,63,330 domestic tourists and 57, 920 foreign tourists had visited J&K in 2019. The surge of domestic tourists in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 is a positive sign. It proves the Union government’s strategic move is leading the UT in the right direction and it has started reaping the benefits. The administration of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), now, should take steps to unlock breathtaking tourist destinations to the public, promote them in domestic as well as in foreign arenas and brand J&K tourism. This will definitely pave the way for economic development in J&K by attracting investments, companies and creating employment opportunities for locals.
A Year After Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Outcomes are barely understood. The real measure of the progressive effectiveness of overall security is the success gained against networks through which separatism and terror remained alive and which actually ran and perhaps are partially even now running J&K. On the first anniversary of the effective abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the administrative reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir – truly landmark political decisions – year-end stock taking is being done with a fine tooth-comb. What has been gained and what lost? The domains in which claims and counter claims are being made include development, infrastructure, grassroots democracy, anti-corruption measures, tourism, creation of jobs, relative freedom, quality of life and perhaps a few more. This was expected, especially when the decision was strongly supported in Parliament with a two thirds majority in Parliament but also had considerable political opposition outside it.
To welcome with such transactional responses the anniversary of an important, irreversible political decision which actually altered the contours of national security in no small way does little justice to the magnitude of the change. I am, therefore, refraining from a bean count of reforms. All I will do here is to take stock of how the situation handling post Aug 5, 2019 – a work in progress – has impacted the security environment. Security here has a larger connotation than the normal perception of merely counting terrorists killed or infiltrated. It refers more to the ability of adversaries to interfere in our internal affairs and the effective integration of J&K into the Union of India, the very purpose of this long-delayed decision.
The Aug 5, 2019 decisions were bold and pathbreaking because there was a crying need for them for many years, definitely the last three decades since the proxy war began in J&K. The centre of gravity of the Pakistani sponsored proxy war was always identified as the ‘people of J&K’, many of whom openly expounded the ‘idea of Azadi’ (independence). The concept of Azadi was based upon the notion that J&K was different to the rest of India, being a Muslim majority state and historically not aligned with the mainland. Pakistan’s game plan was flexible; full secession of J&K to it, or sequential through the route of Azadi. The idea of Azadi created the sentiment of exclusivity which mainstream politicians in J&K further exploited to create the demand for autonomy. Both Articles 370 and 35A contributed to the creation of these sentiments which were fully exploited by anti-national elements. A Year After Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Outcomes Are Barely Understood. The real measure of the progressive effectiveness of overall security is the success gained against networks through which separatism and terror remained alive and which actually ran and perhaps are partially even now running J&K.
On the first anniversary of the effective abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the administrative reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir – truly landmark political decisions – year-end stock taking is being done with a fine tooth-comb. What has been gained and what lost? The domains in which claims and counter claims are being made include development, infrastructure, grassroots democracy, anti-corruption measures, tourism, creation of jobs, relative freedom, quality of life and perhaps a few more. This was expected, especially when the decision was strongly supported in Parliament with a two thirds majority in Parliament but also had considerable political opposition outside it.
The first anniversary of the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is being celebrated on Wednesday (August 5). On the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has outlined a plan to empower people through the newly constituted panchayats. Other major initiatives that have taken place in the Jammu and Kashmir. Major changes Out of 354 State laws in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, 164 laws have been repealed, 138 laws modified while 170 central laws have been made applicable. There has been a 262% increase in minority scholarships. Also, five corporations have been set up to unbundle power department corporations, and government funds worth Rs 1000 crores parked outside have been located and channelled into the consolidated fund.
The full economic potential of Jammu, Kashmir could not be realized for the last 70 years as the people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered from terrorist violence and separatism supported from across the border for the past many decades. On account of article 35A and certain other constitutional ambiguities, the people of this region were denied full rights enshrined in the Constitution of India and other benefits of various Central Laws that were being enjoyed by other citizens of the country. As reported by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, the agriculture operations are going on smoothly in the valley. During FY 2019-20 (upto January, 2020), 18.34 lakh MTs of fresh fruit (apples) have been dispatched. In the horticulture sector, under the Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) launched by the Government of India in September 2019, for the first time, 15769.38 MTs of apples valued at Rs. 70.45 crores have been procured up to 28th January 2020, directly from the growers in Kashmir valley through National Agriculture Marketing Federation of India (NAFED). This scheme has been extended up to 31st March, 2020. The sericulture sector recorded a production of 813 MTs of silk cocoon in the year 2019. During the 1st three quarters of FY 2019-20, handicrafts worth Rs. 688.26 crores were exported. Various tourism promotional campaigns have also been launched. Government of Jammu and Kashmir has informed that as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey, last conducted for FY 2017-18, by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation of Government of India, the worker-population ratio for persons in the age group of 15 years and above for Jammu and Kashmir is 51%.
The Government of India is fully committed to the overall development of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package-2015 of Rs. 80,068 crores, major development projects in Road, Power, Health, Tourism, Agriculture, Horticulture, Skill Development Sectors etc. are already under various stages of implementation. Many flagship schemes including the individual beneficiary centric schemes are being proactively implemented by the Government of India towards development of J&K region. The government said that Article 370 and 35A were responsible for Jammu and Kashmir’s backwardness while only benefiting a select few like the separatists and their associates. It said while earlier there were restrictions on transfer of land, it will now lead to growth and employment and private investments in education, health and tourism. The government said land rates which had remained stagnant in the state will now increase like in other parts of the country, thus benefiting landowners.
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