Kashmir - The Paradise on Earth
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Historically the term Kashmir was used to refer to the valley lying between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range.
Today Kashmir refers to a much larger area that includes the Indian administered regions of Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh, the Pakistani administered regions Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, and the Chinese administered region of Aksai Chin.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three divisions: Jammu, the Vale of Kashmir and Ladakh. Srinagar is its summer capital, and Jammu its winter capital. The Vale of Kashmir, also known as Kashmir Valley, is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape. Known as the "City of Temples", Jammu attracts tens of thousands of Hindu and Muslim piligrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture which was established as early as the 2nd century. Though Islam is practiced by the majority of population, Jammu and Kashmir has large and vibrant communities of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.
Kashmir is derived from the Sanskrit "Kashyapa" + "Mira", which means the mountain range of sage Kashyapa. Srinagar, the ancient capital, lies alongside Dal Lake and is famous for its canals and houseboats. Srinagar (alt. 1,600 m. or 5,200 ft.) served as a favoured summer capital for many foreign conquerors who found the heat of the Northern Indian plains in the summer season to be oppressive. Just outside the city are the beautiful Shalimar, Nishat and Chashmashahi gardens created by Mughal emperors.
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