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The fulcrum for half a century of tension between India and Pakistan, the former princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was led into India by a Sikh maharaja in 1947, triggering a bloody uprising among the majority-Muslim population. Even today, the borders of Kashmir are disputed by both sides, and the "Kashmir question" is the biggest political issue on the subcontinent. That is one side of Kashmir. The other side is the laid-back mountain Shangri-la that attracted British colonials fleeing the heat of the plains and hippies on the overland trail. Despite ongoing political problems, the hill resorts of Kashmir still attract droves of Indian ...

The fulcrum for half a century of tension between India and Pakistan, the former princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was led into India by a Sikh maharaja in 1947, triggering a bloody uprising among the majority-Muslim population. Even today, the borders of Kashmir are disputed by both sides, and the "Kashmir question" is the biggest political issue on the subcontinent. That is one side of Kashmir. The other side is the laid-back mountain Shangri-la that attracted British colonials fleeing the heat of the plains and hippies on the overland trail. Despite ongoing political problems, the hill resorts of Kashmir still attract droves of Indian tourists, as well as a handful of more adventurous international travelers. From the grand mosques of Srinagar and the stately Hindu temples of Jammu to the ski-slopes of Gulmarg, this is one of India’s travel frontiers, offering a dramatic back-route into Ladakh over the 3529 meter (11,578 foot) Zoji La pass. However, there are still periodic flare-ups of violence, so it is wise to check the political situation before you travel.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Includes the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir consisting of the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh; the Pakistani-administered provinces of the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir.
  • Language: Kashmiri, Hindu, Urdu, English
  • Currency: Indian rupee
  • Research: Jammu and Kashmir | Azad Kashmir | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to August for warm weather and trekking; September to November for autumn colors; December to February for winter sports