“The picturesque Kashmir evokes the simile of an emerald set in pearls, as it is a green valley surrounded by snow-capped green mountains. It is a veritable garden,and its unsurpassed beauty, its air laden with the scent of flowers that blows through its mountains and forests, and its bubbling brooks and gurgling springs cast a magical spell on everyone exposed to its breathtaking loveliness.”
S.N.Wakhlu, Habba Khatoon, Gulshan Books 2007
The Vale of Kashmir is situated 300 km north of Jammu, in its irregular oval shape it is elevated a little more than 5000 ft above the sea level. The area of nearly 2 000 square miles is framed by three Himalayan ranges, the Karakoram, the Zanskar and the Pir Panjal. They are the sources of great rivers flowing down into the valley. Dal Lake and Wular Lake are the famous lakes in Kashmir. This land formed a major caravan route in ancient times. Nowadays the Valley of Kashmir is known all over the world for its beauty and charm.
In 1589 the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great declared Kashmir as his private garden, a 'Paradise on Earth'. Various Mughal Kings made Kashmir their summer resort. Up to the present day a tourist can see and enjoy in Srinagar the wonderfully cultivated Mughal Gardens with fountains, waterways, marble pavilions and terraces placed between groves of Chinar and Willow trees and special irrigation systems. More famous places to visit are Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Yousmarg and Naranag. In winter there is skiing, tobogganing and sledge-riding.
The Capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, is a scenic City of lakes and gardens situated on both sides of the River Jhelum showing the important buildings, mosques, temples, rivers and bridges. The image of Kashmir as 'Venice of the East' became important in the works of poets and found expression in the works of Kashmiri painters.