KASHMIR (THE PARADISE OF INDIA)

Kashmir carved tectonically, the valley of kashmir is a longitudinal depression in the great north¬western himalayan range, situated at an altitude of 1590 mtrs (5209) feet having latitude between 23-4' and 37-6 'north and longitude between 72-31' and 77-30' east. A typical oval shaped valley, its length has a parallel axis to the general direction of the bordering mountains -the shivaliks, the middle moun¬tains, the pir panjal, the himalayas, the zanaskar, the ladakh and the korakaram.

Srinagar: srinagar is located in the heart of the kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m(1530 feet) above sea level, spread on both sides of the river jhelum. The dal and nagin lakes enhance its picturesque set¬ting, while the changing play of the seasons and the salubrious climate ensures that the city is equally attractive to visitors around the year

Kalhana, the author of 'rajtarangini', states that srinagar was founded by emperor ashoka (3rd century bc). The present city ofsrinagar was founded by pravarasena-ii, and h iuen tsang, who visited kashmir in 631 ad, found it at the same site as it is today. Laltaditya muktapida was the most illustrious ruler of kashmir in the hindu period, which ended in 1339 ad. King zain-ul-abidin (1420-70 ad), popularly known as `budshah', was a great patron of sanskrit. Akbar captured kashmir valley for the mughals, who en¬dowed srinagar with beautiful mosques and gardens. The sikhs overthrew the last muslim ruler in the reign of maharaja ranjit singh in 1819. In 1846 the dogras secured the sovereignty of kashmir from the british under the treaty of amrjtsar, and in 1947 the state of jammu and kashmir with srinagar as its cap¬ital, became part of the indian union.

Initially, the valley of kashmir used to be vast lake, mythologically called satt e sail which in course of time got drained by deepening of the baramulla - khadiniyar gorge. The valley is distinctively marked by breath-taking lakes, fresh water streams, luscious fruits, magnificent forests, mighty mountains and lush meadows which makes it a paradise on earth. The mountain-downs or 'margs" are numerous on the tops of the hill ranges prominent being gulmarg, sonamarg, yousmarg etc.

Famous valleys of kashmir include: lidder valley, sindh valley, lolab valley, bangus valley, dachigam valley, gulmarg valley, gurez valley, yousmarg valley etc.