The tulip gardens in Srinagar were built in memory of assassinated prime minister Indira Gandhi, and there’s a tulip festival here every year in April.
Straddling the border of India and China, Pangong Tso is a 604km² endorheic lake: a closed basin with no river flowing out from it.
One of the most beautiful of Ladakh’s southern lakes, Tso Moriri is a pristine and peaceful environment with some 34 bird species, including 14 waterbirds.
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The most famous of Jammu’s temples is the Shri Raghunathji Temple, the largest temple complex in northern India.
On the eastern shore of Dal Lake with views back across the water, Nishat Bagh or ‘Garden of Joy’ is one of the famous Mughal Gardens.
The sole surviving feature that tells the story of Kartse Khar’s former glory, the 7m-tall Chamba Buddha was thought to have been carved by Buddhist missionaries in the 7th or 8th century.
Likir is a lively monastery where novice monks learn beneath the watchful eye of a vast, golden Buddha.
A floating vegetable market in Srinagar – head to Dal Lake to experience Kashmiri life on the water.
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Ladakh is also known for its excellent birding; the long-tailed minivet is a striking resident with its flame red and black feathers.
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A night on one of Srinagar’s legendary cedarwood houseboats on Dal Lake is an unforgettable experience.
The beautiful Zanskar Valley is much less touristed than neighbouring Ladakh, a haven for any fan of hiking.
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Towering across Leh and viewable from almost any street corner in the town, Leh Palace seems to feature on every postcard, and quite rightly so.
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A legacy of Ladakh’s historic Silk Road ties, camel riding is available in Diskit and Hunder on Bactrian camels.
The valley along which Sonamarg sprawls is a picture-perfect definition of alpine beauty: milky-white rivers crash over rocks, conifer forests and meadows stretch into the distance and, ahead, glaciers crunch and crash down the side of 5,000m+ mountains.
Ladakh has always been renowned for its artists, and they paint in a variety of styles. Papier mâché has been a popular handicraft since the 14th century.
Nearly a quarter of the 150 bird species found in Kashmir are aquatic, favouring either the muddy river banks or high-altitude lakes; pictured: Brahmini ducks in the Indus River.
The impressive Maitreya Buddha at famous Thiksey Gompa, where you can join the monks in their early morning prayers and sit spellbound by the beautiful sonorous chanting.
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The most popular sport in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, polo attracts vast crowds of spectators and the impressive feats of horsemanship will leave you breathless.
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If J&K is the crown of India, then Srinagar is the jewel in that crown. Filled with stunning lakes such as Dal, it should be an integral part of any itinerary.
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Life in Ladakh centres on Leh, a bustling, compact hub nestled in the Indus Valley, with an unspoiled wilderness perched right on its outskirts.
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The earliest parts of Lamayuru Gompa date to the 10th century, making it one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh.
The Chamspaling Phagspa Shesrab Gompa is one of the friendliest anywhere in Ladakh or Zanskar, and is well worth a visit for its vibrant festival.