The Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa is a Buddhist Monastery that is one of the oldest ones in Leh. This monastery is combined into one by three other temples namely the main temple that is Gtsug-lag-Khang, Manjushri Temple that is Jam-dpal lHa-Khang, and the assembly hall that is Dukhang. The major aspect of this monastery is the curved sculptures inside the structure that symbolize the ancient Buddhist customs and traditions. The artistically created walls delineating the subtleties of the Hindu Kings along with the teachings of Buddhism decorate the site. There is additionally a huge Buddha statue inside the compound which is likewise a well-known spot to attract tourists.
This monastery has a large number of followers that assemble hear throughout the year. One can also visit some other nearby attractions in Alchi which include Vairocana Temple Sumtsek Temple, Monk Cells, Lo Tsawa Temple, Mangyur Temple with Stupas, etc. If you want to experience the serenity of this place then you should spend some quality time at the Alchi Monastery.
Shri Amaranth Cave Temple, located in the Amaranth Mountain, is situated at an altitude of 3888 m (12756 feet) at a distance of about 141 km from Srinagar. The word Amar means ‘immortal’ and Nath means ‘lord’. It is one of the holiest shrines and the earthly abode of Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here as Baba Amaranth. Every year, in the months of July-August the Amarnath Yatra starts from Pahalgam. The most unique feature of this cave temple is that the ice lingam is naturally formed. According to the Hindu mythology, it is the very place, where Lord Shiva disclosed the secrets of creation, immortality, and life and death to Goddess Parvati and thus, this place holds immense religious significance. It is believed that the Amaranth Cave and the lingam were first noticed by Bhrigu Rishi while traveling to the Himalayas. As the mountainous trek to this holy cave temple is rugged, perilous, and difficult to access, there are certain rules and regulations that are needed to be followed while undertaking this pilgrimage. The pilgrims gather at the base camp from where the yatra begins.
A famous and beautiful fort, Bhimgarh Fort, also called as Reasi Fort, located in Reasi, Udhampur District in the north-eastern side of Jammu. Initially, the fort was made of clay and mud, later the fort was reconstructed and renovated by stones. The fort is surrounded by the Himalayan lush greenery and is situated on a top of the hill, around 155 meters in height. Maharaja Rishipal Rana, who built the Fort, was also the founder of the Reasi town. The fort was again renovated by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1817 and again in 1841.
It is said that the fort was used by the royal family as their residence and especially, as a shelter during the war. The main entry gate of this fort was made by Baluka stones designed in the Rajasthani architecture. Inside the fort complex, there are two statues, one is of Goddess Mahakali and the other is of Lord Hanuman, made of red stone. Also, the complex has a pond, a temple, and different sized rooms decorated with colorful wall paintings. The fort was also used as a treasury during the rule of Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Maharaja Pratap Singh. In 1989, the Archeological Department of Jammu and Kashmir took the ownership of this fort. In 1990, the fort was again renovated by the Vaishno Devi Sthapna Board and opened for the public.
The Dal Lake is considered as the ‘Jewel of Srinagar’ and can easily be stated as the Paradise on Earth. The tranquil waters of the lake and the encompassing green hills significantly glorify the beauty of this lake. The area of the lake is 22 sq. km and its depth is about 6 m (20 feet). One of the principal attractions of this lake is houseboat riding also termed as “Shikara”.
Ice skating on the frozen Dal Lake is also considered as a primary tourist activity during winters. Not only this, there are some major spots that you should not miss while visiting this place. These attractions include the Shankaracharya Temple, Island of Char Chinar, Hari Parbat, Mazar-e-Shura Cemetery, Nagin Lake, Hazratbal Shrine, Chashme Shahi, etc. If you are a handicrafts lover, you can find different Kashmiri vendors with their exclusive collection of artworks and even Kashmiri Shawls too.
Ideally, you must visit the lake during both sunrise and sunset to experience the serenity and natural beauty of this place. Overall, this place is a must-visit to be up and close with nature.
The Hall of Fame, a famous marvelous museum situated in the Himalayan town Leh, in Jammu and Kashmir, was constructed by the Indian Army in 1986, dedicated to the brave Indian soldiers, who lost their lives in the Indo-Pak War during the 20th century. When you enter the main museum, you will see a statue of Lord Buddha, which conveys the peace of wave. The museum is surrounded by the dusty Himalayan Mountains with panoramic natural beauty.
The Museum complex is divided into two separate parts and each part has a two-storied building. A part of this museum displays the dresses and amenities that are used by the Indian Army in the Siachen area. In the top floor, there is a gallery called OP Vijay Gallery, where a number of different types of guns and other weapons are displayed, which were used by the Indian soldiers during the war. You can also watch a 30-minutes video of “Kargil War” that took place in 1999. The visitors can also explore the local culture, historical records, different wildlife information, and many more.
Kargil, a town in the Kargil District of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the nation’s wonders and the second largest town in the Ladakh region after Leh. Although it is more renowned for the India-Pakistan War that took place here in 1999, Kargil has much more to offer in terms of tourism. This place has a stunning landscape that offers scenic beauty to visualize and also, there is a lot on offer for photographers as they can capture extraordinary photographic shots amid the daytime. Not only these but, Kargil also offers some exciting adventure activities like trekking and mountaineering.
Once you come here you can also visit some of the notable structures situated here. A famous monastery known as the Sani Monastery is a stupa, which is about twenty feet tall. The other structures that you should visit are Mulbekh Monastery, where you will find the carvings of the laughing Buddha, Phugthal Monastery, Zongkhul Monastery, Stongdey Monastery, and Karsha Monastery. All-in-all, it is a fascinating tourist spot that continues to attract numerous travelers from different parts of the globe.
Renowned as the adventure capital of India, Ladakh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Through the lap of Ladakh run the top three mountain passes in the world and for those, who love adventure and outdoor activities, Ladakh is the ideal destination for holidaying. The rugged hills, mountain deserts, snow-covered mountain trails, ancient monasteries, and the rocky landscape in spite of having a dearth of greenery and vegetation, Ladakh is uniquely beautiful and fascinating.
Situated at an altitude of 3524 m (11562 feet) the Leh region of Ladakh is mostly visited by the tourists. The Tibetan style houses, the souvenir shops, the rocky ridges, the cozy restaurants – all will carry you to a wonderland cuddled in the lap of the Himalayas. The most notable sites to visit in Leh are – Pangong Tso Lake, Diskit Monastery, Zanskar Valley, Leh Palace, Magnetic Hill, Chadar Trek, Tso Moriri Lake, Khardung La Pass, Nubra Valley, Spituk Monastery, Chemrey Monastery, Shanty Stupa, Phugtal Monastery, Stok Palace, Likir Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary, Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary, Kargil, Hall of Fame, and a lot more. Other than these, there are various options for adventure activities like mountain biking, trekking, etc.
The well-known Leh Royal Palace, also called as “Lhachen Palkhar”, is situated in the town of Leh, in Jammu and Kashmir. This palace of the Leh Kingdom is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Leh District. The construction of this majestic nine-storied building started in 1553 by Tsewang Namgyal and was completed in the 17th century by Sengge Namgyal, both were the rulers of the royal Namgyal Dynasty of Ladakh. In that period, it was the tallest building in the world. The palace is designed in Medieval Tibetan architectural style and was made of stone, mud, wood, and sand.
It is said that the palace was used by the royal family for the residential purpose only. The palace has some large rooms, which are converted now into exhibition halls and museum displaying old paintings and photographs, a rich collection of jewelry and dresses, crowns, and many more. A huge statue of Lord Buddha is situated inside the palace complex. The roof top of this around 400-year old palace offers remarkable views of the Ladakh mountain ranges including Stok Kangri and the naturally beautiful surrounding area.
Located in Ladakh, the Pangong Lake is a famous tourist destination spot and is also known as Pangong Tso, which in the Tibetan language means, ‘high grassland lake’. The lake is situated at an altitude of about 4350 m. A part of this 134 km lake extends to China and the rest lies in India. One of the significant aspects of this lake is that it changes its color all throughout the day. It appears to be blue, red, and green at different time zones.
If you are touring Ladakh and visiting this lake, the one thing you ought to do here is camping. Another adventure sport here is dipping in the lake waters. Although it may sound crazy, however, it is enjoyed by many tourists. It’s an experience that you won’t forget in your lifetime. You can visit this lake both during sunrise and sunset. This place is particularly ideal for photography lovers because you can capture some enthralling scenic images nearby this lake. The Pangong Lake is also home to a few migratory birds, so if you are a bird watcher, you must pay your visit here. Some of the nearby attractions include Tangtse Gompa and Chang La, which are also ideal for photo-shoots because of the views.
Built in the Mughal style of architecture, the Raghunath Temple is one of the major attractions in Jammu. This temple, dedicated to Lord Rama, was built between 1822 and 1860 by Maharaja Gulab Singh and was completed by his son Maharaja Ranbir Singh, after his death. The Raghunath Temple contains a complex of seven Hindu sanctums. The great temple likewise has seven towers or shikharas, where each altar has its distinct shikhara. Inside this temple, you will find several artworks that depict popular scenes from the Hindu mythology - Ramayana, Bhagwat Gita, and Mahabharata. Some paintings of famous Indian Gods like Krishna, Vishnu, and Ganesha can also be seen here. The interiors of this temple are fully made of gold and inside there is a gallery, where you will find ‘Lingams’ situated. Another astounding factor of this temple is it is built in such a way that from here all four ‘dhams’ namely Dwarkadheesh, Rameshwaram, Kedarnath, and Badrinath can be witnessed from. Witnessing the morning and evening aartis will also guarantee a peace of mind for you. Make sure to visit here once if you are in Jammu.
The famous tourist destination in Srinagar, Shalimar Bagh, also known as the “Crown of Srinagar”, is situated in Shalimar town in the north-eastern part of Dal Lake in Srinagar. The other names of this Mughal Garden also known as Shalimar Garden are Farah Baksh and Faiz Baksh. This beautiful garden was built by the Mughal ruler Jahangir in 1619 for his spouse Nur Jahan. The garden area covers around 31 acres and is considered as the highest horticulture spot made by the Mughal Dynasty. Apart from the Mughals, in different periods other rulers also made some renovations and constructions, like Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler, who constructed a marble guest house. The last king of the Sikh Dynasty, Maharaja Hari Singh introduced electricity in the Garden area.
The garden was designed in Persian style. It has three terraces, the first terrace is a garden area opened for public and endpoint is Diwan-e-Aam, which is a public audience hall. The second audience hall is situated on the second terrace for private audience, called Diwan-e-Khas. The Zenana Garden is situated on the third terrace, also there were a royal harem and a black pavilion, made by Kashmiri black marble. The garden also has a rich restaurant, where the visitors can have different types of local food. Visitors can also explore the great natural beauty, Himalayan greenery, snow-capped mountains, and blue water lake nearby in this “Paradise on Earth”.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is located in the ravines of the three-peaked Trikuta Mountain. For the believers of Hinduism, Vaishno Devi Mandir dedicated to Goddess Shakti or Vaishnavi or Trikuta, holds immense importance. Goddess Vaishno Devi is also called Mata Rani by the devotees. This ancient cave temple is situated at an altitude of 5200 feet. It is believed that in order to attain the spiritual objectives of human life, a visit to the Vaishno Devi Mandir at least once in a lifetime is a must. The ethereal beauty of the landscape and the magical journey to the shrine will definitely offer you some incredible moments and memories. From Katra, electric vehicles, ropeway, palkis, and ponies are available to reach the shrine at the hilltop.
It is largely believed that the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi was found by Pandit Shridhar about 700 years ago. His search for the holy cave led him to the Trikut Hills of the Shivalik Range, where he found the ‘Holy Pindies’ at the top of a rock. The three rock-cut statues inside the holy cave represent three Hindu goddesses – Goddess Lakshmi (the middle one), Goddess Kali (the right one), and Goddess Saraswati (the left one) as Goddess Vaishnavi is believed to be the incarnation of these three goddesses.