It is only a matter of time before “Kashmiriyat” makes an entry into any discussion on Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, no other word better describes the spirit of the state. The term made its appearance somewhere around the 16th century, and has been received with great enthusiasm with the locals ever since. All the major religions of India are to be found in this region, but for the Kashmiris, that is a matter of celebration. The constant emphasis on brotherhood and peace paves the way for social harmony. It is also a determination of the people to preserve their culture at all costs. But where does one see this heritage of Jammu and Kashmir that is so talked about? What are the places that offer us a glimpse into its way of life, history and future? Like other places, you come across its heritage in its historical structures, of which forts are a major part. Even though they have long ceased to be centers of power, they still command respect from the visitors and onlookers.
Lets begin with the most famous historical monuments in Jammu and Kashmir. One of the most famous of these is Pari Mahal, also known as the Abode of Fairies. It is a six terraced garden that sits atop Zabarwan mountain and offers wonderful views of the Dal Lake. Even though most of it is in ruins today, exploring it can be a wonderful experience.
Akhnoor Fort is a popular place to visit in Jammu and Kashmir as it offers invaluable insight into this region’s glorious history. It sits comfortably on a cliff with the River Chenab running in front of it. The fort is located on a historical site spanning across several historical periods, from Harappaan to Kushan period.
Mubarak Mandi is a popular historical structure that sheds light on its rich heritage. Once the royal residence of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from Dogra dynasty, it is a magnificent blend of Rajasthani and Mugahl architecture. The Dogra Art Museum inside houses various schools of paintings, from Kangra and Jammu to Basohli. A particular objection of fascination inside the museum is the gold painted bow and arrow of Shah Jehan, the famous Mughal emperor.
The biggest tourist attraction in Leh is the Leh Palace, also known as Lhachen Palkhar. It bears a strong resemblance to the Potala Palace in Tibet, and stands out for its size, which is quite uncommon for this region. Being nine stories high, it provides outstanding views of the surrounding landscape, as well as that of Stok Kangri and Zanskar mountain ranges. In the north, it is overlooked by the Ladakh mountain range.
Sheesh Mahal is another must visit tourist attraction in Kashmir that reflects its glorious heritage. It is named so for its exquisite mirror work. There are many things that catch the fancy of tourists’ inside, like the murals and paintings, many of which depict stories from the two Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Hari Parbat in Kashmir is also quite famous, and sits comfortably atop Sharika Hill. It is visible from anywhere in Srinagar and offers mesmerizing views of the Dal Lake.