Kashmir set like a jewelled crown on the map of India; Kashmir is a many faceted diamonds, changing character with the seasons – always extravagantly beautiful. Three Himalayan ranges, Karakoram, Zanaskar and Pir Panjal – snow-capped, majestic, frame the landscape from the north-west to the northeast. They are the birthplace of great rivers which flow through the Kashmir valley.
Raj Taringini, the chronology of the Kashmir Kings written by Kalhana, eulogises the beauty of Kashmir as follows:”Kasmira Parvati Paroksh; Tat Swami ch Maheswara”. Meaning Kashmir is as beautiful as Goddess Parvati manifest, and its owner is Lord Shiva Himself” and the Mughal Emperor exclaimed “Gar Bar-ru-e-Zamin Ast; Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast Hamin Asto. Meaning if there is paradise on this earth this is it.
Ladakh a mysterious land shrouded in myth and legend. Much of its ancient history is known only through the mythology of its people as its written history is of very recent origin. Known for centuries as the ‘land of passes’ (La-pass; Dakh-land), Ladakh described by Fa-Hian, who travelled across its inhospitable terrain in 399 A.D.
Known as ‘The land where snow never melts and only corn ripens’. Its landscapes are forbidding by any measure. Snow-swathed mountains rise to several thousand feet above one of the most elevated plateaux on earth.
A treeless wind-swept country, much of Ladakh can be termed as mountains, arctic desert, where everything parched but the rarefied dryness of the atmosphere. A few narrow fertile valleys scattered here and there provide a stark contrast to an otherwise barren, beautiful country of intense sunlight and clear sparkling air.