Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir by www.RayPhoto.in
Jammu & Kashmir, a photo by www.RayPhoto.in on Flickr.

RAY PHOTO

Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Today Kashmir denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir (the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh), the Pakistani-administered Gilgit-Baltistan and the Azad Kashmir provinces, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract. www.rayphoto.in

In the first half of the first millennium, the Kashmir region became an important center of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose. In 1349, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir and inaugurated the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Swati dynasty. For the next five centuries, Muslim monarchs ruled Kashmir, including the Mughals, who ruled from 1526 until 1751, then the Afghan Durrani Empire that ruled from 1747 until 1820. That year, the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Dogras—under Gulab Singh—became the new rulers. Dogra Rule, under the paramountcy (or tutelage) of the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the former princely state became a disputed territory, now administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China.

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Bishnupur Temples

Bishnupur Temples by www.RayPhoto.in
Bishnupur Temples, a photo by www.RayPhoto.in on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Bishnupur is located at 23°05′N 87°19′E. It has an average elevation of 59 metres (194 feet) was ruled under the Gupta period by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to Samudra Gupta. Following a long period of obscurity, where the land oscilated between being a minor independent principality and a vassal state . The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The terracotta temples here are the best specimen of the classical style of Bengal architecture. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur.
Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km), now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura district, is a seat of crafts and culture.

For almost a thousand years it was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned during the times when Mughal Empire weakened under the last monarchs of the dynasty.

The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which town is justly famous were built during this period.
Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is also famous for its terracotta craft and its own Baluchari sarees made of tussar silk.

Royal patronage also gave rise to Bishnupur Gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music and the Bishnupur school of painting.

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Bishnupur Temples

Bishnupur Temples by www.RayPhoto.in
Bishnupur Temples, a photo by www.RayPhoto.in on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Bishnupur is located at 23°05′N 87°19′E. It has an average elevation of 59 metres (194 feet) was ruled under the Gupta period by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to Samudra Gupta. Following a long period of obscurity, where the land oscilated between being a minor independent principality and a vassal state . The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The terracotta temples here are the best specimen of the classical style of Bengal architecture. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur.
Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km), now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura district, is a seat of crafts and culture.

For almost a thousand years it was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned during the times when Mughal Empire weakened under the last monarchs of the dynasty.

The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which town is justly famous were built during this period.
Apart from the unique architecture of the period, Bishnupur is also famous for its terracotta craft and its own Baluchari sarees made of tussar silk.

Royal patronage also gave rise to Bishnupur Gharana (school) of Hindustani classical music and the Bishnupur school of painting.

_DSC8922

Pahalgam Kashmir

Pahalgam Kashmir by AMITAVA RAY
Pahalgam Kashmir, a photo by AMITAVA RAY on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Pahalgam (urdu: پہلگام, hindi: पहलगाम) is a town and a notified area committee in Anantnag district in india’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a popular tourist destination, and every year, many tourists visit Pahalgam.

Pahalgam is located at 34.01°N 75.19°E. It has an average elevation of 2740 meters (8989 feet).
The town of Pahalgam (Village of Shepherds) offers breathtaking views. One can just relax in one of the many hotels in Pahalgam, or trek on some of the many mountains. One can trek to Lidderwat, Kolohoi Glacier or to Sonmarg. Snow skiing is an attraction during the winter months (from December to late February/early March).JKTDC offers tourist cottages at very reasonable rates for a leisurely stay at Pahalgam.It is also the entry point for the famous Amarnath Cave, a holy site for Hindus.

Kolohoi Glacier, situated up the Lidder Valley, just below Mount Kolohoi, is currently a hanging glacier. It is basically hollowed out from global warming, the Asian brown cloud, and local environmental factors associated with mountain hydrology. According to the mountaineers from Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM) in 2008, the glacier has receded by half since 1985. The glacier is not safe to study because it is hollow and in places has 200-foot-deep (61 m) crevasses. The sounds of cracking can be heard from either side of the ice field, which indicates an imminent collapse. The preferred method of approach for viewing is to take the right side. This approach offers less boulder fields on the approach, and the occasional goat/horse/cattle herder can be approached for cheese and Kashmiri tea on the way. Reaching Kolohoi, trekking up the Lidder Valley, you will encounter some of the most difficult terrain in the western Himalayas, but the views are breathtaking.
Wild bears still roam much of the area, and local villagers are on constant alert for their presence. Due to the constant threat of illegal border crossings, the Indian army is always patrolling the area and is on constant high alert. As the local population can’t carry firearms, this has saved the bears from being hunted to extinction. With the abundance of fresh trout in the rivers and local farm animals, they have plenty to eat. Monkeys also populate the area, most monkeys are quiet and shy, but given an opportunity they will steal food from visitors campsites.

During spring the abundance of wild flowers is breathtaking. Its mesmerizing.