The northern state of Jammu and Kashmir astounds with its limitless natural beauty. The diverse terrain is a vast playground encompassing snow-capped mountains, valleys, lakes and dense forests. Meanwhile, its cities are rich treasure troves filled with temples and shrines. Ride one of the world's highest cable cars, tour ancient palaces and scale challenging cliff faces.
Jammu and Kashmir is a state with two capitals. Visit Srinagar, the summer capital, on the banks of Dal Lake. Stroll through the Mughal Gardens overlooking the lake. Tour old sites, such as Shankaracharya Temple, an ancient Shiva shrine atop a forested hill. Take photographs and shop at Dal Lake's floating vegetable market.
Get out in nature in the surrounding Kashmiri countryside. Spend some time among the grassy meadows and pine forests of Yusmarg. Travel about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Srinagar to Sonamarg, known for its many picturesque walking routes. Hike to Himalayan lakes and up the Thajiwas Glacier.
Enjoy the gardens, natural springs and other scenic charms of Kokernag, a popular weekend getaway from Srinagar. For those who like outdoor action, try paragliding, Jet-Skiing and cliff climbing at Sanasar. Thrill to a river rafting trip near the resort town of Pahalgam.
When the temperature drops, head to Gulmarg, a leading skiing destination in India. Ride the Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car, one of the highest cable cars in the world, climbing to 12,293 feet (3,747 meters).
Travel to Jammu, the state's winter capital, also known as the City of Temples. Tour shrines, forts and palaces. See additional spectacular buildings when you visit Leh. Rising from the edge of a hill overlooking the remote town is the majestic Palace of Leh.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is served by the international airports at Srinagar and Leh. While the state's cities have good transportation, rent a car for the convenience to move around to experience scenic majesty, enjoy outdoor adventures and tour centuries-old shrines.