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Jammu Google maps and facts

Welcome to three incredibly diff erent worlds in one state. For most foreigners, J&K’s greatest attractions are the Himalayan lands of Ladakh and Zanskar, with their disarmingly friendly Tibetan Buddhist people, timeless monasteries, arid canyons and soaring snow-topped mountains.

But neither area is easily accessible, especially outside midsummer. Hordes of domestic visitors make pilgrimages to temples around Hindu Jammu and love Muslim Kashmir for its cool summer air and alpine scenery.

Srinagar’s romantic houseboat accommodation is another drawcard. However, political volatility remains a concern. Disputes over Kashmir caused three 20th-century wars and intercommunal strife still breaks out sporadically.

Always check the security situation before travelling to Jammu or Srinagar but, even if things look dodgy there, you can expect Ladakh to be as meditatively calm as ever.

Safety in Kashmir

Kashmir’s history as a political football between India and Pakistan plus the delicate relationship between nationalist Muslims and Jammu Hindus creates a cauldron of intercommunal tensions. When things are calm, Kashmir is probably safer than most places in India but even then, army presence at banks, offices and religious sites can feel intrusive (don’t take photos of anything military without express permission).

Strikes and outbursts of stone-throwing can erupt after a fi rebrand speech or controversial arrest. Tourists are very rarely targeted directly, but buses, bus stations and pilgrim groups are vulnerable; at times of tension, consider hiring private transport, travelling very early in the morning, and avoiding hotspots like Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag or Srinagar’s Old City.

Occasionally the Srinagar-Jammu highway is closed completely. During troubles, local newspapers often print timetables indicating which days businesses will open, but prolonged strikes and curfews can mean closures for days on end, making it hard to buy food, change money etc. And it’s hardly conducive to a holiday mood, though relaxing on a Srinagar houseboat you could easily forget that there was any problem at all.

Use common sense and avoid public demonstrations, political rallies and military installations. Before travelling, consult a wide range of resources to get a feel of the situation, keeping in mind that every view of the debate sounds ‘biased’ to someone.

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