Jammu and Kashmir is a state in northern India. A part of the former Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu, the region is the subject of a territorial conflict among China, India and Pakistan. The western districts of the former princely state known as Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan have been under Pakistani control since 1947. The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.
Jammu and Kashmir consist of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous scenery, and Jammu’s numerous monuments attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year, while Ladakh is renowned for its inaccessible mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.
Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath, which has had significant impact on the state’s economy. It was estimated in 2007 that the Vaishno Devi yatra contributed 4.75 billion (US million) to the local economy annually a few years ago. Besides Kashmir, several areas in the Jammu region have a lot of tourist potential as well. Bahu Fort in Jammu city is the major attraction for the tourists visiting that city. Bage-e-Bahu is another tourist destination. The local aquarium, established by the fisheries department, is visited by many. Tourists from across India visit Jammu in a pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi. Mata Vaishno Devi is located in the Trikuta Hills, about 40 to 45 km from Jammu City. Approximately 10 million Pilgrims visit this holy place every year.Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world’s highest green golf course. The state’s recent decrease in violence has boosted the economy and tourism. It was reported that more than a million tourists visited Kashmir in 2011.