The state of Jammu & Kashmir is a region of widely varying people and geography. In the south, Jammu is a transition zone from the Indian plains to the Himalaya. Nature has lavishly endowed Kashmir with certain distinctive favours which hardly find a parallel in any alpine land of the world. Correctly, the rest of the state is Kashmir but in practice this title is reserved for the beautiful valley of Kashmir, a large Himalayan valley in the north of the state. A spell on a houseboat on Dal Lake has always been one of India's real treats and Kashmir also offers some delightful trekking opportunities and unsurpassed scenery. Set in the womb of the Himalayas and gifted with beautiful and inspiring natural scenery, it emerged as a highly advanced seat of learning from very early times, taking its place along with the famous Universities of Taxila and Nalanda. Ramparts of high mountains and seclusion of the land helped her top reserve the life and conditions of early times which is rather difficult to resuscitate in regard to other such mountainous regions. The cultural heritage of Kashmir is, therefore, very rich and derives its inspiration and strength both from her natural environs and the rich literature and literary traditions alike.
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