Kashmir Is a land of snow covered peaks including two of the world’s highest four (K-2 and Nanga Parbat), sweet scented valleys, pinpointed pine forests, velvet green plateaus and climates varying from arctic cold to tropical heat. Its antiquity has been traced as for back as the Stone Age. Lovers of natural beauty call Kashmir Valley as “Paradise on Earth”, “Nature’s show-case “ and “Switzerland of Asia “. Besides Kashmir valley there are Hunza, Ponial, Gurez , Neelam, Astore, Rawalakot,Shigar, Kud and Batote which exhibit excellent natural beauty . Comparing Kashmir valley with Switzerland, Sir Francis Young-husband in his book “Kashmir” says, “ The country with which one is most apt to compare it (Kashmir) is Switzerland. And Switzerland indeed has many charms and combination of lake and mountain in witch I think it excels Kashmir. But it is built on a smaller scale. There is not the same white sweep of snow –clad mountains. There is no place where one can see the complete circle of snowy mountains surrounding a plain of any thing like the length and breadth of Kashmir valley, for the main valleys of Switzerland are like side valleys of Kashmir. And above everything’s there is not behind Switzerland what there is at the back of Kashmir and visible in glimpses from the southern side. A region of stupendous mountains surpassing every other in the world. In the spring we think the spring is the most exquisitely beautiful. In the autumn we say that nothing could exceed the charm of brilliant autumn tints.”
In truth the kingdom surpasses in beauty all that my warmest imagination had anticipated,” is Bernier’s comment on Kashmir.
While the enchanting scanners of Kashmir intoxicate lovers of natural beauty, the climate of the valley is full of health and pleasant. Besides picturesque valleys and ideal climate, Kashmir provides tourists with numerous attractive items of entertainment both in winter and summer, such as riding, hunting, skiing, skating and mountaineering. Boat –races of Kashmir valley, Polo of Gilgit and folk dances of Baltistan and Mirpur are simply trilling. But the present political uncertainty in the State has, on one hand turned this very “Paradise on earth “ into a vast prison for its inhabitants and on the other hands, become almost a bar for foreign tourists. Once Kashmir is free from alien forced domination, and some more tourist facilities provided, it cane became a paradise on earth” in the real sense of the world and will attract lovers of natural beauty from all over the word.