Jammu and Kashmir


British India's princely state of Jammu and Kashmir is now divided between the Republic of India and Pakistan. India claims the entire area of the former state, whereas Pakistan regards the same area as "territory in dispute" awaiting a plebiscite. While some Kashmiris hope for an independent and unified Kashmir, the majority seem to simply want peace. It is a mountainous region of great beauty and diversity offering much in the way of outdoor activities and sights for the tourist. The unrest had pretty much completely shut down what was once a thriving tourist industry in Kashmir, and it’s now only starting to make a slow comeback. As a rule of thumb, the western area remains unsafe, while the eastern area Ladakh is fine - see "Stay safe" below. Today, Jammu and Kashmir is one of two Muslim-majority administrative divisions in India, the other being the Lakshadweep Islands. It has an area of 39,179mi² 101,473.1 km2.

The inhabitants of J&K belong to three religions, with Kashmir being mainly Muslim, Jammu being mainly Hindu and the Ladakhis divided almost equally between Buddhists and Muslims.