The Vale of Kashmir was the popular summer resort of the Mogul emperors, and here Jehangir used to celebrate the Feast of Roses with his beautiful Nourma- hal, the light of his harem; and the visitor of to-day can see the remains of the beautiful garden terraces designed by that clever woman.
But the valley possesses other attractions than those mentioned by the poet Moore. The mountain scenery is superb, and the entire district, as a whole, is probably unequaled for scenic beauty in the world — and with all that, it is quite accessible. About 52 hours by rail from Bombay, 48 hours from Calcutta or 7 1/2 hours from Lahore will bring the traveler to Rawal-Pindi, on the Northwestern Trunk Line to Peshawer, where tonga is taken over a good road, 162 miles, to Baramula on the River Jhelum, where the traveler has the option of finishing the remaining 35 miles to Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, by tonga or by boat. The latter takes a much longer time. The tonga journey from Rawal-Pindi to Baramula can be made in three days, with stops at Murrec and Gurhi. There is also a narrow-gauge railway under construction from Jammu over the Bannihal Pass.
The months of May, June, September and October are the pleasantest in the valley, and although much enjoyment can be had within a few days, with Srinagar as headquarters, a l&nger time is necessary if the traveler wishes to become better acquainted with the grandest scenery of the valley. The popular way is to hire a house-boat, and a camping outfit is necessary if one wishes to enjoy some ibex and markhor shooting'. Srinagar, the Venice of the East, extends several miles along both banks of the winding Jhelum River, has a population of 125,000 and is the capital of Kashmir. A good view of the city and its surroundings can be had from the top of the Takht-i-Suleiman, 987 feet above the city, and a delightful excursion can be made to Dal Lake, one of the most beautiful in the world, where are the famous floating gardens.
A longer excursion is to the ruins of Martand, Varnag ( a favorite resort of Nourmahal), and the incomparable Liddar Valley, which has been called the " Garden of Paradise." Another delightful excursion is up the Sindh Valley to Sonamarg and the foot of the Zojila Pass, or to Gulmarg, the hill station of Kashmir, from which a fine view of snow-covered Nanga Parbat (26,620 feet) is obtained.
Visitors should bear in mind that Kashmir is a semi- independent state, a feudatory of British India. The present maharajah extends to strangers every courtesy. The country is as safe to travel in as any in the world, and, like all countries where British authority obtains, has excellent postal and telegraph service.
Gilgit, on the border of Afghanistan, is the highest military post in British India.