The state of Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with lofty snow mountains, fascinating valleys, sparkling streams, rushing rivers and emerald forests. The state is blessed with diverse ecosystem. In this south lies the Jammu region the lower portion of which is essentially hot in summer and cold in winters, bearing broad leaved forests at lower altitudes in plains and Shiwaliks. The middle part of Jammu region support mostly Chirpine forests where as higher reaches are temperate and support luxuriant coniferous forests, the northwest region between Pir Panjal and Zojila is the Kashmir Valley considered the "paradise on earth". This fascinating valley enticing the visitors is a museum of nature and scenic beauty. To the north east lies the great landscape of Ladakh bound by snow peaks and friendly people. It is a place innumerable attraction. The state of J&K is having the unending varieties of its landscape, the magic of natural scenery, the vivid cultural life, the unmatched glaciers, rushing torrent, sparkling springs, the cool shade of Chinars, wealth of its famous health resorts and the last but not least its traditional hospitality which attracts any tourist.
The J&K state lies to the north-west of the country looking like the crown on the map of India. It is a border state in the extreme north on Indian Union. Nature has been generous enough to bestow this state with the rich forest and tremendous water resources. Its natural vegetations has great diversity, ranging from the lush evergreen conifers on the gentle slopes at high altitudes to deciduous forest on the southern slopes of Shiwaliks. The state of J&K comprising the divisions of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir has an area of 2.22 lakhs sq. kms including those parts which are under the occupation of Pakistan and China.
The state of J&K enjoys special status on account of Article 370 of Indian constitution. It has its own constitution and various provisions of Acts. Laws and Regulations enforced by Government of India are enforced in the state only after they are ratified by the state legislature. The latest administrative setup of the state consists of twenty two (22) districts, eighty two (82) tehsils, one hundred forty two (142) blocks, four thousand one hundred twenty eight (4128) panchayats and seven (7) urban agglomerations.
The state of J&K is strategically located in the north-west corner of India. It shares its borders with china in the east, Pakistan in the West, Afghanistan and Russian in the North and plains of Punjab and Himachal in the south and south-east.
The state of J&K stretches between 32° - 17' N to 37° - 05' North latitude and 72° - 31' E to 80° - 20' East longitude. From North to South, it extends 640 kms in length and from East to West over 480 kms in breadth.
The total area of J&K state is 2,22,236 sq. kms. But the area under actual control is 101387 sq. kms only, as the great chunk of the territory is under illegal occupation of Pakistan and China.
Distribution of Geographical Area.
- Total Geographical Area = 2,22,236 sq. kms
- Area under illegal occupation of Pakistan = 78,114 sq. kms
- Area illegally handed over to China by Pakistan = 5,180 sq. kms
- Area under illegal occupation of China = 37, 555 sq. kms
The state of J&K is drained by the mighty Indus and its tributaries like Kishan-Ganga, Jehlum, Chenab and Ravi and their tributaries. Out of these, the Indus and the river Chenab have their origins to the north of the greater Himalayas and they pierce through the main ranges of Himalayas.
The regions of state Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have distinct agro climatic characteristics and cultural identity.
Jammu region has two different climatic zones depending primarily on altitude. Lower hills & plains bear subtropical climate with hot dry summer lasting from April to July. The summer monsoons coming around middle of July and fading away in early September. This is followed by dry spell from September to November. Winter is mild and temperature seldom touches freezing point. In the high reaches of Chenab valley, the climate is moist temperate, winter are severe and varied quantity of snow is received.
The Kashmir valley with Pir Panchal Mountains on its south and Korakaram on its north receives precipitation in the form of snow due to western disturbances. The winter is severely cold and temperature often goes below 0°C. Spring is pleasantly cold. Summers are warm and dry and autumn is again cool and sometimes wet.
Ladakh is situated in eastern mountain range of Kashmir. This is one of the highest ranges in the world. It is cold desert receiving very little precipitation. The temperature remains below the freezing point during winter due to its high altitude when people often remain indoors. Drass in Ladakh is the coldest place of the state. It has recorded the temperature of -50°C during winter. During the short period of summer season, the scorching heat of sun often causes sunburns.
(Data Source: Annual Administration Report, J&K Forest Dept. 2010-11)