Kashmir and Punjab, two states in the northwest corner of India, straddle the cultural lines between India and eastern Asia. Known for their significant religious and historic importance, these regions together are a glimpse at utter uniqueness in India.

Kashmir

Kashmir, the magnificent northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, is covered with soaring, jagged mountains, including sections of the Himalayan and Karakorum ranges. A land of hidden discovery, Kashmir also boasts deep, narrow valleys and high, barren plateaus. With an area of 85,800 square miles, the region includes the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani provinces of Gilgt-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, and the Chinese regions of Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract. Known for its extravagant natural beauty this mountainous land formed a major caravan route in the ancient times and attracts many tourists to this day.

With its rich culture and rolling landscape, Kashmir has countless things to see and do. In Leh and its surrounding villages, watch the traditional, ancestral sports of Ladakh in an exciting polo match or archery contest. Voyage on a Shikara boat ride across the Dal Lake in Srinagar or leisurely explore the land’s rich history during a city walk. The adventurous can trek up one of Kashmir’s many mountains or ski down one of several slopes in season.

Punjab

Amritsar in the state of Punjab is the site of the Harmandir Sahib, more commonly known as the Golden Temple. This gorgeous complex on the Ravi River was founded in 1577 and remains the center of the Sikh religion, though it is open to visitors and worshipers of all faiths. Prayer spaces, meditation areas, and outreach projects—including a daily free cafeteria for the community—reinforce the Sikh tenants of selfless service, social justice, and faith through meditation.

Take the Grand Trunk Road from Amritsar to the town of Wagah, located on the border with Pakistan. Each evening, this city plays host to a lowering of the flags ceremony, led by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers. Civilian spectators from each side of the border gather to shout chants and play music, creating a cacophony of national pride and friendly excitement that rivals a sporting event.

Including the less-traveled regions of Kashmir and Punjab in your next custom itinerary to India reveals some of the best-kept secrets of Indian culture and religious importance. Contact your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant to craft a custom journey to India that includes Srinagar, Amritsar, and other areas in Kashmir and Punjab.