Alpather Lake, located at a distance of 13 km from Gulmarg, rests at the foot of the 4511 m tall Apharwat Peak. The lake remains frozen through most of the year till mid-June. During summers the lake has clear water with floating pieces of ice creating a picturesque sight. Triangular in shape, the lake with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains also attracts sightseers. Visitors can reach Alpather Lake from Gulmarg after a day-long expedition. Pony rides also take visitors to the destination. Those interested in horse riding can make a day's trip, starting early in the morning. Adventure enthusiasts can climb the ridge of the Apharwat Peak that ascends straight up and then hike down to the other side.
Amar Mahal, built in the 1890s by the Dogra ruler Raja Amar, is one of the prime attractions in Jammu. The structure was designed by a French architect. As a reason, the site resembles a French chateau built by Indian artisans. Red sand stone had been used during the construction of Amar Mahal.
In the past, the Amar Mahal has acted as the residence of royal family members. The site, however, was transformed into a museum that houses collections of books, sculptures, paintings and inscriptions. The prime attraction of this museum is the Durbar Hall which is embellished with ‘pahari’ paintings and portraits of erstwhile rulers of Jammu and Kashmir.
The throne of Maharaja Hari Singh, made of 120 kg of gold, can be seen inside this museum. Tourists can also visit a library containing over 20,000 books inside the Amar Mahal Museum. These books with some special volumes, have been collected in the last 50 years from the library of Raja Amar Singh.
Akal Darshini is a sacred lake that comes after Sukh Sar, located at a distance of 1 km. This sacred lake is 400 m long and 200 m wide and is situated at an elevation of 3300 m above seal level. People belonging to the Bakerwalas tribes worship the Akal Darshini Lake while passing through this route.
A closer observation would enable tourists to take notice of the fact that the lake is triangular in shape, and the colour of water appears black instead of blue.
Aap Shambhu Temple Sathrian is situated in Sathrian at Roopnagar in Jammu. This pilgrimage site represents the ancient legacy of the region. The prime attraction of this site is a naturally formed ‘lingam’, symbolic representation of the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva. The entire structure has been constructed upon this ‘lingam’.
Popular folklore narrates that the site was earlier a jungle where buffaloes and cows would shed their milk on the Lingam after grazing.
Akhnoor Fort is a popular historical structure of the early 19th century, located 32 km from Jammu. This fort lies on the banks of the Chenab river and represents the history of the Akhnoor Town. According to historians, Akhnoor Fort was constructed on a site that dates back to the Harappan civilisation. A two-storied palace that had been embellished with arches and murals still stands at the site.
Airpal Nagh is a natural water spring located around 11 km from the town of Tral in Pulwana district. The spring originates from the corner of a small hill, Wastoor-Wan. The water of this spring is used for drinking as well as irrigation.
Achabal, built by Nur Jahan, wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir, is a garden which is popular amongst tourists. Built in the year 1620 AD, this garden is known for an ancient spring surrounded by a beautiful terrace garden. Chinar trees, springs and lush-green lawns further enhance the beauty of the place. The garden was built in such a way that the water of the spring enters the garden forming a waterfall. The upper area of the garden, previously known as Bag-e-Begum Abad comprising a hamam or treasure of water, later became popular as Sahib Abad. Mughal prince Dara Shikoh later erected a mosque in the garden.
Achabal is located at a distance of 8 kilometres from Anantnag and 56 kilometres from Srinagar. Visitors can avail accommodations in tourist bungalows and rest houses located in proximity. Activities, such as fishing and camping, are also available near this garden.
Ahij Kol, a mountain spring starting from the district of Budgam, flows through numerous villages and valleys including the Khag Valley. The spring unties with river Jhelum after going through several pastures and forests. Sukhnag is the common source for Ahij Kol spring, Sona Maen spring and Laen Kol spring.
Amarnath Cave, dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, is a major attraction in proximity to Srinagar. Located at an altitude of 3888 m above sea level, these caves are believed to be around 5,000 years old. The length, height and width of Amarnath Cave are 60 ft, 15 ft and 30 ft respectively. The destination enshrines a natural Shivaling made of ice and thousands of devotees visit the site in large numbers to pay homage.
Amarnath got its name from Hindi word "amar", which means, "immortal", and "nath", which means, "god". According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva requested him to reveal to her the secrets of immortality. In response, Shiva took her to the secluded caves in the Himalayas, where nobody could eavesdrop on him and revealed the secrets of life to her.
The months of July and August are considered to be ideal for visiting Amaranth. However, the place can also be visited from May to September. Indian Paramilitary Forces and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) keep a close watch at this site to ensure the safety of the visitors. Prior permission from authorities is required to enter the site.
Aishmuqam, situated on a small hill at a distance of 86 km from Srinagar, is a shrine built in honour of Baba Zaina-ud-din Wali, a renowned Sufi saint. He was also known as ‘Zaino Shah Sahib’. The shrine houses the main sanctorum, deep inside the cave.
‘The Rod of Staff’ of the Prophet Moses, one of the relics belonging to the Sufi saint has been kept inside the room. Every year, in the month of April, the week-long Zool festival is organized at Aishmuqam. During the procession, disciples carry torch lights which represent the blessings of the saint on the people.
Alalbani Temple is an ancient temple located on a hilltop in Bhaderwah. The temple is known for the ritualistic playing of copper musical instruments to please the presiding deity. Janamashtmi, a Hindu festival that marks the birth of Hindu God Krishna, is celebrated with fervour here.
The deity of this particular temple is believed to be extremely powerful. Locals claim that few years ago when someone tried to usurp a part of the temple land the person was punished by the deity such that no healthy child was ever born in his family.
Aharbal fall is a popular and beautiful waterfall emerging from a height of 24.4 m.
A famous picnic spot, Aharbal fall comes from the river Vishav. Visitors can also see a lake called Kaunsernag, which is situated nearby.
Aishmuqam Shrine is one of the most prominent tourist spots in Anantnag, which was built in the 15th century A.D. This shrine was constructed in the honour of Shiekh Zain-ud-din, who was one of the chief disciples of the renowned Reshi, Shiekh Noor-ud-din. The hills in the Aishmuqam town were once home to Hazrat Zain-ud-din Wali. Therefore, this place is considered to be sacred by people belonging to different religions.
According to the popular belief, Hazrat Zain-ud-din Wali had spent his time preaching about Allah. For this purpose, Hazrat Zain-ud-din Wali decided to restrict himself to the cave. Aishmuqam shrine is thronged by thousands of devotees during the annual Urs and Zool festival.
Airwan Temple, an ancient temple dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, is situated 15 km away from Kathua in Airwan Village. The history of this temple dates back to the 4th century, and it is said that the legendary King of Ujjain, Vikramaditya had constructed this temple. The village of Airwan derives its name from the Ravi river.
Numerous springs are present here where devotees take a dip before offering their prayers.The people who are unable to go to Haridwar to submerge the ashes of the dead can do it here in Gupt Ganga. The temple is thronged by devotees during the occasion of Baisakhi and Shivaratri that are celebrated every year.
Alchi Monastery, situated in the village of Alchi, is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. Also, known as Alchi Choskhor and Alchi Gompa, it is situated on the banks of the river Indus. It is believed that Rinchen Zangpo, the translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, constructed the monastery in the 10th century.
One of the most significant features of this monastery is that it is built on flat ground. The monastery complex comprises of three major temples namely, Du-khang, Sum-tsek and the Temple of Manjushri. Their history dates back to the early 12th and 13th century.
Lotsabha La-khang or the Translator's Temple and La-khang Soma are the two other important temples in the complex of the monastery. Chortens or stupas at the entrance of the monastery is also an important structure there.
Presently, the monks of the Likir Monastery look after this gompa. Photography is prohibited here and, visitors are required to carry flash-lights or torches as the monastery has not yet been electrified.