India and Pakistan both dispute ownership of the Kashmir Valley, and political violence can flare up without warning. Many foreign governments advise against all travel, or all but essential travel, to areas outside the cities of Srinagar and Jammu, and your travel insurance may be invalid if you ignore this advice.
Welcome to Srinagar
Ringed by an arc of green mountains, Srinagar's greatest drawcard is mesmerisingly placid Dal Lake, on which a bright array of stationary houseboats form a colourful scene and a unique opportunity for romantic chill-outs. Famous Mughal gardens are strung out over several kilometres around the lake's less urbanised eastern shore; these contrast with a fascinatingly chaotic old city centre that is topped by a fortress and dotted with historic wooden mosques. Add in a mild summer climate, feisty Kashmiri cuisine and the (highly disputed) tomb of Jesus Christ, and you have one of India’s top domestic tourist draws.
Except, that is, when communal tensions paralyse the city. Sadly that happens all too regularly, leaving a chance that you'll be stuck in strikes, pro-independence demonstrations and partial curfews. Although foreign tourists themselves have never been seen as targets, it's always worth checking the latest situation before you visit.