Although most foreigners head straight towards the Kashmir Valley, there are a couple of places you might consider stopping near the road to Srinagar, which is predictably punctuated by army signs spouting militaristic slogans – “the power behind the punch” is a common one. Around 40km north of Jammu a road branches off to the small town of Katra, which is the base for the 12km hike to Vaishno Devi temple. One of the region’s most important pilgrimage centres, the cave shrine is entered via an ankle-deep stream, whose chilly waters you must brave in order to get darshan of the image of the goddess, a triple incarnation of the female shakti.

A further 70km along, just as the pines start to take over from the deciduous forest, the main road passes by Patnitop, an alpine-style resort, popular with lowland Indians for its views, fresh air and relative accessibility.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

25 years and 10 editions: The Rough Guide to India over the years

It's 25 years since an adventurous quartet of Rough Guides authors set off for the Subcontinent to begin work on researching the inaugural instalment of The Rou…

30 Nov 2016 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
The most romantic places in India

The most romantic places in India

India has to be one of the world's most romantic destinations. Its beguiling mix of ancient forts, pretty palaces, shimmering lakes and gorgeous beaches is boun…

25 Nov 2016 • Freya Godfrey camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

23 Nov 2016 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month