According to the most popular legend that is also recorded in Rajtarangani and Nilmat Purana, two most authoritative books, Kashmir was once a large lake and it was Kashyap Rishi who drained it off the water, making it a beautiful abode. But geologists have their own theory, which says that geographical changes made way for the outflow of water by subsidence of the mountain at Khadianayar, Baramulla and thus emerged the Valley of Kashmir, the paradise on earth. Ashoka introduced Buddhism to Kashmir in the 3rd century B.C., which was later strengthened by Kanishka.
Jammu and Kashmir is situated between 32° -15' and 37° -05' north latitude and 72° -35' and 83° -20' longitude East. Geographically, the State can be divided into four zones. First, the mountainous and semi mountainous plain commonly known as Kandi belt, the second, hills including Shivalik ranges, the third mountains of Kashmir Valley and Pir Panchal range and the fourth is Tibetan tract of Ladakh and Kargil. Geographically and culturally, the state has three district regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most state of India comprising three distinct Climatic regions viz. Arctic cold desert areas of Ladakh, temperate Kashmir valley and sub-tropical region of Jammu. There is a sharp rise of altitude from 1,000 feet to 28,250 feet above the sea level within State's four degree of latitude.
The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies from tropical in Jammu plains to semi-arctic cold in Ladakh with Kashmir and Jammu mountainous tracts having temprate climatic conditions. The annual rainfall also varies from region to region with 92.6 mm in Leh, 650.5 mm in Srinagar and 1115.9 mm in Jammu. A large part of the State forms part of the Himalayan Mountains. The State is geologically constituted of rocks varying from the oldest period of the earth's history to the youngest present day river and lake deposits.
Vallies of Kashmir is described as the paradise on earth. Chashmashahi springs, Shalimar Bagh, Dal Lake, Dachigam, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Amarnath shrine in the Valley, Vaishnodevi shrine and Patnitop near Jammu and Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh are important tourist destinations. Ladakh festival on 15 September and Sindhu Darshan in June are popular events.