Aptly termed as the “Paradise on Earth”, Srinagar is surrounded by gleaming rivers, placid lakes, snow-capped mountains and marvelous gardens. As a tourist, you would be zapped by the beauty of the city. The Dal lake enhances the beauty of the place. Srinagar also offers multiple opportunities like hiking, skiing, tobogganing and sledge-riding.
Location of Srinagar
Srinagar is located in the midst of the picturesque Kashmir Valley at an altitude of 1,730 m above sea level. The capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar lies on both banks of the Jhelum River. Two famous Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal surround the landscape from the north and south respectively.
Places to see in Srinagar
Dal Lake: Dal Lake is the most picturesque lake of India and a visit to Srinagar is incomplete without a trip in the shikaras on the Dal Lake. The Dal Lake is surrounded by lofty mountains on three sides and there a number of gardens and orchids along the banks of the Dal Lake.
Mughal Gardens: Developed by the rulers of the Mughal dynasty, Mughal gardens consists of three gardens namely Chashmashahi Garden, Nishat Garden, Shalimar Garden. The Chashmashahi Garden meaning the ‘royal spring’ is the smallest of the three gardens set up by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 AD. The largest of the three gardens, Nishat garden is situated on the banks of the picturesque Dal Lake. Shalimar garden was built by Jahangir for his wife wife Nur Jahan in 1616 and is known as the “garden of love”.
Harwan Garden: Harwan garden is a massive and a beautiful garden and popular as a picnic spot. The lush, green lawns attract tourists in large numbers in this garden.
Hazratbal Dargah (Mosque): Hazratbal Dargah is located on the banks of the Dal Lake and is famous for its pristine white marbels. It is a very famous mosque as it houses a hair of Prophet Muhammad which is displayed during religious occasions.
Jama Masjid: Located at the heart of the city, Jama Masjid is another important mosque in Srinagar where people gather in large numbers for the Friday prayers.
Shankaracharya Temple : Located on top of the Takht-e-Suleiman, the Shankaracharya temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to be one of the oldest temples of the Kashmir Valley.
Hari Parbat Fort : Though there is very little left of this Mughal Fort, however, the remnants are impressive enough for worth a visit. The fort is also considered sacred by the Hindus because of the presence of a temple of Sharika, which is believed to be a form of goddess Durga or Shakti.
Martand: Perched on a plateau, Martand has a temple dedicated to Surya, the “Sun God” which was built by Laitaditya Muktapida.
Pari Mahal: Pari Mahal was once the royal observatory which has a charming garden. Overlooking the Dal Lake, it was converted into a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan’s eldest son.
Khanaqah of Shah Hamadan: This mosque was built as early as 1395 and this was the very spot where Shah-i-Hamdan used to offer prayers. The interiors of the mosque are richly carved and painted.
Excursions from Srinagar
Gulmarg: Gulmarg, the meadow of flowers, is located at a height of 2,730 m above sea level in Baramullah district of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is situated at a distance of 57kms from Srinagar. Gulmarg attracts thousands of tourists each year from all over the globe mainly because of its exquisite natural beauty and opportunities for trekking, riding, and golfing during summer months and skiing during winter months. More details about Gulmarg
Sonmarg: Sonmarg is one of the smallest resorts in Kashmir, standing at a height of 9000kms above sea level. ‘Son’ means ‘golden’ and therefore Sonmarg is known as the ‘Golden Meadow’. Vishansar and Krishnasar are famous lakes in Sonmarg. You can also see some fascinating glaciers in Sonmarg.
Pahalgam: Pahalgam is situated at a height of 2,130 m above sealevel at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river. Amarnath cave is just 6km from Pahalgam. It is also famous for outdoor adventures like trekking, fishing and horse riding.
Accomodation selection in Srinagar
Many tourists are attracted to the charming house boats which offer a unique experience of living in an elegant room on the water. Houseboats are stationed along the Dal and Nagin lakes decorated fancifully and given romantic names. Every houseboat has a balcony, a lounge, a dining room and bedrooms with attached bathrooms. There are various categories of houseboats which include deluxe, A-class, B-class, C-class and D-class. Some of the important houseboats are Gurkha houseboat and Jewel of Kashmir houseboat on Nagin Lake. Important hotels are Hotel Grand Palace International and Hotel Broadway.
Best season to visit Srinagar
March to October is the best time to visit Srinagar.
How to reach Srinagar
By Air: Srinagar airport is about 14kms from the city. Daily flights operate from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu.
By Rail: Trains from major cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune ply to Srinagar.
By Road: J&K State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) operates buses connecting different places to Srinagar.