Srinagar – A Glittering Jewel in the Heaven of Earth
The glittering jewel Srinagar is the capital city of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is also referred to as the Heaven on Earth. The capital city is located on the banks of Jhelum River, which is a tributary of Indus River. The city is famous for its pristine beauty, lakes and houseboats. Srinagar is a popular tourist destination in India because of dry fruits, art & handicraft, delicious cuisine, floating markets, fabulous shikaras, snow capped mountains, lush green pine deodar and chinar jungles, monuments, trekking for adventure lovers etc.
Gulmarg has the highest Golf Course of the world. Today Srinagar is one of the best and must visit tourist destination for paragliding, river rafting, skiing, fishing, golfing and trekking. A visit to Srinagar is a dip in the pool of multifaceted culture, craft and cuisine. A great tourist destination to splurge, relax and over look the great Himalayas, placid lakes and pristine natural beauty.
Srinagar is a famous tourist destination not only for Indians but for the people across the world. Every year thousands of visitors come to visit Srinagar from all over the world. Being a famous tourist attraction Srinagar is well connected and is easily accessible Air, Rail and Road.
- By Air: Srinagar has a domestic airport which is frequented by almost all the domestic carriers from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata etc.
- By Rail: Srinagar doesn’t have a railway station in the city; the nearest railway station is in Jammu which is very well connected with the major cities of India.
- By Road: The state has a very good network of roads that connect all the major cities of North India to Srinagar and other cities of Jammu & Kashmir.
The best time to visit Srinagar is between March to October. In this period the weather conditions are pleasant and best to visit. This period covers three main seasons of the valley i.e. Spring (March-April-Early May), Summers (Late May-June-July-August) and Autumn (September-October-November). In the months from December to February its chilling cold and the entire Jammu Kashmir Valley is covered with a snow blanket.
There are a few government operated hotels in the city but most of the hotels are operated by private owners. There are a few heritage hotels to splurge in luxury. Apart from these five star, four star and three star hotels, the best option for accommodation would be the houseboats which are known as Shikaras. Staying in these Shikaras will surely be an experience to cherish life long.
Along the banks of Dal lake you’ll find various cafes and restaurants wherein you can sip Kahwah (Green tea) specialty of Kashmir, taste the locale cuisine or can also opt for other India, Chinese and continental food.
Must have dishes:
- Tilli or Tekh
- Kahwah (traditional tea of Kashmir) The tea is prepared using cardamom pods, cinnamon, saffron strands and green tea leaves. Served with crushed (almonds and walnut) and sugar or honey.
- Nun Chai or Namkeen Chai (Salty tea) (The tea is pink in color so it is often called as Pink Tea)
Places to see:
The Shankaracharya temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the oldest Hindu shrine in Jammu and Kashmir. Located at a hill top, the temple is a protected area and no cameras or cell phones are allowed to take with.
Khir Bhawani Temple:
The Kheer Bhawani Temple is another Hindu shrine in Srinagar which is dedicated to Goddess Ragnya. The temple is located in Tullamula village in Srinagar. The annual festival takes place in Kheer Bhawani Temple on the occasion of Jesht Ashtami which is the eighth day of the full moon in May.
The Jama Masjid of Srinagar is located in the heart of the old city and is one of the oldest mosques of Srinagar. The mosque was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD and was later expanded by his son Zain-ul- Abidin. The mosque has great religious value for the people of Srinagar and is a must visit site of the city.
The Hazratbal Mosque is a white marble mosque located opposite to Nishant Garden. The mosque has the Moi-e-Muqqadus i.e. the sacred hair of the Prophet Mohammad.
Khanqah of Shah Hamdan:
The Khanqah of Shah Hamadn is the first mosque that was built in Srinagar city. The mosque is located in between third and fourth bridge on the banks of River Jhelum. The mosque was built in 1395 by Sultan Sikandar in memories of Mir Sayed Hamadni and is also named after him. Mir Sayed Hamadni is believed to preach and spread Islam in this region.
Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph or Roza Bal:
The monument is believed to the place where Jesus lived. The place is made popular by some books like “Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten”. Since then it has become a tourist spot in Srinagar.
The Pari Mahal was once a Buddhist Monastery and today it is an observatory and school of astrology. The monument was built by Dara Shikoh. It is about 2 km away from Cheshmashahi Garden.
Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara:
The Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara is one of the famous Sikh religious place in the city. The gurudwara is located near the Kathi Darwaza in Rainawari, Srinagar. The Gurudwara was built to embark the stay of the Sixth Guru of Sikhism in Kashmir.
The gardens of Srinagar were built by the Mughal Emperors who wanted to enhance the mesmerizing beauty of the city. All the Gardens of Srinagar are landscaped in Mughal style. The Cheshmashahi garden was built by Shah Jehan in 1632 AD. The Cheshmashahi Garden provides a magnificent view of the Dal Lake and surrounding mountain ranges of Srinagar. Today the garden is famous tourist and picnic spot in the city.
The Nishant Garden is another garden laid by a Mughal Emperor. The garden was built in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan. The Nishant garden is located on the banks of Dal Lake with the background of Zabarwan Hills.
The Shalimar Garden was also built by a Moughal Emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife Nur Jehan. The garden has four terraces one over the other that give it a state of art look.
Another Garden in the city is Harwan Garden which is located about 18 km away from the city. The garden is full of blooming flower beds and Chinar trees.
The Dal Lake is the most famous tourist destination in Srinagar and is synonymous with Kashmir and Srinagar. The Dal lake is house to various wooden Houseboats, water lilies, lotus flower, kingfisher, heron and floating markets. The jade blue color of water and the blue sky above gives it a picturesque look.
Next to Dal Lake is the Nagin / Nageen Lake. The lake is located in the foothills of mountain Zabarwan. The banks of the Lake are densely populated by willow tall Chinar and deodar trees. Here you can enjoy a ride in Shikaras, water bikes as well as Water ski.
Excursions from Srinagar:
- Wular Lake