Set in the heart of Kashmir valley at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir state. The charming city of lakes and gardens also known as “Venice of the East”, sprawls elegantly on both sides of the river Jhelum, which is crossed by seven bridges. The idyllic Dal and Nagin Lakes, linked by a network of backwaters further enhances the beauty of Srinagar. The major tourist attractions of Srinagar are Dal Lake with House Boats, Mughal Gardens ( Shalimar Bagh,Nishat Bagh, Chashma Shahi), Siraj Bagh (Asia’s largest Tulip Garden), Shankaracharya Temple and Hazrathalbal Shrine.
Other major attractions around Srinagar are Yusmarg (40kms), Charar-i-Sharif (30kms), Kheer bhawani temple (27kms), Wular lake (60 kms), Avantipur (29 kms), Achabal (58kms), Kokernagar (70 kms) and Verinag (80 kms).
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Srinagar has pleasant summers and a very chilly, freezing winters. Rainfalls are very scanty here. The best time to visit Srinagar is from April to September in summers and November to February in winter.
Summer: April to September (14º C to 30º C)
Winter: November to February (0º C to 15º C)
1. DAL LAKE
The mighty Dal Lake and River Jhelum is life line of Srinagar and Kashmir. The Dal Lake is the house of several thousand Kashmiris, who live in hundreds of house boats and in the Island of Dal Lake. The lake itself has many things to offers to a tourist. Apart from just a Shikara (Small boat) ride, or house boat to stay it has the facility of surfing, Fishing, Snow Skiing, Kayaking, and so many other water sports related activities. It also has a full-fledged floating market, restaurants, Post office etc. The Dal Lake is a major contributor to Tourism and economy of Kashmiri. Several thousand people live and earn from this mighty lake every day.
2. SRINAGAR HOUSEBOATS
Staying in the Houseboat is a great experience. Houseboats decorated with brilliant wood carvings provide you homely hospitality and give you a chance to experience Kashmiri Life. Please rise very early morning to watch the sun rise. Amazing view of Sunrise through the Mist Mountains, the lush vegetations and water plants is a life time experience which cannot be explained in words. Please feel the Kashmiri Life. People doing their house course, rowing boats full with fresh flowers, birds chirping and kids going to school rowing their own boats. Watch all this while sipping your morning tea sitting at the front deck of Houseboat. As the night falls, with colorful lights of Houseboats & their reflection in calm Dal Lake waters, gives a fairy tale description.
3. SHIKARA RIDE
Shikara Ride in the charming Dal Lake is a unforgettable experience. In the evening take a Shikara Ride in the Dal Lake. The Shikara will sail through Nehru park, Char Chinar Island, floating market, House boats and Meena Bazar. Watch the amazing Sunset from the Shikara. Change of colours due to sunset further enhance the beauty of beautiful Lake. Please feel the calmness of water and freshness of environment.
4. MUGAHAL GARDENS
Built in the Mughal period Mugahal Gardens as the name suggests is a marvel located in Srinagar. The Mughal Gardens is a combination of three renowned gardens namely the Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh and Chashm-e-shahi. These beautifully laid out manicured gardens, with vibrant flowerbeds, terraced lawns and well long stretches of cascading fountains are delight for every traveler and must visit site in Srinagar.
5. SHALIMAR BAGH
The beautiful garden was laid by emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan. The huge garden measures 539m x 182m. and has four terraces with stair cases leading from one to another. It has beautiful fountains in between and a canal runs through the middle of the garden with water supplied from Harwan. The fourth terrace of the garden is by far the best and panoramic view of the garden and Dal Lake can be enjoyed from here.
6. NISHAT BAGH
Nishat Bagh or the garden of bliss was built in 1633, by Asaf Khan, the brother of empress Nur Jahan. The garden is set picturesquely on the banks of the Dal with majestic Zabarwan hill forming the backdrop. It is the largest of the gardens with several terraces and a central water course flowing elegantly through the garden.
The magnificent garden overlooking the city and lovely lake was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632; it is the smallest of Srinagar’s Mughal gardens with three artistically designed terraces and a natural spring of water, enclosed in a stone pavilion. The water of the spring here is said to possess curative properties, especially for stomach ailments. The garden affords a splendid view of the Dal below and the surrounding mountain ranges.
8. SIRAJ BAGH (TULIP GARDEN)
The beautifully laid garden at the foot hills of Zabarwan mountains is a romanticist’s delight with over 3,50,000 colourful tulip flowers carpeting the garden during the blooming season. The yellow, white pink, purple, red , blue and crimson tulips bloom during the spring season, coinciding with almond bloom imparting a majestic look to the region around Dal Lake.
9. HAZRATBAL SHRINE
Situated on the left bank of the majestic Dal lake Hazratbal is the Kashmir’s holiest Muslim shrine. The Moilly-e-Muqqadas (THE SACRED HAIR) OF Prophat Mohammed is preserved here. The Hazratbal is a marble shrine specifically constructed by Muslim Auqaf Trust for preserving the Prophet’s hair in the year 1699. The shrine is a combination of Mughal and traditional Kashmiri architecture. The well mentioned Hazratbal shrine complex is an oasis of love and peace.
10. SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE
The ancient temple of Shankaracharya nestles on the Takht-i-Sulaiman hill, about 1000 feet above Srinagar city. The present shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva dates back to emperor Jehangir’s time and is said to be built on the site where the great Advita philosopher saint Adi Shankracharya stayed during his visit to Kashmir, about ten centuries ago.
1. YUSMARG (40 KMS)
Located at a height of around 8000 feet form sea level. The Yusmarg is a small open valley at the base of Pir Panjal range. Yusmarg in Kashmiri means The Meadow of Jesus. It is believed that Jesus came to Kashmir and stayed at Yusmarg for some time. Acres of grassy meadows surrounded by giant pines and firs add to the beauty of this heavenly resort which attracts large number of tourists during summer seasons. The tourist activities here include horse riding, fishing, photography and skiing during winter. Tourist facilities like tourist huts, restaurants and hotels are available here for lodging.
2. CHARAR – I – SHARIF (30 KMS)
Located enroute to Srinagar- Yusmarg road. Charar I sharif is one of the most sacred Muslim Shrine in India. It is famous for the “Ziarat” or shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din, the famous patron saint of Kashmir. The saint is also known as Nunda Rishi and is equally respected both by Muslims and Hindus. Constructed entirely with wallnut wood the Charar-i-sharif shrine is approximately 600 years old and is one of the beautiful shrines of India.
3. KHEER BHAWANI TEMPLE (27 KMS)
Located at Tula Mula village the kheer Bhawani temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is the most important Hindu pilgrim centre in Kashmir after the holy Amarnath cave. The temple built in marble with a golden dome, stands in the middle of the pool created by the spring water. The presiding deity here is symbolized as a sacred spring. The devotees offer milk and kheer at the spring if the colour of the milk offer to the deity turns black, it is considered to be a warning for disaster.
4. WULAR LAKE (60 KMS)
Set amidst lofty mountain ranges at an altitude of 5200 feet the wular lake is the largest fresh water lake in Asia. It is an important feature of the hydrographic system of Kashmir and acts as a flood reservoir. The dimensions of the lake vary at different times of the year and can spread over nearly 200-sq-kms. The Jhelum River flows into the lake, 40-km downstream from Srinagar, and then out again. The wular lake is the popular picnic spot.
5. ACHABAL (58 KMS)
Located near Anantnag town, Achabal was once the pleasure retreat of Nur Jehan, the queen of Mughal emperor Jehangir. Jehangir laid out a fine Mughal style garden over here for his beloved wife. The place is famous and attractive due to an ancient spring surrounded by a terraced garden. The terraced garden surrounded by majestic Chinar trees is noted for its beauty and grandeur.
6. AVANTIPUR (29 KMS)
Located on the banks of river Jhelum and on Srinagar – Anantnag highway lies the historical town of Avantipur founded by King Avanti Varman in 9th century. The town is worldly known for the relics of two huge shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The two temples are quite similar structurally. The walls of the entrance are ornamented with sculptured reliefs both internally and externally. The larger temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva-Avantisara and is marked by huge walls. The smaller temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu-Avantisvami is better preserved.
7. KOKERNAG (70 KMS)
Located in the Anantnag district Kokernag is a beautiful and alluring destination and a big hit among tourists seeking serenity and natural beauty. Set in the heart of Bringhi valley it is famous for its springs and beautiful gardens. The water of Kokernag spring is believed to have unique digestive properties, medicinal values and curative properties. The botanical garden here has a rich variety of plants, flowers specially roses.
8. VERINAG (80 KMS)
One of the largest springs in India, Verinag is said to be the chief source of river Jhelum. The construction of the octagonal base of the spring and the arcade around it was started by Jehangir and completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. The spring, which has a circumference of 80m in enclosed today by a brick wall. The lawns around the spring are a beautifully manicured green, and banks of massed flowers add splashes of colour to this symphony of greens and browns. A beautiful Shiva temple is also located in the gardens.
- Carpets, Shawls and Embroidered handcrafted clothes,
- Wood Carved furniture (Walnut wood),
- Papier Mache (pen stands, trinket boxes, cigarette cases, candles and vases),
- Dry Fruits and Spices (walnuts, saffron, shah zira and honey)
SHOPPING AREA: Badshah Chowk and Lal Chowk, Polo View, Kashmir Shawl Emporium, Kashmir Shawl Factory and Taha
Shawl Factory, Hari Market, Raghunath Bazaar and Vir Marg.
|1||NATHU’S SWEETS||Boulevard Road, Dal Lake||Indian Veg.||Veg. Thali / Sweets|
|2||KRISHNA VAISHNO DHABA||Ram Munshi Bagh||Indian Veg.||Lunch / Dinner|
|3||AHDOOS||Ahdoo’s Hotel, Residency Rd||Kashmiri Wazwan||Lunch / Dinner|
|4||STREAM||Boulevard Road, Bachhwara||Indian/Chinese/Continental||Lunch / Dinner|
|5||MUGAL DARBAR||Residency Road||Indian Non Veg.||Kashmiri Cousine|
THINGS TO DO:
- Enjoy Shikara Ride and watch beautiful Sunrise in the morning and Sunset in the evening at Dal Lake.
- Evening walk around the Dal Lake on Boulevard road.
- Visit Dal lake floating market and indulge in price bargaining.
- Stay in the Houseboat and watch daily course of Kashmiri life.
- Visit Srinagar Gardens and get lost in the Mugal Era Times.
- Visit Ahdoos and Mugal Darbar to taste famous Kashmiri Cousin Wazwan.
- Photograph in Kashmiri Costumes while Riding the Shikara or in Nehru Garden at Dal Lake.
- Visit Holiest places of Srinagar viz Shankaracharya Temple, Hazratbal Shrine and Gurudwara Chatti Patshai.
- Visit Badshah Chowk and Lal Chowk for purchase of famous Kashmiri handicrafts.
- Taste Kashmiri Kahwa.