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Srinagar (Heaven on Earth)

The capital city of Srinagar is located at 1585 meter above the sea level and is in the Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir, on the banks of River Jhelum. The city is famous for its natural environment, beautiful gardens, waterfront and houseboats. . It is also known for traditional handicrafts like pashmina shawl, paper mache, wood carving, carpet weaving and dried fruits.

Srinagar is surrounded by Himalayan Mountains adorned with the Mughal gardens and the tranquil Dal and Nageen Lakes, Srinagar is rightly referred as the Land of Lakes and Gardens. This beautiful place also boasts being one of the dream travel destinations in India for honeymooners and family vacationers.

The beauty of Srinagar is such that it has been called the “Venice of the East” .The landscapes of Srinagar are reminiscent of what one would fancy painting in childhood. It is quite popular for its house-boats.  There are lot of other attractions in Srinagar like :

  • Shalimar Bagh
  • Pari Mahal
  • Chashma Shahi Garden
  • Dal Lake
  • Nagin Lake which is linked to the Dal Lake by a causeway
  • Nishat Bagh
  • Shankaracharya Mandir

Tourist Attractions:

Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad

Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden

Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal Garden in Srinagar, linked through a channel to the northeast of Dal lake. It is also known as Shalimar garden. It is one of the finest Gardens in Kashmir, built by Mughal emperor Jehangir for his beloved wife, Empress Nur Jahan, Shalimar Bagh is the most magnificent Mughal Garden of Srinagar. It is also referred as an ‘abode of love’ for the same reason. Built in the same architectural manner as Nishat Garden, the Shalimar Garden also has several terraces with the canal flowing through the middle of the garden.

In the present day Shalimar Bagh is attached with another garden Faiz Baksh which was added in the later years during the reign of Jahangir’s son Shah Jahan. The lower portion of the garden, which comprises of three terraces is known as Diwan-i-Aam while the rest two are contained on the upper portion of Shalimar Bagh and was known as Diwan-i-Khas and was used by the emperor and his royal courtiers.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad

Pari Mahal (The Angles Abode):

Pari Mahal is a seven terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range overlooking the city of Srinagar and south west of Dal Lake. Pari Mahal is believed to have been constructed in 1600s. Dara Shikoh is said to have lived in this place in the years 1640s. The palace was later used as an observatory to teach astronomy and astrology.

Pari Mahal is adorned with seven terraced gardens which has variety of flowering plants, trees and shrubs for visitors to see. In the night the entire mahal gleams with light and its reflection can be seen on Dal Lake. Dara Shikoh is said to have dedicated this garden to his Sufi teacher, Mullah Shah.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad
Cheshma Shahi Garden
The Cheshma shahi garden is famous for its natural spring known as Rupa Bhawani. Believed to have been discovered by the great female saint of Kashmir, Rupa Bhawani, the spring got its name from her clan. It is the Mughal Garden built in 1632 AD around spring by Ali Mardan Khan, a governor of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as per the orders of the Emperor as a gift for his eldest son Prince Dara Shikoh.

Cheshma Shahi is a terraced garden dotted with walkways, colorful plants and pools of water. It remains open from March to November. Shah Jahan named the garden after a mountain spring that waters it and so it has the name Cheshma Shahi. Tourist visits this attraction in Srinagar to drink water from the spring which is believed to have medicinal value. Even in the peak season the water from the spring ia always cold. The garden has Persian/ Iranian influence in its architecture and well manicured offering a visual treat to the tourist.

Visit Timings: Cheshma Shahi can be visited between 10 am to 6 pm.

Entry Fees: Rs 40 per person.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad
Nigeen Lake: The Jewel in the Ring
Nigeen Lake is a mildly eutrophic lake located in Srinagar, at the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountain. It is a deep blue water offshoot lake of Dal Lake that is interconnected by a thin causeway. The Shankaracharya Temple on the south and the Hari Parbat on the west enclose the Nageen Lake offers breathtaking views to the visitors.

The houseboat accommodation option on Nigeen Lake offers a unique travel experience to cherish for a lifetime. The tourist can also enjoy a Shikara ride amidst serene and sheer nature. The lake is indeed a jewel of Srinagar which adds to the tranquil and picturesque environment.

Highlights of Nigeen Lake:
  • Shikara rides
  • Houseboat stay
  • Amazing views of sunrise and sunset
  • Incredible eternal beauty

Visit Timings: The best time to visit is from March to November when the weather remains pleasant during these months.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad

Dal Lake: Lake of Flowers

It is an urban fresh water lake and second largest in Jammu and Kashmir and the most visited place in Srinagar by tourist and locals. The Dal Lake is nestled between the lush green forest of Deodar trees; the Dal Lake is famous for its scenic beauty and pilgrimage center. The area around Dal Lake is a natural paradise and the area is around one hectare (i.e. 10,000 square meters) which includes floating gardens. The floating gardens are known as ‘Rad’ in Kashmiri language. The floating gardens are known the Lotus flowers that blossom during the months of July and August.

Dal lake is lined by gardens built in Mughal era and many parks. The best views of the Dal lake can be seen from the Shalimar Garden and Nishat Garden that were built during the reign of Mughal Empreror, Jehangir. Dal Lake is also famous for its charming houseboats or the shikara houses. The floating accommodations are once in a lifetime experience which is why the Dal Lake is so popular. They are beautifully designed and offer a unique lodging experience. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.

Char Chinar and Rupa Lank is an island found in the Dal Lake, Srinagar. The amazing lifestyle of people will surprise you, the kids living on Dal Lake ride their own Shikara boats to schools. Fishing is an important source of livelihood for people living on Dal Lake. Tourist can visit this place any time of the year. However, best time to visit is May to November when the climate is pleasant and comfortable for the visitors. During these months, tourist can explore the region at its best during the Shikara rides and houseboats tours.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad

Nishat Bagh: Garden of Bliss

Nishat garden is a terraced Mughal Garden built on the eastern side of the Dal Lake. It is the second largest Mughal Garden in the Kashmir Valley. It is a 12 terraced garden each adorned with a variety of  colorful flowers, fountains and canals and it is also known as garden of Bliss. It has splendid Mughal central channel with several fountains, which is surrounded by tall Chinar trees. The beautiful Chinar Trees that dot the landscape further enhances the charm of Nishat Garden.

Nishat Garden or garden of Joy was designed and built by Asif Khan, yeh elder brother of Queen Noor Jahan, in 1933. It is believed that Empreror Shah Jahan on seeing the grandeur and beauty of Nishat garden was so impressed that he expressed his gratitude to Asaf Kahn three times. The layout of the garden was influenced by the Persian architecture but the actual landscaping was done in accordance with the terrain and water patterns unique to Kashmir Valley. It has a beautiful water channel flowing through the middle, which further adds to the romantic charm of the garden.

Highlights of Nishat Garden:
  • 12 terraced garden each adorned with beautiful colorful flowers.
  • The layout of garden has Persian touch to it.
  • The beautiful surroundings adds to its beauty.
  • The amazing view of the Dal Lake makes it even better.

Visiting Hours:  9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Entry fee: Rs 30 per person.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad
Shankaracharya Mandir : (Pas- Bahar)
Shankaracharya Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated at the top of Gopadari hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar. The temple is at the height of 1,000 feet above the valley floor and overlooks the city of Srinagar. There are around 240 steps to reach the presiding deity. The circular chamber shaped the main shrine provides a breathtaking view of the entire valley as well as the world famous Dal lake and is indeed a sight to behold. The steps made up of stone that lead to the main shrine of the temple were built by Maharaja Gulab Singh.

Devotees believe that Jesus Christ once visited this temple during his time. The temple stairs leading to the inner shrine mentions this story. Historical references also mention this incident of Jesus Christ visiting this temple and Kashmir. According to some beliefs, this temple was Buddhist worship place. The temple also bears some Persian engravings, making it more popular.

Lord Shiva is the main deity of this temple, represented in the form of Shivalinga in the sanctum sanctorum. The temple is an important pilgrimage place for the Kashmiri Hindus of the region and historically, it is considered the oldest temple in Kashmir. Many Pilgrims visit the Shankarcharya Temple during their visit to the Holy Amarnath Yatra. The great saint Adi Shankaracharya composed his well known spiritual text ‘Saundarya Lahiri’. The devotees celebrate Shivratri with great enthusiamsm in this temple by offering milk, fruits and flowers to Lord Shiva. Celebrating the festival of Shravan Poornima is the main custom of this temple.
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad
Wular Lake: (Mahapadmasar)
Located in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, Wular Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in India and second largest in Asia. The Lake with its big dimensions and the extent of water, give rise to high leaping waves in the afternoon. Wular Lake is also said to be remnant of Satisar Lake that existed in ancient times. The premises of this Lake also form a popular sunset point.

Main source of water for Wular Lake is River Jhelum. The lake also has a small island called the Zaina Lank. This island was constructed by King Zainul-Abi-Din. The Wular lake is fed by three mountain streams Madmati, Erin and Bohnar. There is a legend behind this lake, that this place where the lake stands now, was once a great city which was destroyed in an earthquake an dleft behind a rich structure which was filled by rain water and River Jhelum. This lake also plays a significant role because thousands of people in Kashmir Valley depend on Wular Lake for fishing to earn their livelihood.

The water is calm and placid throughout the year but, it is often flooded by melting snow and heavy volumes of water draining in from Pohru stream. The lake also flutters with thousands of birds and water fowls and some of the common birds that can be seen here are Eurasian Sparrow Hawk, Black Eared Kite, Short-toed Eagle, and Himalayan Monal etc. The lake offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing and water skiing. Tourist can hire houseboats, doongas to cruise along designated mooring places in this region. The Lake can also be approached from Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary, which is paradise for bird watchers. The rich marine life is an attraction of the Wular Lake and it accounts more than 60% fish yield of Kashmir.
Srinagar India
Srinagar - Sheeraz Ahmad
16°C Feels like 16°C
1010hPa 59% 100% 5m/s 268deg

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Must Know Before You Visit Srinagar, Kashmir

  • Check Travel Advisories: Keep yourself updated with any travel advisories or security concerns issued by your government or relevant authorities regarding Kashmir.
  • Weather Conditions: Kashmir experiences varying weather conditions throughout the year. It’s crucial to pack appropriate clothing based on the season you’re traveling in. In winter, heavy winter clothing is necessary, while light to moderate clothing suffices for summers. Also, be prepared for sudden changes in weather, especially if you’re visiting higher altitudes.
  • Permit Requirements: Certain areas in Kashmir, particularly border regions and some tourist destinations, may require permits for entry. Make sure to inquire about any permit requirements beforehand to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Local Culture and Customs: Kashmir has a rich cultural heritage and follows its own customs and traditions. Respect local customs, dress modestly, and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. It’s also a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in the local language, Kashmiri or Urdu, to communicate with locals.
  • Security Situation: While Kashmir is a beautiful destination, it has experienced periods of political unrest. Stay informed about the current security situation and any potential risks. It’s advisable to avoid areas with large gatherings or demonstrations and to follow the guidance of local authorities.
  • Transportation: Plan your transportation within Kashmir carefully. Whether you’re traveling by road or air, consider factors such as travel time, road conditions, and any necessary reservations, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  • Accommodation: Book your accommodation in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the peak tourist season. Kashmir offers a range of options, including hotels, guesthouses, and houseboats on Dal Lake. Choose accommodations that suit your preferences and budget.
  • Health and Safety: Take necessary health precautions before traveling to Kashmir, such as vaccinations and carrying essential medications. Stay hydrated, especially at higher altitudes, and be cautious of food and water hygiene practices.
  • Nature and Environment: Kashmir is renowned for its natural beauty, including lakes, mountains, and valleys. Respect the environment by practicing responsible tourism, such as disposing of waste properly and avoiding activities that may harm local ecosystems.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen circumstances. This can provide peace of mind and financial protection during your trip to Kashmir.

FAQs on Srinagar, Kashmir

1) What is the best time to visit Srinagar?

The best time to visit Srinagar is from April to October, when the weather is not too cold and is perfect for sightseeing.

2) Is Srinagar safe to visit now?

Srinagar is safe for everyone be it Indians or Foreigners.

3) How many days are enough for Srinagar?

2-3 days are enough to cover Srinagar.

4) Which item is famous in Srinagar?

Srinagar is renowned for its exquisite Pashmina shawls. These luxurious shawls are known for their warmth and softness.

5) Which is the famous tea in Srinagar?

Kahwa tea is one such beverage which is an amazing combination of delicious taste, aroma and lot of health benefits.

6) Are Shikara’s available at houseboats?

Shikara are always available at the houseboats.

7) How to reach Srinagar?

There is a train to Jammu followed by cab or bus ride to Srinagar. One can also fly to Srinagar airport.

8) What things attract tourist to Srinagar?

Apart from visiting the tourist destinations one can enjoy shopping, boating, fishing, skiing , Gondola Cable Car ride etc.

9) What is famous about Srinagar?

Srinagar is famous for its beautiful Dal lake, Kashmiri cuisines, scenic beauty and houseboats.

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