“Gar Bar-ru-e-Zamin Ast; Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast Hamin Ast.”- very aptly said about Kashmir, this phrase means that if any paradise exists on earth, then this is it, this is it, this is it. Although there are a plenty of beautiful places on earth but the mesmerizing beauty of Srinagar is beyond words. Srinagar has gift of natural beauty at its best.
Lying in the valley of Kashmir, on the banks of Jhelum River, Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The name Srinagar comes from a combination of two Sanskrit words, Sri which is the other name of Goddess Lakshmi (means glory and prosperity) and Nagar (means City). Srinagar therefore means City of Prosperity.
Srinagar is also aptly called as the Kashmiri Venice owing to the mesmerizing beauty of nature it treasures. The city has fascinating gift of beatific ambience at its best, description of which, cannot be captured in words. Besides its natural scenic beauty, the city is most well-known for its snowy mountains, placid lakes, magnificent gardens, old-world houseboats, charming shikaras, ageless architecture, attractive Kashmiri handicrafts and mouth-watering dried fruits.
Famous places to visit in city –
Nagin lake – Srinagar
- Lakes – Popularly known as ‘jewel in the crown of Kashmir’, Dal Lake is usually the first place that tourists love to visit on reaching Srinagar. Located in the backdrop of the grand Himalayas, Dal Lake is the second largest lake in the valley of Kashmir. Hire a houseboat and relish the beauty of changing moods and sceneries around the lake through the day. Or enjoy the blissful surroundings of the lake while riding a Shikara. The Char Chinar island on Dal Lake is a view not to be missed. Other attractive lakes in Srinagar include Nagin Lake, Anchar Lake, Manasbal Lake and Wular Lake.
- Gardens– captivating tourists from all the over the world on the shores of Dal Lake are the great Mughal Gardens offering glances of heaven on earth with its carpets of grass, vivid flowers and cheerful fountains. Mughal Gardens in Srinagar and its vicinity are a part of gardens laid by Mughals in India. Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Achabal Bagh, Chashma Shahi, Pari Mahal, Naseem Bagh and Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden are all the most well-known among those lying in Srinagar. Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden is another eminent garden of Srinagar.
- Palaces – The Sher Garhi Palace is now the administrative building of the state government is state-of-the-art piece of architecture. Whereas the Gulab Bhavan, historically, the palace of kings is now the Lalit Grand Palace Hotel.
- Religious places– The beautiful city of Srinagar is also important from religious point. Among the temples situated in the city, Shankaracharya Temple, Kheer Bhawani temple and Jyeshtheswara Temple are the most popular. The Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal Mosque, and Masjid of Akhund Mullah are the most famous mosques of Srinagar. Srinagar is also one of the starting points for visitors to Amarnath Yatra, one of the prominent religious excursions for Hindus in India.
- Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary – Spread across an area of 141 sq. km, Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary is another prominent tourist spot of Srinagar. Hangul is one of the endangered species of red deer and is found in this national park. Leopards, the black and brown bear, musk deer, and several migratory birds can also be spotted in this wildlife sanctuary
The one thing that must be remembered on a trip to Kashmir is to enjoy the delightful rich Kashmiri Cuisine. From the melt-in-mouth flavors of gushtabas to tempting walnut tarts, Kashmiri food will make you fall in love with itself. The food preparations of Srinagar are usually very spicy. Rice is a dominant portion of dishes served here. This place is also famed for saffron, a royal and expensive spice. Visitors can purchase fresh saffron from farmers here very easily.
The local markets of Srinagar have the most exclusive and rare handicrafts to offer such as the famous soft and cozy Pashmina Shawls, stoles, woolens, artistic Kashmiri carpets, extraordinary wooden crafts. Carry some of them along with you and cherish them for life.
Festival and fair-
Celebrated from April 5th to 15th every year, Tulip festival is one of the leading tourist attractions of Srinagar alluring people from all across the globe. This festival is celebrated in the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden which flaunts around 70 variations of tulip flower and extends over an area of 90 acres. Other festivals celebrated amidst much fun and frolic in Srinagar are Navroz festival, Urs (Ziarats) and Ramzan a. Khir Bhawani Festival Celebrated in the month of May, Saffron festival in October and Gurez festival celebrated in the month of April are the other most popular festivals of Srinagar.
How to reach –
By Air– Well connected and with regular flights from Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai, Srinagar Airport is an international airport at a distance of 15 km from the city.
Rail– One can conveniently reach either Jammu Tawi or Udhampur railway station that are connected with different parts of the country and thereafter hire taxi or bus to reach Srinagar.
Road– The luscious city of Srinagar is well connected with National Highway 1 and also has good by-road connectivity with cities of Delhi (876 km), Chandigarh (646 km), Leh (424 km) and Jammu (258 km) having buses at regular intervals.
Best time to visit-
Although Srinagar is an year round destination with every season having its own charm. Summers in Srinagar are quite pleasant and soothing whereas winters are chilling. By far the most popular time for tourists to visit Srinagar is from April to June as the weather of Srinagar during these months in very refreshing. Take the golden chance of spending a holiday in Srinagar- India’s mini Switzerland this summer vacation and you will feel thoroughly rejuvenated for rest of the year.