Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir)
Introduction: Beat the heat in the hill resort of Srinagar. Srinagar is the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The scintillating hill resort is ideally located in the Kashmir valley. Srinagar offers the spectacular sights of the lovely lakes and the houseboats on them. History: The history of the Kashmir valley has been turbulent. In the 3rd century bc, it was a part of the great Mauryan Empire. Later on, this region flourished under the rule of the Kushans in the 1st century ad. It was an important Buddhist center around this time. In the 6th century, it was a part of the kingdom of Vikramaditya, the ruler of Ujjain. Local Hindu rulers ruled it until the 14th century, after which Muslims invaded and ruled it. Srinagar was a part of the Mughal Empire in the medieval period. However, with the decline of the Mughal Empire and the rule of the Pathans, the fortunes of the area gradually dwindled. In 1814, it became a part of the Sikh empire, when Ranjit Singh defeated the Pathans. However, the British defeated Ranjit Singh and according to the treaty of Lahore in 1846, they installed Gulab Singh as the independent ruler of Kashmir. The descendents of Gulab Singh ruled Kashmir under the vigilance of the British till 1947. Hari Singh, the great grandson of Gulab Singh, merged this princely state into India in 1948, when Pathan marauders from Pakistan tried to overrun this state.
Srinagar Quick facts
Srinagar Geography and Climate
Geography: Srinagar has a total area of about 2228 square.kilometers. You will find three towns or tehsils in Srinagar district. These are Srinagar, Ganderbal and Kangan. Along with the 175 villages the four blocks in Srinagar are Srinagar, Ganderbal, Kangan and Leh. Climate: Srinagar is known for its typical Himalayan Climate with temp ranging between 29.5 C (Max) 10.6 C (Min) during summer and 7.3 C (Max) -1.9 C (Min) during winter. Srinagar experiences heavy snowfall in peak winter between Dec and Jan. Spring, which extends almost from March to May, is when a million flowers blossom and engulfs the ground. The weather during this time can be splendidly satisfying at 23 deg. C chilly and windy at 6 deg. C.
Best time to visit Srinagar
Srinagar experiences alpine weather. There is heavy snowfall in the winter months from December to February. The hill resort enjoys mild climate in the summer months from April to June.
The meadow is ringed by a road that connects the Tourist Reception and centre, the Gondalal cable car, bus stand and hotels. The tourist receptionist has limited information on Gulmarg, but handles bookings for J&KTDC hotels, run the golf course and cand advise on ski matters. Although there are hotels, Gulmarg is near enough to be a visit from Srinagar.
Srinagar Near Getaways
There are some beautiful getaway places around Srinagar. The drive from Srinagar will take you to the calm waters of Manasbal Lake, where there is no other sound but birdsong. Manasbal has often been described as the bird watcher's paradise, and as your shikara glides through this mirror of tranquility, you will experience yet another facet of Kashmir. Further there are other quite natural enchantments like Watlab, Achabal, Daksum, Kokernag, and Yusmarg whose silence is broken by the Aherbal falls which is the source of river Jhelam.
Udhampur which is 230 kilometers away from Srinagar. Delhi is just 903 kilometers away from Srinagar. Leh lies at a distance of 434 kilometers. Gulmarg which is 52 kilometers away from Srinagar. Kargil which is also a distance of few miles.
How to reach Srinagar by Road
Super deluxe, A-class, B-class busses are operated by J&K SRTC as well as other transport agencies. These take approx. 11 hours to cover the journey and the cost per seat in J&K SRTC bus is Rs 150/- for super deluxe, Rs.110/- for A-class and Rs.100/- for B-class coaches From Delhi an express coach service is available, which takes 26 hours to reach Srinagar at the cost per seat of Rs.750/-. For booking contact J&K SRTC Office, Kanishka Shopping Plaza, Ashok Road, New Delhi.
How to reach Srinagar by Rail
The nearest railhead for Srinagar is Jammu Tawi (305 kms) where trains arrive from Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai, Kanyakumari, Ahmedabad, etc. As with flights, train bookings have to be made well in advance. During the holiday season, additional trains operate to and from various parts of the country.
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How to reach Srinagar by Air
Indian Airlines operate regular daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu. They leave from Delhi directly, from Delhi via Jammu, and from Bombay via New Delhi and Jammu. Jet Airways also operate daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi as well as Jammu. Indian Airlines has its city office in the Tourist Reception Centre, while the Jet Airways office is close by.
Srinagar Festivals and culture
Navroz Festival: Navroz Festival of Srinagar in India is celebrated with equal triumph and glory. The Muslims wear new clothes and go to the mosque to pray. The Navroz Festival of Srinagar in India is celebrated with fun and frolic. Every Muslim wishes their families and friends Navroz Mubarak. Ramzan Festival in Srinagar: Another popular festival celebrated in Kashmir is Ramzan. It is a month of fasting as in the Muslim calendar. During the month of Ramzan, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking during the day. It is only after sunset that they have fruits and all types of food. The festival also marks a spirit of charity and showing love towards the poor and needy. rs (Ziarats) Festival in Srinagar: Festivals and Events in Srinagar in India feature the Urs festival. The Urs (or Ziarats) is a typical Kashmiri festival which is held annually at the shrines of Muslim saints on their death anniversaries. Urs is celebrated in different parts of Srinagar, not only by Muslims but also by Hindus and Sikhs.
The original people of Srinagar come from diverse races and tribes. In the present times, though a lot of modernization has taken place still the people of Srinagar have kept up with the old traditions and customs. In the beautiful city of Srinagar all the religions are put into practice without any bigotry. Although there is no official religion, Srinagar is primarily a Hindu town. There are umpteenth Hindu shrines marking the hilltops. Due to its majestic past, however, Srinagar also has a small amount of Christians, and two leading churches where regular services are held. Due to shortage of land available, polyandry was experienced to keep the family small. However this practice is dying out now.
Srinagar Religious Places
Hazratbal Mosque: Hazratbal Mosque is located in a village of the same name on the banks of the Dal. Its pristine white marble elegance is reflected in thewaters of the lake. Jama Masjid: The Jama Masjid at Nowhatta, in the heart of the old city, is the other important mosque in Srinagar at which thousands of people congregate for the Friday prayers. Of imposing proportions, the mosque is built around a courtyard and is supported by 370 wooden pillars. Shankaracharya Temple: The sacred temple of Shankaracharya occupies the top of the hills known as Takht-I-Sulaiman in the south-east of Srinagar. The site dates back to 250BC. The philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this place when he visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive Sanatan Dharma. Chhatti Padshahi Gurudwara: The sixth Sikh guru travelled through Kashmir, stopping to preach occasionally. A gurudwara has been built at the exact site of each of these halts. The most important one among these is Chhatti Padshahi gurudwara, situated near the Kathi Darwaza, in Rainawari, Srinagar, which is held in great reverence by devotees of all faiths. Makhdoom Sahib: On the southern side of the Hari Parbat hill is the historic shrine of Makhdoom Sahib, which is visited by people of all faiths. Kheer Bhawani: The Goddess Ragnya Devi is symbolised as a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, 27 kms from Srinagar. Within the spring is a small marble temple. The temple-spring complex is affectionately known as Kheer Bhawani because of the thousands of devotees who offer milk and 'kheer' to the sacred spring, which magically turns black to warn of disaster.
Verinag: Located 80 kms from Srinagar at an altitude of 1,876 m, the spring of Verinag is believed to be the chief source of the river Jhelum. Construction of the octagonal base of the spring and the arcade around it was undertaken by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and completed during the reign of Shah Jahan. Down the stream to the east lie the remains of a Mughal pavilion and baths. Verinag can be approached through the link road, which turns off, from the national highway at Lower Munda. Pari Mahal: A Buddhist monastery at one time, it was converted into a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan's eldest son, the ancient monument, with a well-laid spacious garden in front, is connected to Cheshmashahi by road.
Srinagar Entertainment and Night Life
Aharbal: Gradually, the distant rumble becomes a roar as one approach the waterfall of Aharbal, which crashes down a narrow gorge. Aharbal is more than just a waterfall. The adventure seekers and the animal lovers may plan a safari to the Dachigam National Park. The wildlife reserve is just twenty-two km from Srinagar. You may check out the unique Himalayan flora and fauna at Dachigam. Dachigam is home to Leopards, cinnamon sparrows, black and yellow grosbeak, black bulbuls, pheasant and the Himalayan gray langur.
A strict no, given the security concerns. In fact if you happen to park your car for too long along a road, you will be ticked off by the police/military.
Kidding around Srinagar
Yusmarg: This is Yusmarg- close enough to Srinagar for a picnic, idyllic enough to make you want to stay for a few days. Here are walks of every sort - a leisurely amble along flower-strewn meadows or away to where a mighty river froths and crashes its way over rocks, its mild white foam earning it the name of Dudh Ganga.
Kashmiri handicrafts are prized everywhere for their exquisite craftsmanship. Kashmir carpets, in both wool and silk with their Persian design, are a lifetime investment and the shopper's selection range from the simple to the most extraordinarily intricate patterns handed down the generations. The climate of Kashmir is ideal for Saffron, walnut and almond trees, which grow here in abundance. Natural honey too, is a produce of the apiaries, which abound in the state. We can shop for Namdas, chain stitch and crewel furnishings. And also Copper and Silverware, basketty, and many wood carving.
Famous To Eat at Srinagar
Kashmiri food can be the simple meal of a family, or a 36-course wedding banquet called Wazawan. Mutton, chicken or fish are of prime importance in Kashmiri meal and everyday cooking often combines vegetable and meat in the same dish. Mutton and turnips, chicken and spinach, fish and lotus root are also very popular combinations. Pure vegetarian dishes include dum-aloo - roasted potatoes in curd-based gravy, and chaman- fried paneer (cottage cheese), in a thick sauce. And also rista, seekh kababs, tabak maz, roganjosh, Yakhni,Gushtaba are very interesting recipes for the people who want to try a different taste of food.
Srinagar Museum and Hill Stations
Hari Parbat Fort: The Mughal emperor's fort crowns the top of Hari Parbat hill. There is little left of its former glory, but the ramparts are still impressive and the old apartments within the fort, even though in a state of ruin, still convey at least a little of the grandeur of the Mughals? summer retreat in ?paradise?. The fort was later developed in 18th century by an Afghan governor, Ata Mohammad Khan.
Gardens and Parks at Srinagar
Daksum: Past the Mughal Gardens of Achabal, with their tinkling fountains, through the breathtaking splendour of the springs at Kokarnag, lies Daksum. Kokernag: Situated in the heart of Bringhi valley, Kokernag (2,020 m, 70 kms from Srinagar), is set amidst sprawling gardens fragrant with the bloom of thousands of flowers. The Kokernag spring bubbles at seven places at the foot of the forested mountain. The water of the spring is famous for its medicinal and digestive properties. Shalimar Bagh: Built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jehan, Shalimar, 15 kms from the TRC, is a beautiful garden with sweeping vistas over gardens and lakes, and shallow terraces. The garden is 539 m by 182 m and has four terraces, rising one above the other. A canal lined with polished stones and supplied with water from Harwan runs through the middle of the garden. The fourth terrace, by far the best, was once reserved for royal ladies. Nishat Bagh: Situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, (11 km. from TRC), this 'garden of bliss' commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. Nishat was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan. Chashma Shahi: At Chashmashai, is a tastefully laid garden in terraces, which commands a magnificent view of the Dal Lake below and surrounding mountain ranges. The cool water of the spring is highly refreshing and digestive.
Lake at Srinagar
As we know Srinagar is city of lakes we can come across with some many lakes in the city. Wular Lake: It is difficult to describe in mere words the beguiling beauty of Wular Lake. For one, its formidable size - this is one of Asia's largest fresh water lakes - for another, it changes character with every few miles. Dal Lake: The tourists at Dal Lake enjoy the wondrous vistas offered by the spectacular surrounding of Srinagar. You must take a ride in the traditional Kashmiri boats that is often referred to as "Shikaras" to explore the intricate maze of waterways of the Dal Lake. The shikara ride at the sunset on the Dal Lake is an unforgettable experience. Manasbal Lake: The drive from Srinagar will take you to the calm waters of Manasbal Lake, where there is no other sound but birdsong. Manasbal has often been described as the bird watcher's paradise, and as your shikara glides through this mirror of tranquillity, you will experience yet another facet of Kashmir.
The climate of the valley is conducive for dry fruit growing, especially for walnut and almond trees.
Srinagar Travel Tips
Kashmir has been a hotbed of political unrest in the 80's and early 90's. Though it is now considered safe and has opened up to tourists, it is best to check the latest situation before your travel there. Also do take care when you are there not to travel/drive alone outside of the city and always carry identification proof. Also check with the tourism centre/ your hotel for reliable guides and engage authorised personnel only. Srinagar has temperate climate through most of the year and winters are cold with regular snowfall. Though cottons are alright for summer days, carry something warm for the evenings and nights. If you are travelling during winter or plan to travel to the hills beyond carry adequate woollens. While in the city it is advisable for women to dress modestly. f you want to visit mosques and holy places be prepared - wear clothing that covers your legs completely and carry a scarf for covering your head. You will also have to remove your footwear before entering any religious place. Drink bottled or mineral water only as water related diseases may be acquired through unhygienic intake of water or food. It is advisable to carry basic medicines and especially any prescription drugs that you might need during your travel and also carry a first aid kit. Most government and private banks are open weekdays between 10am and 2pm and on Saturday between 10am and 12noon. They are closed on government holidays.
Srinagar Tourist Offices
Mr. Naeem Akhter Secretary Tourism J&K Government. 0191-2542922 & 2548715 Mr. Altaf Hussain Addl.SecretaryTourism J&K Government. 0191-2573150 & 2560229 Mr. Parry Chief Executive Officer Pahalgam Dev. Authority. 01936-243049 & 243125
State Bank of India, Residency Road. Jammu & Kashmir Bank Ltd., Residency Road.Canara Bank, The Bund. Bank of Baroda, Residency Road
Must do at Srinagar
Kashmiri tea is black, sweet and made with cinnamon, cardamom and honey. It is delicious. The locals refer to it as 'KAHWA' and is somewhat similar to the 'Kadha' used as a treatment for sour throat. So don't forget to drink Kashimiri tea in Srinagar. if you take a trip to the valley don't forget to buy Kashmiri saffron & dry fruits, along with the delicious natural honey.
Not to do at Srinagar
Do not use a waist pouch, it may as well be a transparent plastic bag: it's that fragile and that obvious! Do not put all your money in one place. If you are travelling alone, do not advertise it.