Kashmir is labeled the “Paradise on Earth” and Srinagar is the summer capital of this paradise. That should suffice as the description of the Srinagar but I would still add some more. Srinagar etymologically means the city (nagar) of wealth (sri). It has a long history of 2000 and more. It was an independent kingdom at the time of partition of Indian mainland. Since Hari Sing decided to join Indian Union following Pakistani incursion Jammu Kashmir has remained a state of Indian Union.
Tourism is the main component of economy. Kashmir is one of the most favorite places in India among both domestic and international tourists. What attracts them to Kashmir? Nature? Mountains Snow Valleys Wildlife Lakes Gardens People Hospitality . Do I need to explain why people are so fascinated by the paradise? It is actually hard to believe unless you experience in person. It often leads all lists of top 10 hill stations in India.
Places to visit in Srinagar
Here is a list of places you could include in you Srinagar itinerary. We understand that it becomes hard when you have limited time unlimited enthusiasm. Choose wisely then. It would be a hard task picking one place and dropping the other. Good Luck.
Dal Lake is the second largest lake in Kashmir Valley and forms the lifeline of the city of Kashmir. Often quoted as the “jewel of Kashmir” Dal Lake is a unique ecosystem and center of tourism activity in the state. It is flanked by Mughal Garden and Nishat Garden, built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir – the great nature lover and patron of art. Do not forget to spend a night in the house boats and a Shikara ride. House boats and Shikaras along with the natural wetland flora forms the floating garden of Kashmir. Time just flies by as you take a leisurely ride of the little decorated boats on the smooth surface of Dal lake, enjoying the view of the boulevards around and mountains in the horizon.
One of the holiest Muslim Shrines in India, Hazratbal or Assar-e-Sharief is is preserving a relic that many believe to be the hair of Prophet Mohammad. It is located on the left flank of Dal Lake and commands deep respect among believers. You won’t miss it if you are strolling around the lake or taking a lazy ride in the Shikaras.
Considered the largest fresh water lake in Asia, Wular Lake is a major tourist attraction in Kashmir. It is located around 33 Kilometers form Srinagar city. This Lake is a natural wetland fed by river Jhelum and acts as a natural flood control mechanism too. Surrounded by lofty snow capped mountains and coniferous trees it provides the perfect setting for a boat ride, stroll or trek which ever you prefer.
Fish lover and Bird watchers are in for a delight. This area, along with the surrounding wetlands acts as a winter breeding and resting ground for migratory birds. Wular is house to a large no of resident birds and accounts for 60% of the state’s fish production.
There is an old 15th century ruin on a man made lake at the center which was created by King Zain-ul-abidin.
“Mughal Garden” is also an important place to visit in Srinagar. The garden is situated at the distance back from the lake. The garden can be reached by a small canal. ‘The Shalimar’ or the groups of garden were originally constructed by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan. It is also known as the ‘light of the world’. The flowers here are like lights as they blossom elegantly throughout the year. The garden is an identification sign of the royalty of Mughal era. The decoration of the place has remained the same as it was earlier. The place has been well preserved.
Srinagar is beautifully decorated with so many gardens. The colors of beautiful flowers enhance the beauty of the place. The place becomes more elegant because of the fragrance come from these flowers. After “Mughal Garden” it is one of the finest gardens in Srinagar. It is one of the top hottest destinations for the tourists. The garden is situated encircling the Dal Lake. Reportedly, the garden was built by Empress Nur Jahan’s brother Asaf Khan. The garden was built in the fond memory of Asaf Khan’s beloved sister Nur Jahan. Very famous the third Mughal Garden was reportedly established by Jehangir. ‘The Nishat Bagh’ is the garden with total 12 terraces representing the 12 different zodiac signs. People love to see the variations of different modes of zodiac and can relate with different columns of gardens.
Most of the people do know about the famous philosopher Shankaracharya. The Shankaracharya Temple is situated approximately one thousand feet above the city. Reportedly, the shrine is situated in the top most part of Srinagar. It is one of the very important places to visit. There are many followers of philosopher Sankaracharya. They generally wish to visit the place. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Reportedly, the place existed from the dates back to 2,500 BC. According to history, the philosopher Shankaracharya stayed at this place in the time when he visited Kashmir. The personality visited Kashmir approx ten centuries ago and he came to revive “Sanatan Dharma”.
Hari Parbat is also known as Sharika Hill in earlier times. There was a big fort which was established in the 18th century. The fort is clearly visible and situated in the increasing portion to the west of Dal Lake. The big famous Dal Lake is clearly visible from the Sharika Hill. History says, the fort was constructed by Atta Mohammed Khan in 1776. But according to the archeological department the surrounding wall of the fort is much older. Reportedly, the wall was built between 1592 and 1598 during the Akbar rule.