The paradise capital of the paradise state Kashmir is the breathtakingly beautiful Srinagar. The capital has been famously etched with many beauty personified tags, but the most famous is the ‘Heaven on Earth’, which has never raised an eyebrow or made people question seeing to the beauty that Srinagar upheavals within it. The union territory Srinagar is located on the banks of a tributary of the Indus river, Jhelum. On top of the river are several man-made wooden constructed bridges that take you an inch closer to witness the calmness and tranquillity of the water of the Jhelum river. There are also numerous canals, waterways that can be accessed through the world-famous shikara rides. Srinagar is cooped around the Zabarwan range. In the winter season when the mountain range is covered in thick snow is definitely a sight to behold. When the mountains leave a reflection on the water is a sight that is bound to leave you feeling more chilly even if you’ll be layering ten sweaters together. The beauty of Srinagar has been featured in many famous Bollywood movies like Raazi, Haider, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Does Srinagar have any history?
The word Srinagar has been derived from the language Sanskrit where ‘Sri’ means Lakshmi and ‘Nagar’ implies city. According to many stories, it is believed that Srinagar received importance as a city under the rulership of Ashoka the Great, the emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. But, according to other history aficionados, Srinagar was founded by the Indian emperor. Though the founder credits by many historians are granted to King Ashoka, according to many transcripts, the creator who led to this beautiful territory into the formation two thousand years back is King Pravarasena II who named it as Pravasenpur.
The place was later ruled by many kings and kingdoms. The Kushanas, King Vikramaditya and the Hunnic Empire. It was in 960 A.D that Srinagar was named the capital of Kashmir.
What are the best places to visit in Srinagar?
Mosques of Srinagar
The famous Muslim shrine of Srinagar is the magnificent Hazratbal Shrine. The word Hazratbal is derived from the Farsi language where Hazrat means “respected”, and bal means “place”. Hence, the shrine is a place of utmost respect and divinity. Located next to the waters of the prestigious Dal Lake, the Hazratbal shrine is considered as one of the largest shrines of Kashmir and one of the holiest of the country. This glittering white marble shrine’s construction began in 1968 and continued for eleven years. According to the locals of the capital, it houses the sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad’s beard. A lesser-known history behind the Hazratbal is its connection to the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The place where the mosque stands today was earlier Ishrat Mahal and a flourishing garden, which were built by Shah Jahan’s subedar Sadiq Khan in 1623. But after seeing mahal and the garden in 1634, Shah Jahan ordered to convert this palace into a place for devotees where they could offer prayers.
Visit here especially on Fridays when the mass prayers are conducted or on special festivals.
#BollywoodFact The Hazratbal Shrine was featured in the Bollywood movie Lamhaa, which starred Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, and Anupam Kher.
People staying or who have visited the capital of the country for a holiday will certainly be aware of one of the largest mosques of India, Jama Masjid. The iconic Jama Masjid was built by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. But, many aren’t aware that the summer capital, Srinagar also has its very own Jama Masjid. Built more than six hundred years ago, the Srinagar Jama Masjid was commissioned by Sultan Sikandar in 1394 and completed in 1402. It holds the title of the most iconic and valuable mosque of Kashmir. The architecture and design of the Mosque has been largely influenced by the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The Indo-Saracenic style of architecture is a vibrant amalgamation of the Indian and Mughal designs. The mosque has a total of 378 wooden pillars that have been carved by the great artisans of Kashmir. The walls, roofs, and pillars of the Jama Masjid have all been lit up with vibrant and colorful artwork. Visit here on Fridays when the masjid is crowded with devotees.
Every kid during their school term has been taken to the public gardens present near their vicinity. But, the Nishat Garden in Srinagar is not your ordinary city gardens. The Nishant Bagh is a UNESCO world heritage site that has been termed as the Garden of Bliss and floating gardens for being the second-largest Mughal Garden in Kashmir valley and one of the most popular tourist attractions of Srinagar. Located on the eastern side of the surreal Dal Lake, the scenery of the Mughal gardens feature the most magnificent Zabarwan mountains that are beyond perfection when looked at the time of sunset. The Nishat garden was sketched by Asaf Khan who was the brother of Nur Jahan (wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir), in 1633 AD. It is believed that the great Emperor Shah Jahan when saw the beauty and splendours of the Nishat Bagh, was left awestruck. The design of the Mughal Gardens has been largely affected by the Persian Architecture. A fountain of water flows in the middle of the garden. The garden has exactly twelve terraces that have been dedicated to all the zodiac signs that they keep on rising up the mountainside. All the terraces have been filled with coloured and beautiful roses, lilies, geraniums, and asters.
Lakes of Srinagar
- The Nigeen or Nageen lake of Srinagar is referred to as the nageena of Kashmir for being surrounded by a numerous number of willow and poplar trees. The lake is located next to the Hari Parbat hillock and on the west of the Dal Lake. The Nigeen lake visit for every tourist is a must encounter for the famous shikara rides. The rides aren’t just another boat experience. The shikara rides are one of the most tranquil and beautiful experiences to take home as it takes you an inch closer giving you ample opportunities to praise the scenic beauty that surrounds the capital.
- The Wular lake of Srinagar is the largest freshwater lake in India and also one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. Lake plays an important role in the water management system of the Kashmir Valley. It has been acting as a huge absorption basin for the seasonal floodwater. The lake also caters to the flora and fauna of Kashmir. Wular Lake is a frequent visiting site for diverse migratory waterfowl species too. Like the Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Shoveler, Common Pochard, Mallard, Little Cuckoo, European Hoopoe, Monal Pheasant, and the Himalayan Pied Woodpecker. Birds like the Marbled Teal and Pallas Fish-eagle have listened in the Red List of IUCNSadly, the rivers Bohnar, Madamati, Erin, Jhelum and the Ningal from the mountains bring bundles and bundles of deposits into the lake yearly. This has lead to harsh effects on the cleanliness and purity of the water of the lakes.
- Every kid young or grown, who has been fortunate enough or not to visit Srinagar will surely be able to associate the phenomenal Dal lake with as an addition to the serenity of Kashmir, A pride or a jewel, visiting the Dal Lake is one of those experiences that should be featured in every travellers bucket list. A mirror-like lake that has been featured in many famous Bollywood movies (remember Shammi Kapoor singing “chand sa roshan chehra” to the beautiful Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir ki Kali?). The Dal lake is overlooked by the stunning view of the mighty Himalayas in the background enhances the surrealness of the Dal lake. The Dal Lake is famously called the jewel of Srinagar and the urban lake too as it can easily be reached to great connectivity of roads. The Dal Lake is treated a no ordinary lake due to the houseboats floating on its waters. The houseboats were built during the British colonial rule era. Many tourists who can’t get enough of the breathtaking beauty of the lake decided to stay at these houseboats that also feature many unique restaurants too. Other places located near the lake feature the ancient Shankaracharya temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are also many floating gardens and vegetation that may astonish you. Opt for the shikara ride or the gondola of Kashmir to get the best experience of the Dal lake.
What to buy in Srinagar?
Whenever you plan a trip to Srinagar, make sure to have a budget(because you might be left dumbstruck seeing the things offered) and ample of space in your bags, obviously. Srinagar offers great things for tourists to take back home.
- The most famous which you should surely get yourself, your mother, sister, and aunt is the immensely popular pashmina shawls. No trip is complete without buying this warm piece of clothing.
- Tea lover or not you should surely try a warm cup of Kashmiri Kahwa. a popular form of tea of Kashmir is made with flavours of cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron. Perfect for the colder days, the tea has great soothing properties. So, don’t forget to grab some for home too. another great tea to enjoy here is the noon chai. Also called the ink tea due to its colour, the tea is made with gunpowder tea, milk, and baking soda.
- A great home decor item for you to take home is the Kashmiri carpets. The carpets have been hand-knotted which makes them usually special than the rest. the hand-knotting technique cases the carpets to last for a long time. These carpets are weaved with pure wool or entirely with silk that causes them to be of high quality. Though the carpets are slightly high priced the hard work that goes for a period of eight to ten months makes every penny worthwhile.
- The amazing papier-mache products of Kashmir act as the perfect present to give a member of the family or a close friend. Introduced since the 15th century, the products are prepared using the pulp of paper. When the dry and hardened, then artists add colour and designs to the artefacts. The great part about this is that the colours that are used to prepare them are organic or vegetable-base.
- Every Indian is aware of the famous spices that Kashmir is known for. any local market that you visit here offers great authentic and pure exotic spices like saffron, chillies, cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg.
Markets, where you’ll be able to buy all these items, include the Lal Chowk (Open: 9:30 am to 8 pm), Polo View (Open: 9:30 am to 8 pm), Badshah chowk (Open: 9:30 am to 8 pm), Residency Road (Open: 9:30 am to 8 pm), Floating market(Open: 9:00 am to 6 pm).
Where and what to eat in Srinagar?
Srinagar is undoubtedly the most stunning place that one can ever get to visit. But, it is also greatly known for being the best spot for a food lover. Though the name of the dishes presented in front of you might be something you’ve already heard. But, the way that these dishes are prepared is different and would be forced to ask for more. the most famous favourite dish of Srinagar is the Rogan Josh. The dish is incorporated with many rich flavors that contain many exotic Kashmiri spices, caramelized onions, and yogurt. The dish is served with rice and naan. Other non-vegetarian cuisines include the Matschgand which area minced meatballs cooked in spicy red gravy, the Yakhni lamb curry is a yogurt-based dish served with rice, goshtaba the mined mutton dish which has yogurt. Vegetarians should definitely try the dum Aloo that is cooked with yogurt, ginger powder and other spices with hot chapati. The best places to try all these main course dishes include the Mughal Darbar, Ahdoos, Chinar at Lalit Grand Palace, Stream restaurant, Shamyana, and Cafe de Linz.
How to reach?
The Sheikh ul Alam Airport, Srinagar Airport is an international airport. that is well connected from Srinagar to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh.
The nearest railway station to Srinagar is the Jammu Tawi( six hours away from Srinagar) and the Udhampur railway station( five hours away from Srinagar). You can hire a taxi or cab to reach Srinagar. Many state-run buses also operate here.