Saturday, August 18, 2012

Srinagar Tourist Attractions | Kashmir Valley - Srinagar Tourism | Holy Places Srinagar | Tourist Places Jammu and Kashmir - Srinagar | Summer Special Tour Attraction - Srinagar

Kashmir the paradise on Earth

Jammu and Kashmir is southernmost state of India and situated mostly in the Himalayan Mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares its borders with, states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab of India to the south, China and Afghanistan to the Northeast and Pakistan administered territories to the West and Northwest respectively. Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions namely Jammu, Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh. Jammu & Kashmir - a distinct land has enriched both travelers and people by multifaceted culture, geography and history blend with the unsurpassed natural beauty in all the three regions. Srinagar is the summer capital of the state and Jammu is the winter capital. This shifting of capital’s during winter was started with the Maharaja's of Dogra Rule and continues till now, and so both the cities are quite developed and have many tourist attractions. Once considered as the center of Hinduism and Buddhism many Sufi saints and sages have Kashmir as their birth place. While the Kashmir valley is known for its beautiful mountainous landscape, the lakes and blue valleys rising to alpine passes, the Jammu’s region is abode of gods and goddesses for which it bears the name, 'city of temples'. The region has broadened the spheres of pilgrimage tourism for entire State. At the same time Ladakh, a living centre of Buddhism, possesses mystique landscape and rugged pinnacles lit up by the colorful traditions of the people, it is a dream of adventurers and explorers.

Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch Valley, Sind Valley and Lidder Valley. The main Kashmir valley is 100 km (62 mi) wide and 15,520.3 km2 (5,992.4 sq mi) in area. This densely settled and beautiful valley has an average height of 1,850 metres (6,070 ft) above sea-level but the surrounding Pir Panjal range has an average elevation of 5,000 metres (16,000 ft).

Because of Jammu and Kashmir's wide range of elevations, its biogeography is diverse. Northwestern thorn scrub forests and Himalayan subtropical pine are found in the low elevations of the far southwest. These give way to a broad band of western Himalayan broadleaf forests running from northwest-southeast across the Kashmir Valley. Rising into the mountains, the broadleaf forests grade into western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Above tree line are found northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Much of the northeast of the state is covered by the Karakoram- West Tibet Plateau alpine steppe. Around the highest elevations, there is no vegetation, simply rock and ice. In general Jammu & Kashmir's forests include a wide variety of species including maple (the famous "chinar" tree of the Kashmir valley), evergreens, rose chestnut, alder, pine, laurel, sal, oak, magnolia, cedar, birch, hazel, spruce, juniper, rhododendron. These forests provide a perfect habitat for the wildlife of Jammu& Kashmir and are a vital component of Jammu & Kashmir's Eco-system and for tourism of varying nature equally.

The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan River which flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Ravi and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the state. Srinagar, the capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, stands by the river Jhelum that forms the lifeline of the Kashmir Valley. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan glaciers. With an average altitude of 5,753 metres (18,875 ft) above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is 70 km (43 mi) long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.

Jammu and Kashmir is a state every tourists dreams to visit. An inspiration for art, music and poetry, Kashmir is also a honeymooners' paradise, a nature lover's wonderland and a shopper's dream come true. The valley of Kashmir is unique in its surroundings, which offers breathtaking view of its varying topography. Nature has endowed Kashmir with exotic beauty, which is reflected in its picturesque landscapes, lush green forests of Chinar, Deodar and Pine trees, beautiful rivers and waterfalls, snow covered mountains and a range of flora and fauna. In fact, it abounds in many varieties of wildlife, which includes Bears, Leopards and Himalayan Chamois etc. The countless species of luxuriant vegetation too, attract lot of enthusiastic botanists. Kashmir also has a lot to offer to the artists, archaeologists, rock and mountain climbers and big game hunters who throng this place in large numbers. Besides this, it is an ideal place for holidaymakers as well as for people who seek tranquility and peace amidst natural surroundings. No wonder that, Kashmir is referred to as the 'Switzerland of India.'

Due to the abundance of natural beauty many places are unkempt and remain unexplored but their wilderness in itself is an attraction. Anantnag is famous for ladder river, Baramulla has Wullar lake, Jammu has perennial rivers and beautiful gardens and Leh has pengong rivers and where ever one goes he finds small hills or huge mountains around. It is worth also visiting Nishat garden, Shalimar garden, Cheshmaishahi, and Pari Mahal collectively called Mughal gardens at Srinagar.

Jammu and Kashmir Seasons

The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the climate is typically monsoonal. In the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) whilst in July and August, very heavy though erratic rainfall occurs. In higher altitudes night temperature drops slightly. The Srinagar with its lakes and waterways is a heaven after the scorching heat of the Indian plains. In September, rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of around 29 °C (84 °F), perhaps this the Jammu and Kashmir loveliest season. From December to the beginning of March, the temperature drops sharply and time for snowfalls starts in higher altitudes, bringing sometime entire Jammu & Kashmir under blanket of snow.

Places of attractions in Srinagar

Srinagar– City of Lakes

Srinagar is the largest city and capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is situated in Kashmir valley and lies on the bank of Jhelum River. Srinagar is famous for his beautiful lakes and houseboats. It is also know for traditional kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits.

The natural beauty of the hill resort of Srinagar is spellbound and sweeps off one’s of his feet. Jahangir, the Mughal emperor was left spell bound by the beauty of Srinagar. He exclaimed "Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto" i.e. If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here in Srinagar.


The Srinagar District has a long history. In third century BC, the city was identified by different names, though originally it was established by the Ruler Pravara Sena II over 2, 000 years ago, name it Parvasenpur. Later city became part of the Mauraya Empire and during that period Ashoka introduced Buddhism to the Kashmir Valley, and the adjoining regions around city became a centre of Buddhism. The City subsequently came under control of Kushans, Vikramaditya and Mihirkula the most dreaded ruler of the city in the valley during Huns ruling. The Srinagar city turned as headquarters of Kashmir in 960 CE. The independent Hindu and the Buddhist rule of Srinagar lasted until the 14th century when the Kashmir valley, including the city, came under the control of the several Muslims rulers, including the Mughals. Before independence of India, the city was controlled by British rulers and before them Sikhs and prior to Sikh rulers, Mughal’s ruled Kashmir Valley, though Mughal’s created countless tourist spots particularly for summer vacations.

After India and Pakistan's independence from Britain, certain Pashtun tribes such as Mehsud and Afridi from mountainous region of North –West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, at the instigation of Pakistan and with its collusion, entered the Kashmir valley to capture it.  The Maharaja signed the instrument of accession on 26 October 1947 which was accepted by India the next day. The government of India immediately airlifted Indian troops to Srinagar, defended the city and drove away the invaders.

The city has suffered from severe political and terrorist unrest during the last decades. Kashmiri separatists have clashed with Indian Army on some occasions. The city is heavily militarized.

Tourist attraction in Srinagar

There are several spectacular sites that must be visited in Srinagar. The hill resort has often been referred to as Paradise on earth. The hill resort is also referred to as the land of lakes and gardens owing to the abundance of both.

One of the major landmarks of Srinagar is the Dal Lake. There are several lakes that comprise the Dal Lake in the eastern side of Srinagar. The Nagin Lake is the most renowned of the lakes. 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.

In the city of lakes and gardens there are the well laid out Mughal styled gardens of Chashme Shahi, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh. Chashme Shahi means the royal spring, Shalimar Bagh implies the abode of love and the Nishat Bagh denotes the pleasure garden. These gardens lay far eastern side of the Dal Lake. Tourists are often seen strolling in the gorgeous green gardens. The waterworks in the gardens add to their beauty.

Holy Places

Hazratbal Shrine:  The Hazrathalbal Shirne, is a muslim shrine in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is situated on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar and is considered to be Kashmir’s holiest Mislims Shrine. The shirne is known by many names including Hazrathbal, Assar-e-Sharief, madinat-us-Sani, Dargah Sharief and Dargah. The Moi-e-Muqqadas (the sacred hair) of Mohammed is believed to be preserved here. Sadiq Khan, laid out a garden here and constructed a palacial building, Ishrat mahal or Pleasure House, in 1623. The construction of the present marble structure was started by the Muslim Aquaf Trust headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1968 and completed in 1979. The Moi-e-Muqqadas is displayed on various occasions related with the life of the Prophet and his four holy companions.

Shankaracharya Temple: The Shankaracharya Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located on the summit of the same name, and is overlooking the town of Srinagar. The temple dates back to 200 BC, although the present structure probably dates back to the 9th century AD. The temple was visited by the Adishankaracharya and has ever since been associated with him. Furthermore, it is regarded as being sacred by Buddists, who call the mandir "Pas-Pahar."

The temple was originally built by Sandiman, who reigned in Kashmir from 2629 to 2564 BC. It was repaired by King Gopaditya (426 – 365 BC) and by King Lalitaditya (697–734). Dogra ruler, Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs upto the temple. In 1925, the temple was electrified. The temple, besides a prominent religious place of Hindus, is of great archaeological importance. The temple commands a magnificent panoramic view of the Srinagar city.

Khanqah-e-Molla: The shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan or Khanqah-e-Moulla is one of the oldest Muslim shrines in Kashmir situated on the bank of the river Jhelum in the old city

Jamia Masjid: Jamia Masjit is one of the oldest and the most spacious of all the mosques in Kashmir, situated in the heart of the city. The foundation of the mosque, an architectural wonder was laid by Sultan Sikander in 1398 A.D. Later, the son of Sultan Sikandar, Zain-ul-Abidin got the mosque extended. Thousands of Muslims assemble at the mosque every Friday to offer their prayers.

Imambrara Hassanbad Srinagar: Imambara Hasanabad is the second oldest shrine and is a world known place of mourning and worshiping of one million shia population of Jammu and Kashmir. Located near to Lal Chowk (2.6 km from Srinagar), it is surrounded by world famous Hazratbal shrine one side, Temple of Mata Sharka Devi and Gurdawara Chatti Padshahi on other side. Hassanabad was a developed city during the Moughal Rule period and is sited near the Mughal graveyard, which is the resting place for the elite Kashmiris. The site is accessible through local transports within 20 mins.

Chatti Padshahi: Chatti Padshahi, one of the most important Sikh Gurudwaras in Kashmir. The sixth guru of Sikhism traveled through Kashmir, stopping to preach occasionally. It is situated just outside the southern gate of Hari Parbat fort.

Tourist Places

Dal Lake: The world famous water body described by Sir Walter Lawerence as the "Lake par-excellence", is located at half a kilometers from the city, is the jewel in the crown of Kashmir. The lake of late has unfortunately, considerably shrunk in size causing concern to environmentalists. The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal erea gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F), freezing the lake.

Cheshma Shahi and Pari Mahal: Cheshma Shahi or the Royal Spring was laid by Shah Jahan in 1632 A.D. It is 9 Km. from the city centre and is famous for a spring of refreshment digestive water. Two kilometers uphill from Cheshma Shahi is situated the Pari Mahal, a school of astrology founded by Prince Dara Shikoh, Emperor Shah Jahan's eldest son who was killed in the war of succession. The Cheshma Shahi-Pari Mahal area has been developed into a Tourist Village.

Nishat Garden: Queen Nur Jahan's brother, Asif Khan,laid the Garden in 1633 A.D. It is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake in the backdrop of the Zabarwan hills, 11 Km from the district headquarter of Srinagar. The Garden commands a magnificent view of the lake.

Shalimar Garden: The Garden, 15 Kms from the city centre, was built by Emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife, Nurjahan. The garden with four terraces is 539 by 182 meters and gets water from Harwan through a canal lined with fountains. The fourth terrace was once reserved for royal ladies.

Travel Connections to Srinagar:

By Road: The dual lane of the road in the city allows more commuters to travel freely. Travel agencies are offering direct buses from various cities of India to reach Srinagar. Some deluxe buses are also available for luxury journey. This city is properly linked with Chandigarh (630 kms away), Jammu (290 kms away), Delhi (876 kms away), Leh (434 kms away) and Pahalgam (96 kms away). Getting the travel packages will help visitors to get the guide with them.

By Air: The domestic airport of Srinagar allows commuters to reach the spot easily Frequent flights from Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Shimla are available to reach Srinagar.

By Train: The biggest railway station to reach Srinagar is Jammu. The distance between Jammu and Srinagar is 290 kms. Jammu station is properly linked with all major cities of India. Direct trains from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Trivandrum are available to reach Jammu.