Nestled on the banks of the Jhelum River and surrounded by snow capped peaks is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar. Etymologically Srinagar constitutes two Sanskrit words, śrī meaning Lakshmi and nagar, which means “city”. Thus the word ‘Srinagar’ literally translates into ‘the city of wealth & abundance’.
Perfectly situated in the center of the Kashmir Valley, Kashmir, both by foreign and local tourists is considered no less than ‘jannat’ (paradise). Fondly nicknamed as the “Venice of the East”, Srinagar was founded around 150 AD by King Pravarasen II. In India, Srinagar has emerged as a popular honeymoon destination among newly married couples.
While there are direct flights to Kashmir, tourists usually opt for a flight, bus or taxi from Jammu. Jammu is the nearest railway station from Srinagar.
Though Srinagar experiences pleasant climate all round the year, however, the months of October and March are the best time to visit Srinagar. The summer season in Srinagar is from April to September. Though, the days might be hot, the nights tend to become chilly. The Kashmir valley abounds with colours during summers. Winter begins in October and continues lasts till March. It generally snows during winters in the valley. The temperature ranges between 0°C and 15°C.
It is a known fact that Srinagar is home to spectacular locales and breathtaking visual delights, some of which are:
Dal Lake: The reflection of the resplendent Pir Panjal range on the waters is the first image which comes to mind when one thinks about Kashmir. Spread over 26 sq.km, Dal Lake has rightly been nicknamed as ‘Srinagar’s jewel’. The lake is partitioned in to four areas. Dal Lake is popular for its houseboats and shikara rides.
Mughal Garden: As the name reveals, experience the grandeur of the Mughal style of architecture and design here. Mughal Gardens is further sub divided into three renowned gardens namely the Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Gardens and Chashm-e-shahi.
Pratap Singh Museum: Established in 1898, Pratap Singh Museum was the erstwhile summer palace of Kashmiri Kings. It is now home to valuable ancient terracotta heads of the 3rd century.
Besides the in house tourist attractions, Srinagar also serves as a base for many trekking expeditions. Moreover, short trips can also be planned to nearby places such as Leh, Ladakh, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Gulmarg, each of which has its own beauty to offer.
If you wish to buy locally produced souvenirs from Srinagar, Pashmina Shawls, dry fruits and bakery items are worth the purchase.
As far as food is concerned, Srinagar is renowned for the delumptious food which it serves. Rogan-gosht, Gushtabal, Rishta, Tabakmaaz and Kanti are some of the must haves of Srinagar.
The Kashmir valley has been previously affected by politically turbulent situations which have resulted in curfews etc. in the city. Since 2003, the situation has improved significantly and there has been a surge in the tourism here. Thus, it is advisable that before planning a vacation, you check the law and order situation in the city, for your own safety.
To experience Heaven on Earth, Srinagar is the place to be!