What can be better understood as a piece of heaven on Earth than Srinagar? This gorgeous valley located on the banks of Jhelum is situated at a height of 1,585 m. the name Srinagar is meant as the city of wealth, indeed it is. Once this was a paradise on earth for its majestic natural beauty until the Indian-Pakistan issue peppered to devastate innocent lives and turned the heaven to hell. Since 2003, the place has become safer for the tourists and once again Kashmir is all set to regain its lost glory.
Srinagar is presently built on the ruins of so many kings and invaders including Jayapida, Lalitaditya, Pravarasen and Avantivarman. This became the seat of the Government under the Dorgas Maharaja Gulab Singh. The city has silently witnessed many twists and turns until the last decade witnessed Kashmir on a political hotbed of India-Pakistan issue. Once the overflowing hotels, and the crowded streets remained empty for so long. The quintessential Dal Lake of Srinagar lost its charm by witnessing the devastation of the heaven. But now situation is much under control and people are again crowding to explore the queen of hills once again.
The flagship sightseeing of Srinagar is the Dal Lake which is approximately estimated to be 26 sq km, and divided into 4 sections. This is famous for the house boats and the shikharas. These are small canoes, which are much used as a mode of transport and during the shikhara riding; you may get a chance to explore the markets on boats there. You will get fresh vegetables, flowers and many daily goodies from the sellers in canoes. Staying experience at the houseboats on the Dal Lake can be stored in your heart for the rest of your life without any doubt. You may not feel like leaving the houseboats with the end of your vacation and may wish to have one and stay there for the rest of the life. The lake freezes during winter.
This is also known as the Friday Mosque by the local people. This structure stands to be one of the oldest mosques in Srinagar and is a significant monument of Islamic architecture. This was built back in 1674 with four spires towers. There are around 370 pillars and each of the pillars is a complete deodar trunk. There are also large prayer halls inside the spectacular mosque. Several times, it has been destroyed and restored. If you are in a Kashmir, you must visit the famous Jama Masjid.
Besides the famous Jama Masjid, the Hazratbal Mosque is a white marble wonder situated on the banks of the Dal Lake. This architectural magnificence is the perfect example of the Mughal and Kashmir art. The Mosque is also famed as Dargah Sharif, Madinat-us-Sani and Asar-e-Sharif. It is said that the shrine has a relic of the hair of Muhammad, the Islamic prophet.
Lake Nagin is honored with a title ‘Jewel in the Ring’. This lake is much cleaner that the Dal lake but is much isolated from the usual crowd of the Dal lake.
The famous Shankaracharya Temple is located at a height of 1100 ft on top of the Shankaracharya Hill. According to chronicles, it was Jaluka, son of Emperor Asoka created the temple. The spectacular view of the Pir Pnajal range from the Shankaracharya hill is simply awe-inspiring.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden
Located at the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountains and adjacent to the Dal Lake, this flower garden is famous for the annual Tulip Festival that lasts until a week. Around 70 varieties of Tulips are harvested here in this spacious garden named after the Ex-Prime Minister of India. Like this garden, Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Garden, Chashma Shahi Garden, Pari Mahal and Achabal Bagh are worth mentioning gardens of Srinagar.
Sri Pratap Singh Museum
This museum houses some of the best references of rich Indian art like the statues of Buddha built in Gandhara Art, terracotta models of the 3rd century, some ancient coins, handicrafts, arms and so on.
Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary houses rare Hangul, Kashmiri stag and Indian brown bears. The picturesque view here is simply breathtaking. The area spreads around 141 sq km. on 1951, the sanctuary is entitled to be a National Park for its exotic flora and fauna.
Better known as the land of shepherds is the base camp of the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. Famous for the Betaab Valley and more, this place is well-known tourist destination for a perfect getaway in the lap of the mighty Himalayas.
The meadow of flowers, Gulmarg houses picturesque landscapes, dazzling lakes and excellent ambiance to explore Kashmir.
The golden meadow, Sonamarg is a perfect spot to see the glaciers, lakes and flowers bloomed all around.
The nearest railway station is Jammu and the domestic airport is Sheikh ul Alam Airport, which is well-networked with major cities in India. The roadways are also developed in J&K.
The J&K State Road Transport Corporation conducts bus services that will charge around INR 350. The taxis charge INR 2000 approx and you need to bargain.