Some places are traveled, some are explored, but Srinagar must be felt. Its beauty and charm will be etched in your memory for a long time. On the tourist trail in Kashmir, you should visit Srinagar at least once. Its sub-tropical climate attracts visitors from all over India. The great Mughal Emperors recognized this “Paradise on Earth” and its people have developed a vibrant and colorful lifestyle, with unique landscapes. To feel the beauty of this place, you should not just visit and stay, but you must try and do things.
Here is a list you could tick off any time of year:
1. Dal Lake
One of the first places to visit in Srinagar is Dal Lake. It is obvious that it’s the pride of Srinagar and Kashmir as well from the nicknames given to it: Srinagar’s jewel and jewel in the “Crown of Kashmir”. The lake can be best seen by taking a joyous ride in a Shikara or houseboat. Of course, there are numerous hotels in Srinagar, but staying in a houseboat has a certain special charm. These floating houseboats are fitted with every comfort and are the most idyllic way to relax in this beautiful region.
Address: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2. Mughal Gardens
The joyful garden which lies to the east of Dal Lake is an absolute delight to visit. The Mughal Gardens are one of the few glorious gardens worth visiting in Srinagar. The Mughal Gardens include Shalimar, Nishat, and Chashm-e-Shahi. The Shalimar Garden was built in the 17th-century with the purpose of a summer residence and the royal court. These gardens have 12 terraces that stand for the 12 zodiac signs. You will be refreshed by watching lovely flowers and the lush plants.
Website: Mughal Gardens
3. Nagin Lake
Nagin Lake is like a mini extension of the Dal Lake. Its name comes from the many trees, which encircle the small, deep blue lake. The lake has a pristine natural beauty. A leisurely boat ride along the lake is sure to be an amazing experience. If you want to get away from the chaotic city life then Nagin Lake is a good place to find a houseboat. Since the water in Nagin Lake is deeper and less populated, this place is good for swimming.
Address: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
4. Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid of Srinagar is located at Nowhatta, in the middle of the old city. It was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, and later the son of Sultan Sikandar, Zain-ul-Abidin, got the mosque extended. The masjid has a 33-34 foot (10 meter) fountain which is used for Wadu (Ablution). Every Friday thousands of Muslims assemble at the mosque to offer their prayers. Jama Masjid is known as one of the sacred shrines of Islamic Followers.
Address: Nowhatta Kathi Darwaza Road, Nowhatta, Srinagar
5. Wular Lake
Wular Lake is considered to be one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. It is located in Bandipora district in the Indian States of Jammu and Kashmir. Wular Lake varies in size from 30 to 260 km2 (7,413 to 64,247 acres) as per the changing season. The deepest portion of Wular Lake is known as Mota Khon and is avoided by many local fishermen and boatmen, due to the dangers of drowning. Small dams are constructed at strategic places to prevent dangers of any natural calamity. According to biological, socio-economic and hydrological values, Wular Lake was designated as a Ramsar site and is considered to be one of the most important wetlands of India.
Address: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Gulmarg is a town, a hill station, and a popular skiing destination. Gulmarg looks like a fantasy set in a film and not surprisingly has been the venue of many films. Originally it was named “Gaurimarg” by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati. The place was renamed “Gulmarg” by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty. The valley of Gulmarg has a large meadow and all around are snow-capped mountains and is a popular place for skiing and snowboarding. The skiing season starts on the 25th of December and runs through to march. There are two areas for skiing: one is for beginners, near to the hotels sited on the hills of the Gulmarg golf course and the other is the high mountain area served by a Gondola.
Address: District Baramulla, Alambal Road, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Pahalgam “The Valley of Shepherds” is situated in the Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir. This famous hill is located on the banks of Lidder River. Pahalgam is not a mere hill-station but a recreation resort. This place is famous for many different Bollywood movies. It is also associated with the famous Amarnath Yatra, which is organized every year during the months of July and August. An ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in Amarnath cave. If you are in Pahalgam, you should not miss visiting some wonderful valleys like Aru Valley and Betaab Valley.
Address: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
You can reach Somnath via Sindh Valley. Sonmarg means “Meadow of Gold” and has snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. This place is a base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes like Vishansar, Gadsar, Kishansar, Satsar, and Gangabal. It is also a base for undertaking the yatra to the holy Amarnath cave. Trekkers can reach the starkly splendid rooftop of the world - Leh, just by crossing over the Zoji La Pass.
Address: Sindh Valley, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
9. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Kashmir and Srinagar boast of Asia’s biggest tulip garden named Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden oozes with beauty and charm, and is set against the backdrop of the majestic snow-clad majestic Himalayan range. This garden is spread over an area of 12 hectares (30 acres). It was earlier known as the “Model Floriculture Center” and is located at the foothills of the Zabarwan range. This garden is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. You can be a part of the famous tulip festival organized by the Kashmir government every year in the month of April.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Address: Cheshma Shahi Road, Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
10. Take the Shikara Cruise
A small boat popularly known as Shikara is one of the most enjoyable experiences in Srinagar. You can get the Shikara from various places around Dal Lake. The price differs from boat to boat and you will find the rate chart by the side of the lake. The construction of one Shikara boat is near to one Lakh and the average life of one is nearly 20 years. They run for four months starting from April to July. You should not miss this amazing and exciting ride on a Shikara boat.
Website: Shikara Cruise
A must-visit location!
You might have enjoyed my tour of Srinagar, but you can feel it for yourself once you reach this beautiful destination. You can directly take a flight to Srinagar or reach the nearest railway station Udhampur, Katra or Jammu. Srinagar’s allure changes with the passing of each season as every season here has its own kind of beauty. I must say Srinagar, is a must-visit location on any tour to Jammu and Kashmir.
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