Location: Jammu & Kashmir
STD Code : (91) – 194
GMT : +5:30
Languages: Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, and Ladakhi
Best time to Visit: April to June and September
The capital of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar is located at an altitude of 1730 mt above sea level in the heart of the Kashmir valley, bordering the river Jhelum which flows like a serpent through the Himalayan hills. The city is a treasure trove of tourist attractions with the most prominent of them being the Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens. With its snow-covered mountain peaks, shimmering lakes, abundant greenery, and salubrious climate, Srinagar makes for a complete vacationing experience. The enchanting weather in all seasons along with year-round festivities ensures that there is nothing like a dull season to visit Srinagar.
Climate & Best time to Visit
The weather in Srinagar remains pleasant during the summers (April to June) when temperatures remain around the mid 20’s during the day and the city is bathed in sunshine most of the time. Winter season (November to February) can be extremely cold with temperatures dipping below the freezing point. The region experiences heavy snowfall during peak winter months of December and January. The best time to visit the place is during summers and early winters.
Tourist Attractions in Srinagar
Probably the most talked about the tourist attraction in Srinagar is Dal Lake, situated just outside the main city. The huge lake houses a number of other water bodies in its boundaries including Nagin Lake. Numerous tourists flock the place to enjoy a ride in the famous ‘shikaras‘ or houseboats of Dal Lake. A life that is completely different and laid back from the one that exists just a few miles away at the city, awaits you at Dal. Do not miss out on buying a souvenir to take back home from one of the houseboat shops.
The Mughal Gardens spread over the city display the love of Mughals for beauty and nature. The sprawling gardens are well laid and decorated with apple orchards, flowering plants, and green trees. Chashme Shahi near the Nehru Park and Nishat Bagh along the Dal are two of the famous ones.
A number of mosques are situated throughout Srinagar city, the most important of them being the Hazratbal Mosque, situated near the Dal. The mosque is said to house the heir of the Prophet Mohammad which is exhibited in front of the public on certain auspicious days of the year.
The Shankaracharya Hill is situated in Srinagar city at a height of around one thousand feet above the sea level, named so after the Shankaracharya temple situated on the hilltop. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the ancient temple is said to date back to 2500 BC. The top of the hill affords a breathtaking view of the surroundings, thus lending it its share of tourist interest.
Situated at an altitude of 2730 mt above sea level, Gulmarg is a pleasant hill town located just 52 km southeast of Srinagar. The hill station is flocked by tourists throughout the year, being laden with flowering plants g excellent snow sports opportunities during winters. Other famous attractions of Gulmarg include the world’s highest golf course.
80 km northeast of Srinagar lies another untouched paradise. Sonmarg, situated at an altitude of 2740 mt above sea level is set in picturesque environs, housing several shimmering lakes. The hill slopes are covered with colorful flowers, lending the place a picturesque ambiance. Breathtaking views of snow-covered Himalayan peaks at an arm’s length is enough captivation to draw visitors besides the added advantages of adventure sports as trekking and hiking.
More famous as the base camp for the pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath, Pahalgam is located 95 Km east of Srinagar in the Liddar valley, at an altitude of 2130 mt above sea level. Adventure sports activities such as hiking, trekking, and fishing have made the place a favorite among tourists.
Things to Do in Srinagar
Shikara or a houseboat ride is a must-do in Srinagar. The long ended shikara boats can be seen all around the lakes carrying tourists back and forth across various destinations of tourist interest. The most pleasant experience can be had at the Dal Lake which remains thronged by visitors and houseboats offering an enchanting experience amidst serene environs.
The region is famous for its handicraft items, especially hand-woven silk fabrics and Kashmiri shawls. Other must-buys include cane and bamboo work, metal crafts, brass and silverware, willow baskets, and woolen garments. The main shopping hubs in Srinagar include Lal Chowk, Badshah Chowk, and Polo View. Be sure to bargain hard before buying, especially from roadside vendors. Govt. run shops and emporiums are also located in the main city.
The tourist reception center can help you find quality accommodation according to your budget anywhere in the city. Alternatively, you can opt to stay at the tourist reception center where rooms are available for Rs. 700/day. Another option is to book a houseboat from the houseboat owners association. Single room or the entire houseboat can be booked where charges range from Rs. 350 to 4000.
Some of the quality houseboats providers include Meena Group of Houseboats, Dar Group of Houseboats, Shabnam Group of Houseboats, and Meena Bazaar Group of Houseboats. Some of the other hotels in Srinagar include Hotel Broadway (5 stars, situated 12 Km from the airport and 1 Km from city center), Centaur Lake View Hotel (5 stars, situated 11 Km from the airport, 5 Km from bus stand and 6 Km from city center) and Grand Palace Intercontinental (3 stars, situated 15 Km from the airport).
By Air: Srinagar airport is located just 14 km from the main city. A number of airlines operate between Delhi and Srinagar. Flights are also available to Srinagar from Chandigarh, Amritsar, and Jammu. The frequency of flights increases during the summer season when several flights in a day are available from Delhi. Flight time between Delhi and Srinagar is generally around seventy minutes. More information on flight schedule and timings can be obtained from the official website of Indian Airlines at http://indian-airlines.nic.in/
By Rail: Jammu is the nearest railhead, connected to most of the major Indian cities including Delhi, Calcutta, Pune, Mumbai, and Kanyakumari. It takes around ten hours to cover the distance between Delhi and Srinagar, usually an overnight journey. For online booking and train timings, refer to the official website of Indian Railways at http://www.indianrail.gov.in/
By Road: Srinagar is connected to other parts of the country through two routes, one via the road from Jammu and the other via Chandigarh and Amritsar. State transport corporation operates regular buses between Delhi and Srinagar while privately run Volvo buses are also available. The tourist reception center at Srinagar is where all the buses arrive and depart from. Dal Lake is situated at a walking distance from here.
Distance from Major Cities
Amritsar: 512 Km
Chandigarh: 646 Km
Delhi: 876 Km
Jammu: 293 Km
Pathankot: 400 Km
Shimla: 751 Km