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Fast Facts
Location : Kashmir
Known As : Summer Capital of Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar Kasahmir Attractions : Dal Lake, Hazratbal Mosque, Nagin Lake, Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chasma Shahi, Jama Masjid, Museum etc .
Best Time To Visit : March to October

Srinagar Vacations
Dal LakeSrinagar, the capital of state of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most beautiful cities in India. Situated on Dal Lake and the Jhelum river, Srinagar is base for any holiday in Kashmir Valley and also the starting point for trips to Ladakh. Srinagar is famous for lakes and the houseboats floating on them. Three lakes grace the city of Srinagar, including the world famous Dal Lake. These three lakes are separated by 'dyker' or 'floating gardens' and at times it is hard to tell where lakes ends and land begins. On the lake there are houses that are firmly attached to the bottom.

Most of the houseboats in Srinagar stands at the southern end of the lake, although you will also find them on the Jhelum river and on the Nagin Lake. Apart from lakes and houseboats, Srinagar is also known for traditional handicrafts and dry fruits. A historic city, Srinagar has it connection with so many ancient rulers including the mighty Mughals. Even today you will see a number of structures and gardens in the city built by the Mughal Emperors. On the whole, a trip to the beautiful city of Srinagar is really a memorable and thrilling experience. So, plan a visit to the city very soon and enjoy a pleasant holiday amidst the peaceful natural surroundings.

How to Reach Srinagar
By Air : Srinagar has its own airport which is 13 km out of the city and connected to major cities of India. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and many other airlines operate daily flight from Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jammu, and weekly from Leh in Ladakh. Buses and taxis are available from the airport to the city. Their are direct flights from Delhi to Srinagar.
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By Train : Jammu is the nearest railhead from Srinagar. Jammu railway station is 591 km from Delhi and served by several express trains. Buses and taxis run frequently from Jammu railway station to Srinagar.

By Road : National Highway 1 A connects Sringar with Jammu. Buses ply to Jammu from all over north India to Jammu. Jammu - Srinagar Highway is considered one of the most picturesque in the country and you will surely enjoy the road journey. Luxury buses and shared taxis are available from Jammu to Srinagar.

Local Transport : Auto-rickshaws and taxis are the local modes of transport in Srinagar. The most exotic option is the hire a shikara and it is the only option for sightseeing around Dal and Nageen lakes.

Places Where You Can Stay
In Srinagar you have two type of accommodation options. You can either stay in a hotel or in a houseboat. Srinagar has around 1,000 houseboats of different categories and the charges include meals and crossings to and from the nearest jetty. J & K Tourism Department has categorized the houseboats according to the facilities offered. The highest category is Deluxe and the lowest category is D grade. Each grade has fixed charges that includes all three meals. Hotels of Srinagar also provide comfortable and pleasant stay to guests, some of the famous hotels are :

Heritage Hotels : Grand Palace Inter-Continental (Gupkar Road)

Deluxe Hotels : Hotel Broadway (Maulana Azad Road), Shah Abbas Hotel (Boulevard), Ahdoos Hotel and Hotel Imperial Lake View.

Standard Hotels : Hotel Zabarvan, Hotel Welcome, Lake Side Hotel and Hotel Akbar.

Tourist Attractions in Srinagar
Dal Lake : Dal Lake is one of the chief attractions of Srinagar and it is a maze of intricate waterways. The Dal Lake contains vegetable gardens, lotus plantations, shops and narrow lanes of water, bordered with the willow trees. The lake is divided into Gagribal, Bod Dal and Lokut Dal by a series of causeways. Within the Dal Lake there are two islands which are famous picnic spots for locals and tourists as well. Silver Island (Sona Lank) is to the north end of the lake while Gold Island (Rupa Lank) is to the south. There is a third island, Nehru Park, at the end of the main stretch of the lake side Boulevard.

Srinagar Houseboats
Whether you are just relaxing on your houseboat or visiting the Mughal's gardens around the lake there is plenty to see and do on Dal Lake. A shikara ride around the lake is a wonderful experience and not to be missed. A leisurely cruise around the lake will take all day including visits to the Mughal Gardens and many other places on the lake side.

Hazratbal Mosque : Hazratbal mosque is situated on the north west shore of Dal Lake. It is the only mosque in the Kashmir Valley which is built of white marble and surrounded by a dome. Hazratbal mosque enshrines a single hair of Prophet Muhammad which is exhibited to public a few times in a year. For non-believers the mosque will be interesting for its beautiful setting on the shores of the lake having the snow-capped peaks as a backdrop.

Nagin Lake : Nagin Lake is a beautiful lake and it ringed by a number of trees. You will find a number of houseboats on this quieter and cleaner lake.

Shalimar Bagh : Shalimar Bagh is considered the most beautiful of all the Mughal gardens in Srinagar. The garden was built by Jehangir in 1616 for her wife Nur Jahan. Shalimar garden has four terraces and gets water from Harwan Lake through canal. During the Mughal period the top most of the four terraces called the 'Abode of Love', was reserved for the emperor and the ladies of the court. Shalimar garden blooms with numerous varieties of colourful flowers in spring and autumn season. Between May to October a nightly sound and light show is put on in the beautiful garden.

Nishat Bagh : Nishat Garded lies in Srinagar at a distance of 11 kms from the district headquarters. Situated on the banks of Dal Lake with the Zabarwan hills in the backdrop, the Nishat Bagh provides magnificent view across the lake to the Pir Panjal mountains. Designed in 1633by Nur Jahan's brother Asaf Khan, the Nishat Bagh is one of the largest of the Mughal gardens. Nishat Bagh follows the traditional pattern of a central channel running down in the middle, well-managed lawns, beautiful flowers and fountains.

You can undertake Shikara riding can be from the garden to Nehru Park.

Chasma Shahi : Smallest of the Mughal gardens in Srinagar, the Chasma Shahi garden lies well up the hillside, above the Nehru Memorial Park. Chasma Shahsi garden was originally laid out in 1632 but has been extended few years back. Attributed to Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the garden is set in picturesque surrounding having a cool water spring.

Pari Mahal : Pari Mahal is located just above the Chasma Shahi. Originally it was an astronomical obeservatory built by Mughal Emperor Dara Shikho. Recently the ruined, arched terraces have been turned into a very beaitiful garden offering the splendid view over Dal Lake.
Nishat Bagh
Nasim Bagh : Located just beyond the Hazratbal Mosque, the Nasim Bagh was built by Emperor Akbar in 1586. Nowadays this oldest Mughal garden is used by an engineering college and is not maintained as a garden.

Harwan Lake : A clean and pure water lake, Harwan lake is set among the mountains. With its dark green waters reflecting the high peaks of Mahadeo moutain, Harwan Lake offers some of the best surrounding scenery in the Kahsmir valley. The water of Harwan Lake is fed to the adjacent garden through a beautiful canal. Although the garden has not much clutter of fountains and other fancy things, but it has vast green lawns forming an ideal spot for picnic.

Hari Parbat Fort : Hari Parbat Fort is perched atop the Sharika hill to the west of Dal Lake. Originally this fort was built between 1592 and 1598 during the rule of Akbar, but most the present structure dates from the 18th century. At the southern gate of the fort there is a shrine of sixth Sikh Guru. For visiting the fort you have to take permission from the Director of Tourism.
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Jama Masjid : Jama Masjid is situated in the heart of the old city at Nowhatta, thousands of people congregate here for the Friday prayers. This impressive wooden mosque is known for around 327 wooden pillars supporting the roof, each made of a single deodar tree trunk. Jama Masjid has had an interesting history, first built in 1385 by Sultan Sikander, it was enlarged by Zain-ul-Abidin in 1402, then destroyed by fire in 1479. It was rebuilt in 1503, another fire destroyed it during Mughal Emperor Jehnagir's reign. Before its more recent build in 1674 by Auragzeb it was burnt down twice. The spires and domes of the mosque are fine specimen of Kashmiri architecture.

Shankaracharya Hill : Rising up behind the Boulevard, beside the famous Dalk Lake, the hill was once called as Takht-i-Sulaiman (Throne of Solomon). Shankaracharya Hill is home to Shankaracharya temple built during Jehangir's time by King Gopaditya. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Shankaracharya temple is one of the oldest landmarks near Srinagar. A ceiling covers the inner sanctum and an inscription in Persian traces it origin. Take a stroll to the top from where you will get a fine view of the valley bellow, the Dal Lake and the Mughal Gardens.

Museum : Shri Pratap Singh Museum lies in Lal Mandi, just south of the river between Zero Bridge and Amira Kadal. The museum has a huge collection of exhibits relevant to Kashmir including illustrated titles from Harwan.

Shah Hamdan Mosque : Originally built in 1395 the wooden mosque was destroyed by fire twice in 1479 and 1731. Shah Hamdan Mosque is shaped like a cube having a pyramidal roof rising to a spire.

Tourist Attractions Around Srinagar
Pandrathan Temple : Pandrathan Temple is a small but beautifully proportioned Shiva Temple. Built in the 900 AD the temple lies in the military cantonment area of the Jammu road out of Srinagar.

Pahalgam : A world famous hill station Pahalgam is situated at a distance of 45 kms from Srinagar. Due to its serene and picturesque beauty Pahalgam attracts large number of tourists every year. Pahalgam also serves as base camp for the popular Amarnath Yatra of Hindus.

Gulmarg : Gulmarg is located in the Baramulla district of Kashmir, 56 kms southwest of Srinagar. Literally meaning, 'meadow of flowers', the hill station of Gulmarg is known for its legendary beauty and prime location close to Srinagar.

Amarnath : A pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Amarnath lies 145 km east of Srinagar. Amarnath is considered one of the major Hindu Dhams and devotees visit the place to see naturally formed ice Shiva-linga. Every year on of the full moon day of Sarvana (July-August) when the Shiva-linga attains its maximum height a festival is held here.

Other Attractions
Shikaras : Shikaras are the long boats which crowd most of the lakes in Srinagar. They are used for getting back and forth from the houseboats or for longer tours. Officially there is a standard fare for every trip around the lakes and the charges are predominantly posted at the main landings (ghats). Shikara ride is once in a lifetime experience and it is very popular among the tourists. While you are on shikara ride, try paddling the shikara yourself sometime, it is nowhere near as easy as it look. You will spend lots of time going round in circles.

Shopping in Srinagar
Srinagar is known for rich tradition of handicrafts and handlooms. While shopping in Srinagar some of the must buy include hand-woven silk fabric, carpets, and Kashmiri shawls with intricate embroidery work. Other famous items are Brass and Silverware, willow baskets, artifacts made of papier-mâché and woolen garments, traditional crafts that include cane and bamboo work, metal-crafts etc. Lal Chowk, Badshah Chowk and Polo View area are popular markets of Srinagar. There are a number of Government Handicraft Emporiums scattered around the Srinagar city, but the main one is housed in the fine old British Residency building by the Bund. The flashiest shops are located along the Boulevard by Dal Lake. Bund also has some big shops including 'Suffering Moses' with high quality goods.

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