Boatmen on the Dal lake with their shikaras gliding by, Mjughal gardens that make one feel like they have stepped out of royal times, the cuisine with its succulent meat dishes and salty tea- Srinagar will give you all of this and more. Beautiful place with a beautiful people, Srinagar continues to provide hope that paradise will once more be regained.
It is true that Srinagar, indeed like the rest of the Valley continues to be in the throes of trouble but when there is the first hint that things have settled, don't forget to pack your bags and head here for a piece of heaven.
Population: About 1,238,530
Climate:Pleasant summers here with temperatures ranging from 12ºC to 24ºC and snowbound winters bring temperatures plunging to 7ºC in the day to -5ºC at night. Frequent showers are common in the months of July through September.
Main Language(s): Urdu, Hindi and English
Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
Best Time To Visit: Anytime when it is not snowing, and even then, it is a great place for people who live without ever experiencing snowfall. April to October would be the ideal time.
Say Dal lake and you are saying Srinagar. A shimmering expanse of beauty, the lake at the foot of the Zabarwan mountains, words do not even begin to do this marvel justice. Four artificial causeways divide the lake into the smaller Gagribal, the Lokut Dal, the Bod Dal and the Nagin Lake. Apart from the breath taking views, the lake also supports a life all its own. There are floating homes and shops, craft emporia and even gardens, a life so complete that one almost does not need the ground around it. Laze around on a shikara, or live in one of the houseboats and get your appetite taken care of at the Char Chinar, the restaurant in the middle of the lake.
The quietest, cleanest and loveliest part of the Dal, with the magnificent Hazratbal shrine lying just across its serene waters. Spend time swimming or water-skiing or just taking in the calm and heart-catching beauty of your environs.
On the North-western shore of the Dal Lake, just opposite the Nishat Bagh, the stark white of the shrine blends with the snow-capped peaks behind it. Beautiful in its purity and considered one of the holiest of Muslim shrines in the country, a strand of Prophet Mohammed's sacred hair lies preserved here, displayed on special occasions.
Standing the test of time or more precisely the onslaught of many an attack and attempts at rebuilding is the Jama Masjid, arguably the oldest and the largest mosque in the state. This majestic Indo-Saracenic structure can accommodate nearly 30,000 devotees in its courtyard.
Reaching into the heavens on a hilltop once known as the Takht-e-Sulaiman or the Seat of Solomon, is this ancient Shiva temple. The walk is pleasant and the views from up there of the city below will make you want to pitch tent and spend at least the next couple of years up there. Historic in value, worshipped and stunning, it feels like a walk up to heaven indeed.
Poets and artists, songwriters and film makers alike have tried to capture the beauty of the Mughla Gardens - where typically quadrangular garden plots criss-crossed by pathways intersect at right angles. Mughal emperors no matter what their disposition seemed to have wanted a hand in creating this garden of loveliness. Spread around the city, take a walk into Nishat Bagh with the Dal Lake spread out in front and the Zabarwan Mountains in the background. It has not earned the name 'The Garden of Bliss' without reason. Considered the most bewitching of all the Mughal Gardens it was laid out in 1633 by Asaf Khan, brother of Empress Noor Jahan.
Then there is the Shalimar Bagh, the garden that was built by Emperor Jehangir for his queen. The quiet and privacy of the place almost brings back visions of the queen and her royal entourage walking the gardens. Shallow terraces, polished stones, a black marble pavilion or an evening sound and light show that brings to life, the glory of Jehangir's court as it once must have been.
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