Shikaras on the Dal Lake, Srinagar

Shikaras on the Dal Lake, Srinagar

© kavitajain

Srinagar is the capital of state of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India, and has about 1 million inhabitants. Surrounded by the Great Himalayan range, on the banks of Jhelum river lies the land crafted by God's on own hand. A land filled with natural beauty, snow in the winter, a lake in the heart, mountains and people greeting the guest as God. Welcome to land of Sufi's, saints and great scholars. Srinagar, the summer capital of State of Jammu and Kashmir has been famous for its beautiful landscape and culture. Srinagar in Sanskrit means SRI: Venerable and NAGAR means TOWN. Since the city is lies in between the Great Himalayan range it is often called as "Paradise on Earth".




Srinagar has long history dated which is many decades old. According to many historians Srinagar was built by King Parvarsena II but the city became a major center on after King Ashoka introduced Buddhism in the region. For many years Srinagar was the major center for Buddhism. Later it was ruled by many different dynasties including Mughals, Duhrani Empire Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Even today one can see the monuments, gardens narrating stories of the gone eras.



Sights and Activities

Mughal Gardens

The Mughal Gardens with terraced lawns, cascading fountains, paint-box-bright flowerbeds with the panorama of the Dal in front of them - the three Mughal Gardens of Chesmashahi, Nishat and Shalimar are the Mughal Emperors' concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnics and excursions. The beauty of these gardens is at their best during spring but the Mughal structure of these gardens lend them a unique sense of beauty even when the flowers are not blossoming.

Nishat Bagh

Nishat Bagh is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, (11 km. from TRC), this 'garden of bliss' commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snowcapped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. Nishat was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan.

Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph

Located in the Khanyar area, about 150 metres northwest of Dastgir Saheb mosque & shrine, this tomb, also known as Roza Bal, is believed by some to be the tomb of Jesus (part of the larger theory that he survived the crucifixion and made his way to Kashmir where he lived until at least the age of 100). It has been made popular by recent books such as Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten among others. It's down a little side road - ask around, pretty much anyone in the area can point you in the right direction. It's out of bounds as on September 2011 as it is closed and sealed and photography and videography are not permitted.

Shankaracharya Mandir

Shankaracharya Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on a hilltop. It can be reached by a car or taxi. No cameras or cellphones are allowed within the temple and you are supposed to leave them in the vehicle before entering the temple premises. Cigarattes, liquor are to be deposited with the police personnel before the ascent of the hill as these items are against Hindu religion.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Shalimar Bagh - the Mughal garden in front of the Dal Lake built by Emperor Jahangir.
  • Chashmashahi - another beautiful Mughal garden.
  • Hazratbal Mosque - the white mosque is breathtakingly beautiful but be careful, as women can enter only the first part of the mosque. Also take a walk through the adjacent market area with a range of great fresh food and a thousand things deep fried.
  • Shalimar Bagh
  • Pari Mahal - Don't miss the breathtaking views of the city from here

Places of Worship

  • Jama Masjid - Srinagar, one of the oldest mosques in Kashmir
  • Kheer bhawani in Ganderbal
  • Hari Parbathill hosts shrine of Sarika Mata temple

Arts, music and dance

Performing arts of the city include:

  • Bhand Pather, a form of traditional folk theatre art form of play and dance, is performed by a group of about ten to fifteen artists. They depict in a satirical style social evils. Performance is accompanied by light music.
  • Chakri is a major and popular form of Kashmiri folk music.
  • Another form of Kashmiri genre of music called Sufiana music is also practiced in the city. It was introduced in the valley in the 15th century from Iran. Over centuries, it has assimilated a number of Indian Ragas, and has established itself as a classical music of the region. The instruments used in the music include Santoor, Sitar, Kashmiri Saz, Tabla, and Wasool.
  • Hafiz Nagma, a form of dance, is performed to the accompaniment of Sufiana music. The dancer is a female while males play different instruments used in Sufiana music.
  • Rouf is also an important foulk dance kashmiri women do in marriages or on the eve of IDD/EID. All women's hands on another women's shoulders moving to and fro.




Srinagar has a subtropical climate with relatively mild and dry conditions compared to much of India, mainly because of its northern location and higher elevation. Temperatures during the day range from around 8 °C from December to February and around 30 °C from June to August. Nights average just below zero and around 16-17 °C respectively. Average annual precipitation is around 700 mm with March being the wettest month and September to November the driest time of the year.

Avg Max5.3 °C7.9 °C13.8 °C19.5 °C24.3 °C28.9 °C30.2 °C29.7 °C27.6 °C22.2 °C15.5 °C8.6 °C
Avg Min-2.2 °C-0.7 °C3.5 °C7.5 °C10.9 °C14.6 °C18.2 °C17.7 °C12.5 °C5.7 °C0.3 °C-1.9 °C
Rainfall61.9 mm73.4 mm100.3 mm89.5 mm67.3 mm36.5 mm55.2 mm64.1 mm35.6 mm30 mm20.1 mm40.4 mm
Rain Days7.49.711.211.410.



Getting There

By Plane

Srinagar Airport (SXR) offers flights to/from Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Leh, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Bangalore. Check Air India, Go Air, IndiGo, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, Kingfisher Airlines and Spice Jet for schedules and prices.

By Train

Jammu Tawi railway station is the nearest railway station which is well connected to rest of India. Jammu city is about 290 kilometres from Srinagar. Thus hiring a taxi or getting on the bus are two suitable options.

By Car

Round the clock taxi service is available at Jammu. And it takes about 7 to 8 hours to reach Srinagar.

By Bus

Daily two Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport buses leave from Jammu city to Srinagar. It takes about 12 hours to reach Srinagar in the bus. Cost per ticket per person is INR 150.




Rogan-gosht (meat cooked in red gravy), Gushtaba (soft meat balls cooked in natural yoghurt), Rishta (Soft Meat Balls in delicious Gravy), Tabakmaaz (deep fried ribs of a lamb) and Kanti (small chunks of meat cooked with a lot of onions).

Another popular local delicacy is called Seekh-tuji. It consists of marinated meat pieces which are freshly barbecued and eaten with chutney. Enjoy the grilled mutton available in Srinagar. This is referred to as a "tilli" or "tekh" and mostly eaten by locals. You can find this at one spot facing Dal Lake too.




Kahwah is a traditional green tea recipe from Kashmir. The tea is made from green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark and cardamom pods. Some varieties are made as a herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Generally, it is served with sugar or honey, and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. There is another form of tea that is quite famous amongst the locals, its called 'Namkeen Chai' or 'Nun Chai'. It is pink in color and is also called Pink Tea. It is made from black tea, cardamom, various spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Also people like nune toath and dum toath which are very famous among sufis. Nunetoath is nunechai without milk and Dumtoath is strong form of Kahwa.





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Keep Connected


There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.


India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.


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This is version 9. Last edited at 3:46 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 10 articles link to this page.

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