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  Srinagar Sightseeing

Srinagar is famous for its canals, houseboats and Mughal gardens. The city itself is quite unlike most other large Indian cities for here you are much more in Central Asia than on the sub continent Srinagar, the beautiful city was established by the Emperor Ashoka, about 2300 years ago when his daughter Charumati took a fancy to the Dal Lake during her visit to the region. The present city was founded in the sixty century by King Pravarsen. The king created various serpentine waterways that still wriggle through the city like the sprawling Dal Lake, and the smaller and more secluded Nagin Lake. Srinagar has been described by some Western visitors as the Venice of the East. Srinagar has been unable to show off the full extent of its architectural heritage. Srinagarís old houses on the Jhelum river with labyrinthine alleys appears not to have changed since the time of the Mughals.

Houseboats in Srinagar
One of the
unique charm of Srinagar are the houseboats. The houseboats are the floating little hotels which can be seen on the edge of the Dal Lake or in the secluded areas of the Nagin Lake. There are about 1300 houseboats moored on the waters of the lake and about 1,000 are on the official approved list of the Tourist Department of the State Government. The government has fixed tariff for each houseboat depending on the facilities it offers. Living in a houseboat is an exotic way of spending a holiday in Srinagar.

Tourist Attractions in Srinagar

The various tourist attractions in Srinagar are the Shankaracharya temple, Jama Masjid, Dal and Nagin Lake, Mughal Gardens - Nishat, Shalimar and Chahma Shahi and Hari Parbat. Besides this, Pathar Masjid, Shah Hamdan mosque are the famous mosques in Srinagar.

 

Mughal Gardens
Nishat, Shalimar a
nd Chashma Shahi are the three famous Mughal gardens which are situated around the Dal Lake. These Mughal gardens are beautifully laid out with fountains and cascading streams. The Chashma Shahi is the first Mughal Garden which is set into the slopes of its circling hills. Chashma Shahi means the Royal Spring and is attributed to Shah Jahan. The Chashma Shahi is named after a natural spring that flows here. The spring waters are believed to have curative properties. The Pari Mahal is situated nearby which was the Sufi Garden College. Pari Mahal, once a Buddhist monastery, was converted into a School of Astrology by Emperor Shah Jahanís son, Dara Shikoh. Nishat and Shalimar are very large gardens, located much further down the boulevard. Both these gardens are built on a symmetrical plan of central waterways with fountains dividing a series of garden terraces. Nishat is the larger of the two and has an impressive plantation of Chenar trees on its highest terrace. The trees were planted during the Mughal period perhaps by the kings themselves. The Shalimar Garden is the most famous garden due to its romantic association with Emperor Jahangir and his lovely queen Noor Jahan. An interesting Sound and Light Show on the love story of the two has been mounted here. The central piece on the upper terrace of Shalimar is the Baradari. It was here that Jahangir relaxed with his beautiful bride surrounded by a million roses and the heady smell of all of them.

 

Dal lake and Nagin Lake
Dal Lake a
nd Nagin Lake are fed by natural springs. The waters in the Dal and Nagin lake are transparent. But, due to overuse of the Dal lake over the years for growing of vegetables, tourism and other purposes, its size has been reduced to almost half. Nowadays, the government is trying to clean the lake. The various houseboats are located along the banks of the Nagin and Dal Lake. Nagin Lake is clean and provides quiet solitude to tourists. The vegetable market is also located on the Dal and Nagin lake, only a short shikara ride away. Early in the morning, the farmers emerge from a maze of floating gardens and canals bringing boat-loads of their produce. They gather in an open waterway to buy, sell or barter their produce.

Shankaracharya Temple
The Shankaracharya temple is the unique landmark of Srinagar. This temple is located on a sharp hill, about 1000 feet high overlooking the city. There are stone steps which will take you right on top where a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva stands. This temple was built in the memory of the Shankaracharya who came to Kashmir from Kerala some 1200 years ago to revive Hinduism. From the top of the Shankaracharya Hill, you can have a panoramic view of the valley, city, lakes and their houseboats, waterways, gardens, the confluence of the Jhelum and Dal Lake and the seven original bridges spanning the serpentine flow of Jhelum river.

Jama Masjid

The Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in Kashmir. This mosque was built in 1402 out of wood and bricks. Jama Masjid is the prominent example of the Kashmiri mosque, and combination of Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist styles of architecture distinguished by its tall spires. Inside, the masjid are the frayed carpets and stone alcoves and the 40-foot high wooden columns, out of which about 300 of them support the roof. The foundation of this mosque was laid by Sikandar in 1398 AD. The mosque was burnt down three times and rebuilt by Aurangzeb in 1674, who, when he heard that fire had gutted the mosque, first asked whether the chinars were safe. Even now, there are chinars in the courtyard. In the upper hall, there are the intricately wrought

Shah Hamdan Mosque

The pagoda-like Shah Hamdan mosque is located on the Naseem Lake. This mosque is believed to have a relic of the sacred hair of the Prophet Mohammad. This mosque is made entirely of wood and named after the saint who is credited with the peaceful conversion of millions of Hindus into Islam. The non-Muslims are not allowed into the mosque but they can only see the intricately painted papier-mache ceiling and doors.

Hari Parbat

The Hari Parbat is located beyond Nagin Lake. This famous and small fortress was built three hundred years ago by Emperor Akbar on the top of the hill. This hill is believed to have appeared at the spot where goddess Parvati killed a demon.

How to reach Srinagar
By Air:

Srinagar is connected to Delhi, Bombay, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jammu and Leh by Indian Airlilnes Services.

By Rail:

The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi which has direct connections with Agra, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Delhi, Kanyakumari, Lucknow, Madras, Pune, Trivandrum, Varanasi, etc.

By Road:

Srinagar is connected by road to Jammu, Leh, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Kargil.


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