Srinagar, the summer resort of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a tourist's paradise. The celebrated capital city of Jammu and Kashmir is the crowning glory of hill stations. Srinagar also referred to as the city of lakes, has fascinated tourists from centuries, with its beautiful picturesque Himalayan backdrop, glittering lakes that are surrounded by houseboats and Shikaras and the grandeur of Mughal architectural. This capital of the state Jammu and Kashmir is also a business centre and a favourite holiday resort.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Srinagar
Srinagar is a home to many temples, shrines and mosques which are frequented by pilgrims every year. The religious places in the city depict the historical, religious, and cultural diversity of Srinagar. The Khanqah-e-Moulla shrine is one of the oldest Muslim shrines in Srinagar and it is situated on the bank of the Jhelum River. The oldest mosque is the Jama Masjid and it is located at the heart of the capital city. It is most spacious of all mosques and is large enough for over thirty thousand people to offer prayers at a time. The Hazrathalbal Shrine, which is positioned on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar, is also a much visited destination for the pilgrim tourists. This shrine is dedicated in the honour and reverences of Prophet Muhammad whose Moi-e-Muqqadas; (the sacred hair) is sealed here. The Moi-e-Muqqadas is exhibited on different occasions associated with the life of the Prophet and his four holy companions. The Shankaracharya temple located on the Sulaiman hill in Srinagar is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is a prominent religious site for the Hindu pilgrims. It also holds a great archeological importance. The temple offers an outstanding panoramic view of the Srinagar city. Another Hindu shrine of Srinagar is the Kheer Bhavani temple which is associated with the Hindu goddess Ragnya Devi. An annual festival is celebrated here when Hindu devotee visit the place in large numbers to offer prayer and seek the blessings of the deity. Apart from these there are several other places in Srinagar where the pilgrims visit to pay their homage such as the Rozabal mosque, Chari Sharief, Zesta, and the Dsgeer Sahib.
Nature Tourism in Srinagar
Natural attractiveness is the main magnetism of the city and it is full of fascinating landscapes. Srinagar is a store house of lakes and gardens. One of the major markers of Srinagar is the Dal Lake. It is undoubtedly a tourist's favourite. There are a number of lakes that comprise the Dal Lake in the eastern side of Srinagar. The Dal is famous not only for its beauty, but for its vibrancy, because it sustains within its periphery, a life that is so unique and exclusive. The houseboat and Shikhara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and their infrastructure on the lake is complete in itself. The shikhara ride at the sunset on the Dal Lake is an unforgettable experience. Nagin Lake, which is usually thought of as a separate lake, is also divided from Dal Lake only by a causeway. The causeways are mostly suitable for walkers and bicycles only so they make a very pleasant way of seeing the lake without having to worry about traffic or Shikaras. This scenic beauty is abundantly praised by travelers and tourists. The Dachigam National park with its splendid forests and magnificent scenery is the most noteworthy site of nature tourism in Srinagar. The Park is the home to rare hangul or the Kashmir stag, the only species of red deer to be found in India. Winter is the best time to view the hangul, when they gather together in the cover of the lower valleys. Other inhabitants comprise the Himalayan black bear, ibex and species of wild goat and variety of exotic Himalayan birds. The impenetrable forests of Dachigam offer a spectacular view along with a Glacier fed stream flowing right through the middle. A visit to the Mughal Gardens or Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar can be an experience of a lifetime. The Shalimar bagh is perhaps the most stunning of all the Mughal gardens of the Indian subcontinent. Nishat bagh the Garden of Happiness was built during the supremacy of Mughal emperor Jahangir. Situated to the north-east of the Dal Lake it provides a fabulous view of the hills and the water.
Adventures Tourism in Srinagar
There is a tremendous potential of adventure tourism in Srinagar. The city has various lakes such as Dal, Nagin, Mansbal and Wular. These are excellent spots for canoeing - whether it is a Shikaras or a racing skull. No OIIC has tried canoeing in these lakes so far. These lakes are inter-connected as also the river Jhelum which flows through the entire length of the valley and connects with all the lakes. An interesting sport is what is locally called Water Trekking. One can have a three to four day trip along the river to various lakes in a Shikaras with all the camping gear. There are lovely spots to camp for the night. The lakes are also famous for water skiing. The adventures seekers can also plan a safari to the Dachigam National Park.
Numerous airlines fly to Srinagar Airport from New Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu and other international cities. There are flights operating from Srinagar to Leh and back as well. Flights are more frequent during the summer tourist season; at that time there will probably be several flights a day between Delhi and Srinagar. Some services are direct, while others operate via Chandigarh, Amritsar or Jammu.
Srinagar's railhead is Jammu, which in turn is connected to all parts of the country, including Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai and Kanyakumari. The distance is about 876-km from Delhi to Srinagar although almost everybody coming up from Delhi, or other Indian cities, by land will come through Jammu from where the buses run daily to Srinagar.
Srinagar is connected by an all weather road to Jammu, which in turn is connected to many parts of North India. One can catch buses from Delhi but people making the trip by road should take up the route via Chandigarh, Amritsar or from the Himachal Pradesh hill stations.