Posted 27 September 2022

Planning a trip to Srinagar? Here’s what you should definitely try

Srinagar is known for its beauty and exquisite locale. Srinagar can easily attract anyone. Heaven on Earth is a moniker that is given to the city because of its beauty and serene environment. Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of India, it is also the summer capital of Indian union territory Jammu and Kashmir. Srinagar is called India's crown because of its location and beauty.

Visit Srinagar in any season and you will never be disappointed. Lying on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar has Dal Lake, Shikaras and Mughal Gardens of Mughal emperor Jehangir's era as its major tourist attractions.

Other than beautiful tourist places, one can shop for their native crafts like embroidered shawls and hand-woven silks.

Srinagar has a plethora of reasons why one should visit the city. Some of them are:

Tourist places in Srinagar

  • Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh: Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh are Mughal gardens located on the banks of Dal Lake. Nishat, in Urdu, means joy which roughly translates as a garden of joy. The gardens are a testament to Mughal era architecture.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden: The botanical garden was established in the year 1969 as a tribute to India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. With around 1,50,00 ornamental plants and several varieties of oak, this garden is one of the major tourist attractions of Srinagar. Furthermore, a rare collection of Kashmiri tropical plants adds to its grandeur and beauty.
  • Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden: The garden is a major tourist attraction in the city. The Tulip Garden is spread across over 29 acres. It is the largest tulips garden in Asia.
  • Badamwari Garden: The garden offers a soothing experience to the tourists. While the garden was there even before the 14th century, it is open to the public only after 2008. The sprawling garden is one of the major tourist attractions of Srinagar.
  • It is known as Badamwari Garden because of the early bloom of flowers on the several almond trees present in the garden. Several waterfalls present in the garden add to its beauty. The garden is located just 6.5 km from Dal Lake.
  • Pari Mahal: The English translation of this palace is ‘The Palace of Fairies’. Located southwest of Dal Lake in Srinagar, Pari Mahal is a seven-terraced garden. Overlooking the scenic beauty of Srinagar, the palace was a piece of art during the rule of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. One can witness Islamic architecture at Pari Mahal.
  • Hazratbal Shrine: Known as the Dargah Sharif of Srinagar, the Hazratbal Shrine is located to the north of Dal Lake in Srinagar. The name Hazratbal Shrine is a blend of the Persian word ‘Hazrat’ meaning ‘respected’ and the Kashmiri word ‘Bal’ meaning ‘place’. Hazratbal Shrine is considered to be Kashmir's holiest Muslim shrine.
  • Shah-e-Hamadan Masjid: Also known as Khanqah-e-Moula and Khanqah, it is the first and oldest mosque ever in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated in Srinagar, the mosque represents Kashmiri wooden architecture. Khanqah-e-Moula was built in 1395 CE.

Beautiful lakes in Srinagar

  • Dal Lake: Known as Srinagar's Jewel, Dal is a lake famous for its beauty and houseboats. The scenic beauty of the lake makes it more attractive. One can enjoy a Shikara ride on the lake. ‘Shikara’ are houseboats made of wood. One can witness different views of Dal Lake in the four different seasons. The lake is also named the lake of flowers and adds to the state’s tourism.
  • Wular Lake: The lake is famous for being one of Asia's largest freshwater lakes. Water from the Jhelum River feeds the lake. The Wular Lake was caused by tectonic activity. The lake is also designated as a Ramsar site by UNESCO. One can find several fish varieties in the lake like the common carp, mosquito fish and rosy barb. Tourists can also witness some of the rare and beautiful variety of birds at the lake like the Himalayan golden eagle, Indian roller, Himalayan monal and many more.
  • Nigeen Lake: It is a serene and calm 2.7 km long lake located in the backdrop of mountains. It is situated to the West of Dal Lake and is one of the tourist attractions in the city. You can see shikaras and restaurants at the shore of the lake.

Stay in a houseboat

Houseboats in Srinagar are one of the best tourist attractions. These are some of the few things that are only available in Jammu and Kashmir. Stay in a houseboat and watch the sunrise. Houseboats are one of the reasons why Srinagar is famous.

Away from the commotion of city life, houseboats offer calmness and tranquillity. Enjoy the exquisite beauty of the lakes, mountain ranges and rivers on the houseboat. There are lavish houseboats available at Dal Lake.

Gorge yourself on Kashmiri cuisine

Kashmiri cuisine is a delight. Srinagar is the perfect place for gorging yourself on authentic Kashmiri recipes. Some of the Kashmiri food items that one should try while in Kashmir are:

For non-vegetarians

Jammu and Kashmir is heaven for non-vegetarians as there is a plethora of non-vegetarian food items rich in flavour in the state. Some of them are:

  • Rogan Josh: Rogan Josh is a lamb dish and the recipe includes brown onion, yoghurt and several Kashmiri spices. The dish was introduced by Mughals. It is one of the most popular Kashmiri dishes.
  • Matschgand: A dish for non-vegetarians, the Matschgand recipe is made of minced meatballs prepared in a rich red gravy full of Kashmiri spices.

For Vegetarians

  • Zafrani Pulao: Unlike other pulao, it is sweet and prepared with dry fruits including raising, almonds, pistachios, cashews, ghee and saffron.
  • Kashmiri Aloo Dum: A vegetarian dish prepared with whole potatoes, yoghurt, fennel and Kashmiri spices.
  • Lyodur Tschaman: Lyodur Tschaman is a purely vegetarian dish cooked with cottage cheese.
  • Khambir: It is a speciality of Srinagar and Leh. Khambir is a bread made from whole wheat. It is served with butter tea.
  • Kashmiri Kahwa and pink tea also known as noon chai are some of the must-try items in Srinagar. The recipe of Noon Chai is different from any other tea and takes about an hour to make. It is pink in colour.

Shopping in Srinagar

  • Other than the scenic beauty and Shikaras, Srinagar is famous for its embroidered handicrafts, Pashmina shawls, papier mache and Phiran.
  • Srinagar has a variety of options to buy from indigenous ethnic fabrics to exotic spices. Some of the places where you can head for these items are M Shah, Saklain’s Coterie, M Sadiq & Sons, and Amin-Bin-Khaliq all on Polo View Road.
  • Pashminas are sheer elegance. Made of wool, it is one of the must-buy products when in Jammu and Kashmir. Craftsmen use needles for the embroidery that takes weeks to complete. Visitors can get Pashmina pieces both woven and embroidered by hand at Andraab which is located at Humhama Chowk. The store is on the way to the Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport.
  • Kashmiri tea is another item that one can bring back home from Srinagar. Products made from walnut wood are also in demand among tourists in Srinagar. One can witness exemplary intricate designs carved on walnut wood items in Srinagar.
  • The Sundayflea market at Lal Chowk is also a rage among tourists. From getting a sweater at ₹50 to phiran under ₹100, prepare yourself to witness the best bargaining skill at the market.

Read more about: Five reasons why you should visit Srinagar - A loved destination for all travellers

Travel tips for Srinagar

  • Srinagar is extremely cold during winters with temperatures even dropping to minus degrees. So, pack woollen clothes according to the climate. Normal winter clothes will not work in those temperatures.
  • If you want to enjoy Srinagar’s valley and greenery, visit it between April to October. But, if you want to visit Srinagar for its winter sports, visit it in the winter months from November to February.
  • If you are a vegetarian, make sure your hotel has a vegetarian menu or a vegetarian restaurant is nearby.
  • Mini-buses and auto-rickshaws are some of the most common modes of transportations for getting around the city.
  • One should carry basic medicines for headaches, food poisoning and vomiting while visiting Srinagar. As the city is a hilly area, tourists might feel uneasy while travelling in Srinagar.

How to reach Srinagar ?

  • By Air: Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport is the main airport of Srinagar that caters to national as well as international flights. Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport is 22 kmfrom Dal Lake and one can reach it within an hour drive from the airport. There are several airlines that operate flights to and from Srinagar like IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara, Air India and others. IndiGo operates over 7 flights to Srinagar from the other major cities of the country in a week. Some of the IndiGo flight routes from Srinagar are Srinagar to Delhi, Srinagar to Amritsar, Srinagar to Jammu and Srinagar to Chandigarh.
  • By Rail: Srinagar Railway Station connects the city with Qazigund, Anantnag and Baramulla only. The nearest railway station to Srinagar is Jammu Tawi Railway Station located in Jammu. The railway station is connected to some of the main cities of the country.
  • By Road: Tourists can get government and private buses in Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation provides buses that connect Srinagar to other regions.

Best time to travel Srinagar

Srinagar has enjoyable and pleasant weather all months of the year. However, the ideal time to travel to Srinagar is between April to October. The city gets a blanket of blossoms and flowers during this period. Tourists can thus see the real beauty of Srinagar from April to October.

Exquisite locale and beautiful weather all year

  • Visit Srinagar in summer or winter, the place will never let you down. It has everything for every kind of tourist. People visit in summers to witness the photogenic place, its mountains and beams of sunlight tearing its lush green forests.
  • The painting-like locale will make you fall in love with Srinagar. Tourists flock to the city every year during both summers and winters.
  • Winters are equally charming. The weather during winters is best for visitors who love snow. During winters, Srinagar is covered with snow from the mountains to the streets. There are a number of places to be at in Srinagar during winters including skiing, sleigh riding and trying Kashmiri delicacies.

Climate/Weather in Srinagar

Srinagar enjoys a humid subtropical climate. The valley is nestled amidst the lush green Himalayas on all sides. Winters are extremely cold with an average daytime temperature of around 2.5°C and at night it drops below freezing point.

Conclusion

Other than the above-mentioned tourist attractions, Srinagar is renowned for its snow-capped mountains and scenic beauty. With so much to visit in Srinagar, you can plan your itinerary accordingly. Some of the major and common means of transportations in Srinagar are auto-rickshaws and buses. Hence, getting around in the city is easy.

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