It’s not for nothing that poets and writers call this part of the country paradise on Earth. Towering mountains, pretty lakes, and gardens that could well be from Eden - Srinagar has it all.
Best time to visit Srinagar
As it is an year-round destination, you may plan your trip any time you want - in the spring, when tulips come alive and the Dal Lake turns into a flower market, or the summer, when the orchards are rich with apples or the winter, when snow drapes a silent blanket all over the town. Regardless of when you go, this guide to Srinagar will have you covered.
Most spoken languages in Srinagar:
How to reachSrinagar
Flights to Srinagar: Srinagar International Airport or Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport is the main airport, located 12 km away from the city. IndiGo operates more than 50 weekly flights between Srinagar and other key locations in the country.
By train: Srinagar Railway Station serves the city. However, it connects only to Anantnag, Qazigund and Baramulla. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station in Jammu that is well-connected to all major parts of the country through various trains.
By bus: Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) and private operators provide bus services, connecting the city to other towns and regions.
Getting around/local transport in Srinagar: Auto-rickshaws and buses by JKSRTC as well as private operators are the most popular means of transportation in the city.
The trick is to eat light during the day, and then get primed for an expansive and meaty banquet during dinner time. Wazwans are prepared by chefs, called wazas, who are descendants of culinary masters from past royal courts. It is a difficult task, with 36 dishes in all. The grand finale is gushtaba (spiced meatballs dipped in yoghurt) if you can make it to the end of the meal. Ahdoo’s on Residency Road serves an elaborate and authentic wazwan.
For street food, a stroll around Dal Lake will throw up a medley of Kashmiri nibbles and snacks. Lotus stems, fried potatoes are on offer. And don’t miss the fragrant concoction of hot green tea, cardamom and saffron called kahwa. A beautiful, healthy and happy ending.
If you wish, The Vivanta by Taj – Dal View on Kralsangri can set up the ultimate romantic meal experience for you at Char Chinar Island—a spot right in the middle of Dal Lake where four chinar trees rise on a small island, and you can reach by shikara.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast as you get a 360-degree view of the Zabarwan Mountains, the old city, the Mughal gardens and the lotus carpets.
While you sip Oolong tea in a Cotswolds-inspired tearoom housed above the iconic Mahatta & Co. photography studio, there’s a mix of culture brewing in the air. That’s precisely what Chai Jhai on The Bund, Residency Road is a tea lover's abode which also doubles as a space for conversations about arts, literature, and music. Serving around eight different varieties of tea from Kashmir and 25 from across the globe, the elaborate menu also includes local treats such as shirmal and kulcha, in addition to fresh bakery products sourced from the valley’s popular French patisserie Le Delice.
Whether it’s ethnic fabrics or exotic spices, Srinagar’s markets have plenty, provided you know where to look:
Vivanta by Taj – Dal View, Kralsangri Hill Perched on a hill, the views from this hotel present Dal Lake in all its splendour, this one is for the hopelessly romantic. Feast on dazzling views: carpets of colourful tulips in spring, the snow-capped peaks of the Zabarwan range during winter and the golden chinars in autumn.
The Lalit Grand Palace, Gupkar Road In its former avatar as a lavish palace, The Lalit hosted an excellent list of famous personalities, Lord Mountbatten being just one. It’s your turn now to live like a royal, with the Dal Lake and the mighty Himalayas around you.
Butt's Clermont Houseboats, Dal Lake Moored in a sheltered corner of the lake, the houseboats are built with cedar wood and furnished with Kashmiri objets d’art. Legend has it that this is one of the places Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison how to play the sitar. When you’ve had your fill of the unparalleled views—placid waters and surrounding snow-covered peaks—step directly onto Naseem Bagh from your houseboat–a beautiful Mughal garden where you can spot chinar trees that are over 400 years old.
WelcomHeritage Gurkha Houseboats, Nagin Lake A stay on these exquisitely carved wooden houseboats is a must, especially to kick-start your holiday. Spend your evenings with a hot cup of kahwa and watch locals sell their Kashmiri crafts right in the middle of the lake.
When you get over with history, take a step forward and discover how the best of Kashmir’s handicrafts are crafted. Go on a guided walk through the old city with Srinagar Walks. You can see artisans at work, in their homes, and even enjoy a cup of kahwa with their families after buying a pashmina shawl or two at prices that are substantially lower than at the shops.
At the north end of the Sufi shrine of Pir Dastgir Sahib in Khaniyar is another small, green shrine known as Rozabal. A highly controversial theory claims that the shrine’s crypt holds the grave of Jesus Christ. Tourists are actively discouraged from approaching, but the mere existence of this little place poses some intriguing questions.
It is among the recently added tourist attractions in Srinagar, attracting many tourists since its inception. Sprawling across 29.6 acres, it is the largest tulips garden in Asia. With 20 lakh flowers of several varieties of tulips, the place looks as magical as a painting. Its scenic backdrop filled with beautiful Dal Lake and majestic Zabarwan enhance its beauty further.
There’s more to Srinagar than just gardens, lakes and shikaras. Contemplate a visit to The Lalit Grand Palace to have a gin and tonic under the courtyard’s chinar tree. This spot was once the meeting site between Gandhi and the erstwhile ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, who formally joined Kashmir to the Indian union back in 1947. Could anything be more historical?
A must-have getaway from Srinagar, you will be awestruck to see this mesmerising scenic place. Surrounded by glaciers and lakes, the place looks ethereal and an ideal destination for nature lovers.
Crowned as the 7th best skiing destination in Asia, it is a hub for winter sports in India. Along with enjoying the enchanting beauty of this place, you can satisfy the sports bug in you with tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing, among other such sporting activities. While visiting Gulmarg, you must try Gulmarg Gondola, the world’s highest ropeway connecting Gulmarg to Mount Apharwat.
A beautiful hill station famous for its scenic surroundings, it’s another great getaway from Srinagar. Located in the Udhampur district, near Pir Panjal range, this place boasts of beautiful locations and landmarks attracting many tourists every year.
Held in July and August, the Shikara Festival rejoices the iconic shikaras of the city of Srinagar. Beautifully adorned with flowers, lights, and decorations, it is truly a vibrant sight to witness the colourful shikaras gliding on the Dal Lake.
With a widespread display of over 1.5 million tulips of various kinds, this festival lasts for only 15 days when the flowers are in full bloom.