Srinagar - Paradise on earth

Srinagar Airport Directory (SXR)
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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:

  • Kashmiri
  • Urdu
  • Hindi
  • Dogri
  • English

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.

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Places to visit in Srinagar

  • Dal Lake: The Dal Lake is the real draw in Srinagar. Immortalised through generations of Bollywood films, the Dal typifies the romance of the city. Flowers on shikaras, lovers on houseboats and birds skimming its surface — it’s a sight that is sure to warm your heart.
  • Chashme Shahi: But time is at a premium, and so you must move on to Chashme Shahi, one of Srinagar’s many legendary Mughal Gardens. This one was built in 1632 AD around a spring whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties. The garden is the smallest among the four Mughal Gardens of Srinagar.
  • Shalimar Garden and Nishat Bagh: To visit the largest, make your way to the expansive Shalimar Gardens. The must-see of the four is Nishat Bagh. The ‘garden of bliss’ is right across the road from Dal Lake with a snow-capped Pir Panjal Range view. Nishat includes rare plants and long avenues of chinar and cypress trees. There’s never a bad time to be at Nishat Bagh, but autumn brings with it a rain of red foliage, making the Bagh look more beautiful than ever.
  • Hazratbal Shrine: Backing onto Dal Lake, several kilometres north of the Old City, the Hazratbal Shrine – a large, white-domed 20th century mosque – enshrines Kashmir’s holiest Islamic relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, supposedly a beard hair of the Prophet Mohammed. The hair’s brief disappearance (in December 1963) nearly sparked trouble. It has resurfaced now, and all’s well with the world.
  • Shankaracharya: On top of the thickly forested Shankaracharya Hill is a small Shiva temple built from massive blocks of visibly ancient grey stone. Previously known as Takht-i-Sulaiman (Throne of Solomon), it’s now named for the sage Shankaracharya who reached enlightenment here in AD 750, but signs date the octagonal structure to the 5th century, and the site is even older.

Places to Eat in Srinagar

Authentic cuisine
Authentic cuisine

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.


Street food
Street food

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.

Dinner at Char Chinar Island
Dinner at Char Chinar Island

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.

Breakfast at Mughal gardens
Breakfast at Mughal gardens

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.

Mahatta & Co. photography studio
Mahatta & Co. photography studio

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.



Shopping in Srinagar

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Srinagar

  • Sarah City Centre
  • Town Square
  • Sangarmaal City Centre

Street shopping in Srinagar

Whether it’s ethnic fabrics or exotic spices, Srinagar’s markets have plenty, provided you know where to look:

  • M Shah, Polo View Road:Famous for designing Nargis Fakhri’s outfits in the movie Rockstar, this store is frequented by locals looking for stylish Kashmiri fashion. It specialises in hand embroidery on wool, cotton and silk.
  • Saklain’s Coterie, Polo View Road:Rashid Ahmad Kawos’s store sells gorgeous-smelling essential oils made from local produce such as lavender and walnut, and handmade soaps such as almond honey and royal saffron. You’ll also find saffron, dry fruit and a powdered version of Kashmiri kahwa for those who want to take this local aromatic tea back home.
  • M Sadiq & Sons, Polo View Road:Among the numerous paper-mâché and handicraft stores on Polo View street, this stands out for its quality and design.
  • Amin-Bin-Khaliq, Polo View Road:Kashmir has long been famous for its dry fruits, and this store is known for selling high-quality ones. The array of produce here is endless from smoked almonds, walnuts and saffron to dried cranberries, dates, and prunes.
  • Kashmir Loom, The Bund:Jenny Housego, a textile historian (and former member of the textile department at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London), started this company and locals Hamid, Zahid and Asaf Ali. Immersed in reviving the Kashmir shawl and Sozni traditions by creating collections in cashmere, silk and cotton, a visit to their studio is a must, but remember that it’s by appointment only.
  • Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Boulevard Road:This is a great place to buy Kashmiri products, as it ensures the artisans get their fair share of the profits. You’ll find apparel, handicrafts and woven carpets, as well as walnut wood furniture, which can be shipped all over the world.
  • Andraab, Humhama Chowk:Producing Pashmina pieces woven and embroidered by hand, its clientele includes celebrities such as Richard Gere and Judi Dench. The store is on the way to the airport, near Humhama Chowk, the perfect way to end your holiday.

Where to stay in Srinagar


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.

Nightlife/party places in Srinagar

  • Lounge Seven
  • Dal Bar
  • Undress

More reasons to visit and Top things to do in Srinagar

Srinagar walks

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.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden

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.

The Lalit Grand Palace

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?

Places to visit near Srinagar


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.

Festivals in Srinagar

Shikara Festival

This festival takes place in the month of July or August, where the shikaras are painted and dressed beautifully. The shikaras participate in Shikara Race, Dragon Boat Race and Canoe Polo Match. A number of other cultural programs are also organised, which will give you a sneak peek into the culture of Kashmir. 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.

The Tulip Festival

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.The state flourishes with tulips during the spring season with several Tulip Gardens in all of Kashmir. With the largest Tulip Garden in Asia in its kitty, Srinagar plays host to the great Tulip Festival every year. The festival boasts the variety of Tulips garnered here, and the sight is breath taking. This festival takes place at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar, Kashmir showcasing local handicrafts, delectable cuisine, cultural programs and, of course, Tulips!

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