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Things To Do In Srinagar
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu And Kashmir, experiences sub-tropical climate. A landscape dotted with numerous springs and lakes makes for a perfect getaway for those seeking a peaceful holiday. Naturally, Srinagar is always swarming with tourists. The great Mughal Emperors termed the city ‘Paradise on Earth’ due to its magnificent views. There is much to experience in this heavenly abode. Here is a list of the top things to do in Srinagar during your visit.
Take A Stroll Around The Lanes
Wander the narrow lanes of Srinagar where wooden houses with delicately carved balconies jostle with ancient temples and medieval mosques for your attention. Take time to absorb the centuries old patina of age that still permeates the old part of the city. Music drifts out from the back-street cafes. The smell of fresh bread wafts out from tiny bakeries. The Khanqah of Shah Hamdan is said to be Srinagar’s most beautiful buildings. Visit the Sri Pratap Singh Museum to get an idea of regional history and culture and check out the Arts Emporium for local crafts.
Visit Shah Hamadan Masjid
Visit the pagoda-style Shah Hamadan Masjid (Mosque) on the banks of the Jhelum River. Originally constructed in the 14th century for Sultan Sikander, it has been rebuilt twice and combines Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic influences. It has two stories of intricate carvings and the interior has highly intricate panels and ornate chandeliers.
Stay On A House Boat
Stay on a luxurious houseboat on Dal Lake, known as the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir’. These floating mini-hotels are fitted with every comfort and it’s the most idyllic ways to relax in this beautiful region. Usually made from cedar, the quality of the furnishings is often lavish and the service first-class. Bedrooms are comfortable and there is usually a dining room and balcony area to enjoy the scenery.
Take a Shikara Ride
Take a Shikara cruise around the lakes. These attractive Gondola-type rowing boats take you past timeless scenes, amidst breath-taking scenery. As well as taking tourists, they are used by locals, as taxis. You may see the Floating Vegetable Market or glimpse the unique lifestyle of the Mir Bahris – a vibrant community who live on the lake.
Visit Shalimar Gardens
Stroll through the famous gardens of Srinagar. There are many to choose from, but the Shalimar Gardens are outstanding. Apparently, the name Shalimar can be traced back to Pravarsena II, who ruled in Kashmir from 79 AD to 139 AD but it was Emperor Jahangir who created the pleasure gardens in the 17th century for his wife to enjoy. Today everyone can take delight in the terraced lawns, pretty pavilions, fountains, lovely trees and annual flowering plants.
Eat like a Local
Kashmiri cuisine is world-famous and rightly so. Its flavours are influenced by fertile valleys, rivers, and lakes. Fish, mutton and chicken, potatoes, lotus root, spinach, radishes, beans, paneer (cottage cheese), and many other vegetables are popular with fragrant spices adding delicate flavour, warmth, and colour. At a Wazwan (banquet) you will get the chance to try many of these tasty dishes, along with tasty platters of saffron rice and bread, some of which are unique to the region.
Visit the Tulip Garden
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is a relatively new addition to the multitude of tourist attractions in Srinagar. Established almost a decade ago, the garden covers almost 30 acres, making it the largest tulip garden in Asia. This seemingly endless green patch of land is dotted with about 20 lakh flowers, which include several varieties of tulips.
Visit the Shankaracharya Temple
Admire the stunning panorama from the Shankaracharya Temple, sacred to the Buddhists for centuries. It’s set atop Gopadari Hill, 1000 feet above the Kashmir plain with impressive views of Srinagar, Dal Lake, Kashmir Valley and surrounding mountains.
Take home a souvenir from one of the many markets or independent shops all around Srinagar. Choose from feather-light pashminas in attractive colours, papièr mâchè bangles, and key chains, carved wooden boxes, embroidered scarves, wicker baskets, silver jewelry, copper pots, and exotic spices and, of course, exquisite Kashmiri carpets to last many lifetimes.