northern most state of the Indian mainland is rightly called "Paradise
on Earth" . The sparkling rivers, placid lakes, gorgeous gardens
and indescribable beauty of nature in the state of Jammu and Kashmir
leave you completely speechless. Home to the unparalleled virgin
landscapes of Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, a travel and tourism experience
to this joyous state is an unmatchable experience that will leave you
feeling cleansed and pure. The capital of Jammu and Kashmir and the
largest city in the state, Srinagar is famous for its canals, houseboats
and Mughal gardens. Situated in the valley of Kashmir, Srinagar is one
of the most beautiful summer resorts of Asia. Seven wooden bridges cross
the Jhelum and connect the sections of the city. There are many canals,
and transportation is chiefly by boat. Houseboats on the canals and
nearby lakes serve as vacation hotels.
Hari Parbat, Srinagar's
'Takht-i- Sulaiman' hill forms the backdrop to the city. The placid
Jhelum flows through the heart of Srinagar and the houseboat-filled Dal
and Nagin Lakes dominate the scene. From a tourist's point of view, a
recommended initial exploration of Srinagar begins on board a shikara
that follows its course through the heart of the city, past
willow-shaded channels and canals, under bridges. Deep green rice fields
and bridges across rivers, splendid Mughal gardens, water lilies and
lotus. Lines of doongas are moored along the banks, homes of the boat
people. Women sit at the prows, pounding grain or calling to each other.
As a major artery, the river is punctuated at regular intervals by
landing stages leading up to narrow labyrinth-like lanes which connect
the streets beyond, so that there is a constant flow of activity between
water and land. Homes, shops and schools, places of work and worship
cluster around the waterfront. Roof gardens and orchards tumble over the
river wall, and carved or latticed windows add a touch of timelessness.
gardens like Mughal Garden, Nishath, Shallimar, are feast for the eye
with the variety of flora.I couldnt believe 200 to 300 roses in one
single small plant, with its mild fragrance and colour. One has to force
himself to some out of these garden. You dont want to leave the flowers
or the greenery, which proves that we are made to live with nature and
unfortunately withdraw ourselfs from nature and live in a technical
world which is neither healthy nor pleasant to the mind, soul or body.Shopping
is a handicraft lover's delight with a rich variety of available crafts.
There is great beauty in Kashmiri artefacts: papier mache, lacquered and
painted in floral designs; wood carvings and screens; fine carpets in
typical oriental designs; silks and woollen shawls embroidered in
traditional paisley and crewel work. The bazaars of Srinagar are filled
with handicraft stores, street vendors add their own colour. The J&K
Handicrafts Corporation has a large display of handicraft items,
carpets, etc. at the Government Arts Emporium, housed in what was once
the British Resident's mansion.The rates of all articles here are fixed
and the quality guaranteed. Sightseeing
How to Reach Srinagar
- Dal Lake
The jewel in the crown of Kashmir is
eulogised by poets and praised by tourists. Dal Lake changes its
moods through the day. The lake can be viewed in its full grandeur
by walking or cycling down Boulevard Road. It is divided in four
parts by causeways known as Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin.
The fascination for houseboats led to the creation of a large number
of luxurious floating hotels. Shikaras and houseboats vie for
attention with their imaginative names. The increase in tourism has
also had its downside. The Dal Lake shrunk to half its size, from 22
sq. km. to about 11 sq. km in 50 years, and is a reminder of the
degradation in the Himalayan lake eco-system.
- Nagin Lake
A paradise for an aquatic holiday, its
waters are otherwise calm and peaceful. On the banks are a club, a
bar and a tea pavilion.
- Hari Parbat
According to legend, the hill grew out of
a pebble dropped by the goddess Parvati when she wanted to crush a
demon. The ruins of a fort, an imposing evidence of a historic past,
- Shankaracharya Hill
A historic temple atop the hill
on the site of the Takht-I-Suleiman, or throne of Solomon, provides
a panoramic view of Srinagar's busy thoroughfares and shimmering
This mosque on the shores of the Dal Lake,
houses one of the most sacred Muslim relics, a hair of Prophet
Muhammad, brought here in 1700 AD by Khawaja Noor-ud-Din from
Bijapur. On specific days in the year, it is shown to the faithful
who gather in the courtyard.
- Manasbal Lake
This small clear blue water lake is a
bird watcher's paradise. Chirping birds amidst blooming lotuses.
There is a small rest house, two huts and a cafeteria.
- Wular Lake
The jade green waters swirl around a
curious bubbling spring in the centre of the lake. Zaina Lank, a
small picturesque island covered by the ruins of a mosque, adds to
the beautiful setting of the largest fresh water lake in Asia.
The nearest airport is about 25 km away in Badgam
district. There are daily direct flights from Delhi. One can also
fly in from Jammu.
The nearest rail head is at Jammu, which is 300
kms away. Road Srinagar can be reached by road from Jammu. The hill
resorts of Kud, Patnitop and Batote fall en route. The 2.5 km long
Jawahar Tunnel allows road access to Srinagar even in the winter.
This 293 km long journey passes through very picturesque landscape.