1 July, 2021 | Reccy Guide
As Jahangir once aptly said, "Agar Firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o, Hameen ast-o, Hameen ast!"- if there is indeed a heaven on earth, it lies in the heart of Kashmir. The beauty of Kashmir remains unparalleled, as people throughout the ages have believed it to be. Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir and is one of the most popular destinations in India. It is the "Kohinoor' of the crown depicting India's majestic beauty. Lying on the vibrant Jhelum River banks, Srinagar's hypnotizing beauty calls out to millions of travelers throughout the world. As a part of the 'heaven on earth,' its' taste resembles that of the elixir of life that all humankind has been desperately waiting for.
Dal lake is one of the most picturesque landmarks here, as any old Bollywood fan would agree. Filled with magnificent shikharas, the mesmerizing beauty of the Dal Lake can charm you like nothing else. With infinitely beautiful landscapes and surreal views of the pristine Kashmir Valley, Srinagar stands as the hub of culture and community, welcoming millions of travelers through the eons.
At 1585 meters above sea level, Srinagar has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The summer temperature can reach somewhere around 23 degrees Celsius, whereas the winters can get quite rough and cold, with temperatures reaching below 0 degrees Celsius. Heavy snowfall is experienced here during this time, which adds a coating of glistening white beauty to the already galvanic Kashmir valley. Adventures like the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek and the Tarsar Marsar Trek are some of the most enthralling activities you can take part in here as well.
How to reach?
Srinagar is one of the central hubs for tourist destinations spread across Jammu and Kashmir with its spectacular beauty and scenic splendor. The Sheikh ul Alam International airport in Srinagar is situated just 15 kilometers away from the city center at Humhama. It is well connected via roadways and will take you only 30 minutes to reach Srinagar from there. The Sheikh ul Alam international airport is served by several airlines. It gets regular flights from important North Indian cities like New Delhi, Chandigarh, and other metro cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, etc.
On the other hand, if you want to reach Srinagar via railways, you have to reach either the Jammu Tawi Railway station or the Udhampur Railway station. These are the two nearest railway stations that have excellent railway connectivity to major cities across India. The Jammu Tawi Railway station at Shaktinagar, Katra, is 268 kilometers away from Srinagar. You can avail of the government bus service or board private buses and even hire cabs to reach Srinagar via the National Highway 44. On the other hand, the Udhampur Railway station at Bharatnagar is situated 230 kilometers from Srinagar. You can take the National Highway 44 and reach Srinagar by boarding a government or private bus or rental cabs. Being the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar has excellent road connectivity to important North Indian cities like New Delhi (876 kilometers), Chandigarh (646 kilometers), Jammu (258 kilometers), and Leh (424 kilometers). The National Highway 44 merged seven former National Highways fully or partially and serves as the longest in the country, connecting Srinagar to major Indian cities like Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Madurai, Bengaluru, etc.
Where to stay?
Srinagar is a magnificent city and serves as a central hub for unique tourist spots across Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, the accommodation options are endless and offer variable pricing structures with associated amenities and add-ons. Starting from guesthouses to cheaper hotels that provide accommodation at USD 5-10 (INR 375-750) per night to comparatively higher-priced luxury and deluxe hotels where the prices start from USD 20-100 (INR 1500-7500) and above per night, you can stay wherever you want. You can also look for homestays with a friendly environment and a flurry of comparatively lower-priced amenities than the luxury hotels and offer a range of USD 20-40 (INR 1500-3000) per night. Since the primary objective for people visiting Srinagar is to travel, you need to book your accommodation in advance to avail of a lower price and avoid the rush.
If you are in the mood to shop and take away small pieces of Kashmir with you back home, then Srinagar has a lot to offer you. It has several beautiful markets where you can get authentic Kashmiri handicrafts and woolen items. Kashmir is famous for its shawls and pashminas, as Kashmiri embroidery has swooned people through the ages. While you are here, you can check out the Lal Chowk, known for its plethora of bustling shops offering Kashmiri Woollen Handlooms. You can also opt for walnut wood art pieces, as it is one of the most unique and beautiful art products sold in Kashmir. You can get utensils made out of Kashmiri cooper, as well as wooden trays, bowls, and decorative pieces for your homes.
When it comes to jewelry, the Residency Road is the place to go. You can get some of the unique dongra jewelry items here, along with an array of spices and dry fruits. From dried walnuts to figs to spices like saffron, you can find all these items at this fantastic market near the Lal Chowk.
For Rugs and Carpets- some of the most popular items of Kashmir, you need to pay a visit to the Badshah Chowk. It is widely known for its pieces with intricate Kashmiri embroidery, pashminas, shawl, salwar suits, and carpets. You can also order personalized items here.
The floating markets on Dal Lake are a sight for sore eyes. They are special and unique and not found anywhere else in the world. You can get some beautiful Kashmiri flowers, fruits, and vegetables from this particular market when you are in Srinagar.
When you think of attractions in Srinagar, the first place that comes to mind is Dal Lake. This pristine lake is an asset to the city, but there are several other striking lakes and locations here that can leave a permanent mark on your soul. The Char Chinar and the Anchar Lake are two of the most scenic lakes in this region. You can try out the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek to witness the captivating beauty of the Kashmiri lakes.
The Aru Valley is one of the most enticing scenic locations that can wholly engulf your senses. Located beside the Lidder river, this outstanding valley is known for its pristine meadows that can speak to your soul. Betaab Valley is one of the most staggering locations in the world. Mere words cannot express the unparalleled beauty of this magnificent valley. Even though it is located quite far from Srinagar, it is the most precious jewel of Kashmir.
The Shalimar Bagh Mughal Garden and the Nishat Bagh Garden are two magnificent gardens built during the Mughal era. Known for their beauty as well as their historical significance, these two places can be a great place to visit while you are here. The Mughal influence is quite evident here, with landmarks like the Pathar Mosque and the Pari Mahal. The Dachigam National park is another fantastic attraction here, which is spread across 141 square kilometers. Several unique animal species, like the 'Red Deer' and the 'Snow Leopard', are found here, amongst others.
If you are looking for some adventure, you can participate in various exciting activities here like trekking, boating, and hiking through these amazing natural landscapes, away from the deafening cacophony of the world.
The Kashmir Great Lakes trek is one of the most challenging hikes in the region. This, combined with the fact that it only recently opened to the public,…...
13 June, 2021 | Reccy Guide