|Dal Lake||Located in the northwest part of the state|
|Shalimar Bagh||Right banks of the celebrated Dal Lake|
|Nishat Bagh||Located on the eastern side of the Dal Lake|
|Chashm-e-Shahi Gardens||Located close to the Nehru Memorial Park|
|Chinar Bagh||About 8 km from Shankaracharya temple and 11 km from Dal lake|
|Siraj Bagh (Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden)||Positioned at the footings of the Zabarwan Mountains alongside the famous Dal Lake|
|Nagin Lake||Nestled at the foothills of the Zabarwan Ranges|
|Wular Lake||Located just 34 km from Srinagar in Bandipore district|
|Dachigam National Park||Stationed just 22 kilometers from Srinagar|
|Pari Mahal||Located just above the renowned Chashm – e – Shahi Garden|
|Hari Parbat Fort||Positioned towards the western periphery of the Dal Lake|
|Shankaracharya Temple||Perched atop the Gopadari Hill in the south-east section|
|Hazratbal Mosque||Located on the North West bank of the Dal Lake just opposite Nishat Bagh|
|Jama Masjid||Placed at Nowhatta in the old city|
|Shah Hamadan Mosque||Set up on the banks of the river Jhelum|
|Pathar Masjid||Situated facing the Shah Hamdan mosque across the River Jhelum|
|Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph||Located in the Khanyar region|
|Dastgir Sahib Shrine|
|Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara||Located at Kathi Darwaza in Rainawari area|
|Sri Pratap Singh Museum||Located along the ‘Silk Factory Road’ close to the Hazuri Bagh at Lal Mandi|
Nicknamed as the ‘Jewel in the crown of Kashmir’, Dal Lake is the second largest water reservoir of the state and the thriving tourism and recreational hub of Jammu and Kashmir. Believed to be the mythological abode of Goddess Durga, the Dal Lake of Srinagar was notably developed by Mughal Emperors who paid a visit to this summer resort every year. The 15.5 kilometers long shore line of the Dal Lake is embroidered with several beautiful gardens dating back to the Mughal Era such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, innumerable parks, countless houseboats and shikaras (Gandola) and eating joints. The earliest house boats in the Dal Lake were built by British who described them saying, “each one a little piece of England afloat on Dal Lake”.
After the Independence, the Hanji citizens of Kashmir maintained and built the houseboats and also cultivated floating gardens in the Dal Lake. These floating gardens called ‘Rad’ in Kashmiri bloom with lotus flowers in the months of July and August. Dal Lake also contributes to the economics of Srinagar as fishing and plant harvesting is a flourishing business in this region. The wetland of the Dal Lake is divided into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin. The island located in the center of Lokut-Dal is named Rup Lank and the one in Bod-dal is called Sona Lank. The Dal Lake of Srinagar is a favorite destination for the water sports like swimming, boating, canoeing and snow skiing particularly when the lake freezes during the severe cold.
The nearby tourist attractions around the Dal Lake include the Shankaracharya temple, the Chashme Shahi, the Hari Parbat, the Nagin Lake, Char Chinar and the Hazratbal Shrine.
Shalimar Bagh, also known as ‘Farah Baksh’ or ‘Faiz Baksh’ is a famous Mughal Garden established on the right banks of the celebrated Dal Lake of Srinagar during the governance of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Built by Jahangir in the year 1619 for his wife Nur Jahan, the Shalimar Bagh is reckoned as an epitome of supreme Mughal Horticulture. The roots of Shalimar Bagh in fact extend back to the 2nd century AD when King Pravarsena II founded Srinagar and built a cottage near Dal Lake for his stay. This cottage was named ‘Shalimar’ which means ‘the abode of love’. The Shalimar Bagh, set up by Jahangir was later expanded in 1630 AD under the dominance of Shah Jahan.
This garden of Srinagar is fashioned after an Islamic Garden layout called ‘Persian Gardens’. Covering the total area of 12.4 hectares the Shalimar Bagh is built in three terraces ornamented with fountains and a Chinar. The main pivot of the garden is the central channel named ‘Shah Nahar’ which runs through the three terraces of the garden. These three terraces of the Shalimar Bagh consist of Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas and Zenana terrace. A Black Pavilion is located in the Zenana Gardens which bears the world famous remarks of Jahangir,
The Shalimar Garden turns extremely beautiful in spring and autumn due to the Chinar trees and the color change in the leaves. Shalimar Bagh of Srinagar has inspired the Shalimar Bagh of Delhi and the Shalimar Garden of Lahore. The Shalimar Bagh is located about 15 kilometers from the heart of the city and you can book a Shikara from the Dal Lake to pay a visit to this Arcadia on the earth.
Nishat Bagh, the second largest Mughal Garden of the Kashmir Valley after the Shalimar Bagh is landscaped on the eastern side of the Dal Lake against the lofty backdrop of the Zabarwan Mountains. The term ‘Nishat Bagh’ means ‘the garden of joy / pleasure’. Offering the arresting vistas of the magnificent Dal Lake on one side and the imposing snow capped Pir Panjal mountain ranges on the other, the Nishat Bagh was designed and built by Asif Khan, the elder brother of the Begum Nur Jahan in the year 1633. As per the prevalent anecdote, Emperor Shah Jahan was dumbfounded on beholding the peerless splendor of Nishat Bagh. He expressed his appreciation to Asif Khan thrice hoping that Asif Khan – his father in law would gift him the garden. But nothing like that happened. The jealous Shah Jahan stopped the water supply to the garden for some time due to which it withered. Even though, eventually the water supply was resumed and the garden recovered its original glory. Modeled after the Persian Gardens outline, the Nishat Bagh, is laid down in rectangular design of 548 meters by 338 meters. The garden is built in twelve terraces divided into two sections i.e. the public garden and the private garden. Similar to the Shalimar Bagh in some of its facades, the Nishat Bagh is lined with the boulevards of chinar and cypress trees. Located at a distance of nearly 11 km from Srinagar, this garden can be reached from the Dal Lake using Shikaras.
The phrase ‘Chashm – e – Shahi’ means the ‘royal spring’. Chashm – e – Shahi is a fresh water spring acclaimed for its medicinal properties. It is believed that this spring was originally discovered by a great female saint of Kashmir, Rupa Bhawani. Earlier the spring was known as ‘Chashme Sahibi’ after the family name of Rupa Bhawani i.e. ‘Sahib’. Gradually ‘Chashme Sahibi’ came to be known as ‘Chashm – e – Shahi’. The source of this spring is positioned above the Nehru Memorial Park. The Chashm – e – Shahi Garden was established by the then Mughal Governor Ali Mardan Khan in the year 1632. This garden measuring 108 meters by 38 meters happens to be the smallest amongst all the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir Valley. Built in three terraces, the garden is designed in such a way that the Chashme Sahibi spring forms the source of the garden fountains. The Chashm – e – Shahi garden also houses a beautiful aqueduct and several artificial waterfalls. A small shrine named Chasma Sahibi is also located in the premises of the garden. The Chashm – e – Shahi Garden placed against the enchanting backdrop of the Zabarwan Mountains at its footings is quite close from the Governor House (Rajbhavan) of Srinagar.
Chinar Bagh, popularly known as ‘Chinar Bagh Heritage Park’ or ‘Boene Bagh’ is a recent addition to the bounty of Srinagar. Lately developed by the Tourism Department of the Government of India at a cost of around 3 crore rupees, this garden originally furnished as an abode to British officials during the British Raj. The Chinar Bagh has been developed with a proposal to present the ethnic Kashmiri tradition and culture to the travelers in its true sense. The park, an entity formed out of three distinct islands contains musical fountains, kiosks and swings within its periphery. The open air theatre constructed inside the Chinar Bagh hosts various cultural programs in the evenings. Apart from that, the additional attractions of this Bagh include camp fires, swimming competitions and fishing organized here to amuse the tourists.
Siraj Bagh (Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden)
Siraj Bagh, a stunning garden positioned at the footings of the Zabarwan Mountains alongside the famous Dal Lake of Srinagar is the largest tulip garden of Asia continent. This brainchild of the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir ‘Ghulam Nabi Azad’ is fashioned after the world famous tulip garden of Netherlands. Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the garden is now rechristened as the ‘Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden’. Sprawling over an all encompassing area of over 5 hectares, the Siraj Bagh garden is a home to about 1.2 million tulips of roughly 60 varieties. The 7 days long Tulip Festival organized by the Department of Tourism is hosted by the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden every year. The multihued tulip flowers in full bloom encompassing the entire landscape like a colorful carpet attract tourists to this paradise personified from every corner of the country and globe. Now Indians don’t need to go to Holland just to see Tulips. The tulips are planted in the month of September and they fully grow by the month of April. The tulips found in the Siraj Bagh of Srinagar are not discovered at any other place in India. The Siraj Bagh is located just 8 kilometers from the Srinagar city.
Nagin Lake, although sometimes referred to as an individual lake is essentially a part of the Dal Lake itself. Separated through a slender causeway from the Dal Lake, the Nagin Lake derives its name from the poplar trees that flank the boundaries of this water lagoon. Enclosed by the Shankaracharya hill to its south and by Hari Parbat to its west, this lake, nestled at the foothills of the Zabarwan Ranges is also recognized by its moniker the ‘Jewel in the Ring’. Nagin Lake, one of the most engaging lakes of eastern Srinagar is a much sought after tourist spot and a perfect place for swimming. The numerous houseboats and shikaras dwindling in the tranquil waters of the lake summon the tourists to come and enjoy a ride in the pristine locus of the reservoir. Moreover, water skiing & sailing on fiberglass boats are additional attractions of Nagin Lake. This is a comparatively isolated and less polluted lake. The peace lovers and the philosophers are particularly fascinated by the serene ambiance of the Nagin Lake. The perfect time for visiting this place is between June and August.
Wular Lake, located just 34 km from Srinagar in Bandipore district of Jammu and Kashmir is India's largest fresh water lake and one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia continent. The Jhelum River provides water to this lake which was created as a result of some tectonic activity occurred years ago. Boating, water sports and water skiing have newly been instigated by the Government of India Tourism in collaboration with the Kerala and J&K Tourism. The Wular Lake is also one of six Indian wetlands designated as a Ramsar site.
Dachigam National Park
Dachigam National Park stationed just 22 kilometers from Srinagar is a wildlife sanctuary spread over an extensive area of about 141 square kilometers. The word ‘Dachigam’ means ‘ten villages’ and the park is christened as ‘Dachigam’ in the honor of those ten hamlets that had to be relocated at the time of its formation. Dachigam Park has been a protected area since 1910 and in the year 1981, it was officially raised to the status of a National Park. Perched in the midst of the high mountain ranges of the western Himalayas, the altitude of the park ranges between 5500 feet to 14000 feet above the sea level. Due to this variation, the park is divided into two sections; the upper region and the lower region. The coniferous forest of this terrain is heavily wooded and the geography of the park comprises of alpine pastures, meadows, scrub vegetation, deep channels and waterfalls. Most of the meadows of this area are always enveloped with bright colored flowers. Dagwan River, famous for its trout fish flows through the Dachigam National Park. This reserve is especially renowned for its population of Hangul or the Kashmir Stag. Apart from that, the other fauna spotted here include Leopard, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Musk Deer, Himalayan Gray Langur, Himalayan Black and Brown Bear, Hill Fox, Jackal, Himalayan Weasel, Yellow-throated Marten, Long-tailed Marmot, Cinnamon Sparrow, Black Bulbul, Himalayan Monal, Woodpecker, Babbler, Wagtail, Wallcreeper, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Titmouse, and many others.
The words ‘Pari Mahal’ together mean ‘the palace of fairies’. The Pari Mahal, also reckoned as the ‘Quntilon’ is an incredible testimonial of bygone era still basking in the glory of its rich cultural and historical legacy. Located just above the renowned Chashm – e – Shahi Garden of Srinagar, the Pari Mahal was originally a Buddhist Monastery. Later, the monastery was converted to a school of astrology which was greatly upheld by Dara Shikoh; the eldest son of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Today, the Pari Mahal, an epitome of the architectural dexterity of yesteryears stands amidst well landscaped gardens teeming with evergreen lawns, brightly blossoming flowers and inviting fruits. A small water spring flows through the beautiful Pari Mahal Gardens; today possessed by the state government. Positioned overlooking the spectacular Dal Lake of Srinagar, the Pari Mahal is just 10 kilometers away from Srinagar city.
Hari Parbat Fort
Hari Parbat Fort, a landmark amongst the historical monuments of Srinagar is an ancient Mughal Garrison located atop the illustrious Harbat Parbat Hills that overlook the entire Srinagar terrain. Positioned towards the western periphery of the Dal Lake, this fort was established by an Afghan governor Atta Muhammad Khan in 18th century AD. However, the long stretch of wall seen around the hill was later added to the structure by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1590 AD. Presently the Hari Parbat Fort is maintained by the Archaeological Department of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The tourists who want to visit this ancient fort need to obtain prior permission from the State Archaeological Department. Some of the tourist attractions located close to the Hari Parbat Fort include Sharika Devi Temple and Lal Mandi Square.
The Shankaracharya Temple, also identified by two other names ‘Jyesteshwara Temple’ and ‘Pas-Pahar’ is an ancient shrine perched atop the Gopadari Hill in the south-east section of Srinagar province. This Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is believed to be the oldest temple of Kashmir Valley. Originally set up by the King Sandhiman of the Gonanda dynasty of Kashmir between 2629 and 2564 BC this temple was repaired by King Gopaditya sometime between 426 and 365 BC. The present day Gupkar and Buchhwara villages were at that time assigned the duty of maintaining the temple. Sultan Sikandar who held the reigns of Kashmir between 1389 and 1413 AD destroyed the original Shiva Temple. The shrine was later repaired by various Islam rulers which is why the hill is also known as Takht-i-Sulaiman. It is also believed that the Shankaracharya Temple was constructed around 200 BC by the son of Emperor Ashoka named Jaluka. Located at the elevation of about 1100 feet, this temple offers an awe-inspiring panorama of the Dal Lake and the snowy precipices of the Pir Pinjal ranges. It is also supposed that the Advayita philosopher Shankaracharya had made this place his domicile during his stay in Kashmir to revive the doctrines of Sanatan Dharma. The Shankaracharya Temple is erected on an elevated octagonal surface which is easy to climb due to the presence of the flight of stairs. Tourists can also observer a contemporary ceiling and the Persian inscriptions in the interiors of the main temple.
The term ‘Hazratbal’ can be split as ‘Hazrat’ meaning ‘holy’ and ‘Bal’ meaning ‘hair’ or ‘place’. The Hazratbal Mosque of Srinagar located on the North West bank of the Dal Lake just opposite Nishat Bagh is considered to be the holiest Muslim Shrine of Kashmir. It is said that the mosque contains the ‘Moi-e-Muqqadas’, i.e. the sacred hair of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Also known by other appellations, such as Madinat-us-Sani, Assar-e-Sharief, or Dargah Sharif, the Hazratbal Mosque happens to be the only one doomed shrine in the entire state. The unique combination of Kashmiri and Mughal styles of architecture, the enticing Hazratbal Mosque constructed in pristine white marble presents a captivating demeanor to its beholders. Flanked by the dazzling Dal Lake on one side and the towering Himalayans Sierras on the other, the Hazratbal Mosque is a highly venerated religious destination of Srinagar. It should be noted that women are allowed to enter only up to the first part of the mosque.
Jama Masjid of Srinagar, placed at Nowhatta in the old city is one of the chief mosques erected in Kashmir. Constructed by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD and later expanded by his son Zain-ul-Abidin, this mosque is noteworthy for its superior Indo-Sarcenic order of architecture. The most remarkable feature of this Masjid is its bravura courtyard supported by 370 wooden pillars each of them carved out an individual piece of Deodar trunk. Thrice devastated by fire, this Jama Mosque of Srinagar was restored every single time, the latest revamp being executed by Maharaja Pratap Singh. Covering the total area of 384 feet by 381 feet, the Jama Masjid holds the capacity to accommodate over 30,000 people at a time. Thousands of Muslims gather here every Friday to offer their ‘Namaj’ prayers. Another attribute of this mosque is that it stands out against the surrounding hustle bustle of Old Bazaar with its exceptionally calm and tranquil ambience.
Shah Hamadan Mosque
Popularly reckoned as the ‘Khanqah of Shah Hamadan’, the Shah Hamadan Mosque is a mesmerizing edifice set up on the banks of the river Jhelum in Srinagar. Constructed by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, the sole agenda behind this mosque was to popularize the deeds and principles of a revered Irani saint named Mir Syed Ali Hamdani. St. Mir Syed Ali Hamdani was the very persona who introduced Islam in Kashmir. In the last month of Islamic calendar i.e. Dul Haj, the devotees of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani congregate in the Shah Hamadan Mosque to celebrate the death anniversary of the great saint. The intricately designed interiors and the brilliant craftsmanship of the artisans of the bygone era render this place a must visit for the tourists of Srinagar.
Pathar Masjid situated facing the Shah Hamdan mosque across the River Jhelum is the biggest existing Mughal Edifice in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Erected by Begum Noor Jahan in 1623 AD, the most noteworthy feature of Pathar Masjid is its horizontally constructed nine arches. It is supposed that the construction of the Pathar Masjid was administered by the celebrated architect and an eminent Mughal historian Malik Hyder Chaudhary. Today, most of the Pathar Masjid is in ruins but even the wrecks of the structure still retain the appeal to attract the archaeologists and historians as well as the tourists wanting to peep into the casement of antiquity.
Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph
Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph, popularly known as ‘Roza Bal’ is a shrine located in the Khanyar region of Srinagar District. Equally venerated by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, the sage who lays buried here is identified with Yuz Asaf, the Jesus of Nazareth who arrived here after surviving his crucifixion. This tomb has thus acquired ever-increasing reputation as the probable tomb of Jesus Christ.
Dastgir Sahib Shrine
Dastgir Sahib Shrine of Srinagar free from the effects of the outside disturbances is a mosque particularly reckoned for its serene and tranquil ambience. Over the centuries, this shrine has been acclaimed for its communal concord and syncretism. The exteriors of the mosque are festooned with delicate white & green artworks where as the interiors are ornamented with ‘Papier-Mache’ scroll works, Arabic scriptures and floral motifs. The highlights of this mosque are the elaborately carved panels and the celebrated Aytal Kursi. The ‘Aytal Kursi’ hangs at the front door of the mosque and it is believe that if you tie a thread to its legs, your wish will be fulfilled. Innumerable anecdotes are associated with this shrine which relate the stories of various families whose wishes were fulfilled and whose sufferings were eradicated after praying at the feet of the Dastgir Sahib. This is an interesting place to visit in Srinagar for both the believers as well as the tourists.
Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara
Guru Har Gobind, the sixth Guru of Sikhism also traveled through Kashmir during his life time. Through this expedition he occasionally stooped at several places and preached. A Gurudwara has been erected at the very site of each of the stoppages. The most important amongst these is ‘Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara’ located at Kathi Darwaza in Rainawari area of Srinagar. This Gurudwara, held in great reverence by the Sikhs is one of the prominent religious destinations of Srinagar.
Sri Pratap Singh Museum
Sri Pratap Singh Museum, commonly known by its abbreviated name ‘SPS Museum’ is located along the ‘Silk Factory Road’ close to the Hazuri Bagh at Lal Mandi in Srinagar. This museum was established by Maharaja Pratap Singh around 1898 at the request of his younger brother, General Raja Sir Amar Singh and a European scholar, Captain S.H. Godmerry. The main objective behind its foundation was to exhibit the artifacts covering the region of Jammu, Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. The museum was constituted in a state owned building at Lal Mandi under the supervision of, the then Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, Sir John Marshal. Various sections of the museum today display numismatics and manuscripts, miniature paintings, weapons and utensils, musical instruments, furniture and decorative items, textiles and carpets, items of leather, grass and willow work, sculptures, tiles and other artifacts excavated in various parts of Kashmir, historic articles, stuffed birds and animals and so on.