Srinagar, the beautiful city was established by the Emperor Ashoka, about 2300 years ago when his daughter Charumati took a fancy to the Dal Lake during her visit to the region. The present city was founded in the sixty century by King Pravarsen. The king created various serpentine waterways that still wriggle through the city like the sprawling Dal Lake, and the smaller and more secluded Nagin Lake. Srinagar has been described by some Western visitors as the Venice of the East. Srinagar has been unable to show off the full extent of its architectural heritage. Srinagar’s old houses on the Jhelum river with labyrinthine alleys appears not to have changed since the time of the Mughals.Srinagar is transformed into a different world every season. It is snowbound and harsh in cold winter whereas it is very beautiful during spring and summers, when flowers bloom all over the valley, snow melts and trees take a new shape. The roof-tops of the houses in Srinagar are also turned into the flower gardens. June and July are the two good months for trekking, trout-fishing and water sports.

High Seasons -

The climatic conditions in Srinagar are mostly alpine. Summers (April-June) are gentle and soothing while the winters (November-February) are icy cold. During December-February it is blessed with heavy snowfall. Srinagar is best visited during summers between the months of April and June. You will need to carry heavy woolens while traveling to Srinagar.

Places of Interest -

Pari Mahal -Located at a distance of 5-minutes from the Chashmashahi Bagh, this ancient monument was once a Buddhist monastery and later served as a school for astrology during the time of Dara Shikoh. It has a spacious and well laid out garden in the front. The monument is illuminated at night.
Dal Lake -The jewel in Srinagar 's crown, the Dal Lake is a labyrinth of interconnected waterways that breeds a life of its own. It comprises of two separate massive expanse of water, the Lokut-dal and the Bod-dal. The lake is home to a number of people living on floating shikaras and houseboats. The homes come complete with patches of floating vegetation, vegetables, white lotus and lilies. The edge of the Dal Lake is swarming with Kashmiri locals living in wooden homes. A shikara ride on the Dal Lake would take you to the various shops and houses outlining the banks and to the houseboats selling fruits and vegetables. A perfect setting for honeymooners, the Dal Lake never ceases to amaze, whatever time of the year.
Nagin Lake -This smaller counterpart to the Dal Lake lies east to the city at the foothills of the Zabarwan Montain. The lake is lined with willow and poplar trees, whose reflection falls onto the lake creating an unbelievable romantic ambience. The lake is divided into four parts by causeways. These causeways are popular routes used by cyclists and pedestrians cutting through the traffic.
Shankracharya Temple -Located atop the Takht-I-Sulaiman Hill on the southeast part of the city. This was the site where Shankaracharya stayed ten centuries ago, when he was on his quest to revive the Sanatana Dharma.
A flight of steps lead to this structure built high on an octagonal plinth. The main shrine is circular in shape and has a modern ceiling with inscriptions in Persian tracing back to the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.
Hazratbal Mosque - This beautiful white marble mosque on the banks of the Dal Lake throws a hypnotizing shadow onto the tranquil and placid waters.
A revered shrine of the Muslims, the mosque is famous for the strand of hair of Prophet Muhammad that it houses. This is displayed to the public on religious occasions. Architecture wise, the Hazratbal Mosque is the only mosque in Srinagar , which has a dome shaped roof. All others have pagoda like structures.
Jama Masjid -Throngs of people attend the Friday evening prayers at this mosque located in the heart of the old city. Built during the reign of Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, this huge structure is support ed by 370 wooden pillars. The Jama Masjid mosque is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.
Khanqah of Shah Hamdan -Located on the banks of the Jhelum River , this is the oldest mosque in Srinagar . It was built by Shah-I-Hamdan in 1395. Hamdan came from Persia in the 13 th century and was responsible for the spread of Islam in Kashmir . The mosque was built at the site where he used to offer his daily prayers.
Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara - This gurudwara was made at the place where the sixth guru of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind Singh stopped on his journey through Kashmir . The revered shrine is located near the Kathi Darwaza in Rainawari.
Mughal Gardens - Srinagar is endowed with natural beauty and these beautifully laid out terraced gardens surely add a sparkle to this ever-shining gem. These gardens laid out during the time of the Mughals personify their vision of paradise on earth. Today they are among the most visited places and are popular tourist attractions. The gardens are:
Shalimar Bagh- Laid out by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan in 1616 AD, the garden is often referred to as the Garden of Love . The garden has four terraces that rise one above the other. At one time, the fourth terrace was reserved for the royal ladies. A canal runs through the centre of the garden. This canal supplies water to the garden. There is a pavilion made of black stone in the garden. Black marble fluted pillars support this structure. This area once served as the banquet hall for the royalty.
Nishat Bagh- The banks of the Dal Lake and the Zabarwan Mountains in the background offer the perfect setting for this beautiful garden often referred to as the Garden of Bliss . Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, laid out Nishat Bagh. The garden houses the ruins of some structures, which date back to the Mughal Era. Prominent among them is a double-storey pavilion covered with latticed windows on two sides and a small spring behind the garden known as the Gopi Thirth. The garden offers unrivalled view of the snow capped Pir Panjal range. The terraces in the garden represent the different zodiacs.
Chashmashahi Bagh- This garden meaning the royal spring is the smallest of the three mughal gardens; laid out in 1632 AD by Emperor Shah Jahan. It has three terraces and encloses a stone pavilion with a natural spring. The water of this spring is believed to have medicinal property. A number of fruit, flowering trees and the Chinar trees grow in the garden. The flora adds to the appeal of the garden.
Harwan Gardens -A popular excursion and picnic spot, the Harwan gardens is different in its structure from the Mughal Gardens . The garden does not boast of terraces and artificial fountains but has an ample cover of greenery. It also serves as the starting point for visiting the Dachi Gam Wildlife Sanctuary and to start on the Mahadev Mountain trek.

Climate -

Srinagar has only two climates, pleasant summers and a very chilly, freezing winters. Rainfalls are very scanty here. Summers are from April to September with a maximum temperature of 33°C and a minimum well below 10°C. October to March accounts for winters with minimum consistently well below 0°C and maximum only about 15°C. Winters are associated with heavy snowfalls.

How to Reach Srinagar -

By Air: Srinagar is connected to Delhi, Bombay, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jammu and Leh by Indian Airlilnes Services.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi which has direct connections with Agra, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Delhi, Kanyakumari, Lucknow, Madras, Pune, Trivandrum, Varanasi, etc.
By Road: Srinagar is connected by road to Jammu, Leh, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Kargil.

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