Nestled in the picturesque Kashmir valley and situated on the banks of river Jhelum, Srinagar is undeniably one of the most photogenic cities in India. Its natural beauty, handicrafts, monuments, and culture are the major attractions for tourists from India and abroad. The beautiful city offers plethora of entertainment opportunities to all its visitors. You can go for sightseeing, enjoy shikara rides, stroll in fragrant gardens or go shopping. However, it is advised to keep yourself up-to-date about its political situation before you travel to Srinagar.
Here’s our list of 4 most-recommended things to do when vacationing in Srinagar to have a truly enjoyable experience.
1. Stay in a Houseboat and Go on a Shikara Ride!
Srinagar is blessed with large lakes with aquamarine waters and offers beautiful vista to all who come here. The sight of houseboats moored to the docks and shikaras plying on the lake waters gives an impression of a mini water-city akin to that of Venice. Some of the houseboats also have a kitchen and are well-equipped to provide basic amenities. Few of these have beautifully carved woodwork and plush interiors and will give you a feeling of staying on a luxury liner. Seeing the sun rising and setting over the Dal Lake or Nagin Lake is indeed a wonderful experience. You can easily hire a commercial shikara taxi to ferry yourself and family to all the tourist attractions located on the lakeside.
urprisingly, you’ll also find many trade boats selling fresh fruits, traditional eatables, brightly-colored flowers, handicraft goods, woolen materials and pretty trinkets. If you are interested in fishing then these lakes have certain great spots for angling, too!
2. Lose Yourself in The Beauty of Gardens, Orchards and Farms!
The famous Mughal gardens comprise of three sculpted, terraced, and blooming gardens which reflect the true Mughal-era style of architecture and beauty. The gorgeous trio, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, and Chasme Sahi are replete with flowering shrubs, imposing trees, flowing fountains, and twittering birds will truly pleasure all your senses. If you’re a tulip lover then you should visit ‘Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden’ which is also Asia’s largest tulip garden. During April, this place exactly looks like a Dutch tulip farm with its large rows of fully-bloomed tulips of different hues. Since Kashmir is famous of its apple varieties and finest-quality saffron, you’ll come across many sprawling apple orchards or vast fields covered with red-colored saffron cultivation. Don’t forget to taste the world-famous delicious Kashmiri Golden Apple when you stay here. You should also buy a few quantities of the excellent ‘Kashmiri Kesar’ for its coloring and aromatic capabilities, however expensive!
3. Tour All Historical, Religious, and Cultural Hotspots!
From magnificent mosques, majestic temples and historical ruins to royal palaces, the city of Srinagar has it all. Hazratbal Dargah, Shah-e- Hamdan, and Jama Masjid are some of the important mosques, here. The Kheer Bhawani temple and the Shankaracharya temple are the most significant places of worship for Hindus. Other major tourist attractions are the Sher Garhi Palace and the Gulab Bhawan. You can enjoy panoramic view of city and its lakes from Pari Mahal, a derelict monastery which was later converted into a stunning garden by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh. A visit to SPS Museum is must for all who want to know about the regal past of this historic city. If you’re a golf enthusiast then you should visit Royal Springs Golf Course which is touted as one of the best golf courses in the country.
4. Meet The Wildlife and Watch The Birds!
For the bird watchers, nature lovers, and ornithologists, Hokesar is the place where you can spend hours on end watching indigenous bird species and migratory birds flying and resting around. During the winter season, this wetland becomes the natural breeding ground for thousands of birds, including some rare breeds, too. Some of the famous breeds which flock to this bio-reserve are: Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, and Eurasian Wigeon. If you’re equally interested in watching wild beasts and reptiles in their natural habitat, then you should make a trip to the Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary. It is home to many endangered Indian animal species such as Kashmir stag, Indian leopard, Himalayan Weasel, and Hill Fox. Another major attraction of this amazing wildlife reserve is its unique Himalayan flora and trees. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars, camera, and insect-repellant too!
A vacation at any tourist place is incomplete without going on a shopping-spree and loosening your purse strings. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir, also has its fair share of markets that sell famous Kashmiri Pashmina shawls, beautiful handicrafts, intricately-designed carpets, fresh apples, and the high-quality ‘Kashmiri Kesar’. The Kashmir Shawl Museum and the Kashmir Government Art Emporium are the best places to buy shawls and woolen goods. Lal Chowk in Ghantaghar and John International near Nehru Park are good places to look for fine quality shawls at a bargained price.
Whether you’re a food lover or a hungry tourist craving for a piping-hot tasty meal, the shops located near Hazratbal Dargah will definitely quench your hunger, satisfactorily!
Have a safe, happy, and memorable trip!