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Popular places to visit in Kashmir

Popular places to visit in Kashmir

Detailed Description

For centuries people have written more than a million words to describe the beauty of Kashmir, however good; the truth is that even the power of words can never envision the mysticism that Kashmir possesses.


So if you are planning a honeymoon with your partner or sightseeing with your family or simply chilling out with your  friends the popular places to visit in and around Srinagar have been mentioned and must be on your itinerary.Just take a look.




Lakes :

Dal Lake

Known as the jewel in the crown of Kashmir, the Dal Lake is the most important landmark of Srinagar. Whenever we talk about the Dal Lake, the sight of actor Shammi Kapoor tumbling playfully on a Shikara in the film Kashmir Ki Kali is always remembered and has helped popularize and romanticize the Lake in popular imagination of the people.


The Dal Lake is spread over an area of 20 km, and has been divided into 4 basins i.e Bod Dal, Nagin, Garibal and Lakut Dal.Taking a shikara ride along the Dal Lake is like watching a gorgeous painting unfold. The clear blue sky, the snow peaked mountains and the calmness of the waters makes it all worthwhile. The best time to visit at the Dal Lake is during Sunrise or Sunset, furthermore the Lake can be visited in all seasons as its beauty changes with every passing season.


Beautifully decorated Shikaras are a cultural symbol of the Lake and tourist can enjoy the Shikara rides and experience Kashmiri hospitality aboard the numerous houseboats on the Dal Lake. While taking a Shikara ride one can purchase souvenirs items and Kashmiri gems from the floating markets on the Lake.


Also one will witness an amazing sight of floating gardens within the lake known as 'Rad' in Kashmir where vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and melons are grown. Adventure enthusiast can also enjoy water sport activities like water skiing, water scooters and canoeing.



Nagin Lake

If you are a traveler who prefers privacy and at the same time would like to spend time and enjoy the beautiful views of a Lake then look no further, as the Nagin Lake which is close to the famous Dal Lake is more peaceful and quiet.


The lake is surrounded by beautiful lush green hills from all sides, with the Shankaracharya Hill (Takht e Sulaiman) to its south and Hari Parbhat hill to its west. The views from the lake and its scenic beauty are very popular in Kashmir.


Unlike Dal Lake, Nagin Lake offers a very calm, serene and peaceful getaway for those who want to spend their holiday in the lap of nature.


Apart from enjoying a peaceful houseboat stay and shikara rides, tourist can enjoy water sport activities like water skiing, motorboat rides and sailing.



Manasbal Lake

Manasbal Lake is considered as the supreme gem of all Kashmir lakes and is covered with abundance of lotus flowers throughout the year. It is one of deepest lakes of Kashmir and is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers.


30 km from Srinagar the lake is tucked away in the lap of nature and flanked by villages on all sides.Usually tourists visiting the lake club their visit with to the nearby Kheer Bhawani Temple and Wular Lake.


Once upon a time it was a quiet and secluded lake, but today the lake offers plenty of water sport activities like water skiing, tourist can also hire a private shikara and explore the most beautiful spots on the lake and spend some memorable moments.



Wular Lake

Away from the hustle and bustle of maddening crowds, lies the Wular lake which is 65 Km away from Srinagar, the lake is believed to be the largest fresh water lake in Asia and covers an area of 130 sq km, the lake has a rich bio diversity and supports the livelihood of many locals of the region.


The Wular Lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains ranges and dense forest which are studded with pine, apple and walnut trees adding a sublime touch to the ambiance. Migratory birds throng the lake which adds up to the scenery making the landscape even more alluring.


There is a garden 'Wular Vintage Park' built especially for tourist on a hill top overlooking the lake and offers beautiful views on the entire area, the lake is an ideal place a family picnic and tourist visiting the lake can club their visit with the nearby Kheer Bhavani temple and Manasbal lake.


Adventure sport enthusiast can enjoy water sport activities like water skiing, boating and rafting while others can try out fishing or simply relax and enjoy the waterside which will surely leave them enchanted.



Gardens :

Nishat Bagh

The Mughal Emperors built many gardens from Tehran to Agra but it is only in Kashmir that the gardens were complemented by mountains, lakes and weather that they reached their perfection.


The Nishat Bagh is once such and was commissioned by Asif Khan the brother of Nur Jahan in the year 1633. Also known as the “Garden of Bliss”, the Nishat Bagh is the largest of all Mughal gardens in Kashmir.


Originally the garden had 12 beautifully laid out terraces each representing different zodiac signs but today it has been reduced to 9 due to the construction of a road in front of the garden.


The garden consists of a beautiful water channel flowing right in the middle of the garden, while other attractions of the garden include blooming flower beds, ancient China trees, fountains etc. A famous picnic spot with the locals, Nishat Bagh offers splendid view of the Dal Lake as well as the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain ranges.

Timing: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed on Friday.



Shalimar Bagh

Known as the “Abode of Love”, the Shalimar gardens was laid out by emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan in the year 1616.


The Shalimar Bagh has an air of solitude and calmness and its rows of amazing fountains and shaded trees seem to retire towards the snow dressed mountains. A visit during fall or spring is the best time to see the Chinar trees changing colours between rich green to orange to yellow.


The garden has 4 terraces, rising one above the other the fourth terrace was at one time reserved for the royals. There are water canals lined with polished stones running through the center of the garden. The other attractions within the garden include a number of fountains, shaded trees, and innumerable varieties of flowers that blossom in spring and autumn.

Timing : 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closed on Friday



Tulip Garden

Created in the year 2007 on the lines of tulip garden of Holland, Srinagar’s tulip garden was home to about 10-15 lakhs of tulip bulbs and today this garden is home to nearly 20 lakh flowers are growing in this garden of almost 70 varieties.


The sight of the garden is heavenly during a full bloom season with all shades of rainbow scattered on the fields of this garden.This garden is considered to be the biggest Tulip garden in Asia and every year the Tulip festival is held in April when the tulips are in full bloom.


Tourists from all over the world throng the city to witness a huge variety of tulips.The festival also features cultural programs on Kashmiri folk songs, exhibition cum sale of local handicrafts and traditional Kashmiri cuisines.

Remains open from end of March to April.

Timing: 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. All days of the week



Chashme e Shahi Gardens

Chashme e Shahi or the royal spring was laid down by Shah Jahan in 1632 A.D.The garden is famous for having a natural spring of pure, cool and sparkling water which is said to have digestive properties.


It is noted that late Prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi used to take back home the spring water during their visits to Kashmir.


Architecturally the most charming of all gardens in Srinagar the garden includes an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains. On a hot summer day it is reliving to dip your feet in the cool waters that gushes out from the mountains.

Timing : 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Closed on Friday



Botanical Gardens

The garden complex is spread over an area of 80 hectares and comprises of 4 components recreational garden, botanical garden, research section and plant introduction center.


The sprawling lawns of the garden houses at least one lakh ornamental plants which includes shrubs, trees, bushes, roses and wild floras.


Tourist who like modern technology used in gardens will love this place as the garden boasts about modern and attractive things like rosary, Japanese bridges over rippling water stream, attractive garden seats and tapestry work.



Religious Places :


Amarnath Temple

Every Hindu has a dream to visit Amarnath temple that is perched at an elevation of 4175 mt, (13,700 feet) the temple is believed to be the earthly abode of Lord Shiva and is considered to be a sacred place for Hindu pilgrimage.


The cave temple is famed for its natural formation of the Shiv linga and other ice formations that resemble the figures of other deities like Parvarti and Ganesha.


Every year an annual Amarnath Yatra(pilgrimage) is organized during the months of July and August, when thousands of devotees pay homage before Lord Shiva.


Doing the Amarnath Yatra and visiting the temple is considered a life time experience, though the trek is arduous but the adventure is worth it and can be done with a religious intent and also as adventure mixed with religious faith.



Shankaracharya Temple

The Shankaracharya Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered as the oldest shrine of worship in the valley. The temple gained importance not only because of religion but even for its architecture and it is believed that the greatphilosopher Shankaracharya had stayed here when he visited Kashmir to revive Santan Dharma during the 8th century.

The temple overlooks the beautiful town of Srinagar as it is located at 1100 feet on a hill known as Shankaracharya Hill (Takt - i Sulaiman).The Hill has been considered sacred since 250 BC and can be accessed by a winding road of 5.5 km, one can reach the temple after a trek from Durgang temple or alternatively take a vehicle up to the footsteps of the temple.


After that devotees can climb a series of the 250 steps to the temple and once at the top they will feel a deep sense of peace and divine presence and all the fatigue of climbing vanishes and you will feel absolutely charmed by the place.


Visiting the temple is once in a life time experience and being at the highest point it offers the best views of the Dal lake and the entire city of Srinagar. The temple is considered a high security zone and hence no camera, mobile or any kind of electronic device is allowed at the temple which opens at 07:00 a.m and closes by 08:00 p.m.



Kheer Bhawani Temple

The Kheer Bhawani temple is dedicated to goddess Ragnya devi and is of immense importance amongst Kashmiri pandits. The temple is located in the village of Tula Mula and can be visited enroute Sonmarg.


The temple is called Kheer Bhawani because numerous devotees offer milk and kheer to the sacred spring within the temple.The holy spring is known to change its colours to various shades of red, pink, orange, green, blue white and black. While most of the colours do not have any significance the shade of black is considered as inauspicious for the region.


The temple has been visited by the great philosopher Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda over its past history and the present structure had been built by the erstwhile Dogra rulers of Kashmir.




The Hazratbal is an important pilgrimage site and highly revered place for Muslims. It is often siad that those who cannot afford to go to Mecca they go to Hazratbal.


Situated on the banks of the Dal Lake the shrine is home to a relic called the 'Moi - e - Muqaddas' believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be the hair of the Islamic prophet Muhammed.


The sacred relic is kept in a glass casket and is displayed to public only 10 times of the year for a period of 3 days. The Hazaratbal mosque is built in white marble and its elegance is reflected on the waters of the lake.It is the only domed mosque in Srinagar and Friday prayers are offered at the mosque by a large number of people.



Jamia Masjid

The Jamia Masjid of Srinagar is located at the heart of the old city of Nowhatta and is the biggest mosque in Srinagar.Built in Indo - Saracenic style of architecture the mosque is unique as it has spires instead of domes and minarets and was built by the ruler Sultan Sikander Butshikan during the 14th century.


The beauty of the mosque is unparalleled in every aspect and has around 350 pillars made from a single Deodhar trunk which symbolizes one of the best architectural specimens which has survived the ravages of time ever since it was constructed in the valley.



Mattan Sun Temple

The Mattan temple is a famous Hindu religious site which can be visited on your way to Pahalgam from Srinagar.The temple is of great historic importance and was once the most important pilgrimage center of Kashmiri pundits.


The temple has a pond which is abounding large number of trout fishes and visiting tourist can feed them fish food and gain blessings of the almighty. These fishes are considered holy and are not supposed to be eaten.


The temple complex has several temples of various deities like the Sun temple, Vishnu temple, Devi temple, a Gurudwara, a Shiv temple and shrines of lord Hanuman.



Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara

Situated in the heart of Srinagar city is the Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara which is one of the most important Sikh pilgrimage center and tourist attractions in Kashmir.


It has been named after the 6th Sikh Guru Shri Gobind Singhji who visited the place in the year 1616 and had stayed at this place. Eating at the langar is an experience of its kind where people of all ages pitch in to serve the visitors the entire experience of eating a meal at the langar is humbling.


The gurudwara also has a great architecture and is a very peaceful place to spend time during the evenings. Also when here tourist must spend time interacting with the disciples at the gurudwara and get to know more about the place and the legends associated with it.


National Parks :

Dachigam National Park

Located 23 Km away from Srinagar is the Dachigam National Park which once upon a time served as an exclusive hunting preserve of the Maharaja’s of Kashmir but after India’s independence it was declared a National park in the year 1951.


The park is divided into 2 parts i.e. upper and lower Dachigam and is spread over an area of 141 sq km with altitudes varying between 1700 mt and 4300 mt.


The park is a habitat of the endangered Hangul or the Kashmiri Stag, while the other wild animals that inhabit this park are the Himalayan Black Bear, Wild goats like Markhor and Ibex, leopards, and exotic species of Himalayan birds. The park also boasts of over 500 species of herbs, 50 species of trees and 20 species of shrubs.


Since this park is located in the scenic surroundings of Kashmir it comes with a privilege to enjoy a mix of flora and fauna and once can enjoy the natural beauty of the park through a jeep or elephant safaris.


Best time of visit Upper Dachigam: May to August.

Best time to visit Lower Dachigam: September to December.

The park generally is closed to tourist from the period of January to April.



Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve


The reserve is located at a distance of 48 km from Srinagar and is one place where anybody visiting will be fascinated by its blend of enormous wild flora and fauna.The reserve is spread over an area of 180 sq km, and is famous for retaining several rare and endangered species.


Whether you are a bird lover, naturalist or simply looking for adventure, a hike through the rich vegetation of the biosphere is must for every tourist visiting Gulmarg.


The main attraction of this reserve is the presence of a Musk Deer while the other animals that can be sighted are snow leopards, Hangul, Black bears, Red Fox, and Brown bears to name a few.


The biosphere is also a delight for bird watchers as a variety of resident and migratory birds can be traced in this reserve. Those looking for more adventure can opt for spending a night at the camping sites close to the reserve.

Best time to watch mammals at the reserve: September to March.

Best time for bird watching: March to May.



Historical Places :

Hari Parbhat Fort

If you want breathtaking views of entire Srinagar don’t miss visiting the Hari Parbhat Fort. Perched on top of the Sharika Hill this Mughal Fort lies on the west of the Dal Lake.


Originally this fort was built during the reign of Akbar but the present structure of the fort was put in place by an Afghan governor to Kashmir during the 18th century.


Presently the fort is under the occupation of the Indian army and for a visit to the fort one needs permission from the Archaeological department of Jammu and Kashmir. The address of Archaeological department office is easily available at hotels and boat houses. But ideally seek permission a day in advance so you can enjoy your trip to the ancient fort and enjoy breathtaking views of Srinagar without worry.



Martand Sun Temple

The Martand Sun Temple has been quoted as “the most impressive and grandest ruins of Kashmir”. The ruined temple became even more popular after being the backdrop of the song ‘Bismil’ from the movie Haider.


The temple dates back to 370 – 500 A.D. when its foundation stone was laid and later in the year 725 - 756 A.D. a proper temple was temple in honor of the Sun god by the great King of Kashmir ‘Lalitaditya’. The temple ruins represent the great Kashmiri architectural style of the bygone era.Apart from its exquisite architecture another attraction of the temple is its picturesque surrounding of the Kashmir valley.


There are several legends associated with its destruction one version states that there was a massive earthquake which completely destroyed the temple and later the remains of the temple were excavated. The second version states that it was destroyed by Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century and it almost took a year for the entire temple to be destroyed.


Pari Mahal

Pari Mahal also known as “the fairies abode” is one of the many Mughal gardens in Srinagar. Commissioned by Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh this beautiful garden was originally intended to be a retreat for Sufi scholars but it was used as a place for learning of astronomy and astrology during the Mughal period.


Pari Mahal is best seen late in the afternoon and evenings when the last of the golden sunset casts its hue on the serene Dal Lake.


So if you have made your selection of the places you want to visit all you need to do is book your tickets, pack your bags and get going!!!

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