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Srinagar - The Destination
 

Srinagar lake

"Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto" (If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here in Srinagar), said Jehangir, the Mughal emperor saw Kashmir. Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the pride of the beautiful valley. Famous for its lakes and the charming rows of houseboats floating on them, it is also known for the traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits.

The  scintillating  hill resort of Srinagar is ideally located in the Kashmir

valley. Srinagar offers the magnificent sights of the lovely lakes and the houseboats on them. In fact a houseboat holiday is a delightful experience. Just stepping on board transports you to a different world, away from the hustle and bustle and noise of the city. While selecting one you need to consider what kind of a trip you would like to make. If you are with your family and young children, it would be advantageous to take one which is on the banks or overlooking the Boulevard, so that you can get ashore in a few minutes. If honeymooning, you may prefer to be in the interior, all by yourselves.

Soothed by the sound of water lapping against the hull, you can relax in the cosy comfort of the living room or curl up with a book in the bedroom. Or better still, savour the peaceful ambience sitting on the veranda as shikaras glide silently by like floating supermarkets overflowing with fruit, vegetables, flowers or the choicest of handicrafts.

When in Srinagar a relaxing cruise on the lake in a shikara is a not-to-be-missed experience. You could take a short hour-long ride to see the sights of the Dal Lake, a shopping trip to floating handicraft shops on the lake or a daylong trip to visit the city's landmarks. Down the ages many important places have been built in the vicinity of the lake such as the Hazratbal mosque and the beautiful Mughal Gardens - Nishat Bagh, the largest, with several terraces, the four-storeyed Shalimar Bagh, and Chashma Shahi, which is at a height above the city and offers spectacular views. You can also trek up to the Shankaracharya's Temple a thousand feet above the city or pay homage at the Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara in Rainawari.

Since the last decade, though violence has racked the Kashmir Valley, it has not taken away in any form the beauty of the valley. In fact, Srinagar is only a small fragment of this magical land called Kashmir; feel the magic and continue on your journey of exploration.


Srinagar - Facts at a Glance

State : Jammu and Kashmir
Area : 105 sq kms
Temperature : 10.6 C – 29.5 C (Summer)
-1.9 C – 7.3 C (Winter)
Altitude : 1730 mts
Rainfall : 52.9 cms
Language : Hindi, Urdu, Kashmiri, English
Best Season : April - June


History of Srinagar


The history of the Kashmir valley has been chaotic. In the 3rd century BC, it was a part of the great Mauryan Empire. Later on, this region flourished under the rule of the Kushans in the 1st century AD. It was an important Buddhist center around this time. In the 6th century, it was a part of the kingdom of Vikramaditya, the ruler of Ujjain. Local Hindu rulers ruled it until the 14th century, after which Muslims invaded and ruled it. Srinagar was a part of the Mughal Empire in the medieval period. However, with the decline of the Mughal Empire and the rule of the Pathans, the fortunes of the area gradually dwindled. In 1814, it became a part of the Sikh empire, when Ranjit Singh defeated the Pathans. However, the British defeated Ranjit Singh and according to the treaty of Lahore in 1846, they installed Gulab Singh as the independent ruler of Kashmir. The descendents of Gulab Singh ruled Kashmir under the vigilance of the British till 1947. Hari Singh, the great grandson of Gulab Singh, merged this princely state into India in 1948, when Pathan raiders from Pakistan tried to overrun this state.
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