Srinagar is the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, located in the northern region of India. Srinagar is located in the heart of the Kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m above sea level. It is 876 km to the north of Delhi. The river Jhelum flows through Srinagar. The weather of this city is alpine. This salubrious climate attracts a number of tourists towards it throughout the year.
The history of Srinagar is turbulent. Kalhana, the author of Rajtarangini, states that Srinagri was founded in the period of emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. The present city of Srinagar was founded by Pravarasena-II. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler visited Kashmir in AD 631. The most illustrious ruler of this valley in the Hindu period was Laltaditya Muktapida, whose rule ended in AD 1339. Akbar extended the Mughal empire to the valley and he is the one who endowed Srinagar with beautiful mosques and gardens. Maharaja Ranjit Singh took over the valley from the Mughals in 1819. Later on, the Sikhs ruled the valley under the vigilance of the British till 1947 after which it became a part of India. Hence the tourists can enjoy the beauty of this valley which had attracted the Chinese, Mughals and British towards it in the past.
There are lots of interesting places to be visited in and around Srinagar. It is famous for its lakes and the charming row of houseboats floating on them. Most of these sites are located in the picturesque landscape between two major ranges, namely the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal.
This lake, located in the eastern side of the valley, is one of the important and most beautiful lakes. Travelers can enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains surrounding Srinagar from this lake. The houseboats or Kashmir’s traditional shikaras are available for travelers to explore these amazing waterscapes.
Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh:Travelers can also enjoy strolling in the very beautiful Mughal style gardens, namely, Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. Apart from enjoying the natural beauty, tourists can also indulge in adventurous activities near this city.
Gulmarg and Sonamarg:
Gulmarg and Sonamarg 52 km and 80 km away from the city are located at an altitude of 2730 m and 2740 m from sea level respectively. These two places are famous for trekking and Gulmarg has the highest golf destination.
Temples and Mosques:
For spiritual travelers, there are a number of temples and mosques to be visited. The Shankaracharya temple, atop the hill, Takht-e-Suleiman, is just 5 km away from the city. Also across the city one can see a much lower hill, crowned by Hari Parbat Fort, built by an Afghan governor in the 18th century. On this hill there are a number of famous places of worship – the temple of the goddess of Sharika, the Shrine of Muslim saint Makhdoorn Sahib and the historic Sikh Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi. The Khangah of Shah Hamadan and Jama Masjid are also famous mosques in Srinagar. Their architecture and interiors will be a bit of a feast for the eyes.
Srinagar is well connected to other parts of India by rail, air and road. The nearest airport is 14 km away. The taxi ride from the airport will cost Rs.250. The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Board also provides special coach services from the airport.