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Srinagar is the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and the largest city in the Kashmir region.
The city has become safer to travel since 2003, however the streets are still lined with armed soldiers. Any building of value will also have a sandbag bunker and razor wire for protection. If arriving from the airport, you will also notice hundreds of large, Western style vacation homes. These were built before the current conflict when domestic travel to Kashmir was booming. Currently most of these homes are empty, being squatted in or have been usurped for military use. Most people visit the city in the summer months. The temperature at this time is cool to pleasant. Light sweaters may be needed for occasional cool nights in the summertime. In winter, you will need full winter gear and expect snow and few places to have hot water.
Many people take the train to Jammu followed by a taxi or bus ride to Srinagar. The journey from Jammu to Srinagar is costlier in the summers because the capital is being shifted from Jammu to Srinagar on both the state buses and Sumos. State buses are safer but take more time and are a bit uncomfortable.
Foreign travelers on visas are required to register upon arrival at the airport or to their hotel or houseboat.
Auto-rickshaws can be found everywhere. Taxis and buses area also available. Motorcycles can also be rented for enthusiasts.
Negotiate a price with a rickshaw driver before getting in, or just act like you know and pay the driver upon arrival. Drivers usually don’t speak English but there will always be a passer-by to help translate for you.
A rickshaw from Nigeen Lake to Boulevard is approx. Rs 70 depending on negotiation skills (August 2009 prices).
Usually private service buses run throughout the city and are well networked with major tourist spots.
The Mughal Gardens With terraced lawns, cascading fountains, paint-box-bright flowerbeds with the panorama of the Dal in front of them – the three Mughal Gardens of Chesmashahi, Nishat and Shalimar are the Mughal Emperors’ concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnics and excursions. The beauty of these gardens is at their best during spring but the Mughal structure of these gardens lends them a unique sense of beauty even when the flowers are not blossoming.
Nishat Bagh. Situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, (11 km. from TRC), this ‘garden of bliss’ commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. Nishat was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan.
Shalimar Bagh. the Mughal garden in front of the Dal lake built by Emperor Jahangir.
Chashmashahi. is another beautiful Mughal garden.
Hazratbal Mosque. the white mosque is breathtakingly beautiful but be careful, as women can enter only the first part of the mosque. Also take a walk through the adjacent market area with a range of great fresh food and a thousand things deep fried. edit
Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph. in the Khanyar area, about 150 m NW of Dastgir Saheb mosque & shrine. This tomb, also known as Roza Bal, is believed by some to be the tomb of Jesus (part of the larger theory that he survived the crucifixion and made his way to Kashmir where he lived until at least the age of 100). It has been made popular by recent books such as Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten among others. It’s down a little side road – ask around, pretty much anyone in the area can point you in the right direction. It was closed in September 2011 and sealed, photography and videography are not permitted.
Shankaracharya Mandir. Is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on a hilltop. It can be reached by a car or taxi. No cameras or cellphones are allowed within the temple and you are supposed to leave them in the vehicle before entering the temple premises. Cigarattes, liquor are to be deposited with the police personnel before the ascent of the hill as these items are against Hindu religion. Locals from Dal Gate say there are 250 steps to reach the temple but it is yet to be confirmed. The temple is visible from Dal Lake Area.
Pari Mahal1. Don’t miss the breathtaking views of the city from here.
Nehru Garden, off Dal Gate (before Chasmashahi Garden). A well maintained park with lake by Dept of Floriculture with organised parking lot next to Park. The park occupies a large area and has a beverage shop run by the J&K Tourism department. They serve hot and flavoured “Kahva”, a traditional drink of Kashmir. A cup costs Rs 25. The nearby Tulip Park only has seasonal access. There is adequate parking adjacent to the park. AdultRs 10.
Parihaspora, Dewar (On way to Gulmarg). Visit the ruins located on the outskirts of Srinagar on way to Gulmarg. See the palaces of Kahmir’s Buddhist and Hindu rulers and Buddhist places of worship.