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Tour Destinations - India - Kashmir

Srinagar:
Popularly acknowledged as 'Paradise on Earth', the city of Srinagar is located in the gorgeous Kashmir valley on the banks of the River Jhelum. The word Srinagar literally means 'the city of wealth'. As the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the city is renowned for its traditional handicrafts, lakes, gardens and houseboats. It's an ideal destination that can be visited throughout the year. This hill station is visited by travelers from outside India as well. A variety of tourist attractions makes the place worth visiting many times.
Dal Lake:
It is the most popular for its houseboats and Shikaras and remains crowded throughout the year. The lake covers an area of approximately 26 sq km and is divided into four sections. It provides a perfect site to enjoying kayaking, swimming, angling, canoeing, water surfing, houseboats and Shikara riding. Fishing activities and water plant harvesting is also done at the lake. During winters, the temperature falls so low that it sometimes freezes the Lake.
     
Nagin Lake:
Situated in the backdrop of the Dal Lake, the Nagin Lake is entitled as the 'Jewel in the Ring'. A narrow causeway is what separates the two lakes. Tourists can spot many Shikaras and houseboats. Water skiing, boat sailing facilities are available at this lake. The lake is a little isolated and much cleaner than the Dal lake.
     
Nishat Bagh:
Located on the banks of Dal Lake, the garden was built by Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan in 1633 and is one of the largest Mughal Gardens built here. The garden has some of the rare species of flowers, 12 terraces, flowerbeds, fountains and huge lawns that draw many tourists and travelers.
     
Hazratbal Mosque:
Hazratbal Mosque is the most important Muslim Religious place, situated on the western shore of Dal Lake. Its pristine white marble elegance is reflected in the waters of the lake. Hazratbal's special significance is derived from the fact that it houses a hair of the prophet Muhammad. This is displayed to the public on religious occasions, usually accompanied by fairs. Apart from these occasions, Friday prayers are offered at Hazratbal and attended by throngs of people. Hazratbal is remarkable for being the only domed mosque in Srinagar; the others having distinct pagoda like roofs. The shrine – mosque complex is situated on the western shore of the Dal Lake opposite Nishat Bagh and commands a grand view of the lake and the mountain beyond. The history of the shrine goes back to the early seventeenth century when the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan's Subedar, Sadiq Khan, laid out a garden here & constructed a palatial building, Ishrat Mahal or Pleasure House in 1623. However, the Emperor, during his visit in 1634, ordered the building to be converted into a prayer House with some additions & alterations. During the time of Aurangzeb, when Moi-e-Muqqadus (The Holy Relic) arrived in Kashmir in 1699, it was first kept in the shrine of Naqashbad Sahib in the heart of the city. Since the place was found to be insufficient in view of the unprecedented rush of people who thronged the place to have a glimpse of the Moi-e-Muqqades. The construction of the present marble structure was started by the Muslim Auqaf Trust headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1968 and completed in 1979. The "Moi-e-Muqqadas" (Holy Relic of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W) is displayed on various occasions related with the life of Prophet & his four holy companions.
     

Gulmarg:
Gulmarg legendary beauty, its prime location and its proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resort in country. Originally named Gaurimarg, it was renamed Gulmarg in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favorite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers.

Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an attitude of 2680 meters above sea level, and is the country's prime ski resort in the winter.

The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colors could be the translucent green of spring, summer's rich emerald, or autumn's golden hues, when scarlet chilies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir covered hillsides. At one point on the way, known simply as View Point, travelers commonly stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out on to a spectacle of snow covered mountains, almost within touching distance. Gulmarg is, as its evocative name suggests, a flower strewn meadow. In the shape of a bowl, its length is 3.5km and its width 1Km. Its undulating expanse is grassy slopes for the most part, with a small scattering of houses. The bowl is encircled by fir clad hills, and in the distance, snow dusted peaks; because of its altitude, its 11Km Circular Road offers a magnificent view of much of Kashmir Valley. Gulmarg's charm stems from the fact that it offers the visitor a chance to set his own pace be it a lazy relaxing holiday or a strenuous trek or game of golf. In winter, snow covered slopes attract skiers from all over the world.

Not surprisingly, Gulmarg's year round popularity reaches its peak at summer, when the highest temperature is 25. It is for its golfing that Gulmarg has long been in existence for hundred years and there are records dating from that time which make fascinating reading. The Club house itself, with its quaintly sloping roof, reminiscent of a Swiss chalet, has a rare old character and atmosphere and relaxing in the Club house after day's game is, to golfers, one of the highlights of Gulmarg. In winter, Gulmarg's natural slopes and inclines turn it into the country's premier skiing resort. Not all tourists who visit in winter come for skiing some simply are there to watch the skiing or to enjoy a holiday in the snow. Many of these are infected with the excitement of the skiers, and have donned their first pair of skis within a short while of their arrival. Among the multitudes of slopes, there are a few which are serviced by ski lifts. Most of the skiing becomes centered on these slopes, which are specially suited to beginners and intermediate level skiers, with ski runs ranging from 200 to 900 meters. Instructors are available for both levels. All ski equipments including jackets are available on hire from ski shop, run by the Department of Tourism.

     
Pahalgam:
The Lidder River runs through Pahalgam in a rushing gray-green torrent, foam flecked and breaking in curling waves against the boulders that lie in its path. Its sound is an eternal as the whisper of wind through pine and fir, its force primeval its untamed splendor. Long before this little village 96 Km east from Srinagar 2400 meters above sea level, became the popular holiday resort it is today, it was the preserve of nomadic shepherds. Its rugged charm has remained un-spoilt by progress, while a bustling main street and its wide range of tented camps, hotels and lodges have established it as a favorite holiday resort. Pahalgam spreads along the banks of the Lidder, which is the focal point of interest to the angler. The trout fisherman delight, the Lidder is divided into three fishing beats between Mattan and Phalgham, and the trout are so thick that even the first time fisherman can land a good catch. Pahalgam is perhaps best known as the take off point for trek into the surrounding mountains. The resort is well geared to meet the demands at onward going trekkers and camping equipments is readily available, as are ponies and porters. Walking the Lidder valley is scenically most rewarding, through forests of virgin pine, fording crystal clear mountains streams and through meadows of wild flowers, higher up the valley. Popular treks from Pahalgam are to the Kolohao Glacier Via Aru, Satlanjan and Dudsar Lake, and to the high altitude lakes, that dot the meadowland and mountain ridges between Pahalgam and Sonmargh.
 
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