Tour Destinations - India - Kashmir
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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