The Hill Station You Shouldn’t Miss – Srinagar
“Gar firdaus bar-rue zaminast, hamiasto, haminasto, haminast.” (If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.)
It is with these epic words that every visitor to this beautiful valley describes the northernmost region of India – Kashmir. Indeed, Kashmir is one of the most beautiful and scenic places in India and the summer capital city of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, is often referred to as the Jewel in the Crown of Kashmir. If mountains are your thing, or if the call of the stately Himalayas are something you simply cannot resist, then Srinagar is the one hill station you must not miss visiting.
The beauty of the city, cradled by the towering snow laden peaks of the Himalayas is truly unmatched. Srinagar, however, is known best for the serenity and the pristine beauty of the sprawling Dal Lake. One of the most wonderful and rejuvenating experiences you are likely to have in Srinagar is sailing on a Shikara, a houseboat, on the Dal Lake. From early spring through early fall, the waters are clear and numerous houseboats lace in and out of the intricate maze of waterways that connect the lake. Many of these belong to fruit and vegetable vendors selling their wares while others are filled with fragrant flowers of various colours – all for sale.
These houseboats can be rented for a peaceful sail and sightseeing experience.Apart from the Dal Lake, the other lakes of Srinagar that you may want to visit for a picnic or to spend a quiet afternoon are Nagin Lake, the Anchar Lake, and the Manasbal Lake.
Some of the best 5 star hotels in Kashmir are located along the shores of the Dal Lake. Some of these, such as the LaLiT Grand Palace Srinagar, are grand properties surrounded by tall evergreens, manicured lawns, and sprawling golf courses making them perfect for the relaxing holiday you seek in Kashmir. Speaking of lawns and gardens, the one place that you must not miss when in Srinagar is the Mughal Gardens. In fact, the Mughal Gardens is not one place but the name used to refer to the popular Shalimar Bagh, the ChashmaShahi, the PariMahal, the NishatBagh, and the AchbalBagh. These were the royal gardens of yesteryears, but their charm continues to enthral every visitor to this day. The green lawns, flower beds, the flowing fountains, and the singing birds – these complement the crisp mountain air and fill you with joy.
If you plan a trip to Srinagar in March-April (the start of the tourist season) you will be able to participate in the International Tulip Festival held at the Model Floriculture Center or the Tulip Garden of Srinagar. Rows and rows of tulips of every conceivable colour as far as the eyes can see – that now, is heaven indeed. This event is a top attraction and brings in tourists from across the world.
Kashmir is a land of unsurpassed beauty. But with such beauty comes a rich culture and a glorious civilisation. The art and culture of Kashmir is colourful and casts its own brand of magic. Kashmiri food, in particular, is full and flavoursome. A visit to Kashmir is incomplete without a visit to some of the best restaurants in Srinagar and a hearty indulgence in some signature dishes such as the Yakhni Lamb Curry, the TabakMaaz (mutton chops), the Mutton Rogan Josh, the Gushtaba, and the Kashmiri Tea, Kahwah.
When you are in Srinagar, you may also want to visit the sacred shrines such as the Shankaracharya Temple and Jyeshtheswara Temple and the well-known mosques such as the Hazratbal Mosque,Jamia Masjid, and Masjid of Akhund Mullah to offer prayers and seek blessings.