Srinagar is the capital and largest city in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s northernmost state. As the focal point and heart of the valley of Kashmir, the city has a long history and tradition of what constitutes Kashmiriyat. Once the top tourism destinations in India, it has adversely affected by a separatist movement that peaked in the 1990s. While a return to peace has been made, the city is still under military surveillance. The flight of the pandit community has meant the city will struggle to regain its old glory, though the number of tourists is increasing each year.
Why should I visit Srinagar? Srinagar is the gateway to one of the most beautiful parts of India, Kashmir. Situated next to the stunning Dal Lake, it is today full of historical sites, and surrounded by grand gardens. As the largest city, it is also a hub of retail and culture, and still offers a glimpse into what a composite Kashmiri culture looked like.
What should I know about Srinagar? Once the top tourism destination in India, it has adversely affected by a separatist movement that peaked in the 1990s. While a return to peace has been made, the city is still under military surveillance. The flight of the Hindu pandit community has seen the struggle to regain its old glory, though the number of tourists is increasing each year.
What is the best time to visit? Summer, from April to September. It is too cold otherwise. Summer temperatures peak at about 29°C, while the minimum is around 15°C. Winter minimum temperatures fall below freezing.
Which 5 things do I have to do?
t Visit Shalimar Bagh, the Mughal garden in front of the Dal lake built by Emperor Jahangir.
t Go for a shikara ride in the Dal lake. Budget a couple of hours and try to see different parts of the lake.
t Visit Hazratbal, the famous Islamic shrine.
t Have a traditional Kashmiri meal, complete with kahva.
t Buy lots of traditional handicrafts, especially shawls, cane baskets, Kashmiri chainstitch textiles, papier mache products
What should I do if I have more time?
t Visit Nishat Bagh, situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop. Amongst the best Mughal Gardens.
t In winter, go trekking in the surrounding mountains.
t Also in winter, the slopes a short distance from the city are great for skiing.
t Visit Shankaracharya, the famous Shiv temple atop a hill.