“Kitani Khubasurat Ye Tasvir Hai, Mausam Bemisaal Benazir Hai, Ye Kashamir Hai, Ye Kashamir Hai”
How to reach Srinagar; there are many ways of transportation, flights, by roads and somewhat unto by train till Jammu. But if you really want to experience and feel what is Kashmir valley, one must travel by roads. If you want to avoid busy highway toward Jammu and coming from Punjab, wait a day in Pathankot and drive thorough Mansar Lake road, Roads is not so good but it will help you to by pass traffic zone of Jammu and takes you through lovely mountain roads.
Srinagar is the summer capital of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir. It is situated in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the River Jhelum, which is tributary of the Indus River. The city is famous for its Gardens, Dal Lake, Shikaras and Houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits too.
Srinagar has a long history to go through, the independent Hindu and the Buddhist rule of Srinagar lasted until the 14th century when the Kashmir valley, including the city, came under the control of the several Muslim rulers, including the Mughals. It was also the capital during the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak, an Independent Kashmiri ruler who was tricked by Akbar when Akbar failed to conquer Kashmir by force. Yusuf Shah Chak remains buried in Bihar in India. Akbar established Mughal rule in Srinagar and Kashmir valley.
Dal Lake is witness for many films shooting and documentaries, but any day visiting Dal Lake and boating in Shikara is one of the most memorable experience for anyone. Motorized boats are banned in this lake for regular use, which makes this place unique in terms of peace. The Shikara is a type of wooden ship (boat) found on Dal Lake and other water lakes of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Shikaras are of varied sizes and are used for multiple purposes, including transportation of people. Boatmen use oars having a unique spade-shaped bottom to row the Shikara. A usual Shikara seats half-a-dozen riders, with the boatman sitting at the lower end. Like the Venetian gondolas, they are a cultural symbol of Kashmir. Some Shikaras are also used for fishing, harvesting aquatic vegetation and transport in the deeper parts of Dal Lake, while most are covered with tarpaulins and are used by tourists. Some are used as floating homes by poor people.
Srinagar has one unique market to offer which tourists are generally not aware or not much interested to see and that a floating market in Dal Lake. To visit this market one has to wake up very early in the morning and say around 4:30am and have to take a Shikara, after an hour of boating, you will reach to the place call floating market, where one see lots of Shikara full of vegetables, flowers and all are available for sell, market won’t last long it’s just 2-3 hours in morning only. This tips just not for visiting market, it offers a unique experience to boat Dal lake during non-tourist hours with peace, on your return trip you will be witness for fabulous sunrise over Dal Lake, Floating Gardens and vegetable fields too.
One must not forget to experience when you are in Srinagar, Ride in Shikara, Stay in House Boat, Walking around Dal Lake and Floating Market.
The city is located on both the sides of the Jhelum River, which is called Vyath in Kashmir. The river passes through the city and meanders through the valley, moving onward and deepening in the Dal Lake. The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city.
Hokersar – A place for the birds lover, one must visit is a wetland situated near Srinagar. Thousands of migratory birds come to Hokersar from Siberia and other regions in the winter season. Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October and again around spring. These wetlands play a vital role in sustaining a large population of wintering, staging and breeding birds.
Hokersar, which is 14 km (8.7 mi) north of Srinagar, and is a world-class wetland spread over 13.75 km2 (5.31 sq mi) including lake and marshy area. It is the most accessible and well known of Kashmir’s wetlands, which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.