Capital to the exquisite Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the region located in the northernmost part of India, and famously known as the City of Lakes, Srinagar is a breathtaking panorama of snow-clad hills, lush greenery, pristine lakes, and a serene atmosphere. It is in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the bank of the Jhelum River. Bestowed with the renowned Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake, Srinagar is a popular destination for honeymoons and a family vacation spot. It is also known for the stationary houseboats and gondola-type rowboats – Shikaras on Dal Lake.
The houseboats in Srinagar are used to visit some famous attractions such as the Floating Vegetable Market and the Mir Bahris community of people who live on the lake itself. The city is also home to some of the most stunning Mughal age gardens including Asia’s largest Tulip Garden. It is famous for its cultural heritage and is home to several historic shrines. Kashmiri cuisine or Wazwan is popular all over the world and is characterized by its flavorful spices and not too high on the heat, unlike other Indian cuisines. When in Kashmir don’t forget to buy the Kashmiri Shawls, Kashmiri Apples, dried fruits, saffron, and wool from the local markets.
Places to Visit
- Dal Lake : Dal Lake is one of the most famous attractions in Srinagar. It is a large, picturesque lake that is surrounded by stunning mountains and Mughal-era gardens. Tourists can enjoy a ride on a traditional shikara boat, which is a wooden boat decorated with colorful floral designs.
- Mughal Gardens : Srinagar is home to several Mughal-era gardens that are a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage. Some of the popular gardens include Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, and Chashme Shahi.
- Shankaracharya Hill : Located on a hilltop, the Shankaracharya Temple is one of the oldest and most revered shrines in Srinagar. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and offers panoramic views of the city.
- Hazratbal Shrine : Hazratbal Shrine is a famous Muslim shrine in Srinagar that houses a relic believed to be a strand of Prophet Muhammad's hair. The shrine is situated on the banks of Dal Lake and is visited by thousands of devotees every year.
- Jama Masjid : The Jama Masjid is a beautiful mosque located in the heart of Srinagar's old city. It was built in the 14th century and is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India.
- Pari Mahal : Pari Mahal is a historic monument located on a hilltop that overlooks Srinagar. It was originally a Buddhist monastery but was later converted into a school of astrology and astronomy by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
- Wular Lake : Wular Lake is the largest freshwater lake in India and is in the vicinity of Srinagar. It is a popular spot for birdwatching and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
- Dachigam National Park : Dachigam National Park is a wildlife reserve located in the mountains near Srinagar. The park is home to several species of animals, including the endangered Himalayan black bear and the Kashmir stag.
- Hari Parbat : Hari Parbat is a hill that overlooks Srinagar and is considered a sacred site by Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. The hill is home to several historic monuments, including the Makhdoom Sahib Shrine, the Shankaracharya Temple, and the Durrani Fort.
- Floating Vegetable Market : The floating vegetable market is a unique attraction in Srinagar. It is located on Dal Lake, and local farmers come here every morning to sell their fresh produce from their boats. Tourists can take a shikara ride to the market and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the floating market.
- Rogan Josh : It is an authentic aromatic lamb curry prepared with a fusion of spices, yogurt, and browned onions and served with naan or rice.
- Modur Pulao : It is prepared with the goodness of milk, saffron, ghee, and cinnamon and the rice are garnished with different dry fruits which gives it a nutty, fruity, sweet, and spicy flavor worth having.
- Dum Olav : If you want to savor real and authentic Dum Aloo you will have to take a trip to Srinagar to have it. The baby potatoes are cooked in yogurt, ginger paste, fennel, and hot spices and are served with naan or roti.
- Yakhni Lamb Curry : A popular Kashmiri dish, Yakhni Lamb Curry is made with a gravy consisting of curd, mawal flowers, onion paste, and dry mint leaves and lamb slow cooked in it.
- Goshtaba : Made on special occasions, it is minced mutton balls dish cooked in yogurt gravy and various spices. It is not a thick curry but full of flavors suited for the cold weather.
- Kahwa : This is a traditional Kashmiri tea made with green tea leaves, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon. It is served hot and is very popular in the region.
- Phirni : This is a popular dessert made with rice, milk, sugar, and a blend of nuts and dried fruits.
- Kashmiri Muji Gaad : It is a festive special dish made with fish and radish in a thick gravy with spices. The mixture of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items gives it a unique taste.
- Mughal-e-Azam : This is a restaurant located in the Raj Bagh area of Srinagar, which offers a blend of Mughlai, Indian and Chinese cuisine. It is known for its Butter Chicken, Dum Biryani, and Tandoori delicacies.
- Krishna Vaishno Dhaba : This is a vegetarian restaurant located in the heart of Srinagar that offers a variety of North Indian vegetarian dishes, including thalis and dosas. It is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.
- Ahdoos : Located in the heart of the city, Ahdoos is a popular restaurant known for its traditional Kashmiri dishes, such as Rogan Josh and Gushtaba.
- Mughal Darbar : This restaurant has several outlets in Srinagar and is famous for its Mughlai cuisine, particularly its Chicken Wazwan and Mutton Biryani.
- Shamyana Restaurant : This is a rooftop restaurant located in the center of the city that offers a beautiful view of Dal Lake. It serves a variety of Indian and international dishes.
- Mughal Palace : This is a fine-dining restaurant located in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar. It is known for its Mughlai cuisine and its elegant ambience.
Srinagar is not known for its nightlife as the city has a conservative culture and most places close early. Additionally, there are no nightclubs or lounges in Srinagar due to strict regulations. However, some hotels in Srinagar have bars that serve alcohol, and some restaurants offer live music and cultural shows in the evening. Here are some places in Srinagar where you can enjoy an evening out:
- Chai Jaai : This is a popular cafe located in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar that offers a cozy ambience and live music performances in the evening.
- Coffee Arabica : This cafe is in the Nigeen area of Srinagar and offers a beautiful view of the Dal Lake. It is known for its coffee, sandwiches, and desserts.
- The Piano Man Jazz Club : This is a hotel bar located in the Raj Bagh area of Srinagar that offers live music performances by local artists.
- 14th Avenue Cafe & Grill : This is a popular restaurant located in the Raj Bagh area of Srinagar that offers a variety of Indian and international dishes. It also has an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy the evening breeze.
- Lal Chowk : Lal Chowk is the commercial hub of Srinagar and is a bustling market that sells everything from clothes and accessories to electronics and household items. It is also a popular spot for street food and snacks.
- Badshah Chowk : Badshah Chowk is another popular market in Srinagar that is known for its handicrafts, carpets, and jewelry. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts to take back home.
- Residency Road : Residency Road is a famous shopping district in Srinagar that offers a range of shopping options, including clothing, accessories, and handicrafts. The market is known for its high-end stores and boutiques.
- Zaina Kadal : Zaina Kadal is an old market in Srinagar that is famous for its traditional Kashmiri handicrafts, including shawls, carpets, and papier-mache items. The market is located on the banks of the Jhelum River and is a great place to explore the local culture and traditions.
- Floating Markets : The floating markets in Srinagar are a unique attraction and offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Local farmers and vendors come to these markets on their boats to sell fresh produce, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
Museums and Art Galleries
- SPS Museum : The Sri Pratap Singh Museum, also known as the SPS Museum, is located in the heart of Srinagar and is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history, culture, and art of Kashmi.
- Kashmir Government Arts Emporium : The Kashmir Government Arts Emporium is a popular art gallery in Srinagar that displays a range of traditional and contemporary Kashmiri artwork. Visitors can buy paintings, sculptures, and handicrafts here.
- Pather Masjid : Pather Masjid is a historic mosque in Srinagar that has been converted into a museum. The museum displays a collection of antique carpets, calligraphy, and other artifacts that highlight the rich history and culture of Kashmir.
- Sher Garhi Palace Museum : Sher Garhi Palace Museum is located on the outskirts of Srinagar and is a well-preserved palace that has been converted into a museum. The museum houses a collection of Mughal-era artifacts, including weapons, costumes, and artwork.
- Nigeen Club Art Gallery : Nigeen Club Art Gallery is a popular art gallery in Srinagar that showcases the works of local artists. The gallery displays a range of paintings, sculptures, and handicrafts, and is a great place to explore the local art scene.
- Shalimar Bagh : Shalimar Bagh is a Mughal-era Garden located on the banks of Dal Lake. It was built in the 17th century and is known for its terraced lawns, fountains, and pavilions. The garden is a popular spot for picnics and evening walks.
- Nishat Bagh : Nishat Bagh is another Mughal-era Garden located on the banks of Dal Lake. It was built in the 16th century and is known for its beautiful terraces, fountains, and flowerbeds. The garden also offers stunning views of the Zabarwan Mountains.
- Chashme Shahi : Chashme Shahi is a beautiful garden located on the slopes of the Zabarwan Mountains. It was built in the 17th century and is known for its natural spring that is said to have healing properties. The garden is also known for its beautiful terraces and fountains.
- Tulip Garden : Tulip Garden is the largest tulip garden in Asia and is located on the banks of Dal Lake. It is open only during the spring season when the tulips are in full bloom. The garden is a riot of colors during this time and attracts tourists from all over the world.
- Pari Mahal : Pari Mahal is a historic garden located on top of Zabarwan Mountains. It was built in the 17th century and is known for its beautiful terraces, pavilions, and water channels. The garden also offers stunning views of Srinagar and the Dal Lake.
Festivals and Events
- Tulip Festival : The Tulip Festival is one of the most popular events in Srinagar and is held annually in April. The festival takes place in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden and showcases thousands of tulips in full bloom. The festival also features cultural performances, handicraft exhibitions, and food stalls.
- Shikara Festival : The Shikara Festival is a unique festival that celebrates the traditional wooden boats of Kashmir, known as Shikaras. The festival takes place in June and features a series of races, cultural performances, and food stalls. The festival is a great way to experience the local culture and traditions of Srinagar.
- Eid-ul-Fitr : Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the most important festivals in Srinagar and is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. The festival marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and is celebrated with feasting, prayers, and exchanging of gifts.
- Harvest Festival : The Harvest Festival is celebrated in Srinagar in September and is a celebration of the local harvest season. The festival features cultural performances, handicraft exhibitions, and traditional feasts.
- Saffron Harvest Festival : Saffron Harvest Festival is held in October-November to celebrate the harvest season of saffron, which is an important crop in the region. The festival features cultural performances, exhibitions, and demonstrations on how saffron is cultivated and harvested. Visitors can also try the local cuisine made with saffron.
- Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Festival : The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Festival is held in the summer months and is a celebration of the state's tourism industry. The festival features a variety of activities, including adventure sports, cultural performances, food fairs, and exhibitions.
- Winter Sports Festival : The Winter Sports Festival is held in February and is a celebration of winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. The festival features competitions, exhibitions, and demonstrations by local and national athletes.
- The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa : This luxury hotel is in the scenic Gulmarg region, about 50 km from Srinagar. The hotel features luxurious rooms and suites, a spa, a fitness center, and multiple dining options. The hotel is known for its stunning views of the Himalayas and its location near popular skiing and trekking destinations.
- Four Points by Sheraton : This mid-range hotel is in the heart of Srinagar and offers comfortable rooms and suites at affordable prices. The hotel features multiple dining options, a fitness center, and a business center. The hotel is also known for its friendly staff and convenient location near popular tourist attractions.
- The Lalit Grand Palace : This luxury hotel is in a restored palace and offers breathtaking views of Dal Lake. The hotel features luxurious rooms, a spa, a fitness center, and multiple dining options.
- Vivanta Dal View : This luxury hotel offers panoramic views of the Zabarwan Mountains and Dal Lake. The hotel features elegant rooms, a spa, a fitness center, and multiple dining options.
- Hotel Grand Mumtaz : This mid-range hotel is located near Dal Lake and offers comfortable rooms and suites. The hotel features multiple dining options, a spa, and a fitness center.
- Hotel Dar-Es-Salam : This budget hotel is located near Dal Lake and offers comfortable rooms and suites at affordable prices. The hotel features a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a garden.
- Famous Boutique
- Famous Hub
- Suffering Moses
- Archies Gallery
- Nazir Carpets
- GM Shah – The Kashmir Art Store
- Kashmir Valley Emporium
- Grandson’s Gallery
- Moon Light
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Srinagar is during the summer months from April to October. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the temperature ranges from 15°C to 30°C. This is the perfect time to explore the city's beautiful parks and gardens, take a shikara ride on Dal Lake, and visit other popular tourist attractions.
Another good time to visit Srinagar is during the winter months from December to February, especially if you are interested in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. The temperature during this time can drop to below freezing, and the region experiences heavy snowfall, making it an ideal time to visit if you are a fan of winter sport.
How to Reach
- By Air - The easiest and most convenient way to reach Srinagar is by air. Srinagar International Airport is well-connected to major cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, as well as to international destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
- By Train - Although there is no railway station in Srinagar, the nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station, which is located about 290 km away from Srinagar. From Jammu Tawi, you can take a taxi or a bus to Srinagar.
- By Road - Srinagar is well-connected to major cities in North India, including Delhi, Jammu, and Chandigarh, by road. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is the main road that connects Srinagar to the rest of India. You can either take a private taxi or a bus to reach Srinagar from these cities.