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About Srinagar (J & K) Travel Information

The capital of Jammu and Kashmir and the largest city in the state, Srinagar (1,730m) is famous for its canals, houseboats and Mughal gardens. The city itself is quite unlike most other large Indian cities for here you are much more in Central Asia than on the sub continent. It's a city full of intriguing alleyways and curious buildings. A place where it's very easy to spend a few hours simply wandering - particularly along the old city streets near the Jhelum river.

An Ancient Learning Centre Arts & Culture : The city has long been a centre of the arts and learning - it has had a university or for hundreds of years and is a centre of Sanskrit study. 'Sri' means beauty or wealth of knowledge and 'Nagar' means city. The city was originally founded by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka - his old city is marked by the present village of Pandrethan. The present city was founded by Pravarasena II (79-139 AD) who named it "Praparapura" and built it practically contiguous with the old capital, which was called "Srinagari".

About Information
Houseboats : If one is longing for the delights of a houseboat holiday, then check out lakes of Srinagar to try one. Srinagar is a unique city because of its lakes - the Dal Lake, Nagin Lake and Anchar. The River Jhelum also flows through a part of the city.

Most houseboats on the Nagin and the Jhelum are situated on the banks of the lake, and can be accessed directly from land without the help of a Shikara. While all those on the Dal require a Shikara to get to and from them. Most houseboats on the Dal are situated in long straggling rows; some face the boulevard, Srinagar's exciting address, while others are situated singly or in groups of two and three.

City Of Lakes : Srinagar's lakes are the reason why the city receives so many tourists. Not just expanse of water, the lakes are filled with houseboats, villages, narrow water canals, lotus and vegetable gardens and houses and shops.

Life on the lakes, as witnessed from the confines of a Shikara, is unique. It is possible to book a Shikara for the whole day and sightsee Nishat Garden, Nasim Bagh, Hazratbal Mosque, Pathar Masjid and Shah Hamdan's Shrine, having a picnic lunch in the boat. While Nagin is quieter, the Dal is full of local colour, with tourists being rowed in Shikara to shops selling every conceivable handicraft - all within the lake.

Ride Of The Lake : A Shikara ride is one of the most soothing, relaxing aspects of a holiday in Kashmir. It can be an hour-long ride to see the sights of the Dal; a shopping by Shikara expedition to visit handicraft shops within the periphery of the lake; or a whole day trip to visit important city landmarks. Because the Dal is so central to the landscape of Srinagar, many places of tourist interest have, over the ages, been built in its vicinity.

Attractions
The Mughal Gardens : The art of designing formal gardens which the Mughal (also spelt as Moghul) emperors expended such time and energy upon, reached its zenith in Kashmir. The Mughal gardens in Agra or Lahore may be very fine but only in Kashmir is the formal beauty of the gardens matched by the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. The gardens follow a standard pattern with a central channel carrying water through the descending terraces in a delightful series of cascades, falls and pools.
Another distinctive feature of Srinagar is the Mughal Gardens with their terraced lawns, cascading fountains and bright flowerbeds, overlooking the panorama of the Dal Lake.

Pari Mahal
On a nearby spur of the mountain is the ancient monument Pari Mahal, planned out by Dara Shikon as a sufi school, surrounded by Outside Srinagar, Pampore (18 km), located on the National Highway, is famous for the saffron that grows here from September to October.

Hari Parbat
The hill of Hari Parbat is considered sacred to the Hindus, Muslim and Sikhs alike. For the Hindus it is sacred due to the presence of the Temple of Sharika Mata, a form of goddess Durga or Shakti. On its southern side is the historic shrine of Makhdoom Sahib, a sufi saint of Kashmir revered by people of all faiths.
Further down the Hill is the historic Gurudwara Chhatti Padshahi near the Kathi Darwaza (gate) of the Fort. It is associated with the visit of the sixth Sikh Guru to Kashmir. There is also Mughal Fort on this Hill called Hari Parbat. The Afghan Governor, Ata Mohammad Khan, developed it to its full size in the 18th century.

Shankaracharya Temple
The Shankaracharya Temple, another prominent landmark of Srinagar, is built on a high octagonal plinth, on the hill known as Takht-i-Sulaiman .The site dates back to 250 BC and is associated with the Hindu Philospher Shankarachayya who visited Kashmir ten centuries ago.

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