Nestling in the midst of the great peaks of the Karakoram, Zanskar, and Pir Panjal ranges and at a height of 1,730 metres, Srinagar is a truly beautiful city. The summer capital (May - October) of Jammu & Kashmir and the centre of the valley, Srinagar has been eulogised by travellers, poets, kings and saints alike for its scenic splendour and delightful ambience. The Jhelum River traverses the city and serves as a lifeline for its people. Travel to Srinagar, as the place is renowned for its enchanting lakes filled with houseboats and shikharas set amidst forested mountain slopes and is an ideal place for you to spend your holiday.
How to Reach Srinagar?
By Air : The Srinagar airport is 14 kms from the city. Jet Airways, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, Jet Lite and Indian Airlines from Delhi and Mumbai to Srinagar. From the airport you may take a taxi into the city centre, or have a rented car meet you on arrival.
By Rail : The newly opened Udhampur railway station, about 60 kms north of Jammu, is now operational and is be the nearest railway station to Srinagar city. The Jammu Tawi Railway Station, 293 kms from Srinagar is also well connected to other cities in India including Delhi, Chennai, Trivandrum, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. From Jammu you will have to take a bus or hire a car / taxi to make the 12 hour journey to Srinagar.
By Road : Private Coaches and taxis can be hired from Jammu Tawi to reach Srinagar. Srinagar is linked by the National Highway 1A to the rest of the country. J & K State Road Transport Corporation operates comfortable buses from Jammu. The Jammu – Srinagar road passes through majestic mountain passes, with fields stretching out to the sides and lined with towering trees. The journey takes about 12 hours and is a good tour in itself, though the highway is now fraught with militant attacks and Indian army operations. There is also a bus service from Srinagar to Kargil and Leh in summers.
Best Time to Visit Srinagar
The best time to visit Srinagar is between the months of April and October. The temperature ranges from a minimum of 14ºC to a maximum of 30ºC during this period. The festivals of Baisakhi and Khir Bhawani are celebrated during this time of the year.
Srinagar receives scant rainfall in the monsoon months and the winter season is pretty harsh with mercury dipping below zero, excessive snowfall, frozen lakes and blocked roads. Hence, Srinagar is at best avoided in the winter months.
Things to do in Srinagar
Leisurely walks in the well laid-out gardens or paying homage at various temples and mosques are some of the things to do in Srinagar. Skiing, white water rafting, golf are some other activities that you can enjoy in and around Srinagar. Head to various places like Gulmarg, Khilanmarg, or Pahalgam near Srinagar for some fun and frolic. Savour the scrumptious Kashmiri cuisine as you let the tranquil beauty of this picturesque city of Srinagar.
Places Near Srinagar
Some of the interesting places near Srinagar that you can visit while in Srinagar are mentioned below for your convenience.
From Gulmarg, a trek leads up to the Alpathar Lake, which is at a distance of 13 kms and is an invigorating place around Srinagar. The popular route for trekkers is from Gulmarg to another resort at Khilanmarg, up to Apharwat and finally Alpather, which remains frozen even in summer.
Awantipura is a ruined city, 29 kms from Srinagar. Built in the 9th century by King Avantivarman, the ruins include a temple complex dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva.
Gulmarg, 57 kms from Srinagar and at a height of 2,730 metres is literally a meadow of flowers. Gulmarg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kashmir valley. A two-hour drive from Srinagar, down roads lined with towering poplars and you arrive at the luxuriant resort with breathtaking views of the splendid mountains and unspoilt expanses of green or white, depending on the season.
Wular Lake, the largest fresh-water lake in India, is 60 kms from Srinagar. Fed by the Jhelum River, the lake is spread over a 125 km expanse. Swift flowing winds keep the water of the lake turbulent and shimmering in sunlight. Wular is the habitat for several migratory and indigenous bird species.
Pahalgam, 96 kms from Srinagar, is a resort set in a pristine village lying next to the Lidder River. Surrounded with frSrinagarnt pine forests, the idyllic resort includes a golf course and spots for angling. The bubbling Lidder harbours a sizeable population of rainbow trout and mahaseer to ensure you don’t come away disappointed. The nearby forested slopes are home to the Himalayan brown bear. Once a very popular tourist destination, Pahalgam has camping facilities, ponies for short rides, skiing equipment for the winter and white water rafting in the Lidder.
Hotels in Srinagar – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Srinagar ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.