Srinagar : Paradise on Earth. I must say something will stimulate in your mind when you hear the name of this place. It is also called Venice of the East, situated in the beautiful valley of Kashmir.
Srinagar comes from two different Sanskrit words, Sri- Wealth and Nagar- Place; therefore it becomes the city of wealth. It is well connected with Air route – Sheikh Ul Alam Airport. It is an international Airport. There are regular flights from Srinagar to Delhi, Chandigarh, and Mumbai. Last Railway station to reach Srinagar is either Jammu Tavi or Udhampur Railway Station. From these stations one can hire Taxi to Srinagar.
Here I am going to describe History then Geography followed by beautiful places to visit in Srinagar.
History of Srinagar :10 KM away from from Srinagar The Burzahom Archaeological site which revealed the presence of Neolithic and megalithic cultures. Kashmir came under Mughal rule, when it was conquered by the third Mughal Badshah Akbar in 1586 C.E. Mughal rule was established by Akbar in Srinagar and Kashmir Valley. After India and Pakistan independence in 1947, people of Poonch started armed protest against Maharaja Hari Singh. Maharaja Hari Singh refused to accede to either India or Pakistan in hopes of securing his own independent state, signed the instrument of accession. The accession was accepted by India. City continues to be a highly politicized hotbed of separatist activity with frequent spontaneous protest and strikes. There is violence against minorities, especially Hindu Kashmiri pandits. Kashmir pandits now protest demanding for their rights and protection. Indian Army tries to maintain peace and harmony in the valley.
Geography of Srinagar: Srinagar is located on both the side of the Jhelum River. The city is known for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city. Best time to visit is April to October. Some people like to visit in monsoon also as beautiful city transforms into magnificent landscape.
Tulip festival is one of the famous festivals which is celebrated in Srinagar. Tulip festival celebrates the blooming season of the magnificent Tulips. Indira Gandhi memorial Tulip garden adds to the natural beauty of Srinagar. Nested on the foothills of the Zabarwan Range, the largest Tulip garden in Asia presents a stunning view of the Dal Lake.
There are many places to visit in and near Srinagar. Here I am going to describe few.
- Sonamarg: Meadow of Gold is famous for its Thajiwas Glacier, located in Ganderbal district about 80 KM North East of Srinagar. The place is so beautiful, one will definitely lost in the beauty of pointed conifers which makes the whole mountain appear pointing towards sky. White snow matched with brown patches of Earth has no match when it comes to subtle yet sublime color of landscape. Once upon a time, the place acted as a part of ancient silk gateways, but now the place is primarily known for the adventure opportunity as well as viewing various Glaciers, high altitude lakes , Indus River and many wonders to get indulged in.
- Gulmarg: Literal meaning of Gulmarg is meadow of flowers. It is a hill station situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the western Himalayas. The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes surrounded by forest of green pine and Fir. The hill station at an altitude of 2730 m was earlier known as Gaurimarg, where Gauri stands for Goddess Parvati the wife of Lord Shiva. The name Gulmarg was given to this place by the king Yousuf Shah Chak According to CNN; Gulmarg is the heartland of winter sports in India and was rated as Asia’s seventh best Ski destination.
- Pahalgam: With untouched and gorgeous natural beauty. It is feast to the eyes and senses submerged in lush greenery and alluring Himalayan ranges, it calls for some moments of requiescence at natures own home. It is a pristine land with little houses, green fields and farms of Saffron, the valleys are green and very beautiful. It is located at an altitude of 2130 m . It is positioned beside the Liddar River. The weather in Pahalgam is alpine. Best time to visit is during summers. It is starting point of the annual Amarnath yatra.
- Dal Lake: In Srinagar one of its main attractions is the Dal Lake. Dal Lake consist of four main char chinars in the middle of the lake which is means of its recognition. It is considered as jewel of Srinagar. The beauty of this pristine Lake spread over 26 square kilometer. Colorful Shikaras, floating markets are the major attractions.
- Mughal Garden: The natural beauty of the place is filled with Lush green grass and the scented flowers are a stress buster and pleasing to the eyes. The Tourist who come here take long strolls in the garden and admire the beauty of the place.
In the last I would like to conclude Srinagar is really a heaven on Earth.
More places of Jammu and Kashmir to be continued in the next series.