Set in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas, Kashmir and Jammu’s summer capital is a city bursting with colour and tradition.
Srinagar’s numerous attractions and picturesque location on the shores of Dal Lake have made it a favourite with visitors both from India and further afield.
Srinagar is most famous for its charming houseboats which sit peacefully on the calm waters of Dal Lake. Rent a houseboat and spend a tranquil few days touring around the lake. For the best price, negotiate on arrival instead of booking ahead. If living afloat does not appeal, exploring the lake via a rented shikara, a smaller boat, is a great alternative.
Back on land, beautiful gardens dating back to the Mughal era feature local flowers and fountains. Many offer panoramic views of the lake. The best known of these is Shalimar Bagh but the quieter Nishat Bagh is more immediately impressive and the Zabarwan Mountains make for a stunning backdrop.
Don’t miss the many beautiful mosques in Srinagar. The lakeside location of the Hazratbal Mosque and the excellent nearby market could be what makes it a hugely popular attraction. Admire the breathtaking white exterior and impressive structure. Bear in mind, however, that women can only enter the first area of the building.
A visit to the Jamia Masjid mosque, in the Nowhatta area, provides the perfect opportunity to take a step back in time into the bustling old city where you will also find the vibrant Lal Chowk Bazaar. Haggle with the market sellers for food, crafts and more.
Away from its sights, smells and sounds, a trip to the Kashmir region would not be complete without purchase of a pashmina, a textile which has been manufactured here for thousands of years. If you want to make sure you get a genuine pashmina, a visit to the Kashmir Shawl Museum in the centre of town can be extremely worthwhile.
A cool to warm summer climate makes Srinagar an excellent choice for Western tourists who find the tropical temperatures of some parts of India uncomfortable. Much of the elegance of the city is maintained through the winter. However, some of the excellent restaurants and bars on the waterfront may close their doors.