Srinagar, the state's winter capital, is the first stop for most travellers to Kashmir; and with its great lake and meandering river, its exquisite pleasure gardens and romantic shaker rides, the old-world charm of its houseboats and the ageless grace of its architecture, the city is a fitting introduction to the many enchantments of the valley. The vast Dal lake is, of course, Srinagar's emblematic feature, and its deep waters carry the most popular of Srinagar's attractions: houseboats and shakers. Many visitors are content to spend a great part of their holiday aboard these waterborne hotels, watching the lake's traffic float by from cushioned balconies, venturing into the houseboat's walnut-wood interiors for delicious, fragrant Kashmiri cuisine.
The jewel of Srinagar, the Dal lake is synonymous to a visit to Srinagar and almost a visual definition of the town. Spread over 26 square kilometres, it is the most photogenic stretch of paradise on earth and undoubtedly also the most sought after attraction. It is situated in the midst of beautiful lush green mountains and is the most pristine view of nature in all its glory. Facilities such as shikara boat rides, house boats and lake markets make this place a favourite among tourists. Srinagar has always been a pleasant place to visit in summer, therefore, making it one of the favourite places the Mughals and the Britishers liked to go during summer. One of its main attractions was the Dal Lake which was not left unnoticed.
Mughal Gardens which have truly changed the face of the Mughal Empire is one of the most popular and the most visited tourist attractions of Srinagar. During their rule, the Mughals began to build several types of gardens in Persian architecture, and the combination of these gardens is referred to as the Mughal Gardens. The natural beauty of the place filled with lush green grass and the scented flowers is a stress-buster and pleasing to the eyes. The tourists who come here take long strolls in the garden or sit and admire the beauty of the place.
Located in the sublime beauty of Kashmir, Shalimar Bagh is a beautifully laid out garden which is the largest of its kind in the valley. This pristine attraction was built in the year 1619 by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan and lies overlooking the scintillating waters of the Dal Lake. The term 'Shalimar' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'Abode of Love' and is known by several other names such as Faiz Baksh and Farah Baksh. Exhibiting the exemplary craftsmanship of Mughals in horticulture, the place is quite popular with tourists from all over the world.
The Nishat Bagh in near Kashmir's Dal lake is a 12 terraced garden filled with endearing flowers and beautiful trees. It is the second largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley after Shalimar Bagh. It has a splendid Mughal central water channel with several fountains, which is surrounded by tall Chinar trees. The Bagh was designed and built in 1633 by Asif Khan, who was the elder brother of Nur Jehan. With the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, Nishat Bagh is a garden of bliss that overlooks the lake beneath the snow-covered Pir Panjal mountain range to the west of the valley. The garden is very photogenic and attracts a lot of young couples and families.
Dal Lake is marked by an island which houses ancient and beautiful Chinar trees. Don't forget to ask your Shikara to be steered in this direction to catch a view of this island.
The paramount reason why people come to Srinagar is for the relaxing and memorable Shikara rides. Taking the ride across the scenic Dal Lake at the backdrop of the majestic slow clad Himalaya's is indeed an experience in itself both enjoyable and unparallel.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
Lines of tulip cultivation in every possible color with a backdrop of the majestic Zabarwan Hills, is the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden and a view which one must not miss while in Srinagar.
The Shankaracharya Temple is a beautiful and mesmerising temple that is situated on the Gopadari Hills on the south-east of Srinagar at the height of 1,100 feet above the sea level. Built in the dedication of Lord Shiva, the temple is also known as the Jyesteshwara Temple or the Pas-Pahar by Buddhists and overlooks the entire magnificent city of Srinagar. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year, especially for worship and during the Amarnath Yatra. A visit to the Shankaracharya Temple is a must for anyone who wants to experience pure divinity and ecstasy and spend some time in blissful solitude.
One of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, the pristine beauty of Wular Lake is in Bandipora district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The majestic lake has a breathtaking view and attracts a huge number of visitors around the year. Wular Lake's basin was formed as a result of tectonic activity, due to which the area covered by the lake varies throughout the year, a phenomenon which is unique to this destination. The lake, calm in its appearance, is known for the fierce winds that sometimes blow heavy currents all through its way. However, when the waters are serene and collected, this destination plays host to a number of events such as boating, water sports and water ski.
Baramulla is a small city in Jammu and Kashmir that is blessed with uninhibited natural beauty. Enveloped by the magnanimous Himalayas on all sides and resting on the banks of the mighty River Jhelum, this city has been endowed with a mesmerisingly scenic landscape like nowhere else. This city has many scenic attractions like Gulmarg, Khilanmarg, Wular Lake, etc. which are endowed with a beguiling and riveting natural beauty. The city also houses historical monuments like Buddhist stupas and religious establishments like monasteries, temples and mosques that draw the attention of the tourists from far and wide.
Providing you the best view of the Dal lake is Nehru garden. With its well maintained landscapes, you can head out to this garden on a lazy Sunday morning for a picnic or simply relaxing.
With spellbinding beauty and aesthetic fountains, The Chashmeshahi Garden is a famous tourist destination. The garden consists of a pavilion and three terraces and is famous for the natural spring that flows from it.
Pari Mahal is a mesmerizing historical monument located above the beautiful Chashme Shahi Gardens near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. It is also called the abode of fairies or the home of angels with its six terraced gardens constructed on top of the Zabarwan Mountain Range. The gardens that surround the magnificent structure of Pari Mahal are exceptionally well maintained and are a treat for sore eyes. Nature lovers are sure to find this attraction fascinating.
Engulfing you in its blue serene waters is the Nagin lake located on the eastern side of Srinagar city (6 km reachable within 11 mins by taxi). Also known as the "Jewel in the Ring", it is separated from the Dal Lake by a thin causeway. Being less crowded, the lake is ideal for swimming. Water Skiing & sailing on fiberglass boats can also be enjoyed here. Best time to visit here is from May to September. Hazratbal Mosque is a close by attraction to visit.
Dachigam National Park
Literally translating into the 'ten villages', a possible reference to the ten settlements that were relocated to have the National Park here, what was initially constructed to take care of the drinking water supply of the town, is today a habitat to a number of species of wildlife. One can spot in its landscapes Leopards, Musk Deers, Hill fox, Jackals, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Grey Langur, Otter and many more.
The capital of commerce of J&K, Anantnag is filled with hot springs, lakes, temples and shrines. The place is known for its religious tolerance and there are shrines that belong to both the Hindus and the Muslims. Some of the shrines that can be found here are the Hazrat Baba Rashi, Goswami Gund Ashram, Shilagram Temple, Khanna Baranain Triposundari Astapan Devsar, Nila Nag.