A Traveler’s Guide to Srinagar: Top Stunning Places to visit in Srinagar

The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, is a picture of elegance, calm, and beauty. This earthly paradise, tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas, is renowned for its serene lakes, captivating landscapes, and rich cultural legacy. Everyone may find something to enjoy in Srinagar, whether they are adventure seekers, history buffs, or lovers of the outdoors. We’ll go over the top ten breathtaking places to visit in Srinagar that you must not miss in our in-depth guide.

places to visit in Srinagar

Rajatarangini: The Twelfth-Century Chronicle of Kashmir by Kalhana

A twelfth century author named Kalhan‘s book ‘Rajatarangini‘ is the standard for the history of the Kashmir region. As mentioned in the book containing eighty thousand verses of Sanskrit, Ashoka, the great grandson of Shakuni and the king of Gonanda dynasty, established the city of the sun during the 3rd century.

Origins and Dynastic Rule of Srinagar

The location of the ancient city was slightly away from present day Srinagar. After that, King Pravarasena II of the Vakataka dynasty, who ruled the Kashmir region around the 5th century, is believed to have founded the present day Srinagar by the name of ‘Pravarpur‘. From then till the middle of the 14th century, Hindu dynasty emperors like Karkotak, Utpal and Lohara continued to rule over Srinagar.

Transition to Muslim Rule and Mughal Renovation in Kashmir

In 1339, Muslim rule began in Kashmir for the first time with the Shah and Mir dynasty. Later, from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century, the Mughal emperors ruled the region and renovated many gardens, canals, etc., giving Srinagar a new look.

Kashmir’s Tumultuous History and Post-Independence Struggleplaces to visit in Srinagar

Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled Kashmir in 1819 AD. Starting from 1846 until India’s independence, the Dogra dynasty ruled here. (See Mubarak Mandi‘s article). Srinagar, which has seen many coups over time, narrowly escaped falling into the hands of Pakistan during the war, which broke immediately after India’s independence.

Some of the credit for preventing Srinagar from falling into enemy hands goes to the first (posthumous) Paramvir Chakra recipient, Major Somnath Sharma, who died a martyr’s death for his country in the Battle of Budgam.


Places to visit in Srinagar: Beyond a Gateway to Kashmir’s Splendor

Srinagar, which has attracted many emperors and rulers since ancient times, today attracts many tourists with its natural beauty. Srinagar has two aspects in terms of tourism. One is that Srinagar is used as a launchpad for traveling to places like Gulmarg, Yusmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, etc.

Another aspect is some of the city’s own charms, which make the average tourist to Kashmir stay in Srinagar for a day or two. The present article examines that second aspect. Let’s get acquainted with some of the special sightseeing spots of Srinagar, situated on the banks of the Jhelum.

(1) Dal Lake: The identity of Srinagar

places to visit in Srinagar
Dal Lake

The first choice of tourists visiting Srinagar is the freshwater Dal Lake. The meaning of ‘Dal’ in Kashmiri is lake, but ‘Dal Lake’ is a colloquial, mispronounced name. The lake is formed by the four parts namely Gagaribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin Dal. In terms of area, after Wular Lake, which is about 200 square kilometers, Dal comes second with 18 square kilometers. Wular is about 60 kilometers north of Srinagar. The colorful Shikara-type boats like the brand ambassadors of the Kashmir Tourism Department, the houseboats lined up on the shore, and the towering hills of the Pirpanjal range of the Himalayas in the background are the hallmarks of Dal Lake.places to visit in Srinagar 4

There are two main ways to enjoy this lake. One is to take a cruise in a Shikara boat, while the other is to stay overnight in a houseboat standing on the shore. But if you want to explore Srinagar deeply, there is also an unconventional method. When you take a boatman and go out into the hinterlands, you get a glimpse of the folk life associated with the lake.

Locals have built raft-like floating gardens or farms on the surface of the lake, known as ‘Raadh‘ in Kashmiri. With much effort, they prepare such fields and grow vegetables like bottle-guard, tomatoes, coriander, spinach, radish, etc. in them. The produce from the floating farms is loaded into boats and taken to the vegetable market. The vegetable market is also a floating one. The buyer would come there in a boat, approach the boat selling vegetables and fruits and leave after purchasing the required item. The vegetable market is a sight to behold from early morning till late evening. Apart from this, a market of shops selling handicrafts is located in Dal Gali, which can also be visited.places to visit in Srinagar 4

The life of the Kashmiri people living on the banks is closely related to the lake. In the canal-like lanes of Dal, there are scenes of mothers dropping off their babies in Shikara, goods being transported in boats, post offices floating on water, postmen going out to deliver mail in boats, floating banks and their ATM machines. Those views are attractive ‘subjects’ for those who are fond of photography.

During the months of July-August, the floating gardens of the Dal bloom in profusion of pale pink lotus flowers. The lotus stem is known as ‘Nadru’, and they make concoctions like Nadru Yakhini, Nadru Monje and Tamatar Nadru.

(2) Shalimar Garden:

places to visit in Srinagar
Shalimar Garden

In Kasmir valley, the Mughals have constructed some of the most beautiful gardens of in India. Some of which have been designated as World Heritage Sites. Srinagar’s Shalimar Garden is one of the largest Mughal Gardens in the Karmir Valley. The present Shalimar Garden is spread over a vast area of ​​about 36 acres (587 by 250 meters), however, that was not its original size. According to historians, Pravarman II, the founder of Srinagar, established a small garden along with a comfort room for himself on the banks of the Dal lake.

The name of the garden then was not Shalimar garden. Years later, the rulers of the Mir dynasty expanded the

places to visit in Srinagar
Shalimar Garden, centaurea cyanus

garden. The Mughal emperor Jahangir made further improvements during his reign, and his successors expanded the Shalimar Bagh at different levels, following the pattern of the Charbagh Garden of Heaven mentioned in the Quran. Today the garden is adorned with more than 20 types of colorful flowers like orchid, narcissus (Daffodil), sakina (Himalayan indigo), sumbal (Bombax ceiba), common water hyacinth, ever-green, mazarmund (Iris tectorum), Kashmiri rose, Hibiscus, sunflower etc.

More than four hundred fountains enliven the garden. Also, the waterfalls falling in each level is another center of attraction. Small niches carved into the back wall of the waterfall were used to house oil lamps years ago.

(3) Nishat Bagh:

places to visit in Srinagar
Nishal Garden

Built in the seventeenth century on the eastern bank of the Dal lake, Nishat Bagh is 556 meters long and about 350 meters wide. The garden is built slightly above the level of the Dal Lake; hence, one has to enter through stairs. Five large up arches are carved on the back wall of water falling from a high platform on the second essence.

The most attractive aspect of the garden is the 23 small cave-like structures inside the central ark. The water flowing smoothly in the canal right in the middle of the garden, the fountains in it, the water falling like a waterfall from one level to the next in a white sheet, the magnificent colorful orchids grown on both sides of the canal and other species of flowers, green grass, Chinar trees, etc. all add beauty to the Nishat area.


(4) Chashm-e-Shahi :


places to visit in Srinagar

On the hill behind the Royal palace to the south-east of Dal lake is the Chashm-e-Shahi Garden. It was built by Shah Jahan in 1632 AD as a gift to his son, Dara Shikoh. Like other Mughal gardens, fountains and water tanks are also found here. At the top of the garden is a hut-like Kashmiri construction, under which a natural spring flows. It is said that Pandit Nehru used to order water from this spring to Delhi.


(5) Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden:

places to visit in Srinagar
Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden

Spread over 30 hectares at the foothills of the Zabarwan range, this is Asia’s largest tulip garden. About 1.5 million tulip plants of red, yellow, purple, brown, pink, etc. colors are planted in seven tiers on sloping ground. One of the handful of addresses to view tulips in our country is Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Garden, while the other is Srinagar’s Tulip Garden.


(6) Hari mountain and Fort

The brown Durani Fort, built on a hill of moderate height called ‘Hari’, stands out from any corner of Srinagar. According to legend, the pebble that was thrown by Goddess Sati (Parvati) in the form of bird Myna in ancient times to kill the demon named ‘Jalobhava‘ gradually grew into a hill. Jalobhava was crushed to death under it.

places to visit in Srinagar
Hari mountain and Fort

The bird Myna is called ‘Haer’ in the language, hence the name Hari Parvat. On the way to the fort is a temple with a self-manifested stone statue of Goddess Sharika Mata, a form of Mother Parvati. The temple is considered sacred among Kashmiri Pandits. According to a historical reference, Akbar started the construction of 10-meter-high outer walls surrounding Hari Parvat from all four sides in 1597. Here he wanted to build his new capital, named ‘Nager Nagar’. But with his death in 1605, his dream of building a town remained unfulfilled. The main fort within the walls, which have stood for four hundred years, was built in 1808 by Atta Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Durrani, Afghanistan.

This relatively small rectangular fort was used as an armory as well as for military surveillance of Srinagar. So no residential building was built inside it. Durani Fort remained in ruins for years. Today it is maintained by the Department of Archaeology of India. A 75-foot-tall Indian National Flag recently placed in the courtyard here adds to the beauty of the fort. During the day, the panoramic view of Srinagar from the fort is worth seeing, while at night, the golden form of the fort in the flood lights from Srinagar is a sight to behold.

A pass must be obtained from the Forest Department office in Srinagar before visiting the fort. To reach the fort, you have to climb 200 steps. Visiting Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 10 am to 3 pm.

(7) Shankaracharya Hill and Shiva Temple

places to visit in Srinagar
Shankaracharya hill,

Jyeshtheshwara Mahadev is a Shiva temple built in the eighth century, on a hill called ‘Gopadri’ at a height of about 1,100 feet from Srinagar. The Shiva temple is named after Shankaracharya, as Shri Adi Shankaracharya, who visited the Kashmir valleys in the eighth century, spent a few days here. As mentioned in Kalhan’s ‘Rajatarangini’, this temple was built during the reign of King Guptaditya in the 4th century AD. On this account, it can be considered the oldest surviving temple in the Kashmir region. In the 8th century, King Lalitaditya repaired the temple, while in the early 19th century, the Dogra king Gulab Singh built steps from the foothills to the temple.

This Shiva temple of historical importance is also a rare construction in terms of architecture. An octagonal platform about 20 feet high and about 3,600 square feet in area is built of sandstone on a huge igneous rock. After climbing at most a hundred steps, a 30-foot-tall temple is visible on the platform. The sanctum of the temple, which looks octagonal from outside, is square from inside, and the circumambulation path around the sanctum is circular. From such a unique structure, the geometry and architectural knowledge of Indian architects two millennia ago can be gleaned.

As soon as one enters the sanctum of the temple, one sees the blushing black Shivalinga. Devotees embarking on the Amarnath Yatra must visit the temple to catch a glimpse of the Shivalinga.places to visit in Srinagar

The list of places to visit while visiting Srinagar can be extended. Just 4.5 km north of Shalimar Bagh is Burzhome, Pari Mahel locted on a hill a short distance from Cham-e-Shahi, which is associated with Paleolithic history, Badamwari (or Badamwadi), with almond trees decorated with pale pink flowers, Harwan Bagh and the remains of a Buddhist settlement there, Nagin Sarovar, Dachigam National Park, Botanical Garden, 9 historical bridges on the Jhelum, including zero bridges built, etc.

The beauty of Srinagar, the city of flowers, is magnified many times over by the blooming flowers in the east during April-February. Hence, if the trip is planned during that period, one can enjoy the colorful spring outdoors.

Good to know for perfect trip…..

  • When to Go:

      Best time: April to October.
     Cold season: November to March.

  • How to Go:

By Air:
Major hub: Srinagar.
Connecting flights are available from Mumbai and Gujarat to Srinagar.

By Rail:
Nearest stations: Jammu Tawi, Udhampur, and Katra.
From these stations, government or private buses and taxis to Srinagar are easily available.
Where to Stop:

  • Hotels by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department: Information and booking at Click Here
    Private hotels and houseboats are plentiful.
    Generally, room heaters are provided in hotels.
    Ensure to book a hotel in advance.


  • Other Places to Visit:

Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Martand Sun Temple (Matand Surya Mandir), Patnitop, Parihaspur, Wular Lake (India’s largest freshwater lake), Yusmarg, Dudhpathri,

Pilgrimages: Vaishnodevi, Amarnath
Trekking: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Tarsar-Marsar Lakes Trek


Visit Srinagar, Kashmir

Category Details
When to Go
  • Best time: April to October
  • Cold season: November to March
How to Go
  • By Air: Major hub: Srinagar. Connecting flights from Mumbai and Gujarat to Srinagar.
  • By Rail: Nearest stations: Jammu Tawi, Udhampur, and Katra. Government or private buses and taxis to Srinagar are available from these stations.
Where to Stop
  • Hotels by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department: Booking Information
  • Private hotels and houseboats in Aa 752 area.
  • Generally, room heaters are provided in hotels. Ensure to book a hotel in advance.
Places to Visit

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