The River Jhelum is life line of Kashmir, Srinagar city is situated on the both banks of River Jhelum. Now there are numerous parks on the both banks of Srinagar. A stroll on the banks of the river is suggested to see the life of Srinagar. The River Jhelum is sourced through Verinag Springs. The river ends at Pakistan. Many poets have written about river Jhelum. Many people live on house boats on river Jhelum.
Verinag is situated at a distance of approximately 80 km from Srinagar. Reached through the link road, it is located at a height of 1,876 m. It is believed that the Verinag spring in Kashmir is the chief source of the river Jhelum. There is an octagonal base at the spring, surrounded by a covered passage.
Considered to be the source of the River Jhelum, often termed as the lifeline of the province of Jammu and Kashmir, the beautiful region of Verinag is indeed one of the best options of a weekend getaway from Srinagar
The Mughals who also ruled India for three centuries also ruled Kashmir from Akbar's time. After the end of Hindu rule in 14th century , it came under the rule of several Muslim rulers. But it was during the time of The Mughal ( Akbar to Sahjehan) these beautiful gardens were created namely Shalimar Bag ( Garden), Nishat Bag and Chasma Shahi. The Mughals were known for their architecture , love for beautiful buildings and gardens. Unfortunately, we just could not manage enough time to visit these beautiful places as we had lost a full day at Delhi airport as the aircraft could not fly due to bad weather. We had to cut down heavily our day activity of Srinagar since, we also visited Gulmarg and Pahalgam. But I strongly recommend these gardens for the tourists. The flower ends here by end October.
Mughal Gardens, as the name suggests, built in the Mughal period is a marvel located in Srinagar. These gardens are the major attractions for tourists coming to Jammu and Kashmir. These gardens are a fine example of the Mughal style of architecture & design.
The Mughal Gardens is combination of three renowned gardens namely the Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Gardens and Chashm-e-shahi. These gardens are every travelers delight with beautifully laid out manicured gardens, with vibrant flowerbeds, terraced lawns and well long stretches of cascading fountains
It was our misfortune that we visited Kashmir during full winter in the last week of November. The apple season ended in Mid October. What we could see is only a few apples left in the trees of the orchards and packed in the box. It may be they are not grown in the field e visited near Srinagar or the produces that are shown were kept in a cold storage. However, it was great to be in an apple orchard. Almost 80% apple supplied in India, Bangladesh, Nepal are produced in Kashmir. The balance is from Himachal Pradesh and imported from various countries like Australia, New Zealand, USA. The majority of Kashmir income is dependent on apple produce and the price they get in return from Indian markets. Apple remains the major contributor in Kashmir economy.
There are many varieties are grown in Kashmir, but the most popular and expensive is Kashmir Golden apple, which sells about @Rs.90/- or US$1.7 per KG. We had the chance to have it in Pahalgam. The mass produced and the most common variety is shown below in the picture they are cheap and available at about Rs.20/- or US$ 0.45 Per KG.
I am putting this tip in Things to Do , not in Shopping Tip as this forms an important part of Kashmir's economy. The economy of Kashmir, is many times better than other Indian states due to it's agricultural products. Apart from Apples , it also grows one of the finest varieties of Saffron, which also most expensive herb/ spice in the world. It brings in lot of money as return from domestic consumption and exports as well. Visit to a Saffron field will allow you to know about the economic condition of the people and also learn how it is grown and processed. It is grown in almost every house hold in Pampore area, who so ever has little land as it brings lot of money from the products.
Kashmir has the proud privilege of being saffron blessed places. Pampore, near Srinagar, is the place in the world besides Spain and iran where saffron is grown.
The crocus sativus plant, which blooms in a month of october in the year, has six golden stamens and crimson. It is the crimson stamen which when collected and dried that forms saffron and is referred to as the most expensive spice in the world. When buying loose saffron, sampling one strand is enough, for the flavour and fragrance of saffron are unmistakable.
Kashmir saffron ("Kashmiri Kesar") is considered the best in the world for its distinctive long silky threads with a dark red color, its pleasant aroma and its powerful coloring and flavoring capabilities.No other subistence or spices can take place of saffron's flavour or aroma in this world.
Kashmir is very famous for it's willow wood. This is soft but very strong used to make Cricket bats. Cricket is very popular in India and in the Sub Continent. In India cricket bat industry is an unorganised industry with thousands of people involved. This industry is more organised in Jallandhar in Punjab than Kashmir. They remain mostly raw material supplier to the rest of the country. But the industry is very much present in Kashmir, with artisans making beautiful cricket bats for the players, but mostly inexpensive bat.
It will be worth, if you manage time to visit them and buy one for your children. They are cheap, very good quality, hand made and it will help those poor artisans to run their family.
We visited one manufacturing shop on our way back to Srinagar at Pulwama and bought a few cricket bats. Bringing them by air may be little problem but not a security hazard. You will be allowed to bring it back.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple has been subject to vandal in the past. The Govt. of India has tried to protect all the ancient structures and temples by posting an Army Band at the site. There have several been moments to blow this temple out in the last 20/25 years. Though, no one is going to frisk you at the site but there is an army camp just outside the temple, from where the soldiers are always keeping an eye on the activities at the temple. We are told like Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar, this one is also under electronic watch!
Good, at least the very old architecture, will not have the fate of The Bamiyan Buddha temple of Afghanistan!
This is a must visit place if you are interested in history and archeology.
Avantipur (Lat 33° 55' N: Long 75° 1' E) is located 28 km south east of Srinagar in Anantnag district overlooking the Jhelum river. The foundation of the town is ascribed to Avantivarman (AD 855 – 883 AD), the first king of the Utpala dynasty.
At Avantipura itself Avantivarman erected two magnificent temples, one dedicated to Lord Vishnu called Avantisvamin and the other to Lord Siva called Avantisvara, the former built before his succession to the throne and the latter obtaining sovereignty. During the medieval times, these temples witnessed mass destruction and were reduced to ruins.
The early part of twentieth century witnessed large scale operation by D.R. Sahni who exposed the entire quadrangle of the temple down to the floor of the courtyard and reclaimed the extant basement of the central shrine and remains of the subsidiary shrines. The excavation yielded a rich crop of antiquities including 121 coins issued by Toramana, Sultans of the Shah Miri dynasty, Durrani Afghan rulers etc. Sahni also excavated the quadrangle of the Avantisvara temple and brought to light a small earthen jar having 108 copper coins issued by various rulers, fragments of birch manuscripts containing accounts of articles of worship, inscribed earthen jar etc.
The layout of the original complex consists of a temple erected in the central part of a spacious oblong courtyard, four smaller shrines at the four corners of the central shrine, a running roofed peristyle with an array of cells ranged around the periphery of the paved courtyard, and an imposing gateway. In front of the staircase of the central shrine was a sort of a pillared mandapa with open sides, containing within perhaps garudadvaja. The temple is effectively distributed with exuberant carvings and refined, graceful sculptures which is a masterly symphony of architecture and art.
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 5 per head.
US $ 2 or Indian Rs. 100/- per head
(Free entry to children up to 15 years)
The best views of Srinagar and Dal lake is visible only from Shankaracharya Temple, situated at Dal Gate, South East side of Srinagar at about 10000 Feet above sea level. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take your cameras or mobile phones to the top, so best view is not possible from top. But, there are some points in the stretch of 8 kms road that goes to the top of the hill. The city and the Dal Lake looks very beautiful, just unimaginable!
As I said in earlier tips, Dal Lake offers immense beauty to be captured. These pictures were taken at Dal Lake while we were going to Shankaracharya Temple on the day we were coming back. The early sunrise around 6.30 am offers to see the Kashmiri life. The days are cold and it makes you lazy but the beauty offered by the Lake and the sun is immense! Please do not over sleep as then you shall miss the morning Kashmiri life!
Sunrise or Sunset, Dal Lake is always beautiful! It offers immense views from any side of the lake, with it's beautiful landscape, beautiful people, beautiful atmosphere and above all it's still pollution free! Spending a day at Dal Lake is suggested if you are in Kashmir!
The mighty Dal Lake and River Jhelum is life line of Srinagar and Kashmir. It's contribution to Tourism of Kashmir and maintaining/ generating economy of Kashmir is beyond compare. Several thousand people live and earn from this mighty lake everyday! The Dal Lake is the house of several thousand Kashmiris, who live in hundreds of house boats and in the island of Dal Lake. The Lake itself has many things to offer to a tourist apart from apart from just a Shikara ( Small boat) ride, or house boat to stay. It has the facility of Power Boat, Surfing, Fishing, Snow Skiing, Kayaking, and so many other water sports related activities. The lake freezes during winter time as the temperature drops to -10/11 degrees centigrade. It also has a full fledged floating market, restaurants, post office etc.
I know it sounds banal but it still will be a fond moment in your memories. Catch a dawn from near Nehru Park as you overlook Dal Lake. You can step closer to the water from a Shikara landing gate which are empty at that time.
Everybody who goes to Srinagar Must ride a Shikara it seems. Everybody. That alone turned me off, but don't let it. It is still a fun little thing to do. As always, negotiate the price. You can easily do Rs200 for 1 hour even in peak time of July.
Two things to remember
1. Get a shikara after Nehru Park. Until then the water way is just too tight as too many people get in the way.
2. Best time for a ride is: as early as possible! 6.00 to 7.30am is a good time. Most visitors are still asleep and leave the lake all neat for you. Do Not consider an evening sunset ride (at least in July), way too crowded.
If you are in the mood, tell your rower to rest and take the paddle from him. It is great fun =D
In No way is Bangalore the city of gardens... this is! Hands down there are more BEAUTIFUL gardens here than in any other city I have seen in India, that includes Bombay, Delhi, or Bangalore. Gardens are everywhere and not just the Mughal ones. Instead, try to add a couple of less known public ones to get a taste of the everyday love affair the locals have with their gorgeous green treats. The botanical garden 1.5km from Chashmeshahi is very big, open and abstractly constructed. The Polygram Park (I'm sorry if I have the name wrong) near Lal Chowk is a breath of relief in the heart of the city. How about the Heritage Garden at the J&K Govt. Crafts Emporium? You will hardly find any tourists at any of these, only pals hanging out or couples sitting hand-in-hand. Quiet and peaceful.
The Tulip Garden is open only in April.
The three most popular Mughal gardens of the city. Many have written a lot about them and you can wiki the history of each. So here I will just compare them side-by-side.
More flowers than any other (see the collage). They are just everywhere. You kind of discover what it offers because it is spread so wide. If you are lucky you will get to see kids from a school trip frolicking about. Farthest away of the gardens, it is about 11km from Boulevard. It was built by emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan and to me is a much better "testament" to love than a marble mausoleum.
Hits you with everything it has as soon as you take the first step inside. That's because of the way it is layered on a cascade of steps you see the entire garden at once with a backdrop of the grand mountains and gorgeously tall Chinar trees. These dense trees sort of work as a wall that ascend and descend due to cascade effect in the same way as the mountains in the backdrop rise and fall. Strangely very few visitors walk all the way to the back of the garden.
Perched high above, literally connected to the mountains, its vistas do not consist of Dal lake like in Shalimar or Nishat but of the entire city. You take a side-road on the way to Nishat/Shalimar. [On the road you first see the Srinagar Botanical Garden, then Chashmeshahi, and then Pari Mahal, which you may visit for the even more breathtaking views and not so much the fort itself.] Chashmeshahi is more modest compared to the two but it is the only one electrified -- it should illuminate at night too.
Now, somethings true for each one
1. They all cost Rs10 for adults to enter and do not blatantly charge foreign tourists more.
2. Every nook of the park is open to all. No restrictions like 'don't walk on the grass.'
3. Crowded with stalls and stores outside but peaceful inside.
4. They run basically because the locals love their parks. They appreciate nature. That's why they keep it clean and no one plucks any flowers. No one! That's why happy families, couples, or friends come with picnic baskets and lounge around.
5. Lastly, they all do live up to their reputation. Unlike most falsely advertised gardens in India that I've seen, these are actually gorgeous green and any is worth the trip.