Srinagar Hill Station Trekking
Located in the Kashmir valley on the bank of River Jhelum, Srinagar is popularly called ‘Paradise on Earth’. The very word ‘Sri’ means wealth, hence the summer capital city of Jammu and Kashmir is often called ‘the city of wealth’.
With traditional handicrafts, lakes, houseboats, gardens, mountains, Srinagar is a dreamland for any tourist throughout the country. The beautiful city despite extremist violence in recent years is visited by people from round the globe.
Dal Lake is one of the major tourist attractions in Srinagar. The lake with an area of nearly 26 square kilometre is divided into four sections. It provides a perfect site to enjoying kayaking, swimming, angling, canoeing, water surfing, houseboats and Shikara riding. Fishing activities and water plant harvesting is also done at the lake. During winters, the temperature falls so low that the lake sometimes turns frozen.
Nagin Lake, situated at the backdrop of Dal Lake is called the ‘Jewel in the Ring’. The two lakes are separated by a narrow causeway. Since it is isolated and cleaner than Dal Lake, so many tourists enjoy the ‘Shikara’ ride and water sports in Nagin Lake.
Since Srinagar has a very high Muslim population, so there are some beautiful mosques in the city.
Srinagar also has some beautiful temples and mosques. Shankaracharya temple, situated at a height of 1,100 ft, the temple was believed to be built around 200 BC by Jaluka, the son of Emperor Ashoka. From the top of the Shankaracharya Hill, as it is called, tourists enjoy a rare sight of the snow clad mountains of Pir Panjal mountain range.
Jama Masjid is the oldest mosque in the hill city and is regarded as a rare monument of the Islamic architecture. Some even call it Friday Mosque. Believed to have been built in 1674, the mosque has four spires tower, 370 pillars, prayer halls, etc. Each pillar is made from a single piece of deodar trunk. Historians say the ancient temple near the mosque was destroyed and restored many times.
Hazratbal Mosque on the banks of Dal Lake is another ancient monument. Made from white marble, the mosque depicts a fusion of Kashmiri and Mughal styles of architecture. The mosque is also called Dargah Sharif, Asar-e-Sharif, and Madinat-us-Sani.
Another place of tourist interest in Srinagar is Sri Pratap Singh Museum, which was built in 1898. The museum has a rare collection of rare green stone figure of Lord Vishnu sitting on Garuda, a 5th century copper image of Buddha carved in Gandhara architectural style, some rare paintings, ancient coins, handicrafts and arms. The museum also has treasured various molded terracotta plaques from 4th & 5th century, ancient brass model of Lord Lokeshvara, etc.
Famous for its seven-day annual Tulip Festival, the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, located at the foothills of Zabarwan Mountains near Dal Lake has more than 70 varieties of tulip flowers. There are a few other beautiful gardens near the tulip garden, viz. Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Garden, Achabal Bagh, Chashma Shahi Garden, Pari Mahal and other Mughal Gardens.
But religious shrines, gardens and lakes are not the only spots which mesmerize the visitors, the Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary, popular for its rare species like Kashmir stag Hangul, black and brown bears also please the animal lovers. Spread over an areas of 141 sq km, the sanctuary, which got the status of a national park in 1951, also is a home for rare plants, animals and birds.
But when someone visits Srinagar, it is very unlikely that he or she would miss the rare opportunity of sightseeing in the three beautiful picturesque locations – Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam, which are also famous for adventure sports activities. The glaciers, lakes, landscapes, ropeway and beautiful gardens amuse the tourists.