Srinagar India is located in the scenic Kashmir Valley. The Jhelum River cuts through the city, and the many area lakes add to the allure. One such lake is Dal Lake, which gets a lot of attention for its houseboats and for the various attractions that surround it. Dal is one of the biggest attractions not only in Kashmir but in India overall as well.
Srinagar has a rich history. Founded more than 2,000 years ago, the city serves as the summer capital for Jammu and Kashmir. Because of its location, it has suffered from the political unrest that has plagued the general region for decades, but that said, this beautiful city still counts tourism among its main industries. Popular things to do include spending time on the area lakes, admiring old Mughal gardens, and visiting the Hazratbal Shrine, one of many holy places in the city. You can also use the city as a jumping-off point for outdoor activities. The hill station of Gulmarg is about 30 miles away; this resort area is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing.
Easily one of the most popular attractions in Srinagar India, Dal Lake is a true gem in the crown of Jammu and Kashmir. At Dal Lake, you can rent small wooden ships that are known as shikaras and venture out for some boating fun. The shikara, much like the gondola is to Venice, is a major symbol of Kashmir, and arguably no visit to Srinagar would be complete without taking a spin in one. You can also stay on a houseboat at Dal Lake, and there are plenty of great attractions to enjoy around the lake’s edge, such as parks and the beautiful Mughal gardens. In addition to Dal, Nageen Lake is also among the main tourist lakes in Srinagar and can be a good place to go for a shikara ride.
These gardens are among the attractions found near Dal Lake. The Mughal Empire arose in the 1520s, its power didn’t decline until the late 1700's and early 1800's. During its heyday, it ruled most of the Indian Subcontinent and named Delhi as its capital. Among the main contributions that the Mughals made to Indian art and culture are monuments and gardens, including the Taj Mahal in Agra. Examples of the Mughal gardens in Srinagar include Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. These are the largest Mughal gardens in the Kashmir Valley, and they date back to the 1600s. Excellent architecture complements the plant displays at Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, and the views that they provide of Dal Lake and the surrounding mountains are spectacular.
You can opt to stay on a houseboat when visiting Srinagar, but if an indoor hotel is what you prefer, there are plenty of options that can satisfy a range of budgets. The De-Laila Group of Houseboats and Gurkha Houseboats are among the best houseboat operations around, while top rated hotels include the upscale Vivanta Dal View Srinagar by Taj and the also-luxurious Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar. In the mid-price range, Srinagar hotels such as the Heevan Resort Srinagar and the Silver Star Hotel are good places to start, while budget-minded travelers might turn to establishments like the Hotel Sadaf and the Swiss Hotel Kashmir. If something different is what you have in mind, the Hotel Dar-Es-Salam is a private lakeside home, and the homey Blooming Dale Hotel Cottage offers several rooms to go with its hospitable nature.
Image: mckaysavage (flickr)