Srinagar has many tourist places to visit, there are very nice sightseeing, attractions in Srinagar which are must see Srinagar sightseeing attractions. A visit to Srinagar wouldn’t be complete without taking a few Srinagar sightseeing tour or covering Srinagar attractions. Srinagar is located in the heart of the Kashmir valley at an altitude of 1,730 m above sea level, spread on both sides of the river Jhelum. The Dal and Nagin lakes augment its charming setting, while the changing play of the seasons and the healthy climate ensures that the city is equally gorgeous to visitors around the year.
Kalhana, the author of ‘Rajtarangini’, states that Srinagar founded by Emperor Ashoka (3rd Century BC). The present city of Srinagar founded by Pravarasena-II, and Hiuen Tsang, who visited Kashmir in 631 AD, found it at the same site as it is today. Laltaditya Muktapida was the most memorable ruler of Kashmir in the Hindu period, which ended in 1339 AD. King Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-70 AD), popularly known as ‘Budshah’, was a great patron of Sanskrit. Akbar captured Kashmir valley for the Mughals, who endowed Srinagar with beautiful mosques and gardens. The Sikhs overthrew the last Muslim ruler in the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1819. In 1846 the Dogras secured the power of Kashmir from the British under the Treaty of Amrjtsar, and in 1947 the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Srinagar as its capital became part of the Indian Union.
Today Srinagar is a resort for the tourist who can experience, at first hand, the spectacular beauty of the valley that has attracted the Chinese, the Mughals and the British to it. Its waterways with their own charming lifestyle, the unique Houseboat, the blooming gardens, water sports activities, shopping for lovingly hand-crafted souvenirs and the nearby resorts make it a cherished spot among those looking for a memorable holiday.
Today is our sightseeing day in Srinagar covering more or less all Srinagar attractions. After doing our breakfast first we went to
Shankaracharya Temple is an ancient temple that finds its origin in the 4th century. Located on Gopadari Hill in the south-east of Srinagar, Shankaracharya Temple lies at a height of 1100 feet above the surface level of the city. The temple is easily accessible from the city by regular buses from Srinagar. In order to make sure a comfortable journey, one can opt for taxis that are readily available throughout the city.
In 371 BC, the temple said to have been built by Raja Gopadatya. At that time, the temple named as ‘Gopadari’, after the name of the King. It is believed that Shankracharya, the great philosopher, lived here during his trip to Kashmir. The legend left the place centuries ago, ever since, the temple came to be known as Shankaracharya Temple.
The structure of the temple boasts about the architectural style of those times. However, many additions and changes been made to the original structure. Erected on a high octagonal platform, the temple can be reached by a flight of steps. The fencing walls of the steps have some inscriptions on them. Inside the temple, there is a Persian inscription that dates back to the period of Shahjahan. The main shrine is in the shape of a circular chamber and provides a breathtaking view of the valley. After many repairs, the ceiling of the main chamber appears to be modern in its approach. Shankaracharya Mandir regarded as the oldest temple in the valley of Kashmir. Throughout its life, the temple has seen many repair and renovation works.
Next, we went to
2. Chasma Sahi Garden
Chashmashahi is the smallest of the three Mughal gardens of Kashmir. Meaning Royal Spring, and is above the Nehru Memorial Park. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan set up the Kashmir Chashma Shahi Mughal Gardens in 1632 AD. The garden is quite famous for spring of energizing digestive mineral water inside it. Chasma Shahi Garden of Kashmir offers an outstanding view of the scenic Dal Lake and the neighboring mountains. The garden has a number of terraces, with several fountains built right through its center.
Apart from the three terraces and fountains, the other attractions of Chashmashahi include a channel and some waterfalls. The water for the fountains comes from the spring. This water then goes through the floor of the pavilion and falls over to the lower terrace, over a polished black stone channel. Also, a number of fruits, flowers and chinar trees grow in the garden, adding to its appeal. Near the garden is a small shrine, the Chasma Sahibi with a freshwater spring. The Chashmashahi garden is among the few others that charge an entrance fee. Recently, a number of extensions were made to the garden.
The Chashme Shahi originally derives its name from the spring which discovered by the great female saint of Kashmir, Rupa Bhawani, who was from the Sahib clan of Kashmiri Pandits. The family name of Rupa Bhawani was ‘Sahib’ and the spring was originally called ‘Chashme Sahibi’. Over the years the name got corrupted and today the place is known as Chashme Shahi (the Royal Spring).
The garden was constructed around the spring by the Mughal Governor Ali Mardan Khan in 1632. It was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his eldest son, Dara Sikoh. In the east of Chashma Shahi the Pari Mahal (Fairy Palace) lies where Dara Sikoh used to learn astrology and where he was later killed by his brother Aurengzeb. The garden is 108 m long and 38 m wide and is spread over one acre of land. It is the smallest garden among the three Mughal gardens of Srinagar; the Shalimar garden is the largest and the Nishat garden is the second largest. All the three gardens were built at the left bank of the Dal Lake, with Zabarwan mountains at the backdrop.
3. Nishat Bagh
One of the Srinagar attractions is the Nishat Bagh which is near Kashmir’s Dal lake. Nishat Bagh is a 12 terraced garden filled with attractive flowers and beautiful trees. It is the second largest Mughal garden in the Kashmir Valley after Shalimar Bagh. It has a superb 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 pictorial and attracts a lot of young couples and families.
Even though the layout of Nishat Bagh based on the design of the Persian gardens, the real landscaping of the garden done by the terrain and water patterns unique to Kashmir Valley. The garden sprawled over a vast area that gently ascends as one move towards the interior of the garden. A stream of standstill water divides the garden into two halves, and each level of the garden marked by a raised embankment which has its collection of kaleidoscopic flowers waiting to be photographed. Verdant green grass carpets the garden floor which inflated with flowers of all imaginable colors and trees such as chinar, Cyprus and almond. You can catch a spectacular view of the Dal Lake as it looks over the sublime view of the Kashmir Valley. Today the Nishat garden is one of the historic and popular one of the Srinagar attractions.
Then we have our lunch Chitrakut Resturant near Shalimar Bag. In the lunch, we have taken Chitrakut Special Thali @ 210 each. Post lunch we went to Shalimar Bagh.
Located in the magnificent beauty of Kashmir, Shalimar Bagh is a wonderfully laid out garden which is the largest of its kind in the valley. This perfect attraction built in the year 1619 by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife Nur Jahan and lies overlooking the stunning 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 excellent craftsmanship of Mughals in horticulture, the place is quite popular with tourists from all over the world.
Spread generously with well-trimmed gardens and delicate architecture, Shalimar Garden is a gentle blend of natural appeal and man-made structures. The entire premise carpeted with lush green grass with attractive blossoms popping now and then. Not only does the garden have a variety of blossoms, but it also has fruit trees such as almonds and walnuts. Currently, maintained and managed by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, Shalimar Bagh is an outstanding model of Mughal Horticulture receiving tourists in extremely large number from all over the world.
The famous Shalimar Bagh lies at the far end of the Dal Lake. According to a legend, Pravarsena II, the founder of the city of Srinagar, who reigned in Kashmir from A.D. 79 to 139, had built a villa on the edge of the lake, at its north-eastern corner, calling it Shalimar, which in Sanskrit said to mean “The Abode or Hall of Love.” The king often visited a saint, named Sukarma Swami, living near Harwan, and rested in this villa on his way. In course of time the royal garden vanished, but the village that had sprung up in its neighborhood called Shalimar after it. The Emperor Jahangir laid out a garden on this same old site in the year 1619.
A canal, about a mile in length and twelve yards broad, runs through the muddy swamps, the willow groves, and the rice-fields that edge the lower end of the lake, connecting the garden with the deep open water. On each side, there are broad green paths overshadowed by large chinars, and at the entrance to the canal blocks of stonework indicate the site of an old gateway. There are fragments also of the stone embankment which formerly lined the watercourse. The Shalimar was a royal garden, and as it is fortunately kept up by His Highness the Maharaja of Kashmir, it still shows the charming old plan of a Mughal majestic summer residence.
6. Hazrat Bal Masjid
Hazratbal Mosque is the most important Muslim Religious place, situated on the western shore of Dal Lake and another Srinagar attractions. Its perfect white marble stylishness reflected in the waters of the lake. Hazratbal’s special significance derived from the fact that it houses a hair of the prophet Muhammad. This displayed to the public on religious occasions, usually accompanied by fairs. Apart from these occasions, Friday prayers offered at Hazratbal and attended by huge numbers of people. Hazratbal is remarkable for being the only domed mosque in Srinagar; the others having distinct pagoda-like roofs. The shrine – mosque complex situated on the western shore of the Dal Lake opposite Nishat Bagh and commands a grand view of the lake and the mountain beyond.
The history of the shrine goes back to the early seventeenth century when the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan’s Subedar, Sadiq Khan, laid out a garden here & constructed a spectacular building, Ishrat Mahal or Pleasure House in 1623. However, the Emperor, during his visit in 1634, ordered the building to be converted into a prayer House with some additions & alterations. During the time of Aurangzeb, when Moi-e-Muqqadus (The Holy Relic) arrived in Kashmir in 1699, it was first kept in the shrine of Naqashbad Sahib in the heart of the city. Since the place was found to be insufficient in view of the unprecedented rush of people who thronged the place to have a glimpse of the Moi-e-Muqqades, it was decided to shift it to Hazratbal, then known as Sadiqabad. The construction of the present marble structure started by the Muslim Wakaf Trust in 1968 and completed in 1979. The “Moi-e-Muqqadas” (Holy Relic of Prophet Mohammad) displayed on various occasions related with the life of Prophet & his four holy companions.
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