The various tourist attractions in Srinagar are the Shankaracharya temple, Jama Masjid, Dal and Nagin Lake, Mughal Gardens - Nishat, Shalimar and Chahma Shahi and Hari Parbat Fort. Besides this, Pathar Masjid, Shah Hamdan mosque are the famous mosques in Srinagar.
Tourist Attractions in Srinagar
Nagin and Dal Lake
Dal and Nagin Lakes are fed by natural springs. The waters in the Dal and Nagin lake are transparent. But, due to overuse of the Dal lake over the years for growing of vegetables, tourism and other purposes, its size has been reduced to almost half. Nowadays, the government is trying to clean the lake. The various houseboats are located along the banks of the Nagin and Dal Lake. Nagin Lake is clean and provides quiet solitude to tourists. The vegetable market is also located on the Dal and Nagin lake, only a short shikara ride away. Early in the morning, the farmers emerge from a maze of floating gardens and canals bringing boat-loads of their produce. They gather in an open waterway to buy, sell or barter their produce. In the morning, the first rays of the dawn tinge the wild gardens of lotus flowers with a delicate pink. The kingfishers can be seen darting about, flashing their wings. As the day breaks, the lakes are alive with other activities. It is a unique world of its own which can not be seen anywhere else.
Nishat, Shalimar and Chashma Shahi are the three famous Mughal gardens which are situated around the Dal Lake. These Mughal gardens are beautifully laid out with fountains and cascading streams and terraced lawns. These Mughal Gardens were the Mughal Emperors' concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnic and excursion. The Chashma Shahi is the first Mughal Garden which is set into the slopes of its circling hills. This tastefully laid garden commands a magnificent view of the Dal Lake below and surrounding mountain ranges. Chashma Shahi means the Royal Spring and is attributed to Shah Jahan. The original garden was laid out by Shah Jahan in 1632 AD. The Chashma Shahi is named after a natural spring that flows here. The spring waters are believed to have curative and digestive properties. The Pari Mahal is situated nearby which was the Sufi Garden College. Pari Mahal, once a Buddhist monastery and royal observatory, was converted into a School of Astrology by Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, Dara Shikoh. The Pari Mahal has a charmingly laid out garden and is a five minutes drive from Chashma Shahi. The Pari Mahal is situated on the spur of a mountain overlooking the Dal lake, with a well-laid spacious garden in front, and is connected to Cheshmashahi by road. Nishat and Shalimar are very large gardens, located much further down the boulevard. Both these gardens are built on a symmetrical plan of central waterways with fountains dividing a series of garden terraces. Nishat Bagh was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan. Nishat is the larger of the two gardens and has an impressive plantation of Chenar trees on its highest terrace. The trees were planted during the Mughal period perhaps by the kings themselves. Nishat Bagh is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains in its backdrop. This 'garden of bliss' commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. The Shalimar Garden is the most famous garden due to its romantic association with Emperor Jahangir and his lovely queen Noor Jahan. This garden was built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jehan. An interesting Sound and Light Show on the love story of the two has been mounted here. The central piece on the upper terrace of Shalimar is the Baradari. It was here that Jahangir relaxed with his beautiful bride surrounded by a million roses and the heady smell of all of them. Shalimar garden is a beautiful garden with sweeping vistas over gardens and lakes, and shallow terraces. The garden is 539 m by 182 m and has four terraces, rising one above the other. A canal lined with polished stones and supplied with water from Harwan runs through the middle of the garden. The fourth terrace is the best terrace, and was once reserved for royal ladies.
The Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in Kashmir. This mosque was built in 1402 out of wood and bricks. Jama Masjid is the prominent example of the Kashmiri mosque, and combination of Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist styles of architecture distinguished by its tall spires. Inside,
the Masjid are the frayed carpets and stone alcoves and the 40-foot high wooden columns, out of which about 300 of them support the roof. The foundation of this mosque was laid by Sikandar in 1398 AD. The mosque was burnt down three times and rebuilt by Aurangzeb in 1674, who, when he heard that fire had gutted the mosque, first asked whether the chinars were safe. Even now, there are chinars in the courtyard. In the upper hall, there are the intricately wrought Khatamband roof, the glint of chandeliers, the mirror-work on the pillars and the papier-mache on the walls. In the summer and autumn, the hall is used for weddings and dinners for about 350 people. On Friday, thousands of people visit the Jama Masjid for prayers
The Shankaracharya temple is the unique landmark of Srinagar. This temple is located on a sharp hill called Takht-e-Suleiman, about 1000 feet high, a 5 km climb from Nehru Park on a metalled road,
overlooking the city. There are stone steps which will take you right on top where a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva stands. This temple was built in the memory of the Shankaracharya who came to Kashmir from Kerala some 1200 years ago to revive Hinduism. From the top of the Shankaracharya Hill, you can have a panoramic view of the valley, city, lakes and their houseboats, waterways, gardens, the confluence of the Jhelum and Dal Lake and the seven original bridges spanning the serpentine flow of Jhelum river.