If Bollywood’s dazzling song sequences with chiffon sarees amid snow-capped mountains have caught your attention, then Srinagar is definitely the place for you. This is where time pauses and romance blooms, just like in the movies. The contrast of the lush green meadows, pristine blue lakes, and the snowy mountains makes this place literally a piece of heaven on earth.
Srinagar, the ‘Summer Capital’ of Jammu & Kashmir is located on the banks of the Jhelum River. Mother Nature has blessed this place abundantly, hence this land full of natural beauty has something for all. Be it nature lovers, family vacationers, honeymoon couples, adventure seekers, history buffs, or photographers, Srinagar can easily attract anyone. The long list of places to visit in Srinagar city that we are about to share with you is sure to make you fall in love with this place forever.
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Top 15 Places To Visit In Srinagar
The myriad of places has been attracting thousands of tourists from different parts of the world every year. So if you are planning to visit Srinagar, the below listed rejuvenating places definitely deserve a place in your travel itinerary.
Dal Lake – The Jewel Of Srinagar
The Dal Lake, known as the “Jewel of Srinagar,” is nearly a visual representation of the city, hence deserves the top place in the list of tourist places in Srinagar. Spread across 26 sq km this lake is the second-largest lake in Jammu and Kashmir. The snow-covered peaks of the Pir Panjal Mountains are reflected in the mirror-like Dal Lake as the vibrant shikaras (gondolas) glide by. Its biggest draws are the houseboats and shikaras. The floating market, or Raad, on Srinagar’s Dal Lake is equally well-known. Vendors own their Shikaras and approach guests with their cutest handicrafts, saffron, food, and even ice creams in tow. Numerous tourists enjoy ice skating on the frozen Dal Lake Srinagar during the winter. Be it summer or winter, one can experience the warmth and get adventurous in this beautiful Lake.
Tulip Gardens – A Colorful Delight
The largest tulip garden in Asia is the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, which is situated at the foot of Zabarwan Mountain. The 48 different species of tulip bloom in a seven-terraced garden and attracts visitors of all age groups. A variety of flowers, including daffodils, hyacinths, roses, narcissus, and other attractive plants can be seen in the garden. The water channel that runs between the terraces gives the area extra charm and makes it the ideal location for taking some memorable photos. This popular tourist destination in Srinagar, which spans 30 hectares of land, comes to life in the spring when the Tulip Festival is held. For all types of tourists visiting Kashmir, this event is a must-see since it highlights the garden’s natural beauty as well as the vibrant culture, handicrafts, and cuisine of the region. Definitely one of the top places to visit in Srinagar.
Chatpal – An Undiscovered Tourist Attraction
Kashmir has maintained its rural appeal to this day. Even ardent travelers haven’t seen everything there is to see in the valley because there is so much still to discover there. Chatpal in the South Kashmir district of Shangas is one such undiscovered tourist attraction in Srinagar. Chatpal is a stunning hill town in the Anantnag region of Jammu & Kashmir, located 79 km from Srinagar. It is among Kashmir’s least explored and most picturesque tourist destinations close to Srinagar. For those who love the outdoors, this magnificent location is sure a picturesque sight. There is nothing more fascinating you could find in the city than the lush peaks and rushing river streams cutting through the impenetrable woodlands. The apple and walnut trees of Chatpal are well renowned. Tourists visiting Chatpal usually indulge in nature walks across the valleys and interact with locals for a peek into their lifestyle and culture.
Dachigam National Park – Get Close With The Wild
The ten hamlets spread over its expansive 141 sq. km. region are referred to as Dachigam. Dachigam National Park, located approximately 22 km from the main town of Srinagar, is the ideal stopover for wildlife safaris that have been preserved in Kashmir Valley. Dachigam, one of the most significant tourist destinations in Srinagar is well-known for being the home to numerous plant and animal species, including the Kashmiri Stag and the Himalayan Black Bear. Nokrek National Park and Karnala Bird Sanctuary are popular tourist destinations close to Dachigam National Park. The Sangargulu Valley, which forms the upper realm of the park, is embellished by the Dagwan River, which flows through it. The Dachigam National Park’s Sangargulu Valley, also known as Valley of Flowers, is a great place to go hiking if you want to see leopards and koklass pheasants.
Aru Valley – Hub For Adventure Seekers
One of the top tourist destinations in Srinagar is the Aru Valley, located in the Anantnag district around 100 kilometers from the capital. The lovely meadows, serene atmosphere, and gorgeous surroundings make it a hit among all. With a distance of 12 kilometers, Pahalgam is the closest town to Aru Valley. The Valley is the ideal location for thrill seekers and serves as the starting point for the Sonamarg Trek and Kolahoi Glacier. Another great location for hiking is Lidderwat, which is about 8 kilometers away from Aru Valley. The valley turns into a great skiing destination during the winter season. It is also popular for other thrilling activities like hiking, biking, camping, fishing, horse riding, and trekking. The Aru Valley’s snow-capped peaks, incredible beauty, and exciting adventure activities make it one of the most exquisite places to visit in Srinagar.
Shalimar Bagh – Honeymooners Paradise
Shalimar Bagh, a garden created by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his queen Nur Jahan, has long been a popular honeymoon location. Shalimar Bagh which was constructed in 1619 is the largest of all the Mughal gardens in Srinagar, and it showcases the Islamic garden design known as Persian gardens. It used to serve as their summer house and Royal Court. The Bagh has three terraced portions that were used for various purposes in the past. The emperor’s residence was in the center, or “Diwan-i-Khas,” while the women of the royal family were in the uppermost section. The garden’s perimeter, known as Diwan-i-Aam, was accessible to the general population. The Chini Khanas, which are positioned behind the waterfalls and embellished with flowers to create a spectacular visual impact, are the garden’s main attractions. No doubt it is one of the best places to visit in Srinagar for honeymooners.
Nishat Bagh – The Garden Of Bliss
The 12-terraced garden known as Nishat Bagh is located close to Srinagar’s iconic Dal Lake. The breathtaking vista of the Dal Lake is set against the Zabarwan Mountains. It is the greatest Mughal garden in Kashmir after Shalimar Bagh. Also known as the “Garden of Bliss”, it is a stunning Mughal water channel with numerous fountains and tall Chinar trees on either side which is mesmerizing. Nishat Bagh was designed and built around 1633 by Noor Jahan’s elder brother, Asif Khan. Nishat Bagh’s design was inspired by Persian gardens, but the geography and water elements of Kashmir Valley were employed for the landscaping. A stream of still water divides the garden into two sections, and each level is identified by a tall embankment that is home to a distinctive collection of vibrant blooms. The garden is so beautiful that it’s a paradise for photographers and nature lovers.
Nigeen Lake – The Jewel In The Ring
Nigeen Lake in Srinagar is well known for its shikara rides, houseboat stays, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking surroundings. The term nageena, which means “the jewel in the ring” gives the lake its name. The picturesque romantic setting makes it one of the best spots in the city to watch the sunrise and sunset. For tourists who want a quiet place to take in the breathtaking views of the nearby mountains, Nigeen Lake is the place. The several houseboats that accommodate visitors and shikaras that transport tourists within the region are a total hit among all. Do not miss the houseboat and Shkara rides as it will be one of the best experiences in Srinagar. Located on the eastern coast of the lake is the Nigeen Club which offers amenities like saunas, gyms, and a coffee shop where you can sit back and enjoy the marvelous beauty of snow-clad mountains.
Doodhpathri – The Valley Of Milk
Doodhpathri, a charming hidden treasure of Kashmir is one of the most important attractions to see in Srinagar. It is a lush green meadow with the Pir Panzal range surrounding it and the Shaliganga River running through it. The renowned Kashmiri saint Sheikh ul Aalam Sheikh Noor din Noorani is reported to have worshiped here. Once, when looking for water in the meadows to offer prayers, he punctured the earth with his stick in an attempt to find water but milk spilled out. Hence the name Doodhpathri which means ‘Valley of Milk’. Though Doodhpathri is located at an altitude of 8,957 feet, it is great to visit this place, both during the summer and winter. During spring and summer, the whole valley is covered in green meadows and flowers. During winter, the lakes and waterfalls get entirely frozen due to the below-freezing temperatures. Truly a sight worth capturing.
Shankaracharya Temple – Oldest Shrine In Kashmir
The Lord Shiva-dedicated Shankaracharya Temple, which is located atop the Shankaracharya Hill is one of the oldest temples and best places to visit in Srinagar. The temple, placed on a high octagonal platform resting on solid rock, can be reached by a flight of about 243 steps. The well-known philosopher Shankaracharya, who is said to have visited Srinagar some ten centuries ago, is honored by having his name attached to the temple, which is also known as Jyesteshwara Temple. The Shiva Linga, which he venerated and is believed to have reached spiritual enlightenment, is housed in the temple. He is credited with founding the four Hindu schools of Advaita, or the non-dualist philosophy. From the top of the temple, one can have a beautiful view of the valley. Generally pilgrims on their way to Amarnath Yatra, stop at the Shankaracharya Temple to seek blessings.
Lal Chowk – A Bustling Marketplace
Lal Chowk, which translates to “Red Square,” was named after the renowned Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Left-wing activists came up with the term. It is situated in the city’s core and over its history, Srinagar has seen a number of significant historical events. This square has seen many political and social movements, protests, rallies, and celebrations. Lal Chowk’s strategic and historical significance have been well-documented in Indian history texts. The renowned Ghanta Ghar – Clock Tower, which was constructed in 1980 is housed here. Lal Chowk is also a well-known location to shop. Here’s where you may buy real jewelry, decorations, wedding supplies, and cutlery. It is one of Srinagar’s busiest and most well-liked shopping destinations. You can also get lovely Kashmiri paintings and ethnic clothing with elaborate needlework, wonderful pashmina shawls, and pathani outfits. A visit to Lal Chowk is sure to give a memorable experience.
Dastgeer Sahib – An Old Sufi Shrine
Dastgeer Sahib, a 200-year-old Sufi shrine, is regarded as one of the oldest spiritual destinations and places to visit in Srinagar. The shrine was allegedly built by the philanthropist Mir Husain Qadri in 1845, contrary to popular perception. The unusual elements of this shrine scarcely had any counterparts. It was encircled by internal walls decorated with papier mache finish and covered with a typical Khatamband ceiling with numerous crystal chandeliers. A hideous fire event that happened in the year 2012 seriously devastated Dastgeer Sahib. The shrine has been restored to its former glory and now houses beautiful artifacts that belonged to Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jelani. The shrine which is an architectural marvel is thought to contain five burials, including one of the famed Sufi saints. Additionally, a mosque and a busy market are both close by and a must-to-do thing in Srinagar.
Pari Mahal – Traditional Islamic Style Palace
Pari Mahal, also known as The Angels’ Abode lies south-west of Dal Lake and is perched atop the Zabarwan mountain range overlooking Srinagar. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor immensely supported art and architecture during his rule and the building shows this. The six well-kept terraced gardens are the reason why Pari Mahal came to be known as the house of fairies. Due to the intriguing history behind it, this palace which was constructed in the traditional Islamic style became the most important historical structure. Due to the stunning vistas and gorgeous plants, this location also draws a lot of wildlife enthusiasts. The palace is definitely a sight to behold, especially with these captivating grounds. It was initially a monastery for the Buddhists and later went on to be an astrology school for Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, Dara Shikoh.
Amarnath Cave – Pilgrim Site
Coming all the way to Srinagar and going back without visiting the well-known shrine might be a big disappointment for many. So if you are planning to see Srinagar during the summer months, then a visit to Amarnath shrine is a must. The Hindu shrine Amarnath Cave which is 3,888 meters above sea level receives thousands of visitors each year. During the summer months when the cave is open, tens of thousands of devotees travel there to reach the ice stalagmite that has developed inside. To get here, one must navigate treacherous mountainous terrain. The Lord Shiva-themed shrine which is over 5000 years old occupies a significant position in Hindu mythology. It has an ice stalagmite inside that waxes from May to August and has the appearance of Lord Shiva. Definitely one of the top places to visit in Srinagar!
Awantipora – Ancient Ruin Temple
Awantipora, one of the main tourist destinations in Srinagar, is only 30 km away and should not be missed! The area is well-known for being the former capital city of Awantipora in antiquity. The ancient town that was established by King Avantivarman was also known as Viswasara. The shrine to Lord Vishnu is housed in a modest yet elaborate temple. After the earthquake’s devastation and the clearing of the debris, the temple was once again its own. Ancient rustic remains from Awantipora are well-known. The impressive architecture and artwork from earlier times are also on display amid the ruins. It is a well-known historical location in Awantipora and one of the top tourist destinations in Srinagar. Anantnag, Padgampora, and Martand Sun Temple are other well-known tourist destinations to check out from Awantipora.
Enjoying a Shikara ride, staying in a houseboat, rafting at Sonmarg, Skiing at Gulmarg, Paragliding above the Valleys and tasting delicious local cuisine are some of the must-do activities while in Srinagar.
Be it summer, winter, or autumn, beautiful Srinagar will never fail to amaze you. The autumn months between August and October are the best time to visit as during this time weather is not too cold and is perfect for sightseeing. It’s best to avoid the summer months between March to June as it can get really hot. If you enjoy the cold weather, then the best time to travel is between November to March.
Taking into account all the parameters of safety, Srinagar is as safe as any other city in India. The huge rush of tourists during the last few years clearly shows that this place is safe not just for people traveling with family and friends but also for solo women travelers.