Ringed by picturesque mountains, all snow capped and stunning in winters, Srinagar is a microcosm, a melting pot of nature and culture that envelops one in a mystique hitherto unbeknownst. The city houses the pretty Dal Lake, which almost magically transforms into a frozen landmass every winter.
Numerous house boats and jewellery shops fringe the lake, but what makes it even more special is the weather- cool and placid, with a chill in the air that seeps into your soul and soothes it.
Why We Love Srinagar?
What we loved about Srinagar most was the contrast between the new and the old city- with the new being symbolised with fancy cars and hotels, and the old soaked in gorgeous hand-embroidered pashmina shawls and some of the most fragrant saffron we’ve ever seen!
The mild summer climate is warm and welcoming, whilst the icy cold winter becomes a hub for all kinds of ice sports- from hockey to skiing- the range of options are endless. One of our secrets to a fulfilling trip was knowing the our way through the labyrinth of streets to treat ourselves to the finest delicacies in town. A short walk after dinner, through nearby parks, and we were good for a while to come!
Things to Do in Srinagar
Take a Shikara Ride
Situated in the mesmerizing backdrop of Himalayas, Dal lake is a hub for Shikara rides. To witness the grandeur of this place, one can take these traditional wooden boats and the boatman will show you the surrounding areas that have been bestowed with real beauty and grace.
One can board Shikara in a group or go for a solo ride. The cruise on Shikara will cost INR 400 per hour and additional INR 150 if you wish to get photographed in the traditional Kashmiri dress. No doubt this place makes you want to groove to ‘Jiya Re’ just like Anushka Sharma did in the famous Bollywood movie – Jab tak hai Jaan!
Wear a Phiran
The typical Kashmiri outfit for both men and women in Kashmir is the Phiran. People usually rent it to get photographs clicked but I would recommend you all to buy it instead. They give you such a bohemian look and the Kashmiri aesthetic that even after returning from Kashmir I used to wear it in the peak Winter week in Delhi. I got lots of compliments for the same. Also, it is like again feeling the tenderness of your trip to Kashmir.
Explore the Gardens
We have always heard that heavens have pristine lakes, enchanting gardens and divine aura… so does Srinagar. Be it Nishant Garden or the Mughal Garden, Shalimar Bagh or Charari Shareef, the exemplary landscape and built over fine taste and choice, all of these gardens are the ideal places for nature lovers.
Spend a Night in a Houseboat
This is a must experience thing. Living in houseboats can be a whole-new experience- living on the shimmering waters in an elegant bedroom and luxurious conveniences. The intricately carved wooden houseboat takes you to the world of stillness and peace.
Shop, Shop, Shop
I always make sure any of our itinerary includes some ‘Me-Shopping’ time. Firstly, retail therapy is always successful and secondly, collecting antique materials and souvenirs makes it easier to beat the nostalgia after returning to your home.
Heritage walk around Old Town Area
Walking at a new place is even better because one can notice the little things that we become oblivious off when traveling in a vehicle. While taking a stroll you get to meet lot of locals, sit on the pathways, talk about life and not to forget the shredding of calories while walking.
Stroll around Dal Lake Promenade
Kick off your day with a good dose of calm moments of solace by walking along the long Dal Lake promenade. The 15kms long promenade attract a lot of tourists so to escape the touts and crowds walk a wee bit further. Sit and watch the day go by.
Hike to the Shankracharya Temple
This holy shrine in Srinagar is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is known by various names like Pas Pahar and Takht-e-Suleiman. This temple has a lot of historical significance and here you will not only find people from Hindu religion worshipping Lord Shiva but also Christians who believe this place to be a “Prophet of Mankind.” We personally love going to such religious places during our trips because it gives us insight that despite big advancements there is a creator – the almighty who gave us life.
Catch Sunset at the Boulevard Street
Watching a sunrise or a sunset is a simply magical. When in Srinagar, head to the boulevard street and watch the sun set or rise in all its glory when the light illuminates the shikaras as well your own self.
It looks so stunning that you’ll end up spending a lot of time on the boulevard street, admiring the orange hues!
Visit the Hazratbal Shrine
On the bank of Dal lake lies this Muslim shrine – Dargah Hazratbal. Surrounded by lush green lawns, this holiest Muslim shrine in Kashmir is full of tranquillity. The sunlight that sieves through the curtains, sight of people praying whole-heatedly captured our hearts. Also, the top of this shrine gives you a panoramic view of the splendid beauty of Srinagar.
Visit The Abode of Fairies – Pari Mahal
This place has to be on the top of your go-to list. It is a part of the famous Mughal Garden where colourful flowers accentuate the beauty of the garden in summers and the dew drops and snowballs make it look serene in the winters. Such places are a proof that Kashmir is indeed a heaven on earth because it had an adobe of fairies too!
Go to Chai Jaai
You can find numerous cute cafes in Delhi but finding one in Kashmir was a treasure. This place had its own charm with delicious flavours of tea being served in the chilly weather while looking at spectacular beauty of nature.
Doing a simple thing like drinking chai with a light snack was also a delightful experience here. That is the thing about travelling, it makes you live every moment as a blessing!