Srinagar in Kashmir 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 Lake and Nagin lakes enhance its picturesque setting, while the changing play of the seasons and the salubrious climate ensures that the city is equally attractive to visitors around the year.
Kalhana, the author of ‘Rajtarangini’, states that Srinagri was founded by Emperor Ashoka (3rd Century BC). The present city of
was 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 illustrious 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-Kashmir 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 sovereignty of Kashmir from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, and in 1947 the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Srinagar, Kashmir as its capital, became part of the Indian Union.
Today Srinagar, Kashmir is a resort for the tourist who can experience, at first hand, the peculiar beauty of the valley that has attracted the Chinese, the Mughals and the British to it.
Its waterways with their own quaint lifestyle, the unique Houseboat, the blossoming 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
Legend has it that when Pravarasena decided to build himself a new capital, to choose the location he started walking at midnight and was confronted by a demon on the other side of the Mahasarit River. The demon spread his bent leg across the stream and dared the king to cross over it to the other side. The king cut off the leg with one stroke of his sword and calmly crossed.
The demon was delighted with the king’s boldness and told him to build the city where he would find the beginnings of a plan laid out for him. The next morning the king found the boundary lines drawn at the foot of Hari Parbat and built his city there. To this day the waters of the Dal Lake are separated from the Tsont-i-Kul by a Sathu or Bund that is shaped like a bent leg.
If one is longing for the delights of a houseboat holiday, then check out lakes of Srinagar, Kashmir to try one. Srinagar, Kashmir is a unique city because of its lakes – the Dal , Nagin and Anchar. The River Jhelum also flows through a part of the city.
Most houseboats on the Nagin and the Jhelum are situated on the banks of the lake, and can be accessed directly from land without the help of a Shikara. While all those on the Dal lake require a Shikara to get to and from them. Most houseboats on the Dal Lake are situated in long straggling rows; some face the boulevard, Srinagar’s exciting address, while others are situated singly or in groups of two and three.
City Of Lakes
Srinagar’s lakes are the reason why the city receives so many tourists. Not just expanse of water, the lakes are filled with houseboats, villages, narrow water canals, lotus and vegetable gardens and houses and shops.
Life on the lakes, as witnessed from the confines of a Shikara, is unique. It is possible to book a Shikara for the whole day and sightsee Nishat Garden, Nasim Bagh, Hazratbal Mosque, Pathar Masjid and Shah Hamdan’s Shrine, having a picnic lunch in the boat.
While Nagin Lake is quieter, the Dal Lake is full of local colour, with tourists being rowed in Shikara to shops selling every conceivable handicraft – all within the lake.