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Jammu and Kashmir: Srinagar
Srinagar is the prime destination for all travelers to the state and serves as the center for all places of Kashmir to visit. There is no train connection to Srinagar yet. The best way to reach Srinagar is by air from Delhi or Jammu. If you want to go by road, you will have to start from Jammu tourist reception center, which is 10km from Jammu. Buses of all kind run from here. You can also get share cars, or cars on complete hire. The distance is about 293 kms, and takes anywhere between 10hrs to 12 hrs. Buses ply from 7am in the morning. If you want to reach the same day to Srinagar, it is imperative that you board a bus that starts its journey by 9am. Else you will have to give a overnight stay at the driver’s preferred inn on the way. Most of them will visit Verinag the next morning, before reaching Srinagar. One can also embark a 30hour bus journey from Connaught place Delhi, by taking a J&K tourism bus. But making a 30 hr long bus journey may not be very appealing. Due to the disturbances, service is frequently marred in this route. If you are not planning to check en route places like Sanasar, then it is advised that you take the areal route.
Once you reach Srinagar, you will find taxis, autos, minibuses and buses plying on the streets. Autos and taxis run on contract fare. Shikaras are seen plying in lakes.
There are hundreds of hotels, spanning across all standards. But beware of touts and be sure to shrug them off before you reach any hotel, else their commission will be added to their rates. While checking in, pay only a days fare in advance, so that you always have the option to move out the next day, incase you find a better deal, and which you possibly will. To play safe, book your hotel in advance via internet or through Jammu Kashmir tourism offices in any metro city. Check out the booking links given at the end of this page. When you go shopping, do not take any escorts from the hotel, to avoid the commissions added to your merchandise’s costs.
The hotel rates peak at season and go rock bottom in off season. The months of April, May, June, September and October is season, the rest being off season.
Shopping: Srinagar is also the business headquarters of entire Kashmir, and the main attraction here are handicrafts, nuts and honey. The finest of wool works, carpets and wood carving are home to Kashmir. Honey is made from every kind of flowers. Poplar trees abound in the city. Remember to check out Kashmir Govt. emporium, Residency road and Govt. central market, exhibition ground. If you have a fair idea of price,then you can also try Lal chawk, Sherwani roar or Boulevard. But make sure you have a fair idea of price before you get into adventure shopping.
Touring the city: Reach the tourist reception center and get tickets for J&K Govt. transport or ITDC conducted Kashmir valley tourism. You will also get tourist taxis. Bicycles are also on hire for adventure tourism. For as low as Rs.200, you can check out the mughal gardens of the city in a day. The reception center can also book you into hotels of all standards, at govt. approved rates.
To go to places like Gulmarg and Wular lake, check out the Western Bus stand, while to go to places like Pahelgaon and Sonemarg, visit the Bhatmalu bus stand. To Visit Mughal Gardens, go to Eastern Bus Stand.
Day Tours From Srinagar:
- 4 hour tour covering Chasmasahi, Harwan, Shalimar, Hazratbal Mosque, Nagin lake, Jumma mosque and Nishat Bag. Departs everyday at 8am and at 4.30 pm.
- Achhabal, Kokernag and Daksum. Departs everyday at 8.30 am. No tours on Sunday.
- Avantipura and Pahalgam, departs everyday at 8.30am
- Gulmarg and Khilanmarg. Departs everyday at 9am.
- Pattan, Oatlab, Bandipur, Manasbal, Mata Khir Bhawani, Gandharbal and Wular Lake. Departs at 9am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Sonamarg, departs everyday at 8.30 am, in the months of Mid May to October only.
- Yusmarg, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Time, variable, but in the morning.
- Verinag, Wednesday and Sunday only, departing at 9am
- Kung Posh floating restaurant of J&KTDC from 12 to 3 pm and at 7pm to 10 pm with Lunch/Dinner on the waters of Dal lake, leaving from the Bouleavard.
Of course, it is much more comfortable to book cars for the journeys. Rates are subject to season and haggling.
To know about the above-mentioned tourist attractions, just check the links given below.
Remember to haggle in the entire Kashmir region, as the art has taken the form of a sport in this valley.
One must do activity at Srinagar is to take shikara ride over Dal lake and Jhelum. It will give you an experience that you will cherish for ever, and, keep your cameras ready.
Houseboats: It is one unique experience to stay in a boat that has all modern amenities, and is plush in decorations. J&K tourism has classified houseboats by standards. However, all the wastes of a houseboat will be emptied into the surrounding waters, which are stagnant. So it is advised that you stay only for 1 or 2 nights maximum in a houseboat. To take a houseboat of your choice, and to know more about them, visit http://www.houseboatowners.org/home.html .
It is advised that you prefer Nagin lake to Dal lake, for staying in houseboats.
Tour Advice: Visit the tourist center to book package tours to Gulmarg and Khilemarg (1 day), 1 day for Mughal gardens (which can also be done in shikara), sonemarg for 1 day, Wular lake for 1 day and Pahalgam for 1 day. Keep one day for visiting the city on foot, when you can also check out the Pratap Singh Museum, the Durga Mandir behind Reception center, and to soak in the beauty of the city. Thus it takes a minimum of 6 days for Srinagar. (Some prefer to spend a night or two at Pahalgaon which will increase your stay). You can leave on the 7th day.
View from Pari Mahal Mughal Garden
Grand Tulip Show
Click on the links to know more about the places:
Pahalgam Sonamarg, Yusmarg and Khajjiar
Wular Lake, Manasbal, Ganderbal and Khir Bhawani
Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens Gulmarg, Khilanmarg Sri Amarnath Yatra