Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons - always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the landscape from the north and south respectively. They are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys, forested with orchards and decorated by lily-laden lakes.

The Mughals aptly called Kashmir 'Paradise on Earth' where they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the valley's cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar's many formal, waterfront gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these gardens, and the rivalries that centred around their ownership. They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite artisanship among thes people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world.

Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700 m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favoured ones.

Srinagar- The Lake City
Srinagar 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 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 Srinagar 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 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 Amrjtsar, and in 1947 the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Srinagar as its capital, became part of the Indian Union. Today Srinagar 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.

Places of Interest
The Dal Lake -
The Dal lake and river Jehlum is series of interconnected lakes and waterways make Srinagar a visula delight. The Lake is an intricate maze of waterways and open streches of water. They are delight to explore, especially in the little roofed boats called the Shikara's. Within the lake are two islands which are popular picnic spots. Sona Lank ( Golden Island) and Rupa Lank (Silver Island) both are also known as Char Chinar because they each have four chinar trees on them planted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

The Nagin Lake -
The "Jewel in the ring" is the Prettiest part of Dal lake. Crystal Clear, spring fed, away from the humdrum of busy life. The lake is supposed to be the best lake in the whole of Kashmir. Enjoy the beautiful view of mountains around the vale of Kashmir.Apart from its beauty and tranquility, Nagin Lake is an ideal place for surf-riding, water skiing, swimming and boating. Beautiful birds can be seen in and around Nagin lake and even from the houseboats as well.

Shalimar Garden (Abode of Love) -
The splendid garden with fountains and a water channel was laid out by Emperor Jehangir for his wife, Nur Jahan (Light of the World) in 1616and was extended in 1727 A.D by Shah Jehan, also known as "Abode of Love". During the Mughal period the top-most of the four terraces were reserved for the Emperor and the ladies of the court. A nightly 'Son et lumiere' (Light and Sound Show) brings alive its royal past. (Currently the Show is Suspended by the Authorities).

Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) -
The Nishat bagh has a superb view across the lake to the Pir Panjal. It was designed in 1633 by Asif Khan the brother of Nur Jahan. This "Garden of Bliss" with ten terraces has many carefully laid out flower beds and magnificent lawns and commands a magnificent view of the lake and snow capped Pir Panjal Mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. The trees here and all around Srinagar are the Celebrated Chinar, originally imported from Persia. In late summer and fall these mighty Chinar trees turn a gorgeous reddish-golden color.

Chashme Shahi ( The Royal Spring) -
Chashme Shahi is smallest of all the Moughal gardens at Srinagar. The garden was laid in 1632 by Shah Jahan and build by Dara Shikon. Is is famous for the natural spring, the water has a property of high digestion . The people from various visit to cherish the natural water. The garden is terraced with fountains laid right through the middle. The garden is host to multiple kinds of fruit and flower plants.

Shankaracharya Temple -
It is located at 1100ft.above surface level of the main city on the Shankaracharya hill, also known as Takht-e- uleiman. The shiva temple, as Kalhana belives, was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C.and as such is the oldest shirne in Kashmir. Dogra ruler,Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs upto the temple. In 1925,the temple was electrifed. The temple, besides a prominent religious place of Hindus, is of great archaeological importance. The temple commands a magnificient panoramic view of the Srinagar city.

Jamia Masjid -
It is one of the oldest and the most spacious of all the mosques in Kashmir, situated in the heart of the city.The foundation of the mosque, an architectural wonder. This impressive wooden mosque is notable for the 300 plus pillars supporting the roof, each made of a single Deodar tree trunk. The present mosque, with its green and peaceful inner courtyard, was rebuilt to the original design after a fire in 1674. The Mosque has had a chequered history: first built by Sulan Sikander in 1385, it was enlarged by Zain-ul-Abidin in 1402 and then destroyed by fire in 1479. Rebuilt in 1503, it was destroyed by another fire during the Jehangir's reign.

Hari Parbat Fort -
The fort was originally built between 1592-1598 during the rule of Emperor Akbar. The present constructed by the Afghan Governer,Atta Mohammad Khan(1808-10),on the top of the Hari Parbat or Koh-e-Maraan hill. The architecture of the Fort is similar to that of the forts in Central Asia. It is clearly visible from the top of Shankaracharya Hill.

Hazratbal Shrine -
The Hazratbal Shrine, which is situated on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar and is just at a walking distance from Nagin Lake. This unmatched reverence is anchored in the love and respect for the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him), whose Moi-e-Muqqadas, (the sacred hair or Holy Relic) is preserved here. The shirne is known by many names including Hazratbal, Assar-e-Sharief, Madinat-us-Sani, Dargah Sharief and Dargah. Sadiq Khan,laid out a garden here and constructed a palacial building, Ishrat mahal or Pleasure House, in 1623. The construction of the present marble structure was started by the Muslim Aquaf Trust headed by Late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (The Last Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir) in 1968 and completed in 1979.The Moi-e- uqqadas is displayed on various occasions related with the life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his four holy companions (R.A).

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