Srinagar, the largest city in Jammu and Kashmir is often referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth,’ and for good reason. Its regal beauty is quite something, thanks to the beautiful Chinar trees dotting the landscape, the apple orchard blooming in summer months, skiing slopes in winters, the peaceful Nigeen Lake, Mughal Gardens and the houseboats and Shikara ride on Dal Lake. However, if you had to pick, these are some of the must-have experiences in Srinagar.
A stroll along the Zero Bridge in Srinagar is one of the top things you must do. It is one of the oldest and most iconic bridges reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir, and is located on river Jhelum. The bridge joins Rajbagh to Sonwar; there are food kiosks here where you can enjoy a quick Kashmir snack.
Chashme Shahi Or The Royal Spring
Among the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar, the smallest and the most gorgeous is Chashme Shahi or ‘The Royal Spring.’ A string of perennial springs make it a picture perfect location for some much-needed peace; right at the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain ranges. This brilliant garden was made by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th-century.
The floating vegetable market
The mesmerising floating vegetable market on Dal Lake is a must-visit for every traveller. While it will require you to wake up at an ungodly hour (it’s on only from 4-6am), it’s totally worth the effort. You’ll see the Kashmiri men buying and selling fresh organic vegetables atop the boats. Additionally, the scene is complemented with birds flying in unison, the magnificent view of the horizon and hundreds of boats decorated with vegetables in vibrant colours.
A trip to Srinagar is incomplete without visiting the Chinar Park. From swimming to camping, you can indulge in activities amidst the incredible natural beauty thanks to the huge variety of flowers, Chinar trees, and a number of fountains.
The deep blue water of the Nigeen Lake is the best for a surreal houseboat or shikara ride as well as water-skiing, motor rides and sailing activities. Surrounded by willow and poplar trees, this lake looks straight out of a painting. The best time to visit this lake is between May to September.