A Travel Guide to Srinagar

Srinagar Airport Directory (SXR)
Baggage Allowance
15Kg
7Kg
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Max °

It’s not for nothing that poets and writers call this part of the country paradise on Earth. Towering mountains, pretty lakes, and gardens that could well be from Eden - Srinagar has it all. Srinagar is known for its picturesque Mughal gardens, shikara rides on Dal Lake, and shopping at the old city's bazaars. The city is home to several religious sites, including the revered Hazratbal Shrine, the Jamia Masjid Mosque, and the Shankaracharya Temple. The city is also home to many handicrafts, such as papier-mache, wood carvings, and textiles, which make for great souvenirs.

Best time to visit Srinagar

As it is an year-round destination, you may plan your trip any time you want - in the spring, when tulips come alive and the Dal Lake turns into a flower market, or the summer, when the orchards are rich with apples or the winter, when snow drapes a silent blanket all over the town. Regardless of when you go, this guide to Srinagar will have you covered.

Most spoken languages in Srinagar:

  • Kashmiri
  • Urdu
  • Hindi
  • Dogri
  • English

How to reachSrinagar

By air: After you book your flights to Srinagar you’ll arrive at Srinagar International Airport or Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport. It is the main airport, located 12 km away from the city. IndiGo operates more than 50 weekly flights between Srinagar and other key locations in the country.

By train: Srinagar Railway Station serves the city. However, it connects only to Anantnag, Qazigund and Baramulla. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station in Jammu that is well-connected to all major parts of the country through various trains.

By bus: Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) and private operators provide bus services, connecting the city to other towns and regions.

Getting around Srinagar: Auto-rickshaws and buses by JKSRTC as well as private operators are the most popular means of transportation in the city.

Baggage Allowance
15Kg
7Kg
Min °
Max °

Places to visit in Srinagar

  • Dal Lake: The Dal Lake is the real draw in Srinagar. Immortalised through generations of Bollywood films, the Dal typifies the romance of the city. Flowers on shikaras, lovers on houseboats and birds skimming its surface — it’s a sight that is sure to warm your heart.
  • Chashme Shahi: But time is at a premium, and so you must move on to Chashme Shahi, one of Srinagar’s many legendary Mughal Gardens. This one was built in 1632 AD around a spring whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties. The garden is the smallest among the four Mughal Gardens of Srinagar.
  • Shalimar Garden and Nishat Bagh: To visit, these places, you need to visit the periphery of the Dal Lake. The Shalimar Gardens and Nishat Bagh are located nearby. The Shalimar Gardens or the ‘garden of bliss’ is right across the road from Dal Lake with a snow-capped Pir Panjal Range view. Nishat Bagh on the other hand includes rare plants and long avenues of chinar and cypress trees. There’s never a bad time to visit these attractions, but autumn brings with it a rain of red foliage, making these gardens look more beautiful than ever.
  • Hazratbal Shrine: Backing onto Dal Lake, several kilometres north of the Old City, the Hazratbal Shrine – a large, white-domed 20th century mosque – enshrines Kashmir’s holiest Islamic relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, supposedly a beard hair of the Prophet Mohammed. The hair’s brief disappearance (in December 1963) nearly sparked trouble. It has resurfaced now, and all’s well with the world.
  • Shankaracharya: On top of the thickly forested Shankaracharya Hill is a small Shiva temple built from massive blocks of visibly ancient grey stone. Previously known as Takht-i-Sulaiman (Throne of Solomon), it’s now named for the sage Shankaracharya who reached enlightenment here in AD 750, but signs date the octagonal structure to the 5th century, and the site is even older.

Places to Eat in Srinagar

Shamyana Restaurant
Shamyana Restaurant

Located in the heart of the Srinagar city, this restaurant offers an array of delicious Kashmiri and other cuisines. It is a multi-cuisine restaurant with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The restaurant has a wide variety of dishes ranging from traditional Kashmiri dishes such as Rogan Josh to more international fare like Chinese and Italian. The restaurant is also well-known for its outstanding service and friendly staff. The prices are also quite reasonable.

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Chai Jaai
Chai Jaai

Located in the posh area of Srinagar, this restaurant serves a variety of North Indian dishes and a few other international cuisines. The restaurant has a comfortable seating arrangement and is known for its excellent taste. The ambiance is pleasing and the staff is courteous and friendly. They also have a wide variety of drinks and desserts that are sure to please any palate.

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Kashmir Food King
Kashmir Food King

This multi-cuisine restaurant serves a variety of Indian and international cuisines. It offers a wide range of dishes ranging from rich and creamy North Indian dishes to more exotic dishes like Thai and Chinese. The menu also includes a variety of vegetarian dishes. The restaurant is well-known for its excellent service and reasonable prices.

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The Chefs Table
The Chefs Table

This restaurant is known for its delicious and innovative dishes. It is an excellent place to try out new and original recipes. The restaurant has a cozy ambiance and the staff is extremely welcoming and friendly. The menu includes a wide variety of dishes ranging from traditional Kashmiri dishes to more exotic offerings. They also have a great selection of drinks and desserts that are sure to please.

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Shopping in Srinagar

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Srinagar

  • Sarah City Centre
  • Town Square
  • Sangarmaal City Centre

Street shopping in Srinagar

Whether it’s ethnic fabrics or exotic spices, Srinagar’s markets have plenty, provided you know where to look:

  • M Shah, Polo View Road:Famous for designing Nargis Fakhri’s outfits in the movie Rockstar, this store is frequented by locals looking for stylish Kashmiri fashion. It specialises in hand embroidery on wool, cotton and silk.
  • Saklain’s Coterie, Polo View Road:Rashid Ahmad Kawos’s store sells essential oils made from local produce such as lavender and walnut, and handmade soaps such as almond honey and royal saffron. You’ll also find saffron, dry fruit and a powdered version of Kashmiri kahwa for those who want to take this local aromatic tea back home.
  • M Sadiq & Sons, Polo View Road:Among the numerous paper-mâché and handicraft stores on Polo View street, this stands out for its quality and design.
  • Amin-Bin-Khaliq, Polo View Road:Kashmir has long been famous for its dry fruits, and this store is known for selling high-quality ones. The array of produce here is endless from smoked almonds, walnuts and saffron to dried cranberries, dates, and prunes.
  • Kashmir Loom, The Bund:Jenny Housego, a textile historian (and former member of the textile department at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London), started this company and locals Hamid, Zahid and Asaf Ali. Immersed in reviving the Kashmir shawl and Sozni traditions by creating collections in cashmere, silk and cotton, a visit to their studio is a must, but remember that it’s by appointment only.
  • Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Boulevard Road:This is a great place to buy Kashmiri products, as it ensures the artisans get their fair share of the profits. You’ll find apparel, handicrafts and woven carpets, as well as walnut wood furniture, which can be shipped all over the world.
  • Andraab, Humhama Chowk:Producing Pashmina pieces woven and embroidered by hand, its clientele includes celebrities such as Richard Gere and Judi Dench. The store is on the way to the airport, near Humhama Chowk, the perfect way to end your holiday.

Where to stay in Srinagar

Vivanta

Vivanta by Taj – Dal View, Kralsangri Hill Perched on a hill, the views from this hotel present Dal Lake in all its splendour, this one is for the hopelessly romantic. Feast on dazzling views: carpets of colourful tulips in spring, the snow-capped peaks of the Zabarwan range during winter and the golden chinars in autumn.

LalitGrand

The Lalit Grand Palace, Gupkar Road In its former avatar as a lavish palace, The Lalit hosted an excellent list of famous personalities, Lord Mountbatten being just one. It’s your turn now to live like a royal, with the Dal Lake and the mighty Himalayas around you.

Houseboats

Butt's Clermont Houseboats, Dal Lake Moored in a sheltered corner of the lake, the houseboats are built with cedar wood and furnished with Kashmiri objets d’art. Legend has it that this is one of the places Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison how to play the sitar. When you’ve had your fill of the unparalleled views—placid waters and surrounding snow-covered peaks—step directly onto Naseem Bagh from your houseboat–a beautiful Mughal garden where you can spot chinar trees that are over 400 years old.

Gurkha

WelcomHeritage Gurkha Houseboats, Nagin Lake A stay on these exquisitely carved wooden houseboats is a must, especially to kick-start your holiday. Spend your evenings with a hot cup of kahwa and watch locals sell their Kashmiri crafts right in the middle of the lake.

Nightlife in Srinagar

  • Lounge Seven
  • Dal Bar
  • Undress

More reasons to visit Srinagar

Srinagar walks

When you get over with history, take a step forward and discover how the best of Kashmir’s handicrafts are crafted. Go on a guided walk through the old city with Srinagar Walks. You can see artisans at work, in their homes, and even enjoy a cup of kahwa with their families after buying a pashmina shawl or two at prices that are substantially lower than at the shops.

Rozabal

At the north end of the Sufi shrine of Pir Dastgir Sahib in Khaniyar is another small, green shrine known as Rozabal. A highly controversial theory claims that the shrine’s crypt holds the grave of Jesus Christ. Tourists are actively discouraged from approaching, but the mere existence of this little place poses some intriguing questions.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden

It is among the recently added tourist attractions in Srinagar, attracting many tourists since its inception. Sprawling across 29.6 acres, it is the largest tulips garden in Asia. With 20 lakh flowers of several varieties of tulips, the place looks as magical as a painting. Its scenic backdrop with beautiful Dal Lake and majestic Zabarwan enhance its beauty further.

The Lalit Grand Palace

There’s more to Srinagar than just gardens, lakes and shikaras. Contemplate a visit to The Lalit Grand Palace to have a gin and tonic under the courtyard’s chinar tree. This spot was once the meeting site between Gandhi and the erstwhile ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, who formally joined Kashmir to the Indian union back in 1947. Could anything be more historical?

Places to visit near Srinagar

Sonmarg

A must-have getaway from Srinagar, you will be awestruck to see this mesmerising scenic place. Surrounded by glaciers and lakes, the place looks ethereal and an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Gulmarg

Crowned as the 7th best skiing destination in Asia, it is a hub for winter sports in India. Along with enjoying the enchanting beauty of this place, you can satisfy the sports bug in you with tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing, among other such sporting activities. While visiting Gulmarg, you must try Gulmarg Gondola, the world’s highest ropeway connecting Gulmarg to Mount Apharwat.

Patnitop

A beautiful hill station famous for its scenic surroundings, it’s another great getaway from Srinagar. Located in the Udhampur district, near Pir Panjal range, this place boasts of beautiful locations and landmarks attracting many tourists every year.

Festivals in Srinagar

Shikara Festival

This festival takes place in the month of July or August, where the shikaras are painted and dressed beautifully. The shikaras participate in Shikara Race, Dragon Boat Race and Canoe Polo Match. A number of other cultural programs are also organised, which will give you a sneak peek into the culture of Kashmir. Held in July and August, the Shikara Festival rejoices the iconic shikaras of the city of Srinagar. Beautifully adorned with flowers, lights, and decorations, it is truly a vibrant sight to witness the colourful shikaras gliding on the Dal Lake.

The Tulip Festival

With a widespread display of over 1.5 million tulips of various kinds, this festival lasts for only 15 days when the flowers are in full bloom.The state flourishes with tulips during the spring season with several Tulip Gardens in all of Kashmir. With the largest Tulip Garden in Asia in its kitty, Srinagar plays host to the great Tulip Festival every year. The festival boasts the variety of Tulips garnered here, and the sight is breath taking. This festival takes place at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar, Kashmir showcasing local handicrafts, delectable cuisine, cultural programs and, of course, Tulips!

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