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Indian Summer in Srinagar: Paradise Lost and Found

Shikaras lined up at Dal Lake
Shikaras lined up at Dal Lake
touristTourists at Boulevard Lane, Srinagars-at-boulevard-lane,-srinagar
touristTourists at Boulevard Lane, Srinagars-at-boulevard-lane,-srinagar
Foreign tourists at Boulevard Lane
Foreign tourists at Boulevard Lane
Boulevard Lane at Dawan
Boulevard Lane at Dawan
A crowded Nishat Bagh on a Sunday
A crowded Nishat Bagh on a Sunday
An idyllic boat ride, early morning at Dal Lake
An idyllic boat ride, early morning at Dal Lake

So Srinagar was once lamented as ‘paradise lost’ because people refused to visit for insurgency related issues. It is all in the past though. Now, tourists are returning with a vengeance Srinagar had not seen before.  Everyone seems to be having one great Indian summer and lots of fun. 

Srinagar was once a favorite Honeymoon Destination. There are few experiences more romantic than taking a Shikara ride at dusk on Dal Lake or more- staying in a houseboat. But as with most things Indian; too many tourists can spoil the serenity of the place. 

In fact there are so many Indian tourists that at one point I feel suffocated. It’s good for business but bad for travelers. There’s been considerable price hikes on hotels, transportation, boat rides and on almost everything. A normal Rs.500 hotel now charges around Rs.800-1000 at this peak season. There are so many people trying to make the best out of tourists by milking them down to every penny. 

Every hotel owner will just give you a helpless look and say, ‘It’s peak season. What can we do?’ That’s just a lame excuse but you can’t help it, you either take it or leave it. There’s no middle path. Indian travel in big numbers; with families and relatives and I’ve been seeing a lot of them creating chaos wherever they go. Every people have different interpretation for fun and you’ve to respect that but I would never travel to places too crowded. 

Here are some travel tips to make the best out of your travel during peak season:

* Avoid places like parks and popular destinations on weekends as most of them are filled to the point of exploding.

* Explore Boulevard Lane early in the morning and watch the lake and sunrise.

* Stay in hotels away from Boulevard Lane where hotels are overly priced. 

Srinagar has everything to which a tourist looks forward. It is a perfect summer getaway; where elsewhere the plains are reeling under scorching heat. The weather is favorable, the landscape beautiful and there’s no portentous sign of all the violence and curfews that have tormented Srinagar for some time. All the chaos seemed settled for now and Paradise found temporarily. 

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