Srinagar is the summer capital of the Indian city Jammu & Kashmir. The city of Srinagar lies on the banks of the Jhelum river, which is a tributary of the Indus river. Houseboats, handicrafts and dry fruits make Srinagar, India a popular tourist destination.

Some of the places tourists frequently visit in course of their Srinagar travel are Hazratbal Shrine, Shankaracharya Temple, Khanqah-e-Mollah, Khir Bhawani Temple, Jama Masjid, Chatti Padshahi, Nishat Garden, Cheshma Shahi and Pari Mahal, Dal Lake, Shalimar Garden and Sonmarg.

Jammu & Kashmir has a multifaceted culture. The performing traditions of Srinagar includes Sufiana music, Chakri, a popular form of folk music of Kashmir and Bhand Pather, a combination of play and dance in a satirical style.

Adventure tourists can look forward to plenty of excitement in Srinagar. They can take part in activities like trekking, golfing, fishing, skiing, river rafting and paragliding. Amarnath Yatra and trips to Gulmarg and Sonmarg are some of the popular trekking tours. Gulmarg is the best place for skiing.

Srinagar hotels are categorized into A Class, B Class and C Class hotels. Moreover, Heritage hotels can also be found here. The houseboats also provide accommodation to tourists visiting Srinagar. Many reputed hotels are located near the Dal Lake and the City Center.

Shawls, carpets, rugs, walnut wood products, copper and silverware are some of the popular shopping items in Srinagar. Polo View, Badshah Chowk and Lal Chowk are some of the popular shopping places.

Air travelers can land at Srinagar airport while travelers coming by rail have to get down at the nearest railhead at Jammu. Srinagar can also be reached by road, since it is connected by a network of roadways.

History: The history of Srinagar dates back to the first Century, when the region was ruled by the Kushan kings. The city was founded by the king Pravarasena the Second, in the 3rd Century. Subsequently, the city was under several rulers like King Ashoka, Mihirkula, Vikramaditya and the nomadic Huns from central Asia. It was only in the 14th Century that the beautiful valleys of Srinagar came to the notice of Muslim rulers like Yusuf Shah. After this, the reign of the third Mughal emperor Akbar followed. Later the area was conquered by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who introduced Sikhism here. With the arrival of the British, the Treaty of Lahore established Gulab Singh as the independent ruler of Srinagar. Post Independence, Jammu and Kashmir came under the Union of India, with Srinagar declared the capital.

Geography: Covering a total area of roughly 300 sq km, Srinagar stretches on both sides of the River Jhelum, which is more popularly known as the Vyath in the valleys of Kashmir. It is a tributary of River Indus, one of the oldest rivers in the Indian subcontinent. Wular, Anchar, and Nagin are some of the lakes surrounding the city. At the backdrop of the city are the mighty Himalayas.

Demographics: As per the census of 2011, Srinagar has a total population of around 2 million, 60% of which is urban. The literacy rate is a decent 71%, also being the average in both urban and rural areas. The male and female population is 53% and 47% of the total, respectively. Almost 90% of the dwellers follow Islam, with both Sunnis and Shias among the Muslim inhabitants. Hindus come next, most of them Gujjars or Kashmiri pundits who claim to be the original inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir.

Climate: Due to its geographical position and moderate elevation, the city remains much cooler during the summer months when the rest of the country witnesses oppressive heat. Temperature during summers does not go beyond 30 degrees Celsius. Winters are extreme, with average daily temperature dropping to 2 degrees Celsius, especially in the month of January. However, the cold can be felt right from the month of October. Snowfalls are common during winter months, which sometimes are excessive and cause roadblocks and landslides. Rainfall starts from late June and continues till the end of September, not exceeding 710 mm even during peak time. Autumn is the driest season in Srinagar.

Government and Politics: The entire region of Srinagar is divided into two tehsils or towns: Srinagar North and Srinagar South. There is only one development block in the district, along with three gram panchayats. The total number of villages in the entire district is 136. There is only one municipal council in the city and it is run by the only municipal committee, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. The Srinagar parliamentary seat is formed by the district of Srinagar, along with the adjoining district of Budgam. There are eight assembly constituencies in the city, namely, Hazratbal, Sonwar, Zadibal, Iddgah, Amirakadal, Khanyar, Habbakadal and Batmaloo. The area has been under longstanding political unrest, with local bandhs and strikes being common.

Education: Some of the reputed schools in Srinagar are the Modern High School, Burn Hall School, Oak High School, Woodlands House School, New Era Public School, Greenland School, Indian Army School, etc. The colleges of Srinagar are affiliated to the University of Kashmir, one of the most reputed universities in the country. The university offers degree courses on several subjects-science, commerce and arts-at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. Some of the other prestigious colleges of the city are: Kashmir Law College, National Institute of Technology, Department of Management studies, Government Medical College (GMC) Kashmir, and many more.

Economy: The economy of Srinagar is dependent mainly on agriculture and tourism. Sericulture is one of the major industries, where several kinds of silkworms are reared for producing the finest quality of silk for which Kashmir is famous. Cold-water fisheries are another major occupation of the inhabitants. Kashmiri wood, which is known as the Kashmir Willow, is used all across the country for manufacturing cricket bats. Saffron farming and horticulture are also part of the mainstay of economy. Produces like apples, cherries, barley, millet, corn, oranges, peaches, rice, pears, sorghum, etc., are major items of exported. Industry is difficult to set up here due to the mountainous terrain and power shortage.

Culture: The culture of Srinagar, like its historical past, is rich. Music and performing arts form an integral part of life here. Chakri, a highly popular folk music used to depict love stories and fairy tales, is popular among the localities. It involves the use of musical instruments like sarangi, garaha, rabab, and the harmonium. Bhand Pather and Laishah, which are songs sung with a comic tone to represent the current social and political scenario, are also popular. Other forms of music and dance are Geetru, Hafiz Nagma, Dandaras, etc. Srinagar is world-famous for handicrafts, especially the Pashmina shawls and beautifully crafted stoles. Navroz festival, Urs, and Ramzan are some of the Islamic festivals celebrated widely in Srinagar. Baisakhi, Lohri, and Ganga Ashtami are the festivals celebrated by other communities.

Language: The most widely spoken language in Srinagar is Kashmiri, which is also the official language of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It belongs to the family of Indo Aryan languages and has a popular name in the valleys: the Koshur. Since most of the city has a Muslim population, Urdu is the second most spoken language in the city. In fact, most of the schools in Srinagar have Urdu as the medium of instruction, especially in the madrasas. Hindi is spoken by the Pandits and the Gujjars, and is easily understood by the natives.

Last Updated on : 17/10/2013