- GENERAL INFORMATION
- Dal Lake
- Shankaracharya Temple
- The Hazratbal Shrine
- Mughal Gardens
The Kashmir Valley was beautifully and accurately described by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir who exclaimed “ gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto hamin asto , hamin asto ( if there is heaven on Earth , it is here, it is here , it is here) “
Srinagar ( 5675ft /1730m) , the capital of Jammu and Kashmir is a large town with a population with over 3,00,000. It is famous for the Dal and Nagin Lakes and the Houseboats on both these water bodies.
Dal Lake is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir or “Srinagar’s Jewel” The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
The shore line of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometers, is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometers and is part of a natural wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometers (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin (although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.
The Shankaracharya Temple also known as the Jyesteshwara temple or Pas-Pahar by Buddhists or Takht-e-Sulaiman (Throne of Solomon) by Muslims, is situated in the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is on the summit of the same name at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the plain and overlooks the city of Srinagar. This temple was built in the memory of the Shankaracharya who came to Kashmir from Kerala some 1200 years ago to revive Hinduism. From the top of the Shankaracharya Hill, you can have a panoramic view of the valley, city, lakes. The temple dates back to 200 BC, although the present structure probably dates back to the 9th century AD. Devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva, it is believed to have been built by Raja Gopadatya in 371 BC. During those times, the temple was known as Gopadri.
The Hazratbal Shrine is a Muslim shrine in Hazratbal, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India. It contains a relic, the Moi-e-Muqqadas, believed by many Muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Nishat, Shalimar and Chashma Shahi are the three famous Mughal gardens which are situated around the Dal Lake. These Mughal gardens are beautifully laid out with fountains and cascading streams and terraced lawns. These Mughal Gardens were the Mughal Emperors’ concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnic and excursion. The Chashma Shahi is the first Mughal Garden which is set into the slopes of its circling hills. This tastefully laid garden commands a magnificent view of the Dal Lake below and surrounding mountain ranges. Chashma Shahi means the Royal Spring and is attributed to Shah Jahan. The original garden was laid out by Shah Jahan in 1632 AD. The Chashma Shahi is named after a natural spring that flows here. The spring waters are believed to have curative and digestive properties. The Pari Mahal is situated nearby which was the Sufi Garden College. Pari Mahal, once a Buddhist monastery and royal observatory, was converted into a School of Astrology by Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, Dara Shikoh. The Pari Mahal has a charmingly laid out garden and is a five minutes drive from Chashma Shahi. Nishat and Shalimar are very large gardens, located much further down the boulevard. Both these gardens are built on a symmetrical plan of central waterways with fountains dividing a series of garden terraces. Nishat Bagh was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan. Nishat is the larger of the two gardens and has an impressive plantation of Chenar trees on its highest terrace. The trees were planted during the Mughal period perhaps by the kings themselves. Nishat Bagh is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains in its backdrop. This ‘garden of bliss’ commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. The Shalimar Garden is the most famous garden due to its romantic association with Emperor Jahangir and his lovely queen Noor Jahan. This garden was built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jehan. An interesting Sound and Light Show on the love story of the two has been mounted here. The central piece on the upper terrace of Shalimar is the Baradari. It was here that Jahangir relaxed with his beautiful bride surrounded by a million roses and the heady smell of all of them. Shalimar garden is a beautiful garden with sweeping vistas over gardens and lakes, and shallow terraces. The garden is 539 m by 182 m and has four terraces, rising one above the other. A canal lined with polished stones and supplied with water from Harwan runs through the middle of the garden. The fourth terrace is the best terrace, and was once reserved for royal ladies.