Alexander Smith, the famous poet, once rightly said, “In the entire circle of the year there are no days as delightful as those of a fine October”. Mild mornings and gentle breeze, sunny afternoons and the windy nights – everything about ‘October’ is pleasing. One destination that particularly comes alive during this month is Srinagar. Referred to as the most romantic place in North India, Srinagar attracts number of explorers every year. With limited rainfall and the onset of winter, the whole valley blossoms up during this season. Here are a few locations that one can visit-
1. Dal Lake
Mainly referred to as the jewel of Srinagar, Dal Lake is a pride of the residents of this city. The crystal clear water spreads beautifully across the vast area, which reflects the misty peaks of Pir Panjal Mountains. Sail on the lake by renting a shikara (a light boat). The thrill seekers would be happy to know that Dal Lake is the hub of adventure sports such as water skiing and hot air balloon riding. Trek to the Adi Shankaracharya hill from where you can witness the awe-striking view of the whole lake. Topping the list of the best places to visit in Srinagar, Dal Lake is the finest manifestation of the serene beauty that this place offers.
2. Chashma Shahi and Pari Mahal
Sprawling over 1.7 acres on the banks of Dal Lake is the famous flower bed named Chashma Shahi Garden with a lesser known fact of being named after a mountain spring. It is the smallest yet the most colorful terraced lawn in Srinagar. To witness the bird’s eye view of the vibrant flowers and carved water features, which is known to have medicinal properties, the visitors are advised to climb up the terrace of the lawn. Less than 2 km away from Chashma Shahi is a seven terraced garden named ‘Pari Mahal’, which is known as ‘The Abode of Fairies’. Inside the garden, there is a Buddhist monastery, which has been now renovated as a school of astrology.
3. Hazratbal Shrine
Housing the Moi-e-Muqqadus (preserved sacred hair) of Prophet Mohammad, Hazratbal is a revered shrine in the city of Srinagar. As the name suggests, ‘Hazrat’ meaning holy and ‘Bal’ meaning place, this is the holiest Muslim shrine in the mesmerizing Kashmir valley. This epitome of respect for the Prophet is also a sight offering a breathtaking view of Srinagar. During October, which is the best time to visit Srinagar, the shrine features a scene of gushing Dal Lake and the Himalayan mountain ranges. The blend of Kashmiri and Mughal architecture of the mosque is worth exploring while you’re here.
4. Hari Parbat
Dating back to the 6th century, Hari Parbat is a spiritually significant fortress of Srinagar, which was initially constructed by the Mughal Emperor- Akbar. From a temple to mosque and Sikh holy shrine, this fort has it all proving to be the epitome for spiritual seekers. On the west of the fort is the Sharika Devi Temple, on the south is the mosque dedicated to Makhdoom Sahib and Akhund Mullah Shah and on the premises is the Chatti Patshahi Gurudwara. Click beautiful pictures of the elaborated domes, multi-columned façade and carved walls of Hari Parbat.
Majestically oriented on the banks of Jhelum River, Khanqah-e-Moula is yet another Muslim Shrine of Srinagar. Constructed by Sultan Sikander, this shrine came into existence in the year 1395. The Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu styled wooden architecture makes it one of the best places to visit in Srinagar. Just as you reach the doorway, you will notice the ‘1384 AD’ carved above marking the death of the Sufi saint, Mir Syed Ali Hamdan who had spread the Islam words by playing instruments.