Discovering Srinagar’s Tourist Places: Exploring Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, and Shankaracharya Temple

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is a rich place concerning history, culture, and natural beauty. Srinagar lies in the heart of the Kashmir Valley and has been a seat of power for ages, attracting various rulers, poets, and travelers. Starting from serene Dal Lake to magnificent Mughal Gardens and the age-old Shankaracharya temple, Srinagar displays its richness in different forms. In this blog post, we will take you through the historical events that happened in Srinagar as well as the most famous tourist attractions in Srinagar.

Dal Lake: The Jewel of Srinagar

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No visit to Srinagar is complete without a leisurely shikara ride on the pure waters of Dal Lake. This lake, called the ‘Jewel of Srinagar’, has had its name for years and has been a symbolic figure of natural beauty in this town. The lake, which spans more than 15 kilometers and features floating gardens, houseboats, and bustling markets, offers an enchanting view of the encircling mountains.

History: History indicates that Dal Lake has been an integral part of the culture and history of Srinagar for many centuries. It is said that it was originally a swamp turned into a beautiful water body by King Pravarasena II in the 6th century. Across the ages, local communities have depended on Dal Lake as their source of livelihood, while tourists always search for peace within its calm waters.

Activities: While at Dal Lake, one can indulge in various activities such as taking rides on Shikaras, staying in houseboats, or shopping in floating markets. Similarly, you can visit Mughal Gardens with highly detailed designs located along its shores, like Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, and Chashme Shahi, among others, reflecting how culturally rich the city is.

Mughal Gardens: A Testament to Mughal Grandeur

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Mughal architecture and landscaping are known for the lovely Mughal gardens, which are in Srinagar. These gardens were built during the time of the Mughal emperors. They have a harmonious amalgamation of Persian, Islamic, and Indian styles with terraced lawns, falling fountains, and sweet-scented flower beds.

Shalimar Bagh: The largest Mughal garden in Srinagar, Shalimar Bagh, was commissioned by Emperor Jahangir for his wife Nur Jahan. This garden occupies an area of 31 acres and is divided into three terraces, each representing some aspect of paradise. The Chinese trees lined the water channel right in the middle of the garden, along with pavilions.

Nishat Bagh: Nishat Bagh, constructed by Asif Khan, sister to Empress Nur Jahan, is renowned for its beautiful view of Dal Lake and Zabarwan Mountains seen from its terrace-like structure. In this garden, there are several flower beds full of colours; it consists of lush greenery as well as marble pavilions that are exquisitely carved, making it a popular place for excursions or slow walks.

Chashme Shahi: Also known as the “Royal Spring,” Chashme Shahi is famous for its natural spring and refreshing waterfalls. This garden was built by Shah Jahan in the 17th century. It has an extremely high medicinal value, which made the Mughals spend much of their leisure time here.

Shankaracharya Temple: A Beacon of Spiritualism

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The Shankaracharya Temple is one of the most ancient and revered Hindu temples in the region. It stands on top of Shankaracharya Hill and overlooks Srinagar city. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and according to legend, it was built by Adi Shankaracharya, a philosopher-saint, in the 9th century AD, when he visited Kashmir.

History: The temple’s history goes back more than a thousand years. Adi Shankaracharya is said to have visited Kashmir to propagate his teachings of Advaita Vedanta and established this very temple on top of this hill as an honor to Lord Shiva. The temple has been remodeled at various times over the centuries by several rulers, including the Mughals and Dogra kings.

Architecture: The way the building combines Persian and Hindu architectural styles makes it a masterpiece of architecture. Its stone staircases, elaborate carvings, and tall spires illustrate the beauty and spirituality inherent in the ancient craftsmanship typical of Kashmir. From its location, visitors can view Dal Lake, among others, and Srinagar city alongside other Himalayan mountain peaks.

Spiritual Significance: A devotee’s visit to this temple is like a sacred journey into oneself, wherein the blessings of God Almighty can be felt. This temple’s Garba Griha contains a Shiva Lingam, which signifies the cosmic energy of Lord Shiva, and the worshippers come here for health, wealth, and happiness.

Tips for Exploring Srinagar’s Historic Landmarks:

  1. Respect Local Customs: In religious places such as Shankaracharya Temple, one must dress decently and respect local customs and traditions.
  2. Plan Ahead: Just before setting foot in Mughal Gardens or any other tourist attraction in Srinagar city, know when they open and how much admission costs. Some gardens may have specific visiting hours or entry restrictions.
  3. Engage with Locals: Take time to mingle with the locals around you who have information about the places you visit. Such people tell amazing stories of their city’s heritage that can never be found elsewhere.
  4. Stay Safe: Srinagar is a relatively safe destination, but it’s always advisable to exercise caution and follow local guidelines, especially when exploring remote areas.

Exploring Srinagar’s rich history is a journey through centuries of culture and heritage. A perfect base for this exploration is the Lemon Tree Hotel in Srinagar, which offers both comfort and convenience.

Set in the heart of the city, the Lemon Tree Hotel is conveniently located just 40 minutes from the airport. The vibrant hotel is designed in traditional Kashmiri style architecture, with classic wood frontages, stained glass windows, carved eaves, and wooden sloping roofs adding a unique charm to the aesthetically designed interiors of the hotel.

Located 15 minutes from Boulevard Road and just off the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the hotel is well connected to the skiing slopes of Gulmarg (60 km), the Kolahoi glacier of Pahalgam (82 km), snow-covered Sonmarg (88 km), and the magnificent gateway to the Kashmir Valley, Baramulla (63 km). It also provides easy access to the revered Kheer Bhawani Temple (32 km), the famous Mughal Gardens (10–12 km), and Wular Lake (72 km), one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia.

By exploring Srinagar’s tourist attractions, historical sites, gardens, and cultural heritage while staying at the Lemon Tree Hotel, you’ll create unforgettable memories of this enchanting city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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