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Srinagar and environs
The capital of Kashmir is Srinagar, a large city to the south of Lake Dal, which has permanent population of close 900,000. The name Srinagar includes both the land city and that part that is around the waters, on island and by rivers banks, and it is difficult to tell where water dwelling s end and terra firma begins.
Srinagar is a crowded city, made up of noisy, fascinating bazaars, crossed by numerous water ways which bustle with skikaras, houseboats, doongas, on which whole families live.
The majority of the people differ in their looks from the more familiar Indians of plains. Kashmiri have longish faces, large noses and are fair- skinned. Some are dashingly attractive and the women radiantly beautiful.
An interesting trip before breakfast ,at about 6am ,is to go via your Shikara to see the floating vegetable markets ,where many long punts gather laden with all sorts of vegetables
Places of Interest
This local and extensive lake is divided by causeways into four parts: Gagribal, lokutdal, Boddal and Nagin. Lokutdal and Boddal each have an island in the centre called Rup Lank and Sona Lank respectively. Rup lank is another name for a small island on which there are four chenar trees and a small pavilion called the Char Chenar Island, because of the four chenar trees.
Hari Parbat Fort
This fort is visible from almost anywhere on the lake. It is 5 Km from Srinagar to the north east. The fort is surrounded by trees and scrubs and was constructed by Mohammed Khan, an Afghan Governor of province, in AD 1592 -98. There are almond blossoms trees blooming in the spring. Permission to visit must be obtained from the Director of Tourism.
Situated on the western shore of Lake Dal, this Muslim shrine has special sanctity containing, as it does, a sacred hair of Prophet Mohammed. This relic is displayed to public on special occasion. Hazratbal lies opposite the Nishat Garden over the waters.
Originally built by Sultan Skindar in AD 14000, this mosque was later enlarged by his son, Zain-ul -Abidin. It is finished in Indo-Saracenic style, much of which has been destroyed by fire but re-build each of the three times this misfortune happened until present form was repaired during the Dogra Maharaja Partap Singh.
Build by the Emperor Jahangir for his wife, Nor Jehan, this beautiful garden, steeped in history and legends and song. One thinks of Pale Hands I loved Beside the Shalimar, famous Victorian parlor and concert song. The garden is wide and deep and has four terraces rising one above the other .The Canal runs through he middle supplied with water from a stream running from the mountain behind. There is a sound and light show run by the Tourism Department.
Over on the banks of Lake Dal, 11 km from Srinagar, with the Zabarvan Mountain at the back, this garden has fine views of land and, in the distance, of Hari Parbat Fort. Beyond is the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range. The garden was designed by one Asif Khan, brother of the wife of Emperor Jahangir, Nor Jehan in Ad 1633. The garden is built on same pattern as that of Shalimar.
On the top of hill having the same name, is rises 300 m above Lake Dal and dominates the surroundings. This Hindu temple goes back to the times of Emperor Asho9ka, around 200 BC. The present structure is thought to have been built by unknown Hindu devotee during the tolerant reign of Emperor Jahangir. The hill is also known as Takht-i-Sulaiman. An early morning climb is most rewarding- the best time before breakfast to see the sunrise.
This was once a Buddhist monastery but was converted into School Of Astrology by the Emperor Shah Johan’s son, Dara Shakoh. It is situated on a spur of mountain overlooking Lake Dal and has well kept specious gardens and is an ideal picnic place with walks around on the surround hillside. It is near the Chamashahi Garden to which it is connected by a small roadway. It is well lit at night at the whole place in illuminated during the early evening