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Srinagar
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The valley of Kashmir, in which Srinagar is located, is also referred to as being a heaven on earth. The Mughal emperor Jahangir was so captivated by the beauty of this valley that he exclaimed "Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto" (If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here). There are a number of tourist places in and around Srinagar. The Dal Lake is an important tourist attraction of Srinagar. It is located on the eastern end of the city. The Dal Lake comprises of a series of lakes, including the Nagin Lake some 8 km from the city center. One can enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains surrounding Srinagar from this lake. Travelers can enjoy taking a ride on traditional Kashmiri boats or the Shikaras to explore the intricate maze of waterways of this lake.

The other major attractions of Srinagar city are the well laid out Mughal styled gardens. The Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh are beautiful gardens located to the far eastern side of the Dal Lake. One can take a stroll amongst these green and attractive gardens and enjoy the waterworks within them.

The temple of Shankaracharya is another important place to visit in Srinagar. Jaluka, the son of emperor Ashoka, built it in the 3rd century BC.

PLACES AROUND SRINAGAR

There are number of interesting places to visit near Srinagar. Most of these places are located amongst picturesque settings of the mighty Himalayas. Apart from natural beauty, they offer a number of adventure activities to the traveler. Gulmarg is 52 km southeast of Srinagar and is located at an altitude of 2730 m above sea level. In summers, the meadows of Gulmarg are laden with flowers. In winters, the snow-covered slopes of Gulmarg turn into a skiing resort, which attracts the traveler seeking adventure and thrill. It is a popular trekking destination and boasts of the world's highest golf course.

Sonamarg is 80 km northeast of Srinagar and is located at an altitude of 2740 m. It is set in a valley amongst glaciers and placid lakes. The flower?laden meadows, panoramic view of the lofty snow?covered Himalayan peaks, and a number of trekking and hiking trails have made Sonamarg a popular tourist destination.

Pahalgam is 95 km east of Srinagar and is located in the quiet Liddar valley, at a height of 2130 m. It provides an ideal setting for activities like hiking, trekking and fishing. It is also the starting point of the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.

The handicrafts repertoire of Kashmir is incomplete without woolen shawls and woodcarving. Travelers can purchase richly embroidered woolen shawls in all colors and intricate designs in Srinagar. Apart from regular woolen shawls, one can also buy Pashmina shawls (made from the hair of ibex) and shahtoosh shawls (made from the hair of the Tibetan antelope), which are highly valued shawls made in Kashmir. As Kashmir is the only state in India where walnut trees grow, craftsmen here create intricate carvings on walnut wood to make items like tables, chairs, stools, fruit bowls, partitions, etc., that have rich floral and trellis patterns carved on them.

Best time to visit : April to June

 
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