and the largest city in the state, Srinagar (altitude 1768 meters)
is famous for its canals, houseboats and Moghul gardens.
The city has long been a center for the arts and learning, having
had a university for hundreds of years. Sri means beauty or
wealth of knowledge and nagar means city. The city was
originally founded by the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka during the
3rd century BC. His old city is marked by the present
village of Pandrethan. Today's city was founded by Pravarasena
II (79-139 AD) who named it Praparapura and built it practically
contiguous with the old capital, which was called Srinagari.
Legend has it that when Pravarasena decided to build a new capital,
to choose the location he started walking at midnight and was
confronted by a demon on the other side of the Mahasarit River.
The demon spread his bent leg across the stream and dared the
King to cross over it to the other side. The King cut
off the leg with one stroke of his sword and calmly crossed.
The demon was delighted with the King's boldness and told him
to build the city where he would find the beginnings of the
plan laid out for him. The next morning the King found the boundary
lines drawn at the foot of Hari Parbat and built his city there.
To this day the waters of the Dal Lake are separated from the
Tsont-I-Kul canal by a sathu or boundary that is shaped like
a bent leg. Praparapura is recorded in Chinese annuals
by traveller Hiuan Tsang who visited the city in about 630 AD
and described it as extending about four km from north to south
and about two km from east to west along the right bank of the
Jhelum. King Ananta (1028-63 AD) was the first to transfer
his royal residence to the left bank of the river.
Srinagar is initially a little confusing since Dal Lake, which
is so much a part of the city, is fairly strange. It's
actually three lakes, separated by dykes or 'floating gardens',
and at timeOn the lake are houseboats that are definitely firmly
attached to the bottom, and houses look like they could
float away. Most of the houseboats are at the southern
end of the lake, although you will also find them on the Jhelum
river and north on Nagin Lake. The Jhelum River makes
a loop around the main part of town, and a canal connecting
the river with Dal Lake converts that part of town into as island.
Along the south of this Island is the 'Bund' a popular walk.
Here you will find the post office and the handicrafts center.
The large Tourist reception Center is just north of the Bund.
There are many restaurants, shops, and hotels in the Island
part of the town. The more modern part of
Srinagar stretches south of Jhelum while the older parts of
town are north and north-west.
The Boulevard, running alongside Dal Lake, is an important address
in Srinagar with the shikara ghots providing access to the houseboats,
hotels, restaurants and shops along the way.s it's hard to tell
where the lakes end and land begins.
Places and Monuments
The district abounds in places of historical and archaeological
significance, important among which are:
The Hazrathalbal Shirne, which is situated on the left bank
of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar. This unmatched reverence
is anchored in the love and respect for the Prophet Mohammad(peace
be upon him), whose Moi-e-Muqqadas, (the sacred hair) is preserved
here. The shirne is known by many names including Hazrathbal
, Assar-e-Sharief, madinat-us-Sani,Dargah Sharief and Dargah.Sadiq
Khan,laid out a garden here and constructed a palacial building,Ishrat
mahal or Pleasure House, in 1623. The construction of the present
marble structure was started by the Muslim Aquaf Trust headed
by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1968 and completed in 1979.The
Moi-e-Muqqadas is displayed on various occasions related with
the life of the Prophet and his four holy companions.
The shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan or Khanqah-e-Moulla is one of the
oldest muslim shrines in kashmir situated on the bank of the
river Jhelum in the old city.
It is one of the oldest and the most spacious of all the mosques
in Kashmir, situated in the heart of the city.The foundation
of the mosque, an architectural wonder was laid by Sultan Sikander
in 1398 A.D.The area of the mosque is 384ftX381ft. spacious
enough for over thirty thousand people to offer prayers at a
The tomb of the mother of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abideen(1420-70) popularly
known as Badshah is a splendid representative piece of the Shahmiri
architecture. The monument,situated on the right bank of the
river Jehlum near Zaina Kadal is the only one of its kind in
and around kashmir which,compared to the wooden structures of
the shahmiri period,is a wholly brick structure.
Hari Parbat Fort
Another historical monument of Srinagar is the Hari Parbat Fort
constructed by the Afghan Governer,Atta Mohammad Khan(1808-10),on
the top of the Hari Parbat or Koh-e-Maraan hill. The architecture
of the Fort is similar to that of the forts in Central Asia.
The Garden,15 Kms from the city center, was built by Emperor
Jahangir for his beloved wife, Nurjahan. The gardens with four
terraces is 539 by 182 meters and gets water from Harwan through
a canal lined with fountains.The fourth terrace was once reserved
for royal ladies.
Queen Nur Jahan's brother,Asif Khan,laid the Garden in 1633
A.D. It is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake in the backdrop
of the Zabarwan hills,11 Km.from the district headquarter of
Srinagar. The Garden commands a magnificent view of the lake.
Cheshma Shahi and Pari Mahal
Cheshma Shahi or the Royal Spring was laid by Shah Jahan in
1632 A.D. It is 9 Km. from the city center and is famous for
a spring of refreshment digestive water.Two kilometers uphill
from Cheshma Shahi is situated the Pari Mahal,a school of astrology
founded by Prince Dara Shikoh,Emperor Shah Jahan's eldest son
who was killed in the war of succession.The Cheshma Shahi-Pari
Mahal area has been developed into a Tourist
Sonamarg is a pleasant place in its own right and is on Srinagar-Ladakh
Highway. It offers beautiful treks and verdant scenery. Thajiwas
is a glacier near sonamarg which is a delightful place offering
delightful little walks and treks.
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