Dachigam National Park:
Dachigam National Park is wildlife and environment conservation is located 22 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 141 km2. The park has been a protected area since 1910. It was initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the Srinagar by the Maharaja of Kashmir, later on was upgraded and declared a National Park by Government in year 1981.
This national park has a rich flora that includes about 500 herb species, 50 types of trees and 20 varieties of shrub. From dense forests to sprawling grasslands, it has a variety of ecosystems that are inhabited by various animals. This place earns widespread recognition for being the habitat of the last surviving population of Hangul (Kashmir Stag), besides these Himalayan Black Bear, Long-tailed Marmots, Leopard, Jackal, Red Fox and Common Palm Civet, other animal species and about 145 bird species can be spotted here.
The ancient Burzahama Ruins, are situated in the northwestern end of Kashmir which is about 27 kms in distance from Srinagar. Burzhama Ruins are remnants of an ancient settlement that existed in the valley of Kashmir millenniums ago. These archaeological remains are situated in the city of Srinagar, which has come a long way since its establishment in olden times.
Discovered during a detailed survey and excavation by the archaeological department, these Neolithic vestiges tell about the birth of human civilization in the valley. During excavations, several significant findings about the settlement and its inhabitants were made.
These include artifacts like earthen utensils, bricks and tools that have been preserved. The development of this civilization has been divided into four varied stages, which depict the gradual transition from mud to brick houses. Carvings and paintings of those times are also preserved at this site.
The quaintness of Burzhama Ruins attracts visitors who are interested in knowing about various civilizations. Here one can click photographs of the excavated site, which has old buildings and other interesting archaeological remains.
Nilagrad River is a gushing mountain stream that forms an integral part of Kashmirs breathtaking landscape. At Baltic Colony, it merges with the watercourse of Indus – one of the longest rivers across the world. The water of this river carries a reddish hue, which makes it different from other water bodies in the region. Natives believe that this water carries curative properties that heal many ailments. Owing to this belief, people gather here in large numbers on Sundays to take a bath in its supposedly healing water.
Botanical Garden lies in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range and overlooks the picturesque Dal Lake. This well quaint garden covers an area of 80 hectares, of which 17 hectares is occupied by a beautiful lake. It was established in 1969, with the aim of spreading awareness about various varieties of flora and beautifying the city.
There are four main divisions of this sprawling green space, namely Plant Introduction Centre, Research Section, Recreational Garden and Botanical Garden. It features several styles of inner gardens that can satiate the inner senses of the tourists and hence, this is the best place to unwind and rejuvenate. There is a beautiful lake spread across a land of 17 hectares that offers paddle boat facilities to the tourists. More than 300 species of flora dot the landscape of this garden, including trees of willow and cedar.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden:
It is one of the recent additions to the multitude of tourist attractions in Srinagar. It is the largest Tulip garden of Asia spread over an area of about 12 hectares. It is situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range with an overview of picturesque world famous Dal Lake. This seemingly endless green patch of land is dotted with about 20 lakh flowers, which include several varieties of tulips.
Tulip Festival is organized at this site in March or April every year, when tulip flowers are in their full bloom. During this flower festival, several cultural programmes as well as exhibitions of local handicraft and cuisine are organized.
Manasbal Lake is a picturesque water body that lies towards the north of Srinagar in Safapora area of Ganderbal. The name Manasbal is said to be a derivative of the sacred and mythological lake of Mansarovar and is stated to be the deepest lake (at 13 m or 43 ft depth) in India. The green waters of this lake are dotted with beautiful flowers of lotus that add to its beauty. Several birds can be spotted on the shore of this lake, which make it a paradise for birdwatchers and ornithologists. The lake is a good place for bird watching as it is one of the largest natural stamping grounds of Aquatic birds in Kashmir and has the sobriquet of "supreme gem of all Kashmir Lakes".
The lake is overlooked by remains of Darogabagh – a 17th century fort and Jharokha , a beautiful Mughal Garden, Shikaras can be seen floating on this lake, which form a spectacular sight to behold. Visitors can enjoy a number of leisure activities here, including boat riding, fishing and water skiing.
Nagin Lake in Srinagar:
Nagin Lake got its name from the trees surrounding the lake. Popularly known as the 'Jewel in the Ring', it is one of the beautiful lakes in east Srinagar. Nagin Lake is a beautiful water body, known for its sparkling waters and picturesque surroundings. It is nestled in the foothills of the Zabarwan ranges and is bordered by the lofty Hari Parbat and Shankaracharya Hill.
This lake attributes its name to the trees that surround it and earns the sobriquet 'Jewel in the Ring'. The deep blue surface of this lake shimmers with the touch of sunrays that forms a mesmerizing visit. It is separated from Dal by a thin embankment. Visitors coming to this lake can take a refreshing dip here as it is considered safe for Swimming. Water Skiing & sailing on fiberglass boats can also be enjoyed here. Nagin Lake has always been a fascinating destination for photography and tourists.
Badaamwari (Almond garden):
Badamwari Garden is located in downtown Srinagar. It is one of the most prettiest sight to see in Spring where the Almond trees are in full bloom. Situated on foothills of Koh-e-Maran, the 300 kanals garden was dotted with trees, flowers and cascades providing a soothing experience to the visitors. This is for all the crazy nature lovers, a place which can't be missed in spring n summer in Kashmir.
Hokarsar is a clean and pure water lake located about 13 km from Srinagar, in Jammu and Kashmir. Lying on the Srinagar-Baramulla road, it is 5 km long and 1.5 km wide. Willow trees found in abundance along its banks offer an enchanting sight. The lake is also a favorite hunt for winter migratory birds.
It is counted amongst the star attractions of Srinagar. It is also known as The Fairies Abode, it is a seven terraced garden situated to the southwest of Dal Lake, above the famous Chashme Shahi Garden in Zabarwan mountain range.
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's son Dara Shikoh built this garden in the memory of Mullah Shah Badakhshi. It was established in the mid 17th century on the remnants of an old Buddhist monastery. The monumental garden was used as an astronomical observatory and an important learning centre for astrological science.
This beautifully landscaped garden covers a sprawling area that is 122 metres in length and 62.5 metres in width. It comprises of seven terraces, which have separate water tanks that are filled through underground pipes. The verdant and well-manicured lawn with colourful flowers and fruit trees adds to the overall appeal of this green space. A water spring also forms a part of this beautiful garden.
Hari Parbat in Srinagar
Hari Parbat (SHARIKA PEETH) is a popular tourist attraction situated at the periphery of Srinagar city, is an ancient and one of the holiest place of Kashmir. It is the abode of Maha Shakti. The Divine mother of Shri Jagat Amaba Sharika Bagwati also known as Maha TRIPURSUNDHARI OR RAJESHWARI locally called HARIE. The EIGHTEEN ARMED goddess SHARIKA is regarded as the presiding deity (ISHT-DEVI) of Srinagar city. It is the site of several important edifices, which include the Durrani Fort, Parvati Temple, a Gurudwara and shrines of Akhund Mullah Shah and Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib. The earliest fortifications on this hill were established by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1590, when he planned to build a new capital named Nager Nagor. However, not everything went according to plan. The present citadel was constructed in 1808 under the supervision of Shuja Shah Durrani.
There are two mythological legends associated with Hari Parbat, which is also known as Koh-e-Maraan. The first one states that this hill was originally a huge lake, where a demon named Jalobhava resided. To get rid of his atrocities, the natives prayed Hindu Goddess Parvati for help. She turned into a bird and dropped a pebble on his head. The pebble kept increasing in size until the demon's head was crushed. It is said that Hari Parbat is the same enlarged pebble, which became the abode of all Hindu gods.
Another version of the tale is similar but includes two demons – Tsand and Mond.
Kathi Darwaza is the main entrance gate to the Hari Parbat Fort, which majestically stands atop a hill, overlooking Srinagar. It is a fine specimen of the splendid Mughal architecture. A domed chamber flanked by two bays is present at the centre of this imposing gateway. The gate reflects Mughal style of architecture and features elaborate Persian inscriptions.
Photography Option: Hari Parbat offers a stunning panorama of the beautiful city of Srinagar.