12 Nov 2012

Visit the unseen at Srinagar

On the banks of Jhelum river and tucked in the Kashmir Valley lies the serenely beautiful city of Srinagar. It has been Kashmir’s most important commercial town for decades. Known throughout India as a honeymoon destination and a shoot favourite of the Bollywood movies of old, this city is the proud home of some of the most beautiful lakes and gardens in the country. 

Dal lake Srinagar, (Photo Courtesy: ananthnaag)
The Dal Lake with its houseboats has even led to this city being referred to as the “Venice of the East”. However, other than the scenic beauty, there is much to see in this beautiful city.

Some of the less visited tourist sites that are worth seeing are:

- Burzahama Ruins: Ancient settlements dating back to the Neolithic age, these ruins are unique to Kashmir, as well as the first of its kind. Many ancient artifacts that were discovered here are now displayed in the National museum in Kolkata. 

Martand temple ruins, Awantipur (Photo Courtesy: Flickr)
-  The Awantipur Ruins: Built by Awantivarman who ruled Kashmir in the 9th century, these are temples and shrines that have fallen to ruin, but still visited by the devout.

Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara (Photo Courtesy: placeforholidays)
- Chhatti Padshahi Gurudwara: One of the many Gurudwaras built for the sixth Sikh guru as he travelled all over Kashmir, this is one of the most important ones.

Old City Srinagar (Photo Courtesy: contemporarynomad)

Old City Srinagar (Photo Courtesy: aljazeera)
- Old City: Walk through the old city, pass by the markets and catch many a glimpse of the traditionally dressed men and women. This is a paradise for photographers, and while it’s a place that is full of people, it’s not always on the list of first things to see in Srinagar.

Pathar Masjid Srinagar (Photo Courtesy: meriyatrra)
- Pathar Masjid: Built by Nur Jahan in 1623, this is a peaceful stone mosque close to the river.

Kheer Bhavani Temple Srinagar (Photo Courtesy: devdham)
- Kheer Bhawani temple: Constructed over a sacred spring, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhawani. As it’s customary to offer kheer to the Goddess, the temple, previously just Bhawani temple, became Kheer Bhawani temple. 

Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar (Photo Courtesy Meriyatra)
- The Shankaracharya temple: Dating back to 250 B.C., this temple marks the spot where the philosopher Shankaracharya stayed when he visited Kashmir.

Shah Hamdan Mosque (Photo Courtesy: WikiPedia)
- Shah-i-Hamdan: The first mosque to be built in Srinagar,  it lies on the banks of the river Jhelum. Shah-i-Hamdan who made his way to Kashmir in the 13th century was responsible for bringing Islam and spreading the religion in Kashmir.

Nigeen Lake, Srinagar
Tulip garden, Srinagar (Photo courtesy: goheritageindiajourneys)
Nishat Bagh, Srinagar (Photo Courtesy: WikiPedia)
While these are some of the uncommon sightseeing spots in and around Srinagar, you should also definitely make the time to go to the gardens and the lakes in the city. And make sure to watch some of the performing artists if you get the chance. Take a flight to Srinagar and be drawn into the magic of this wonderful city.


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