Five-day itinerary for Srinagar trip
They say that if there’s a paradise on earth, it exists as Kashmir. And why not? This gorgeous locale truly captures nature’s true magnificence, alleviated with the most pristine waterfalls, clear lakes, glittering snow-kissed mountains and an aura that dares to seduce you with its majesty. No wonder, Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar, is one of the best travel destinations in the country, offering the choicest of the experiences with its delectable cuisine, bustling bazaars, and shimmering streams, all illuminated by a vibrant culture that speaks volumes of the quiet, soothing land, laced in rare delights.
So, if you have got a week to spend, we have got an exciting plan, tailor-made for you; squeezing in every last detail so that you don’t miss out anywhere on the ‘fun-factor’. Read on!
Srinagar provides a wide range of amusements, from its historic gardens to the colourful bazaars, buzzing with tourists in a bee-like frenzy atmosphere. The aura is not only exciting, but also an absolute delight to imbibe in. We intend to spice up your holiday by running through a trail of these mini-adventures, aligned to experience Srinagar in its exact hues.
After a hefty ride to Srinagar, we suggest you kick off your day with a big dose of some peaceful solace and a soothing, happy environment.
Head to Shalimar Bagh
Located on the right bank of Dal Lake, this 15th-century garden or ‘bagh’ makes for a great place to saunter around and explore. Housing lush, green gardens and a bubbly stream running right through the garden’s centre, this one is a must visit.
Take a stroll in Nishat Bagh
Built by Asif Khan for his sister, Nishat Bagh is a terraced garden set against the backdrop of a stunning, snow-capped Himalayan range.
Visit the Indira Gandhi tulip memorial
A tulip garden is boosting several rare varieties of tulips.
Spend the evening exploring the Polo view market and Bouleward road
We bet you will find a reason to loosen up your purse strings as you sift through endless varieties of dry fruits, ethnic wear, carpets, embroidery, et al.
Spend your day exploring Kashmir’s meadow of flowers, Gulmarg. A short 1.5 hour ride away, this heavenly hamlet is well known for its rich flora and fauna as well as winter adventure sports. A mecca for ski lovers and snowboarders, this one has been rated as Asia's seventh best ski destination.
Once here, don’t forget to take the iconic Gulmarg Gondola, one of the highest in the world reaching up to a whopping 3,979 metres. Also, pay a visit to the Maharani Temple or the Shiv Temple of Gulmarg. Standing atop a high hill, this one presents a gorgeous view of the entire valley. Head back to Srinagar by evening.
No trip to Srinagar is ever complete without witnessing the majesty of its houseboats, lined up in a beautiful array of perfection.
Try the houseboat experience
Hire a houseboat and spend your day exploring the waters. The Dal lake at Srinagar is more like a mini hamlet set in water, with its own shops, public gardens, schools and hospitals.
Although ‘floating’ on a little steeper end, these shops sell a variety of Kashmiri handicrafts, pashminas, wooden souvenirs and carved furniture pieces to buy from. Hop on a Shikara ( a small Kashmiri boat) and sail around the entire width of the lake.
The idea is soothing, but the experience is just divine.
Get an auspicious air
Pay a visit to the famous Shankaracharya temple. Built-in 371 BC, this historical marvel is a significant pilgrim site.
Spend the night on the houseboat’s deck gazing at the stars as the blackened water plays with the dim lights coming from adjacent houseboats.
Located just 85 km away, the hill town of Pahalgam makes for a great day-trip. Pahalgam is famous as the base camp for the Amarnath pilgrimage. Besides this, this city is home to a vast diversity of flora and fauna, encompassing several rare species such as Hangul, musk deer, serow, et al.
Visit the Kolhoi Glacier
A hanging glacier, Kolhoi serves as a significant tourist spot amongst the alpine lovers.
Check out the Betaab valley
Remember the fantastic background scenes from the movie ‘Betaab'? This is the place you were looking for! The pristine, clear-blue waters and the mountain backdrop are enough to send one running for their cameras.
Stay the night at Pahalgam. The valley is lined with the choicest of resorts offering a great view and an excellent service.
Start early and head from Pahalgam to Sonmarg. The golden meadow, nestled amidst the tall Himalayan peaks, once served as a gateway for the ancient silk route. Now a significant adventure spot, Sonmarg makes for a great site to visit if you intend to perk up the fun scales. The mostly snow-covered site has several trekking and river rafting trails to give you an adrenaline rush.
Revert back to spend the night at Srinagar, lying just a 1.5-hour drive away from here.
Bid adieu to Kashmir’s cultural capital and catch your plane/ train. If you have a little time to spare, we suggest you stroll off for a bit of shopping trip down the Lal Chowk and stock up on dry fruits, fresh spices, Kehwa (Kashmiri tea) and papier mache to surprise your relatives and friends.
The city offers its travellers a variety of accommodation services suiting all kinds of pockets and comforts. From homestays and houseboats to adventure resorts, one can choose any kind of lodging as your heart desires.
If you are looking for an excellent bedroom view and willing to splurge, we suggest you rent a room closer to the Lake than the city centre. Similarly, when looking for houseboats, the ones moored near or in the Naina lake come at a hefty price but offer a solace that is hard to find on the front.
We suggest, you place your best bet and choose accordingly.
Best time to visit
While the valley receives tourists throughout the year, the best time to step out and explore the city is from April to October, when the weather is excellent, and the flowers are in bloom, painting the entire landscape in bright, colourful shades.
If, however, you seek to witness Srinagar in its snowy glory, the months from October to March make the best cut.
How to reach
Srinagar, being a favourite tourist spot is well connected from the rest of the world via air as well as by road.
The Srinagar air terminal, Sheikh ul Alam Airport, is an international airport lying just 15 km away from the city centre. Currently, the trains Jammu Tawi and Udhampur connect a major part of the country with the city.
Jammu, itself, lies a 7-hour drive away from Srinagar.
For Canadian travellers, you can either go to Delhi or Amritsar airports to enjoy Srinagar trip.
For more information on Srinagar travel guide click Srinagar Travel guide