Table of Contents
  Kashmir: Poetry of Nature
  Places of Worship
  Places of Tourist Interest
  Kashmir's Resorts
  Gardens and Parks
  Glimpses: A Cultural Heritage
  Adventure Sports
  Amarnath Cave
  Suru Valley
  A Picture Gallery
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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


Kashmir Region

Dal Lake: Srinagar's chief distinction is the great body of water, the Dal Lake, which forms its focal point. The Dal has, within its area, two enormous sheet-like expanses of water - Lokutdal and Boddal, the rest of its surface being broken up alternatively by man-made strips of land inhabited by whole colonies of people and vegetation. Thus the lake is not a flat, unbroken mass of water, but a labyrinth of waterways, awash with a lifestyle not encountered elsewhere in the world. The Dal is Srinagar's major life-support system with its wide variety of marine life: fish, lotus roots, plants and floating gardens. The hospitable boat people of Kashmir trace their descent from Noah. Entire families live on boats, accepting a way of life that was bequeathed to them by their ancestors and clinging stubbornly to their traditional culture.

Water skiing in the Dal lake, Srinagar.

The boat people of Kashmir oar across Dal lake on a winter morning

Leading from the Dal is the smaller Nagin Lake. Here too, the waters are edged by trees of willow and poplar whose reflection is mirrored in the lake. 'Bathing boats' here, as well as on the Dal, hire out water-skis and motor launches. The waters of the lakes are pleasantly cool from mid-May to mid-September.

Shikaras can be hired from any of the steps called ghats leading to the lake. Shikaras are a refreshingly novel way of seeing Srinagar by day; and at twilight, the gentle soothing motion of the boat as it glides along the water is unbelievably romantic.

Mughal Gardens and Pari Mahal: Terraced lawns, cascading fountains, paint-box bright flower beds with the panorama of the Dal in front of them the three Mughal Gardens of Cheshmashahi, Nishat and Shalimar are the Mughal emperors' concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnics. Pari Mahal, once the royal observatory, also has a charmingly laid out garden and is a five minute drive from Cheshmashahi.

Pari Mahal is surrounded by gardens.

Every evening in the summer a sound and light show at Shalimar Gardens recreates the era of Emperor Jehangir's court in Kashmir. Timings vary slightly, but the first show is soon after dark and there are two shows in Urdu and English.

Hari Parbat Fort: To the west of the Dal lies the Hari Parbat Hill, sacred to the Goddess Sharika in whose honour a temple has been consecrated on the western slopes of the hill. Further up, on the crest of the hill is Hari Parhat Fort which dates to the 18th century.

Hari Parbat is illuminated at night.

Nehru Park in the Dal lake, Srinagar

Shri Pratap Singh Museum at Lal Mandi, on the banks of the river Jhelum, ahead of Raj Bagh, is a treasure trove of Kashmiri culture.

Golf Club in Srinagar. The Shankracharya hill is in the background.

Shankaracharya Temple: The antiquity of Shankaracharya temple is akin to that of Vaishno Devi in Jammu. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, has legends dating back to 200 BC. Built to overlook the valley, situated atop the Hill it has the devout climb the hill with offerings in their hands, a motorable road has been built leading to the TV Tower on the hill.

Shankracharya Temple, Srinagar

The sacred temple is situated to the south east of Srinagar. However, neither the hill nor the temple retain their pre-historic names, Gopadari and Jyeshtheswara respectively. The temple is built on a high octagonal plinth approached by a flight of steps.

Amarnath: History records that the first pilglimage to Amarnath was undertaken in 1000 BC, though little else is known of the antiquity of Amarnath. Located 141 km from Srinagar, of which 45 km from Pahalgam has to be trekked, Amarnath is believed to be the holiest of Hindu shrines.

The Amarnath yatra is undertaken in July-August (Shravan) and thousdads of devotees walk, some on ponyback, to pay obeisance at the cave where an ice-lingam, that of Shiva, waxes and wanes with the moon. By its side are two other ice lingams, those of Parvati, and their son, Ganesha.

Sheshnag Lake, enroute to Amarnath

Khir Bhawani: Goddess Ragnya Devi is worshipped here, symbolised by a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, 27 km from Srinagar. In the centre of the spring is a small marble temple and the Hindu inhabitants of Srinagar fast and converge at the spot on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May when legend has it, the goddess changes the color of the waters.

The shrine of Khir Bhawani.

Mamal: Opposite the Rest House at Pahalgam, on the right bank of river Lidder is a small temple, now in ruins, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple had an eight square feet interior with a porch supported by two fluted columns, one of which has now weathered away. In fact, the suprastructure is no longer there and even the ceiling no longer exists. Inside the sanctum is a Shiva lingam.

Pandrethan: A village by this name is a bare three miles above Srinagar. It has a well-preserved temple behind the willow grove on the left hand side of the cart road. The ceiling of the shrine is rated as the best example of carving on stone in the entire valley. Though ascribed to Vishnu or Shiva, the seven square feet 'depression' in the centre carries no deity, only carved 'yakshas'.

Pandrethan is one of the few temples in Kashmir with roof intact.
Although miniature in size, it is ornate with structural symmetry (10th century).

Verinag Spring
The appearance day of Veth (Vitasta) is celebrated on Veth Truvah
Courtesy: Koshur Samachar



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