Kashmir is heaven on earth – you have heard and read this sentence in various movies, travel magazines and forums. But you will never really know how true it is till you visit this heaven. Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, is one of India’s most celebrated hill stations. It has found a place in literature, songs and movies, and has captivated many by its abundant beauty. Replete with natural wonders, it is also referred to as the ‘Land of Lakes and Gardens’ or the ‘Switzerland of India’.
Despite the fact that the city has been disturbed by civil unrest, it is currently quite calm and travel friendly. All these factors make Kashmir a wonderful place to visit and enjoy. However, with our busy lives, we often do not get long vacations to explore our most beloved places. So if you are on a time crunch, we have curated a list of places and itineraries in Kashmir you can visit in a single day…
# 1 – Visit the Gardens or the Mughal Baghs
Srinagar is full of well-manicured gardens that date all the way back to the Mughal era. They are full of blossoming flowers and have stunning vistas as part of their infrastructure. If you’re fond of gardens, you must start with Shalimar Bagh, built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir for his wife in 1619. The next stop on the list is Nishat Mughal Garden, which surrounds Dal Lake. You can ask around for hotels in Srinagar near Dal Lake with tariff, and can take accommodation nearby. Another place you must visit is Pari Mahal Palace Gardens for its fabulous sunset views over Dal Lake. Naseem Bagh is a brilliant idea during autumn as the leaves of the Chinar trees turn orange and red.
#2 – Explore some enchanting Lakes
Kashmir has so many lakes that one day can easily be devoted to exploring lakes for all the lake-lovers. You can spend time on the interconnected lakes, including Dal Lake, along with the smaller Nigeen Lake. The best part about these lakes is that more than 1,000 houseboats float upon them. Even though these houseboats are stationary, they provide a great experience if you decide to spend a night here.
#3 – Visit history through the Mosques
Amongst the best places to visit in Kashmir, its mosques are some of them. Your trip to Srinagar is incomplete if you do not explore the wooden Old City, and that too, on foot! It hosts a number of extremely important and beautiful mosques, including Jama Masjid which was built in 1394 and restored for the last time in 1672. With 378 pillars, it is the largest mosque of Kashmir. Another mosque worth visiting is Shah Hamdan Mosque, located on the banks of Jhelum River. The most beautiful attribute of this mosque is its intricate Kashmiri artwork.
#4 – Explore unique Coffee shops
Every tourist loves quaint little coffee shops and tea rooms, and Kashmir has many! Chai Jaai is inspired by the tea rooms of the Cotswolds, and reflects both Kashmiri and English love for tea. The perfect amalgamation of uniqueness and enigma, it is located above Mahatta & Co. photography studio, in the Dhanjibuoy Building on The Bund at Lal Chowk. Along with the traditional kahwa, you can also try other local snacks and French baked goodies here. Some other such shops are Unique Gulshan Books and Coffee Shops, which is India’s only bookshop-library on a lake.
#5 – Walk up the Shakaracharya Hill
For the devoted, Shankaracharya is the perfect way they can spend their one day in Srinagar. It is a hill which offers a panoramic view of Srinagar and Dal Lake. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the hill attracts many Hindu pilgrims. One can reach this destination by taking the road up from Nehru Park and then walking up around 250 steps. Please note, however, that the closing time is 5 p.m. sharp, and so you must reach there early in the day to enjoy it to the fullest.