is the summer capital and the largest city of Jammu
& Kashmir State. It is 1585 mts. above mean
sea level. Its area is 218 sq. kms. and it extends
from Harwan to Panta Chhok and Chhanapora to Gulab Bagh.
There are two famous lakes namely Dal Lake and
Anchar Lake and two hills namely Shankracharya Hill and
Hari Parbat Hill in the city.
Srinagar city has also
been known as Himavat, Shri Nagri, Parwarpor and
Parwarsenpor. It is said that the original city named as
Shri Nagri was established between Zabarwan Hills
and Pandrethan during the reign of King Ashoka in the
3rd century B.C. According to Heun Tsang, a
Chinese traveller, the city streched from Harwan
There is a fort on Hari
Parbat Hill. During the reign of Akbar, a 20 ft. high
stone wall was constructed around the fort for a length
of 5.6 Kms. During Mughal period, Nishat Bagh,
Shalimar Bagh and Cheshma Shahi were also laid.
Srinagar was known as
the City of Seven Bridges till 1957. All these bridges
connected two parts of the city bifurcated by river
Jhelum, also known as Vitasta. Ali Kadal bridge
was the oldest, constructed by Sultan Ali Shah in the
year 1415 A.D.
Srinagar has many places
of historical and tourist interest. Mughal Gardens
rank first amongst them. Mughals were great builders.
Their art of garden planning reflected their
varied aesthetic taste. Mughals, in fact, embellished
the Valley with resplendent glory of their
garden-designing by laying famous gardens like
Nishat Chashma-Shahi, Shalimar, Naseem, Achhabal and
Verinaag etc. Some important places are described
1. Nishat Garden.
It is situated on the bank of Dal Lake, on the foothills
of Zabarwan. This was conceived and laid by Asif
Khan in the year 1636 during the reign of Shah
Jahan. The garden is 1755 feet long and 1108 feet wide.
Its front wall is 13 feet high. It has 10
terraces. Three of them are 16 to 18 feet higher
than the lower ones. A water channel, 13 feet wide and 8
inches deep runs all through its length. There are
fountains in various beds. Water falls in
cascades, some of which are 12 to 18 feet high. Tall and
mighty chinars provide shade to the visitors. Lush
green turf is all around. Multi-coloured flower beds
along sides of the water channel add to the attraction.
Usually the garden is thrown open to the public on
Ist of Baisakh. Sundays attract large crowds
2. Shalimar Garden.
Shalimar, the ‘Abode of Love’, was built in 1690 AD
by Emperor Jehangir for his beloved Noor-Jehan.
The Garden is at the base of Mount Mahadev. It has
been laid on a plan parallel to Nishat. It is
quadrilateral in shape with four terraces of equal
size. The Garden is divided in three parts. The
first part has a pavillion which was used by the emperor
for his public audience. The second one was being
used exclusively by the Emperor for his private
audience and the third one was reserved for the Empress
and the ladies of the Court. The central water
canal starts from the top terrace and falls in cascades,
into basins or tanks which are studded with 150
fountains. Pergolas and teralised walks border the
fountains and the flower beds, which enhance the
grandeur of this ‘abode of love’.
3. Cheshma Shahi.
Cheshma Shahi or the ‘Royal Spring’, nearly 10 Kms.
from Srinagar is the smallest garden laid by the
Mughals. The Garden was laid in the reign of
emperor Shah Jehan by his governor Ali Mardan Khan in
1632-33 AD. The Garden has pure crystalline spring
rising from the base of Zabarwan mountains. The
mineral water of the Spring is reputed for its curative
properties. The Garden has three terraces. In the
middle of the Garden, run cascades and fountains
play in the water beds. The Garden has varied and
multi-hued flowers. It can safely be called the
‘Nursery of Floriculture’. From the second terrace,
one can have panoramic view of the Dal Lake. Below
Cheshma Shahi, is the famous Jawahar Lal Nehru
4. Pari Mahal.
Pari Mahal is situated in the lap of Zabarwan Hill on
the South East of Dal Lake between Oberoi Palace
Hotel and Chashma Shahi garden. It was constructed
by Dara Shikoh during the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-58)
to serve as an institution for astrology. He would
himself observe the movement of stars from here.
The architecture of Pari Mahal very much resembles to
that of Greek temples. The Garden has five
terraces in all which would have had fountains in
the olden times. During 1969-74, when the garden was
given a face-lift under the supervision of Dr.
Kailash Nath Kaul, earthen pipes were discovered during
excavation of the ground, which subscribed to the view
that water was fed into the fountains through
underground pipes. According to Huen Tsang, there
existed a grand Bodh Vihar and a Stupa at or
around the same place in olden times, where a
tooth of Lord Buddha had been preserved. There are no
traces of any such place now.
The ruins of Martand,
built by Lalitaditya, speak of Hindu architecture. It is
situated on the Mattan Udar (plateau), 8 kms. away from
Anantnag at 750 - 17’ longitude and 330 - 45’
latitude. It is 1 km. to North-West of the sacred
springs of Martanda, mentioned in Nilamata Purana as a
celebrated place of pilgrimage, sacred to Surya.
Jonaraja says the temple was destroyed by Sikander, a
zealot egged by his minister Saif-Ud-Din (Saha
The Martand Temple is called Architectural Lion of
Kashmir. It has a majestic plinth off set by an
impressing gateway. The temple is 18 Mtrs. long
and 11 Mtrs. wide. Its height as at present
(ruins) is 12 Mtrs. which may actually have been
23 Mtrs. in pyramidal f.mp3. Its courtyard is 66 Mtrs. x
42 Mtrs. The central edifice standing on a
quadrangle, is surrounded by 84 columns (7x12 i.e.
No. of days in a week x No. of Zodiac
signs). The temple consists of three chambers, the
outer two highly decorated and inner one plain. Two
Surya and two Laxmi figures are engraved on four walls
of the middle chamber. Walls of the gateway are
decorated, both internally and externally.