After spending a few weeks visiting the small towns of Ladakh, we moved to Kargil en route to Srinagar. We arrived in Kargil bus station at 3 pm and immediately look for busses going to Srinagar as we donít have plan of spending some time in Kargil. The man selling the bus tickets informed us that the bus to Srinagar leaves at 11 pm.
After securing our tickets, we move around the town and look for a place where we can eat, rest and wait for our departure time. We managed to find an airconditioned restaurant with a very friendly staffs. After a few conversations with the staff, I asked them if we can stay there until 10 pm and weíre glad that they allowed us to do so.
We left Kargil at exactly 11 pm and arrived in Srinagar at almost 10 in the morning of the following day. Due to poIitical tension in Srinagar, I was a bit nervous when we arrived. You can feel in the atmosphere that thereís something wrong in the area as you can find barbed wire everywhere. Nevertheless, Itís a place with natural beauty. I was surprised that Srinagar is so green. There are so many trees and the mountains surrounding the town is covered by dense forests.
From the drop-off point we headed to Dal Lake area, the city center where most of the attractions are located. Our plan was to stay to one of the houseboats but when we learned that they were not cruising around the lake, we just settled in a guesthouse beside a lake. We stayed at Gulab Junaid Guesthouse run by a lovely Kashmiri family.
Srinagar is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is considered as the summer capital of the state. One of the most famous destinations in Srinagar is the Dal Lake. Most of the major attractions frequently visited in Srinagar like Mughal Gardens, Shamkaracharya Temple and the Hazarat Bal Mosque are all located just around the lake. When we walk around the lake, we were surrounded by salesman offering boat tour, wood work, Kashmiri shawl, saffron and other else. The boatmen offering boat tours are the most persistent of them all since Srinagar is also famous for their shikaras (water taxi) tour around the lake.
Here are some images I took in Srinagar:
The best way to enjoy the lake is to explore it by shikara, a colorful and well decorated boat. This boat has been the iconic pride of Srinagar. In fact, the tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir used shikara as their logo.
It was nice to know that the local people do something to protect the lake that feeds them. Thereís a team roaming around the lake to keep it clean. No wonder why the lake has so many fresh water fishes and thereís also a lot of different kind of birds that feed on them. Iíve seen so many eagles and kingfishers, one of my favorite birds.
Iím glad that we visited Srinagar amidst the news that it is a dangerous place. I admit, I felt terrified the first time I saw the barbed wire around. But when I get to wander around the place and talked to the local Kashmiri, I eventually enjoyed the place especially the serenity of the lake during early morning. Not to mention that the Kashmiri are one of the nicest and friendliest people Iíve met.
Note: Due to some territorial issue, It is advised to take into account the current situation before planning a trip to Srinagar.