Srinagar holiday packages are inherently leisure tours. It takes about three days to see Srinagar and the significant spots around it in the following sequence: Dal Lake (a voyage through it in a kind of canoe), Chashma Shahi, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, Harwan, Hari Parbat Fort, Hazratbal, Jami Masjid and Shankaracharya Temple. Chashma Shahi, a waterfall, 9 km from the city, has gardens in three terraces beside it, laid out by Mughal ruler Jahangir and enriched by Shah Jahan in the early seventeenth century. There are tourist huts and a cafeteria here. Nishat Bagh, the “Garden of Bliss” is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, 11 km from the city, in the lap of Zabarwan hills. The garden is laid out in ten terraces, with cascades, chinar trees, flowerbeds and fruit trees. Largest of all Mughal Gardens, the 544 X 328 sq meter Nishat Bagh was designed by Asaf Khan, Shahjahan’s father-in-law, as a terraced garden surrounded by high walls. The 12 terraces represent 12 signs of the zodiac. Fifteen km from the city built in 1619 by Emperor Jahangir, Shalimar Bagh is a beautiful garden with rows of Chinar trees and a marble palace at its centre. On the four terraces of the garden the fourth one used to be reserved for the royal ladies. From May to October, the India Tourism Development Corporation presents a sound-and-light show (Sonnet Lumiere) here. 3.5 km from Shalimar Bagh the remains of remarkably ornamented brick pavements are seen in Harwan village. This place is believed to have been Kundal Van Vihar during the time of Emperor Ashoka — the site of a great Buddhist Council.
Hari Parbat, 5 km from the city, believed to have grown out of a pebble once thrown by Goddess Parvati, was the site of a number of temples in the past. Upon it stands a fort built by Atta Mahammed Khan, an Afghan ruler of eighteenth century. The wall around the hill was built by Akbar towards the close of the sixteenth century. There are almond orchards around it. When in bloom the orchards present a magnificent sight in spring. Hazratbal Mosque is situated on the western shore of the Dal Lake opposite Nishat Bagh. A string of hair belonging to the Prophet Mohammed is here. The exposition of the relic to the public takes place at a preserved festival once a year. Built first by Sultan Sikandar and completed by his famous son Zain-Ul-Abidin, Jami Mosque is the largest mosque in the state. It was destroyed thrice by fire and rebuilt.
On back of Dal Lake, at Shankaracharya Hill, Ashoka’s son, Jaluka, had built a shrine around 200 BC. The present structure was built by an ardent Hindu devotee, who wanted to remain anonymous. Shankarcharya, the famous sage, had meditated here. The hill is also famous as Takht-i-Sulaiman, the throne of King Solomon. An early morning drive or walk to the 1000-foot-high hill offers an excellent view of the city and a serene view of the snowy peaks of the Panjal range and beyond.
Srinagar tour remains incomplete without having ‘shikara’ ride. When in Srinagar, Kashmir, one can hardly resist the temptation to spend some time in the “floating houses” called the ‘houseboats’ fully furnished and staffed, moored in the river Jhelum, and the lakes Dal and Nagin.