Srinagar district is situated in the centre of Kashmir Valley, is surrounded by five districts. In the north it is flanked by Kargil, in the South by Pulwama, in the north-west by Budgam. The capital city of Srinagar, is located 1730 metres above sea level. The district with a population of around 9,00,000 souls(1991- census), is sperad over an area of 2228 sq. kms. It comprises three tehsils / towns viz Srinagar, Ganderbal and Kangan, four blocks (Srinagar, Ganderbal, Kangan and Leh), besides 175 villages. The population density in the district Srinagar is 401 per Square Kilometer which is highest in the state. The literacy rate of the district was 33.80% in 1981. According to a popular legend which is mentioned in Kalhana's Rajtaringini Kashmir valley was a vast lake. Kashyap Rishi drained out the water and made it habitable. It is said that originally Yakshas, and Pisacas tribes inhabited the valley at the higher reaches and did not allow the inhabitants of the valley to live in peace. King Ashok brought Budhism to Kashmir which was strenthened by Kanishka. In 6th century Huns came to rule the valley and Mihirkul was one of the infamous Hun ruler. The area attained freedom in 530 AD which was shortlived.
According to Sir Aurel Stein the famous interpretor of Kalhana the chronicler of Kashmir the city of Srinagar had big market and mansions made of wood touching the clouds. Hieun-tsang the famous Chinese traveller visited Srinagar and has described it his memoirs.
Various capitals were established by the latter kings but ultimately the city of Srinagar was destined to be the capital of the State. These capitals are now found only in ruins or history. Some of the famous capitals are Prvaerpora of Praversen, Prihaspora of Lalitaditya, Jayapida's Jayapora, Avantivarman's Avantipur and cities of Kanishkapura and Juskapura.
During muslim rule Sultan Sadar-ud-din founded Rinchenpur and Ala-ud-din founded Alauddinpura near Hariparbat Hill. ZainulAbideen founded Nowshera as the capital while Akbar founded Naagar Nagar and raised 28ft tall wall around it.
Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.
MATA VAISHNO DEVI TOP
One of the most Religious & Hindu Pilgrimage destination in India, is located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Maa Vaishno Devi shrine is conveniently located from Delhi.
Shri Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the oldest shrine of India, located at a height of 5300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range. The Holy cave is 13 Kms from the Base Camp Katra. The Town Katra is 50 Kms away from Jammu and 35 Kms from District HQ Udhampur and is linked by road. The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most popular Shrines of India.
SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE TOP
It is located at 1100ft. above surface level of the main city on the Shankaracharya hill, also known as Takht-e-Suleiman. The shiva temple, as Kalhana belives, was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C.and as such is the oldest shirne in Kashmir. Dogra ruler, Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs upto the temple. In 1925, the temple was electrifed. The temple, besides a prominent religious place of Hindus, is of great archaeological importance. The temple commands a magnificient panoramic view of the Srinagar city.
JAMA MASJID TOP
It is one of the oldest and the most spacious of all the mosques in Kashmir, situated in the heart of the city. The foundation of the mosque, an architectural wonder was laid by Sultan Sikander in 1398 A.D. The area of the mosque is 384 ft X 381 ft. spacious enough for over thirty thousand people to offer prayers at a time.
SHALIMAR GARDEN TOP
The Garden, 15 Kms from the city centre, was built by Emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife, Nurjahan. The gardens with four terraces is 539 by 182 meters and gets water from Harwan through a canal lined with fountains. The fourth terrace was once reserved for royal ladies.
DAL LAKE TOP
The world famous water body described by Sir Walter Lawerence as the "Lake par-excellence", half a kilometers from the city, is the jewel in the crown of kashmir eulogised by the poets and abudantly praised by the travellers and tourists. The lake of late has unfortunately, consideably shrunk in size causing concern to environmentalists. The Governments have chalked out an ambitious project to save the lake from extinction. The lake is 6 X 3 km divided by causeways into four parts, Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin. Two islands,Sona Lank and Ropa Lank, within the lake add to its beauty. Nagin is the most lovely part of the Dal Lake separted by a causeway.
Sonamarg, at an altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level, 87 km north-east of Srinagar. The drive to Sonamargh is though yet another spectacular facet of country side in Kashmir, this time in Sindh Valley. The Sindh Valley is the largest tributary of the valley of Kashmir. It is upwards of sixty miles long, and valley and deep rock-girt gorge to open grassy meadow land and village-dotted slopes.
Sonamarg, which means 'meadow of gold' has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. the Sindth meanders along here and abounds with trout and mahseer, snow trout can be caught in the main river. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier a major attraction during the summer months.
The climate of Sonamarg is very bracing; but the rainfall is frequent though not heavy, except for two or three days at a time in July and August with fine spell in between.