Jammu has been mentioned in the Mahabharata. According to a legend which is even' mentioned in Raiatarangini and Nilmat Purana Kashmir was once a large lake. Kashyap Rishi had drained off the water making it an abode.
Emperor Ashoka introduced Buddhism to Kashmir in the 3rd century BC which was later strengthened by Kanishka. Huns got the control of the valley in the early 6th century. The valley regained freedom in 530AD but soon came under the rule of the Ujjain empire. After the decline of the Vikramaditya the valley had its own rulers. There was a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Lalitaditya (697 - 738 AD) was most famous Hindu ruler who extended his kingdom up to Bengal in the east, Konkan in the south and Turkistan in the north. Islam came into Kashmir in the 13th and 14th centuries. Zain-ul-Abedin (1420 -70 AD) was the most famous Muslim ruler who came to Kashmir when the Hindu king Sinha Dev reigned there before Tatar invasion. Later Charaks Haider Shah, son of Zain-ul-Abedin, continued to rule till 1596 AD when Akbar conquered Kashmir. In 1752 AD, Kashmir passed on from the feeble control of the Mughal emperor of the time to Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. The Valley was ruled by the Pathans for 67 years.
The land of Jammu was divided into 22 hill participants. Raja Maldev, one of the Dogra rulers conquered many to consolidate the kingdom. Raja Ranjit Dev ruled over Jammu from 1733 to 1782 AD.
Srinagar is located in the heart of the Kashmir Valley, and is spread on both sides of the Jhelum river. Kalahana, author of `Rajtaragini' states that Srinagar was founded by Emperor Asoka in 3' century BC. The present Srinagar was founded by Pravarasena II. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller had visited it in 631 AD. Lalitaditya Mukhtapida was the most illustrious ruler of the Hindu period which ended in 1339 AD. King Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-70AD), who was popularly known as `Badshah' was a great patron of Sanskrit. Akbar captured the valley and endowed Srinagar with beautiful mosques and gardens. The Sikhs overthrew the last Muslim ruler during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1819. In 1846 the Dogras secured the sovereignty of Kashmir from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, and in 1947 the State became a part of the Indian Union.
Today, Srinagar is a pleasure resort for tourists. It is a unique city because of its lakes - the Dal, the Nagin and the Anchar which provide delightful houseboat holiday.
Pather Masjid: This stone mosque built by Nur Jehan is located in the heart of the city. It is reserved for prayers by Shia Muslims.
Shah Hamdan Mosque: One of the oldest in the city, it has fine paper work on its walls and ceilings.
Jamia Masjid: Originally built by Sikandar Lodi in 1400 AD and enlarged by his son Zain-ul-Abidin it is a typical example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.
Nagin Lake: The jewel in the ring, the smallest but most lovely part of Dal Lake, its deep blue waters, encircled by a ring of green trees. Water skiing and swimming facilities are available. Most houseboats on the Nagin and the Jhelum are situated on the banks of the lake end can be accessed directly from land with the help of a shikara, while all those on the Dal Lake require a shikara to reach them.
Dal Lake: It is the largest lake spread over 18 sq. km and is divided by causeways in four parts—Gagribal, Lokutdal Boddal and Nagin. Lokutdal and Boddal each have an island in the centre called Rup lank and Sona Lank respectively. A shikara. ride is one of the most soothing and relaxing aspects of a holiday in Kashmir. It can be an hour long ride to see the various sights of the lake, a shopping by shikara visiting handicraft shops within the periphery of the lake or a whole day trip to visit important city landmarks.
Mughal Gardens: Kashmir was a favourite of the Mughal emperors who visited it often. They planted gardens with terraces and flowing water courses.
Chashma Shah: The smallest of Srinagar's Mughal Gardens, built in terraces with a spring of cool, refreshing digestive water, at a height above the city. The original garden was laid out by Shah Jehan in 1632 AD.
Nishat Bagh: It was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan. It commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow-capped Pir Panjal mountain range. Largest of the gardens, it has several terraces, a central water course and a majestic site between the Dal Lake and Zabarwan hills.
Shalimar Bagh: Built by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jehan, the garden is 539 by 182 meters and has four terraces. A canal lined with polished stone and supplied water from Harwan runs through the middle of the garden. The fourth terrace was once served for royal ladies. I.T.D.C. runs a Son-et-Lumiere show from May to October.
Hazratbal: Across the Dal Lake near Shalimar is the mosque of Hazratbal, made of marble with a dome and a minaret. It is the only one of its kind architecturally in Kashmir. This shrine has a special sanctity because a sacred hair of Prophet Mohammad is preserved here and displayed to public on special occasions.
Harwan: These are the remains of ancient ornamented, tile pavements of Buddhist period. The tiles indicate the dresses of the people, such as loose trousers, Turkoman caps or close fitting turbans and large ear-rings which reveal a Central Asian influence. Luxury 5 star Hotels in Srinagar
Pari Mahal: Once a Buddhist monastery, it was converted into a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, Emperor Shah Jehan's eldest son. This ancient monument is connected to Chashmashahi by road.
Shankaracharya Temple: Located on a hill one thousand feet above the city, it is also known as Takht-i-Sulaiman. The philosopher sage Shankaracharya had stayed at this site when he had visited Kashmir ten centuries ago to revive Sanatan Dharma. The present structure is said to have been built by an unknown Hindu devotee during the reign of Emperor Jehangir. The temple offers a magnificent view of the valley.
Houseboats are peculiar to Srinagar and perhaps the most memorable accommodation available. There are over 1000 houseboats moored on the banks of the Jhelum river, the Dal Lake and the Nagin Lake. They are known for their comfort and have been categorised into Deluxe, A, B, C and D categories. Meals are generally included in the tariff.
Ganderbal: (19 km) Situated on the banks of Sindh, it offers excellent camping and mooring sites.
Burzahom: (24 km) The excavations at Burzahom have revealed settlements dating back to 2600 BC.
Avantipur: (29 km) It is famous for the ruins of the ancient temple believed to have been built in honour of Lord Shiva by Avanti Verma in the 9th century AD. Accommodation is available at tourist huts and bungalows.
Charat Shariff: (30 km) It is on the road to Yusmarg and the "zairat" or shrine of the famous patron saint of Kashmir, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din, popularly known as Nunda Rishi is here.
Manasbal: (32 km - 1560 meters) It is a panoramic lake laden with flowering lotus plants during summer and is a birdwatchers' paradise. Luxury 5 star Hotels in Srinagar
Dachingam National Park: (32 km - 2400 metres) Originally a royal game preserve, this sanctuary is now protected and provides shelter to the Himalayan black bear, brown bear, musk deer and the hangul or Kashmir stag. Permits to enter the sanctuary can be obtained from chief wildlife warden - Tourist Reception centre.
Yusmarg: (47 km - 2377 meters) It is located in a small open valley in the Pir Panjal range surrounded by pines and firs. Accommodation is available at tourist bungalows, dormitories. Ponies can be hired from local tourist offices.
Aharisal: (51 km - 2400 meters) It is famous for an impressive waterfall formed by Veshav river, falling from a height of 24.4 meters.
Achbal: (58 km via Anantnag - 1677 meters) Once the pleasure retreat of Empress Nur Jehan, it has fine gardens in Mughal style and trout hatchery.
Wular Lake: (60 km - 1580 meters) Largest fresh water lake in India, is an important hydrographic system of Kashmir and acts as a flood reservoir.
Mattan: (61 km) Located on Paha1gam road, the spring in Mattan has a Shiva temple. Luxury 5 star Hotels in Srinagar
Martand: (64 km) Martand has the most impressive ancient ruins in Kashmir. Devoted to Sun God Surya, the Martand temple was built by Lalitaditya Mukhtapida in 7th-8th centuries AD.
Kokerang: (70 km - 2020 meters) It is famous for curative properties of its springs. It also has a botanical garden with a variety of roses. Accommodation is available at tourist huts and bungalows.
Vertang: (80 km - 1876 meters) The spring here is reported to be the chief source of the Jhelum river. Further to the east lies the remains of a pavilion and baths built during the Mughal period. Accommodation is available at tourist bungalows.
Das1cum: (85 km - 2513 meters) It is the forest retreat girdled by mountains. Accommodation is available at tourist bungalows.
Golf: Kashmir government runs 18 holes Golf club, located at Maulana Azad Road. Temporary membership is available from the Secretary.
Fishing: Rivers and streams are stocked with trout fish. Fishing permits can be obtained from the Director of Fisheries, Tourist Reception Centre, PH 72862.
Trekking: A set of trekking map is available with the Tourist Reception Centre and Jand K tourism offices giving details on routes. Trekking equipment can be hired from the Department of Tourism, Tourist Reception Centre.
Water Sports: Water sports Institute on Nagin Lake offers a variety of facilities like water-skiing, boating, swimming etc.
There are all categories of hotels and resorts available in Srinagar. Hotels closer to the Dal lake are more expensive than the hotels which are in the city, some of the major hotel chains have their presence in Srinagar, such as Taj hotels, Lalit hotels , Sarovar ,ITC
Luxury 5 star hotels in Srinagar include Taj and Lalit, There are also a lot of 4 star hotels in Srinagar which can be categorised in luxury segment. Besides these luxury hotels one can also stay in Luxury houseboats which are parked at Dal Lake and Nagin Lake. For more information on Srinagar and any other holiday packages contact Swan Tours - One of the leading travel agents in Delhi.