Srinagar pronunciation (Dogri: श्रीनगर; Kashmiri: سِرېنَگَر श्रीनगर), is the capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. The city is famous for its lakes and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. It is also the headquarters of Srinagar district
Etymologically Srinagar is composed of two Sanskrit words, namely, Sri (meaning abundance and wealth) and Nagar, which means a city. Thus, the word Srinagar signifies a place of wealth and abundance. Sri is also the name of a goddess Lakshmi of Hindus. A legend, as incorporated in Nila’s Nilmatapurana, states that the Kashmir valley was a vast lake. A Hindu sage named Kashyapa drained out the water, and there emerged the beautiful valley of Kashmir.
The city was founded by the King Pravarasena II over 2,000 years ago, and the city of Srinagar has a long history, dating back at least to the 3rd century BC. The city was then a part of the Maurya Empire, one of the largest empires of the Indian subcontinent. Ashoka introduced Buddhism to the Kashmir valley, and the adjoining regions around the city became a centre of Buddhism. In the 1st century, the region was under the control of Kushans and several rulers of this dynasty strengthened the Buddhist tradition.
Many people take the train to Jammu followed by a taxi or bus ride to Srinagar. The journey from Jammu to Srinagar in costlier in the summers because capital is being shifted from Jammu to Srinagar on both the state buses and Sumos. State buses are safer but take more time and are a bit uncomfortable.
Foreign travelers on visas are required to register upon arrival at the airport or to their hotel or houseboat.
By air : Flights are operated by Jet Airways, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, Jet Lite and Indian Airlines  from Delhi and Mumbai to Srinagar, with or without a stopover at Jammu. The frequency is once or twice a day by each airline. The cost is approx Rs. 2,500 from Jammu, Rs. 2,500-5,000 from Delhi one way and higher from Mumbai, depending on the season. The airport is still quite small but the expanded terminal is expected to open soon. All flights originate in Delhi or Mumbai, pick up passengers and then return. It is also still heavily fortified and expect to see many soldiers with guns. Winter flights can easily be canceled due to weather conditions. Tickets are easy to purchase in town, but the airport requires a ticket for entrance. A taxi into town should be Rs. 350 and direct to Gulmarg is 1,200-1,500.
By taxi : Hiring a TATA Sumo SUV (fits up to 9 people, or 5 comfortably plus luggage) from Jammu costs approximately Rs.1,900-2,700 depending on time of year or even time of day. To reduce costs many people choose not to take an exclusive taxi, and share the Sumo taxi with other travellers. This costs about Rs. 150-400 per person. For a comfortable trip, try for a seat in the middle row – the front bucket seat is (sometimes uncomfortably) shared by 2 people, and the far back could be quite bumpy as the highway is full of mountainous roads. The journey takes around 8 hours.
By bus : J&K SRTC operates fairly comfortable buses from Jammu costing around Rs 150 and do the journey in around 12 hours. 2 day buses run between Srinagar and Leh staying overnight in Kargil.There are also direct buses from Delhi taking almost 24 hours to reach Srinagar.
- The Mughal Gardens. With terraced lawns, cascading fountains, paint-box-bright flowerbeds with the panorama of the Dal in front of them – the three Mughal Gardens of Chesmashahi, Nishat and Shalimar are the Mughal Emperors’ concept of paradise and are today very popular places for picnics and excursions. The beauty of these gardens is at their best during spring but the Mughal structure of these gardens lends them a unique sense of beauty even when the flowers are not blossoming.
- Nishat Bagh. Situated on the banks of the Dal Lake, with the Zabarwan Mountains as its backdrop, (11 km. from TRC), this ‘garden of bliss’ commands a magnificent view of the lake and the snow capped Pir Panjal mountain range which stands far away to the west of the valley. Nishat was designed in 1633 AD by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jehan.
- Shalimar Bagh, the Moghul garden in front of the Dal lake built by Emperor Jahangir.
- Chashmashahi is another beautiful Moghul garden.
- Hazratbal Mosque, the white mosque is breathtakingly beautiful but be careful, as women can enter only the first part of the mosque.
- Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph, in the Khanyar area, about 150 meters NW of Dastgir Saheb mosque & shrine. This tomb, also known as Roza Bal, is believed by some to be the tomb of Jesus (part of the larger theory that he survived the crucifixion and made his way to Kashmir where he lived until at least the age of 100). It has been made popular by recent books such as Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten among others. It’s down a little side road – ask around, pretty much anyone in the area can point you in the right direction.
- Shankaracharya Mandir, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on a hilltop. It can be reached by a car or taxi. For security reasons, no cameras or cellphones are allowed within the temple and you are supposed to leave them in the vehicle before entering the temple premises. Cigarettes, liquor are to be deposited with the police personnel before the ascent of the hill as these items are against Hindu religion.
- You can buy nice leather products, or jewellery. Cashmere (Pashmina) shawls have been manufactured in Kashmir for thousands of years. Pashmina Shawls are very popular items for sale in the Valley, but make sure to test the quality before purchasing. The test for a quality pashmina has been warmth, feel and the passing of the shawl through a wedding ring. Secondly, the weave pattern on a good Pashmina is fainter than on a “silk Pashmina” or other wool Pashmina.
- You can also buy embroidered felt mats called Namdahs but the colours of the wool may be a bit too bright in most shops. The Government Emporia supplies might be better than the other private shops.
- There are also chainstitch rugs in two styles – English design or Kilim design – it will be evident what is meant when you see them.
- Paper Machie products are also quite unique to Kashmir with colourful motifs and design on them.
- Kahwah is a traditional green tea recipe from Kashmir. The tea is made from green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark and cardamom pods.Some varieties are made as a herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Generally, it is served with sugar or honey, and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. There is another form of tea that is quite famous amongst the locals, its called ‘Namkeen Chai’ or ‘Nun Chai’. It is pink in color and is also called Pink Tea. It is made from black tea, cardamom, various spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Also people like nune toath and dum toath which are very famous among sufis. Nunetoath is nunechai without milk and Dumtoath is strong form of Kahwa.