Srinagar is situated in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the mighty Indus. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes, houseboats and shikaras. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts, particularly the handwoven woolen shawls and carpets. Saffron, apples and dry fruits are also commonly traded here. Here are some fun experiences you can hope to have in and around the valley with the 10 top tourist places to visit in Srinagar.
1. Betab Valley
Do not let the name fool you, this valley may well be the sea of tranquility. It is located on the road to Amarnath from Pahalgam. The lush green meadows and the crystal clear waters of the Lidder river evoke a sense of poetry. You can very well appreciate then why the poets and writers keep harping on Kashmir. The place gets its name from the Sunny Deol movie which was shot there, which is a real shame because the valley clearly outmatches what the movie offered its viewers. It truly deserves to be on top of the list of places to visit near Srinagar.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city lies the relatively obscure hill station of Yousmarg. The green meadows are a sight to behold. If you go a further 14 km, you will get to the Sang-e-Safed valley, a lake that is frozen even during summers. You can stay overnight at some of the JKTDC huts at Yousmarg. Because of its location, Yousmarg is also one of the best places to visit near Srinagar airport.
This Kashmir town is right in the heart of the beautiful Breng Valley. The serenity of the scenic Breng is at its height here, and the Botanical Gardens are popular with tourists and locals alike. Against the backdrop of the blue mountains, the small blue streams and the green meadows are picturesque. While the gardens look like they are out of a movie, it is also equally popular for trout breeding which is a novelty here.
4. Sinthan Top
This pass is further on NH 244, going from Srinagar to Kokernag, and is fast becoming a magnet for tourists coming to the valley. The pass separates the Kashmir valley from the Jammu region, and sports a “360 degrees point” from where you can spot Kashmir on one side and Jammu on the other. Also, there is always snow at the top (its elevation is about 12,300 feet).
5. Dachigam National Park
Literally meaning ten villages (for the ten villages that were relocated to make way for the park), it has been under protection for over a hundred years now. The Alpine pastures, conifers, meadows, and waterfalls are inhabited by the endangered Himalayan brown and black bears. Deep into the park is the Marsar Lake, and Dachigam is a stop for many trekkers hoping to get to this lonely lake in the mountains. It is also popular with tourists looking for sightseeing near Srinagar.