Srinagar , is the capital of the northernmost state of the Jammu and Kashmir that is situated in Indian Kashmir. 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.
Origin of name
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. Vikramaditya (of Ujjain) and his successors probably ruled the regions just before the city fell to the control of the Huns in the 6th century, and Mihirkula was the most dreaded ruler of the city and the valley.
History The Hindu and the Buddhist rule of Srinagar lasted until the 14th century, when the Kashmir valley, including the city, came under the control of the several Muslim rulers, including the Mughals. It was also the capital during the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak, a ruler who was tricked by Akbar when he failed to conquer Kashmir by force. Yusuf Shah Chak remains buried in Bihar in India. Akbar established Mughal rule in Srinagar and Kashmir valley.
When the disintegration of the Mughal Empire set forth after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, infiltrations to the valley from the Pashtun tribes increased, and the Durrani Empire ruled the city for several decades. Raja Ranjit Singh in the year 1814 annexed a major part of the Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, to his kingdom, and the city came under the influence of the Sikhs. In 1846, the Treaty of Lahore was signed between the Sikh rulers and the British in Lahore. The treaty, inter alia, provided British de-facto suzerainty over the Kashmir Valley, and installed Gulab Singh as an independent and sovereign ruler of the region. Srinagar became part of his kingdom, and remained until 1947 as one of the several princely states of undivided India.
Srinagar city and its vicinity in 1959.
A closer map of KashmirLocation: 34°5'23?N 74°47'24 E / ?34.08972°N 74.79°E / 34.08972; 74.79
Highest temperature: 37 °C (99 °F); lowest -14 °C (6.8 °F)
The city is located on both the sides of the Jhelum River, which is called Vyath in Kashmir. The river passes through the city and meanders through the valley, moving onward and deepening in the Wular Lake. The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city.
Hokersar is a wetland situated near Srinagar—the capital of Indian Kashmir.
Topography Thousands of migratory birds come to Hokersar from Siberia and other regions in the winter season. Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October and again around spring. These wetlands play a vital role in sustaining a large population of wintering, staging and breeding birds.
Hokersar is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) north of Srinagar, and is a world class wetland spread over 13.75 square kilometres (5.31 sq mi) including lake and marshy area. It is the most accessible and well-known of Kashmir's wetlands which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years. An estimated quarter of a million birds have already been spotted at Hokersar in the current season.
Birds found in Hokersar—Migratory ducks and geese which include Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon. The climate of Srinagar may be described as a humid subtropical climate with very warm summers. The city has warm summers from June through August, and winters from December-February. The city generally gets some snowfall from December to February but seldom accumulates for longer periods. The average temperatures are 24 °C (75 °F) in July (ranging between 18 to 29°C or 65 to 84°F) and 4 °C (39 °F) in January (between -2/7°C or 28/45°F (night/day), -2/0°C or 28/32°F and 7/11°C or 45/52°F some of local extremes). The average annual rainfall is around 675 mm (26.5 inches).Srinagar is the most pivotal centre of the economy of the Kashmir Valley, and it has remained a tourist destination for centuries. The valley has attracted rulers from the plains of India for a long time, and they traveled to the valley and the city to avoid the hot summers of the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Famous Places The city remained on the itinerary of the Mughal ruling elite, and several Mughal emperors and their consorts had visited the city, and several Mughal gardens in and around the city indicate their close association with Srinagar.
With the colonization of India by the Europeans, particularly the British, the ruling elite as well as the rich Indians used to visit the city and the nearby locations during summers to avoid heat of the plains; and during winters to enjoy the snowfall.
The hinterland of Srinagar is the most populous part of the Kashmir valley, and crops like wheat and rice are cultivated for local consumption. Orchards produce a number of fruits, particularly apples. Another significant segment of the economy include handicrafts, weaving of woolen shawls and dress materials, and woodcarving. Srinagar and the surrounding areas serve as collecting points from where fruits and handicraft products are taken to several parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Tourism is the most significant segment of the city's economy. The city of Srinagar is a gateway to some of the most scenic and beautiful places of the Indian subcontinent. The beautiful and world famous hill station and skiing resort Gulmarg is just 50 km from the city. For decades, tourism has been contributing massively to the economy of the city, but it has been adversely affected on account of insurgent activities by certain elements.
Srinagar is well known for its lakes. Dal Lake with its houseboats is famous all over the world. Srinagar is a small and beautiful city with a wonderful climate in the summer. Nagin Lake is another famous lake in the city.
Just outside the city are found the beautiful Shalimar Gardens created by Jehangir, the Mughal emperor, in 1619.
Houseboats were introduced accidentally to Kashmir: members of the Indian Civil Service serving in the plains who vacationed in Kashmir were not permitted to build permanent homes because of the then Maharaja's suspicion of a British presence in Srinagar. They thus chose to live in houseboats.
The first such, named Victory, was designed by Mr. M.T. Kenhard in 1888. There are now about five hundred on the Lake.
Srinagar has several gardens which are part of the several such gardens laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent, and which are known as Mughal gardens. The Mughal Gardens located in Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chasma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; and the Nashim Bagh. The Tulip Gardens have been recently opened to public by Smt Sonia Gandhi. The gardens has rows of Tulips of different colurs and shades.
The city is run by the Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC). The Srinagar district along with the adjoining Budgam district forms the Srinagar Parliamentary seat. Current leaders of the city include:
Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir (NC)
Saifuddin Soz, President Pradesh Congress (Jammu & Kashmir)
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir (Cong) and Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare
Farooq Abdullah, Former Chief Minister, President of National Conference and Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Former Chief Minister, Former Union Home Minister and Patron of Peoples Democratic Party
Mehbooba Mufti, President Peoples Democratic Party
Sadiq Ali, Senior Shia leader, and former MLA.
As of 2001, Srinagar city had a population of 894,940. The population density in the city is 556 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,440 /sq mi) while the overall population density is 99 /km2 (260 /sq mi).
Linguistics and Demography The languages spoken are mainly Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi and English. According to the 2001 Indian Census, Muslims made up 95% of the population, Hindus 4% and Sikhs and others 1%.
There are many religious holy places in Srinagar. They include:
Jama Masjid, Srinagar, one of the oldest mosques in Kashmir
Khanqah Moulla The mosque founded by the sufi saint Hazrat Shah-i-Hamadan
Dasgeer Sahib Khanyar,Shrine of Saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani(R.A)
BulBul Saheb Shrine Of Saint Sheikh Abdul Rahman (R.A)
Hari Parbat hill hosts shrine of Sufi Saint Sheikh Hamza Makdoom(R.A)
Shankaracharya temple,on Sulaiman Hill
Baba Reshi, Tangmarg
Performing arts of the city include:
Bhand Pather, a form of traditional folk theatre art form of play and dance, is performed by a group of about ten to fifteen artists. They depict in a satirical style social evils. Performance is accompanied by light music.
Chakri is a major and popular form of Kashmiri folk music.
Another form of Kashmiri genre of music called Sufiana music is also practiced in the city. It was introduced in the valley in the 15th century from Iran. Over centuries, it has assimilated a number of Indian Ragas, and has established itself as a classical music of the region. The instruments used in the music include Santoor, Sitar, Kashmiri Saz, Tabla, and Wasool.
Hafiz Nagma, a form of dance, is performed to the accompaniment of Sufiana music. The dancer is a female while males play different instruments used in Sufiana music.