View of Srinagar and Dal Lake
Location in Jammu and Kashmir
|Coordinates: IN 34°5′24″N 74°47′24″E / 34.09000°N 74.79000°ECoordinates: IN 34°5′24″N 74°47′24″E / 34.09000°N 74.79000°E|
|State||Jammu and Kashmir|
|• Governor||N. N. Vohra|
|• Metropolis||294 km2 (114 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,585 m (5,200 ft)|
|• Density||4,000/km2 (10,000/sq mi)|
|• Other Spoken languages||Kashmiri|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||JK 01|
|Sex ratio||888 ♀/ 1000 ♂|
|Distance from Delhi||876 kilometres (544 mi) NW|
|Distance from Mumbai||2,275 kilometres (1,414 mi) NE (land)|
|Precipitation||710 millimetres (28 in)|
|Avg. summer temperature||23.3 °C (73.9 °F)|
|Avg. winter temperature||3.2 °C (37.8 °F)|
Srinagar // ( listen ) is the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus, and Dal and Anchar lakes. The city is famous for its gardens, waterfronts and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dried fruits.
Origin of names
Folk etymology draws the city name from two Sanskrit words: śrī ("glory, prosperity", a name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi) and nagar ("city"), which would make "City of Lakshmi" (or, "City of Prosperity").
According to Kalhana's 12th century text Rajatarangini, a king named Pravarasena II established a new capital named Pravarapura (also known as Pravarasena-pura). Based on topographical details, Pravarapura appears to be same as the modern city of Srinagar. Aurel Stein dates the king to sixth century CE.
Kalhana also mentions that a king named Ashoka had earlier established a town called Srinagari. Kalhana describes this town in hyperbolic terms, stating that it had "9,600,000 houses resplendent with wealth". According to Kalhana, this Ashoka reigned before 1182 BCE, and was a member of the dynasty founded by Godhara. Kalhana also states that this king had adopted the doctrine of Jina, constructed stupas and Shiva temples, and appeased Bhutesha (Shiva) to obtain his son Jalauka. Multiple scholars identify Kalhana's Ashoka with the 3rd century Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka despite these discrepancies. Although "Jina" is a term generally associated with Jainism, some ancient sources use it to refer to the Buddha. Romila Thapar equates Jalauka to Kunala, stating that "Jalauka" is an erroneous spelling caused by a typographical error in Brahmi script.:130
Ashoka's Srinagari is generally identified with Pandrethan (near present-day Srinagar), although there is an alternative identification with a place on the banks of the Lidder River. According to Kalhana, Pravarasena II resided at Puranadhishthana ("old town") before the establishment of Pravarapura; the name Pandrethan is believed to be derived from that word. Accordining to V. A. Smith, the original name of the "old town" (Srinagari) was transferred to the new town.
Srinagar in 14th to 19th centuries
The independent 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, Yusuf Shah Chak remains buried in Bihar. Kashmir came under Mughal rule, when it was conquered by the third Mughal emperor Akbar in 1586 CE. Akbar established Mughal rule in Srinagar and Kashmir valley.
With the disintegration of the Mughal empire after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, infiltration in the valley of the Afghan tribes from Afghanistan and Hindu Dogras from the Jammu region increased, and the Afghan Durrani Empire and Dogras ruled the city for several decades.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler from the Punjab region annexed a major part of the Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, to his kingdom in the year 1814 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 Maharaja Gulab Singh, a Hindu Dogra from the Jammu region became a semi-independent ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Srinagar became part of his kingdom and remained until 1947 as one of several princely states in British India. The Maharajas choose Sher Garhi Palace as their main Srinagar residence.
After India and Pakistan's independence from Britain, villagers around the city of Poonch began an armed protest at continued rule of the Maharaja on 17 August 1947. In view of the Poonch uprising, certain Pashtun tribes such as Mehsud and Afridi from mountainous region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan and with its collusion, entered the Kashmir valley to capture it on 22 October 1947. The Maharaja, who had refused to accede to either India or Pakistan in hopes of securing his own independent state, signed the instrument of accession in exchange for refuge on 26 October 1947, as Pakistani-backed tribesmen approached the outskirts of Srinagar. The Accession was accepted by India the next day. The government of India immediately airlifted Indian troops to Srinagar and prevented the tribesmen from reaching the city.
In 1989, Srinagar became the focus of the Kashmiri uprising against Indian rule and the Indian military, which has been present since 1990, and the area continues to be a highly politicised hotbed of separatist activity with frequent spontaneous protests and strikes ("bandhs" in local parlance). On 19 January 1990, the Gawakadal massacre of at least 50 unarmed protestors by Indian forces, and up to 280 by some estimates from eyewitness accounts, set the stage for bomblasts, shootouts, and curfews that characterised Srinagar throughout the early and mid-1990s. Further massacres in the spring of 1990 in which 51 allegedly unarmed protesters were allegedly killed by Indian security forces in Zakura and Tengpora heightened anti-Indian sentiments in Srinagar. As a result, bunkers and checkpoints are found throughout the city, although their numbers have come down in the past few years as militancy has declined. However, frequent protests still occur against Indian rule, such as the 22 August 2008 rally in which hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri civilians protested against Indian rule in Srinagar. Similar protests took place every summer for the next 4 years. In 2010 alone 120 protesters, many of whom were stone pelters and arsonists, were killed by police and CRPF. Large scale protests were seen following the execution of Afzal Guru in February 2013. In 2016, about 87 protesters were killed by Indian army, CRPF and JK police which became known as 2016 Kashmir unrest.
The city also saw increased violence against minorities, particularly the Kashmiri Hindus, starting from mid-80s and resulting in their ultimate exodus. Posters were pasted to walls of houses of Pandits, telling them to leave or die, temples were destroyed and houses burnt; but a very small minority of pandits still remains in the city. The recent years have seen protests in Srinagar from local Kashmiri pandits for protection of their shrines in Kashmir and their rights.
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 Dal Lake. The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city.
Hokersar is a wetland situated near Srinagar. 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 km (8.7 mi) north of Srinagar, and is a world class wetland spread over 13.75 km2 (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.
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 shoveller, common teal, and Eurasian wigeon.
Srinagar has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), much cooler than what is found in much of the rest of India, due to its moderately high elevation and northerly position. The valley is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. Winters are cool, with daytime a January average of 2.5 °C (36.5 °F), and temperatures below freezing at night. Moderate to heavy snowfall occurs in winter and the only road that connects Srinagar with the rest of India may get blocked for a few days due to avalanches. Summers are warm with a July daytime average of 24.1 °C (75.4 °F). The average annual rainfall is around 720 millimetres (28 in). Spring is the wettest season while autumn is the driest. The highest temperature reliably recorded is 38.3 °C (100.9 °F) and the lowest is −20.0 °C (−4.0 °F).
|Climate data for Srinagar (1971–1986 normals)|
|Record high °C (°F)|| 17.2
|Average high °C (°F)|| 7.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)|| 2.5
|Average low °C (°F)|| −2
|Record low °C (°F)|| −14.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)|| 48
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.6||7.3||10.2||8.8||8.1||5.7||7.9||6.8||3.5||2.8||2.8||5.1||75.6|
|Average relative humidity (%)||82||79||70||64||61||56||66||70||67||69||77||84||70.4|
In November 2011, the City Mayors Foundation – an advocacy think tank – announced that Srinagar was the 92nd fastest growing urban areas in the world in terms of economic growth, based on actual data from 2006 onwards and projections to 2020.
Srinagar is one of several places that have been called the "Venice of the East" or the "Kashmiri Venice" Lakes around the city include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nigeen Lake. Apart from Dal lake and Nigeen lake city is also famous for wular lake and manasbal lake to the north of srinagar. Wular lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia.
Srinagar has some Mughal gardens, forming a part of those laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent. Those of Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chashma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; the Naseem Bagh.
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in the city, set up in 1969. The Indian government has included these gardens under "Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir" in the tentative list for sites to be included in world Heritage sites.
Government and politics
The city is run by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). The Srinagar district along with the adjoining Budgam and Ganderbal districts forms the Srinagar Parliamentary seat.
Stray dog controversy
Srinagar's city government attracted brief international attention in March 2008 when it announced a mass poisoning program aimed at eliminating the city's population of stray dogs. Officials estimate that 100,000 stray dogs roam the streets of the city, which has a human population of just under 900,000. In a survey conducted by an NGO, it was found that some residents welcomed this program, saying the city was overrun by dogs, while critics contended that more humane methods should be used to deal with the animals.
As of 2011 census Srinagar urban agglomeration had 1,273,312 population. Both the city and the urban agglomeration has average literacy rate of approximately 70%, whereas the national average is 74.04%. The child population of both the city and the urban agglomeration is approximately 12% of the total population. Males constituted 53.0% and females 47.0% of the population. The sex ratio in the city area is 888 females per 1000 males, whereas in the urban agglomeration it is 880 per 1000, and nationwide value of this ratio is 940. The predominant religion of Srinagar is Islam with 96% of the population being Muslim. Hindus constitute the second largest religious group representing 2.75% of the population. The remaining population constitutes Sikhs, Buddhist and Jains.
Srinagar Airport has regular domestic flights to Leh, Jammu, Chandigarh and Delhi and occasional international flights. An expanded terminal capable of handling both domestic and international flights was inaugurated on 14 February 2009 with Air India Express flights to Dubai. Hajj flights also operate from this airport to Saudi Arabia.
Srinagar is a station on the 119 km (74 mi) long Kashmir railway that started in October 2009 and connects Baramulla to Srinagar, Anantnag and Qazigund. The railway track also connects to Banihal across the Pir Panjal mountains through a newly constructed 11 km long Banihal tunnel, and subsequently to the Indian railway network after a few years. It takes approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds for train to cross the tunnel. It is the longest rail tunnel in India. This railway system, proposed in 2001, is not expected to connect the Indian railway network until 2017 at the earliest, with a cost overrun of ₹5,500 crore. The train also runs during heavy snow.
Srinagar Cable Car
In December 2013, the 594m cable car allowing people to travel to the shrine of the Sufi saint Hamza Makhdoom on Hari Parbat was unveiled. The project is run by the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC), and has been envisioned for 25 years. An investment of ₹30cr was made, and it is the second cable car in Kashmir after the Gulmarg Gondola.
Whilst popular since the 7th century, water transport is now mainly confined to Dal Lake, where shikaras (wooden boats) are used for local transport and tourism. There are efforts to revive transportation on the River Jhelum.
Like the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar too has a distinctive blend of cultural heritage. Holy places in and around the city depict the historical cultural and religious diversity of the city as well as the Kashmir valley.
Places of worship
There are many religious holy places in Srinagar. They include:
- Hazratbal Shrine, only domed mosque in the city.
- Jama Masjid, Srinagar, one of the oldest mosques in Kashmir
- Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi, located on Hari Parbat
- Aali Masjid, in Eidgah Locality
- Hari Parbhat
- Hari Parbat hill hosts shrine of Sharika Mata temple
- Shankaracharya temple
Additional structures include the Dastgeer Sahib shrine, Mazar-e-Shuhada, Roza Bal shrine, Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, Pathar Masjid ("The Stone Mosque"), Hamza Makhdoom shrine, tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin, tomb of Pir Haji Muhammad, Akhun Mulla Shah Mosque, cemetery of Baha-ud-din Sahib, tomb and Madin Sahib Mosque at Zadibal.
Srinagar is home to one of India's premier technical institutes;– The National Institute of Technology Srinagar (NIT;– SRI), formerly known as Regional Engineering College (REC Srinagar). It is one of the oldest NIT among the National Institutes of Technology that were established during 2nd Five year plan. Besides this the other Institutions/Colleges and Universities in Srinagar are:
- University of Kashmir
- Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir
- Central University of Kashmir
General Degree Colleges
The city is home to the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, a stadium where international cricket matches have been played. The first international match was played in 1983 in which West Indies defeated India and the last international match was played in 1986 in which Australia defeated India by six wickets. Since then no international matches have been played in the stadium due to the security situation (although the situation has now improved quite considerably). Srinagar has an outdoor stadium namely Bakshi Stadium for hosting football matches. It is named after Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. The city has a golf course named Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar located on the banks of Dal lake, which is considered as one of the best golf courses of India. Football is also followed by the youth of Srinagar and Polo ground is maintained for the particular sports recently.There are certain other sports being played but those are away from the main city like in Pahalgam (Water rafting), Gulmarg (skiing).
- Kashmir conflict
- Downtown (Srinagar)
- Kashmir Shaivism
- Swami Lakshman Joo
- Dah Hanu
- List of State Protected Monuments in Jammu and Kashmir
- List of colleges in Srinagar
- Chashme Shahi
- Lal Chowk
- Nishat Bagh
- Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar
- Pathar Masjid
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Srinagar.|
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- Srinagar travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Srinagar district administration
- Official website of Jammu and Kashmir