Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Kashmir Valley, the enchanting city of Srinagar reveals a treasure trove of hidden places waiting to be explored. Beyond the bustling markets and famous landmarks, lies a realm of serenity and mystery, where time seems to stand still. These hidden places in Srinagar offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history, natural wonders, and cultural heritage. From secluded gardens blooming with vibrant flowers to tranquil lakes shrouded in mist, each corner holds a secret waiting to be discovered by the intrepid traveler. Embark on a journey of enchantment as we unveil the lesser-known gems that make Srinagar a true haven for those seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures.
How To Get To Srinagar
There are two ways to get to Srinagar from Delhi via road. Those are Delhi-Manali-Leh and Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar. The first passage is open only 3-4 months in the year, while the second is open throughout the year. You can also take a train from Delhi to Jammu and then from Jammu to Srinagar but the most hassle-free option is to just get a flight from Delhi to Srinagar.
Just note that if you’re traveling by road, make sure the passage you’re taking is open. Once, I took a trip to Kashmir in May even the people at the bus station in Delhi didn’t have that information. We decided to take the advice of an old man from Manali that we met at the bus station who claimed that the passage was but when we reached Manali, we found out that the passage was closed due to the unexpected snow. So, being left without other options, we bought another ticket from Manali to Jammu and traveled for 14 hours starting from Delhi to Manali and 16 hours from Manali to Jammu.
Where To Stay In Srinagar?
I’ve stayed in different kinds of accommodation from luxurious hotels to cheap boathouses. The first time I visited, I stayed in the cheapest boathouses we could find. We only paid 200 INR per night ($3.5 USD). It wasn’t the best accommodation, but it had everything we need. We were making instant jokes about how we might wake up in the water because the floor was screeching every time you’d set a foot on it. Luckily, that didn’t happen. But whatever you choose, you can use our Booking affiliate link and get up to 15% off on all properties in Srinagar.
Best Tours To Take In Srinagar
Tours are a great way to explore the city and support local tourism companies who despite the natural beauties of the region have been struggling because the region doesn’t get a lot of visitors because of the political turmoil between India and Pakistan. I’ve taken many tours in Srinagar and here are some of my favorite choices.
If you’re looking for a tour that covers most of Srinagar’s highlights, the Srinagar Splendors tours is a great choice but if you’re looking to explore the city for the whole day, this tour shows you not only the highlights of Srinagar and the beauty of its lakes but also the finest dining options in town.
Alternatively, this tour is a great choice for people who want to get an in-depth tour of Srinagar’s old town.
If you’re looking for some nice day trip ideas from Srinagar, I warmly recommend this Gulmarg excursion– it’s one of the most beautiful places in the region and the tour also gives you a taste of traditional Kashmiri food.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for some longer tours that take care of your accommodation, food, transportation, and activities (so you don’t have to plan a thing), I recommend this private 6-day tour of Kashmir and this 15-day Sringar-Leh tour.
What’s Life Like In Srinagar?
The tale of Kashmir always begins with a cold breeze that smacks you in the face as soon as you reach Srinagar. After that, this breeze becomes your faithful companion throughout your trip.
Srinagar, the home of the Dal lake is an amazing city that looks like a winter version of Venice and as such has a lot of fascinating tourism sights. At this lake, you will find one of the biggest floating markets in India where you can buy literally everything, including hash and weed, if you’re into this stuff.
However, one can’t help but notice the deep trails that the political situation left on the people of Kashmir. The roads are awful, electricity and water breakdowns are common, the Internet is almost not existent, and home-made jugaads are omnipresent. Being in such a difficult situation, the Indian Government is afraid to invest in the region, because of the fear of separation. On the other hand, people don’t trust the Government and don’t feel like they are part of India, and their animosity towards the Government grows. That’s what I call the vicious circle of Kashmir…
Our Favorite Hidden Places In Srinagar
Now that we covered some basics about Srinagar, let’s focus on the most important part of this article; the hidden places in Srinagar for people looking to get off the beaten track…
We start off this list of hidden places in Srinagar with Zero Bridge, a charming and lesser-known gem that encapsulates the essence of the city’s allure. Situated over the Jhelum River, this iconic bridge connects the Raj Bagh area with the bustling old city, offering a serene retreat away from the tourist crowds. Zero Bridge derives its name from the zero milestone that once marked the starting point of the arterial roads leading to different parts of the city. This historical significance adds to the allure of the bridge, making it an intriguing spot for history enthusiasts.
To reach Zero Bridge, one can start from Raj Bagh and head towards the old city. As you traverse the narrow lanes, flanked by traditional houses with intricate woodwork, you’ll eventually stumble upon this hidden treasure. The bridge’s picturesque setting provides an ideal vantage point to admire the glistening waters of the Jhelum River, with boats gently gliding by and vibrant houseboats lining the banks.
Perched atop a hill in the Badamwari area, this enchanting viewpoint provides a mesmerizing blend of nature’s splendor and architectural beauty. Astaanmarg Viewpoint is located in the vicinity of the revered Dargah Hazratbal Shrine, adding to its spiritual aura. The viewpoint derives its name from the word “Astaanmarg,” which means a place to seek blessings and guidance from a higher power. It serves as a sanctuary where visitors can immerse themselves in the serenity of the surroundings and behold the awe-inspiring views that stretch before them.
To reach Astaanmarg Viewpoint, one can start from the city center and head towards the Hazratbal area. From there, you can continue your ascent up the hill to reach the viewpoint. As you navigate the winding roads and traverse through the serene neighborhood, the stunning view that awaits you will make the journey well worth it.
Upon arriving at Astaanmarg Viewpoint, you’ll be greeted by an expansive vista that encompasses the cityscape, the shimmering Dal Lake, and the majestic peaks of the Himalayas in the distance. The sweeping views provide a captivating glimpse into the natural beauty that surrounds Srinagar, with its lush greenery, azure waters, and snow-capped mountains.
Pathar Masjid is one of our favorite hidden places in Srinagar and a historic mosque that exudes an aura of serenity and architectural splendor. Situated in the heart of the old city, near the bustling Nowhatta area, this ancient mosque holds significant cultural and religious importance in the fabric of Srinagar’s heritage. The mosque was constructed during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century and derives its name from the unique fact that its foundation is made entirely of large stones, hence the term “Pathar” which means stone.
The mosque’s striking architecture showcases a fusion of Persian and Mughal styles, with intricate carvings adorning the façade and beautifully crafted arches that add to its grandeur. The central prayer hall, adorned with exquisite calligraphy and adorned with chandeliers, offers a tranquil space for devotees to gather for prayers and reflection.
To reach Pathar Masjid, one can start from the city center and make their way towards the old city, specifically Nowhatta. The mosque is located near the bustling marketplaces, narrow lanes, and historical landmarks that dot the area. As you navigate the labyrinthine streets, the enchanting sound of the azaan (call to prayer) emanating from the mosque guides you to its entrance.
Shah-e-Hamdan RH Mosque
Shah-e-Hamdan RH Mosque is named after the revered Sufi saint, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, who played a vital role in spreading Islam in Kashmir during the 14th century. The mosque’s construction dates back to the 14th century, with subsequent renovations and additions over the centuries, resulting in a fusion of architectural styles that reflect the cultural amalgamation of Kashmir.
The mosque’s architecture showcases intricate woodwork, ornate carvings, and vibrant Kashmiri-style frescoes, creating a visual spectacle that captivates the senses. The imposing wooden structure, adorned with delicate filigree and intricate motifs, stands as a testament to the region’s rich craftsmanship and artistic traditions.
To reach Shah-e-Hamdan RH Mosque, one can start from the city center and head towards the Zaina Kadal area in the old city. The mosque is situated near the historic bridge of Zaina Kadal, and its towering presence can be easily spotted amidst the bustling marketplaces and traditional houses that surround it. As you traverse the vibrant lanes and alleyways, the melodious sound of the call to prayer draws you closer to the mosque’s sacred grounds.
Emporium Garden, a hidden oasis in Srinagar, is a captivating blend of nature’s beauty and architectural splendor. Located in the heart of the city, this enchanting garden offers respite from the bustling streets and provides a serene haven for visitors seeking tranquility. Nestled on the banks of the shimmering Dal Lake, Emporium Garden showcases the quintessential charm of Kashmir’s landscape. Lush green lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and towering chinar trees create a picturesque setting that mesmerizes the senses.
The garden also features intricate pathways adorned with colorful mosaic tiles, ornate fountains, and intricately carved stone benches, adding a touch of regal elegance to the surroundings. To reach Emporium Garden, one can start from the city center and head towards the Boulevard Road, which runs parallel to Dal Lake. As you make your way along this scenic route, lined with charming houseboats and floating gardens, you’ll come across the entrance to Emporium Garden.
Shri Pratap Singh Museum
Sri Pratap Museum, a cultural treasure trove in Srinagar, is a captivating testament to the region’s rich history and artistic heritage. Situated in Lal Mandi area of the city, this museum offers a fascinating journey through time, showcasing an extensive collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical relics. Located near the picturesque Dal Lake, Sri Pratap Museum is housed in a magnificent colonial-era building, adding to its charm and allure. The museum is named after the Maharaja Sri Pratap Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, who played a significant role in its establishment.
Stepping inside Sri Pratap Museum, visitors are greeted by a vast array of exhibits that chronicle the history, culture, and traditions of the region. The museum boasts a diverse collection, including ancient manuscripts, archaeological finds, exquisite woodwork, intricate carpets, traditional costumes, and captivating paintings.
Kabootar Khana is one of the most peaceful hidden places in Srinagar, is a place where time seems to stand still, and nature and human connection intertwine. Located in the bustling Maharaj Gunj area of the city, this unique sanctuary serves as a refuge for pigeons, offering a serene and harmonious haven amidst the chaos of urban life.
Kabootar Khana, which translates to “Pigeon House,” is a small structure that has been meticulously designed to provide shelter and sustenance to thousands of pigeons. This centuries-old tradition of feeding and caring for pigeons holds great cultural significance in Srinagar, symbolizing peace, compassion, and unity.
To reach Kabootar Khana, one can start from the city center and head towards the Maharaj Gunj area. The sanctuary is nestled within the narrow lanes and bustling marketplaces, making it easily accessible for both locals and visitors. As you explore the vibrant streets, you’ll come across the unassuming structure that stands as a gateway to a world where humans and birds coexist in perfect harmony.
Situated in the foothills of the Zabarwan Range, this historical site offers a captivating glimpse into the Neolithic era and the early human civilizations that once thrived in the Kashmir Valley. Burzahama is located approximately 16 kilometers from the city center of Srinagar. This ancient site is nestled amidst lush greenery and scenic landscapes, providing a serene and picturesque backdrop for those seeking to delve into the depths of history.
The archaeological significance of Burzahama lies in its remains, which date back over 5,000 years. Excavations have unearthed evidence of early human settlements, including tools, pottery, and burial sites, shedding light on the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the Neolithic period in the region.
To reach Burzahama, one can start from the city center and head towards the outskirts of Srinagar. The site is accessible by road, and local transportation options such as taxis or buses can take you to the vicinity of the archaeological site. From there, a short walk will lead you to the remnants of the ancient civilization that once thrived in this area.
Kheer Bhawani Temple
The Kheer Bhawani Temple, a revered pilgrimage site in Srinagar, is a testament to the spiritual devotion and cultural richness of the Kashmiri people. Situated in the village of Tula Mula, approximately 25 kilometers from the city center, this ancient temple holds great significance for followers of the Hindu faith, particularly the Kashmiri Pandit community.
The Kheer Bhawani Temple is dedicated to the goddess Ragnya Devi, also known as Kheer Bhawani, who is believed to be the presiding deity of the Kashmir Valley. The temple’s name derives from the tradition of offering kheer, a sweet rice pudding, to the goddess as a symbol of devotion.
To reach the Kheer Bhawani Temple, one can start from the city center and embark on a scenic journey to the village of Tula Mula. The temple is accessible by road, and public transportation options such as taxis or buses are available. As you traverse the picturesque countryside, you’ll witness the natural beauty that surrounds Srinagar, with its lush green fields and gentle flowing streams.
This list of hidden places in Srinagar wouldn’t be complete without Nigeen Lake. Nigeen Lake, also known as “The Jewel in the Ring,” is situated on the outskirts of Srinagar, adjacent to the famous Dal Lake. The lake is fed by the crystal-clear waters of the mountain streams and is encompassed by lush green meadows and towering trees, creating a picturesque panorama that leaves visitors spellbound.
To reach Nigeen Lake, one can start from the city center and head towards the Nigeen Lake Road, which runs parallel to the lake’s edge. The lake is easily accessible by road, and various transportation options such as taxis, auto-rickshaws, or local buses are available. As you make your way to the lake, you’ll be greeted by the refreshing scent of the surrounding flora and the gentle breeze that carries the melodies of chirping birds.
Speaking of hidden places in Srinagar, how can we forget about Char Chinar? Char Chinar, a mesmerizing island in the midst of the enchanting Dal Lake, is a testament to the allure and charm of Srinagar. Located in the heart of the lake, this picturesque island is adorned with four majestic Chinar trees, symbolizing the harmonious blending of nature and history.
To reach Char Chinar, one can start from the city center and make their way towards the Dal Lake. The lake is easily accessible by road, and various modes of transportation such as taxis, auto-rickshaws, or local buses can take you to the designated boarding points for shikaras, traditional Kashmiri boats. From there, a serene shikara ride across the Dal Lake will transport you to the captivating Char Chinar island.
Challi Point is located in the vicinity of Dal Lake, one of the most iconic attractions in Srinagar. Situated at an elevated position, this viewpoint provides a stunning vantage point from which to admire the sprawling Dal Lake, with its sparkling waters and vibrant houseboats. The panoramic views extend to the snow-capped peaks of the distant Himalayas, creating a sight that is truly mesmerizing.
To reach Challi Point, one can start from the city center and make their way towards the Dal Lake. The lake is easily accessible by road, and various modes of transportation such as taxis, auto-rickshaws, or local buses can take you to the designated boarding points for shikaras, traditional Kashmiri boats. From there, a serene shikara ride across the Dal Lake will transport you to the base of Challi Point.
Lolab Valley, a hidden paradise nestled in the pristine beauty of Kashmir, is a picturesque valley located in the northern region of the state. Tucked away amidst majestic mountains and verdant meadows, this enchanting valley offers a serene retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.
Lolab Valley is situated in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, approximately 70 kilometers north of Srinagar. This remote valley is known for its unspoiled natural beauty, with lush green meadows, crystal-clear streams, and towering mountains that surround the landscape. It is a haven for those seeking tranquility and a close connection with nature.
To reach Lolab Valley, one can start from Srinagar and embark on a scenic road journey. The route takes you through breathtaking vistas, winding roads, and charming villages, showcasing the raw beauty of the Kashmiri countryside. The journey itself is an adventure, as you traverse through dramatic landscapes and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of rural life.
Tucked away from the bustling city life, Yusmarg offers a tranquil retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. With its stunning landscapes, pristine meadows, and breathtaking views, Yusmarg is a destination that captivates the heart and rejuvenates the soul.
Yusmarg is situated approximately 47 kilometers southwest of Srinagar, making it easily accessible for a day trip or a short getaway. The name “Yusmarg” translates to “Meadow of Jesus” and it is believed that Jesus, or “Yusu” in local language, once visited the area. This adds a touch of mystique to the allure of the place.
The main attraction of Yusmarg is its scenic beauty. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, dense forests, and gushing streams, the hill station offers a pristine environment that feels like a slice of paradise. The meadows of Yusmarg are carpeted with vibrant wildflowers during spring, creating a colorful spectacle that is a treat for the eyes.
Last but not least, we round up this list of hidden places in Srinagar (or in this case, near it) with Pahalgam. Surrounded by majestic mountains, pristine forests, and gushing rivers, Pahalgam offers a serene and picturesque retreat for travelers seeking solace in nature’s embrace. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse activities, and a tranquil ambiance, Pahalgam is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Pahalgam is situated approximately 95 kilometers southeast of Srinagar, making it easily accessible for a day trip or an extended stay. It is located at the confluence of the Lidder River and the Sheshnag Lake, creating a scenic setting that is truly mesmerizing. The town is known for its lush green meadows, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the snow-clad peaks.
One of the main attractions of Pahalgam is its natural beauty. The town is surrounded by verdant forests that are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The meadows of Pahalgam, such as Baisaran and Aru, offer idyllic settings for picnics and leisurely strolls. The landscape is dotted with colorful wildflowers, creating a tapestry of vibrant hues that are a treat for the eyes.
Did you enjoy this list of the best hidden places in Srinagar? Would you like to visit Srinagar someday? Judging from this article, what do you think about the local Srinagar tourism? Let me know in the comments!
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