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Srinagar District

Kashmir and the largest city in the state, Srinagar (altitude 1768 meters) is famous for its canals, houseboats and Moghul gardens.  The city has long been a center for the arts and learning, having had a university for hundreds of years. Sri means beauty or wealth of knowledge and nagar means city. The city was originally founded by the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC.  His old city is marked by the present village of Pandrethan. Today's city was founded by Pravarasena II (79-139 AD) who named it Praparapura and built it practically contiguous with the old capital, which was called Srinagari. 

Legend has it that when Pravarasena decided to build a new capital, to choose the location he started walking at midnight and was confronted by a demon on the other side of the Mahasarit River. The demon spread his bent leg across the stream and dared the King to cross over it to the other side.  The King cut off the leg with one stroke of his sword and calmly crossed.  The demon was delighted with the King's boldness and told him to build the city where he would find the beginnings of the plan laid out for him. The next morning the King found the boundary lines drawn at the foot of Hari Parbat and built his city there.  To this day the waters of the Dal Lake are separated from the Tsont-I-Kul canal by a sathu or boundary that is shaped like a bent leg. Praparapura is recorded in Chinese annuals by traveller Hiuan Tsang who visited the city in about 630 AD and described it as extending about four km from north to south and about two km from east to west along the right bank of the Jhelum.  King Ananta (1028-63 AD) was the first to transfer his royal residence to the left bank of the river.           
Srinagar is initially a little confusing since Dal Lake, which is so much a part of the city, is fairly strange.  It's actually three lakes, separated by dykes or 'floating gardens', and at timeOn the lake are houseboats that are definitely firmly attached to the bottom,  and houses look like they could float away.  Most of the houseboats are at the southern end of the lake, although you will also find them on the Jhelum river and north on Nagin Lake.  The Jhelum River makes a loop around the main part of town, and a canal connecting the river with Dal Lake converts that part of town into as island.  Along the south of this Island is the 'Bund' a popular walk.  Here you will find the post office and the handicrafts center.  The large Tourist reception Center is just north of the Bund.
There are many restaurants, shops, and hotels in the Island part  of the town.  The more modern part of  Srinagar stretches south of Jhelum while the older parts of town are north and north-west.
The Boulevard, running alongside Dal Lake, is an important address in Srinagar with the shikara ghots providing access to the houseboats, hotels, restaurants and shops along the way.s it's hard to tell where the lakes end and land begins.


Historical Places and Monuments
The district abounds in places of historical and archaeological significance, important among which are:
Hazratbal Shirne
The Hazrathalbal Shirne, which is situated on the left bank of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar. This unmatched reverence is anchored in the love and respect for the Prophet Mohammad(peace be upon him), whose Moi-e-Muqqadas, (the sacred hair) is preserved here. The shirne is known by many names including Hazrathbal , Assar-e-Sharief, madinat-us-Sani,Dargah Sharief and Dargah.Sadiq Khan,laid out a garden here and constructed a palacial building,Ishrat mahal or Pleasure House, in 1623. The construction of the present marble structure was started by the Muslim Aquaf Trust headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1968 and completed in 1979.The Moi-e-Muqqadas is displayed on various occasions related with the life of the Prophet and his four holy companions.
The shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan or Khanqah-e-Moulla is one of the oldest muslim shrines in kashmir situated on the bank of the river Jhelum in the old city.
Jama Masjid
It is one of the oldest and the most spacious of all the mosques in Kashmir, situated in the heart of the city.The foundation of the mosque, an architectural wonder was laid by Sultan Sikander in 1398 A.D.The area of the mosque is 384ftX381ft. spacious enough for over thirty thousand people to offer prayers at a time.

Badshuhnun Dumat
The tomb of the mother of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abideen(1420-70) popularly known as Badshah is a splendid representative piece of the Shahmiri architecture. The monument,situated on the right bank of the river Jehlum near Zaina Kadal is the only one of its kind in and around kashmir which,compared to the wooden structures of the shahmiri period,is a wholly brick structure.
Hari Parbat Fort
Another historical monument of Srinagar is the Hari Parbat Fort constructed by the Afghan Governer,Atta Mohammad Khan(1808-10),on the top of the Hari Parbat or Koh-e-Maraan hill. The architecture of the Fort is similar to that of the forts in Central Asia.
Shalimar Garden
The Garden,15 Kms from the city center, was built by Emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife, Nurjahan. The gardens with four terraces is 539 by 182 meters and gets water from Harwan through a canal lined with fountains.The fourth terrace was once reserved for royal ladies.
Nishat Garden
Queen Nur Jahan's brother,Asif Khan,laid the Garden in 1633 A.D. It is situated on the banks of the Dal Lake in the backdrop of the Zabarwan hills,11 Km.from the district headquarter of Srinagar. The Garden commands a magnificent view of the lake.
Cheshma Shahi and Pari Mahal
Cheshma Shahi or the Royal Spring was laid by Shah Jahan in 1632 A.D. It is 9 Km. from the city center and is famous for a spring of refreshment digestive water.Two kilometers uphill from Cheshma Shahi is situated the Pari Mahal,a school of astrology founded by Prince Dara Shikoh,Emperor Shah Jahan's eldest son who was killed in the war of succession.The Cheshma Shahi-Pari Mahal area has been developed into a Tourist
Sonamarg is a pleasant place in its own right and is on Srinagar-Ladakh Highway. It offers beautiful treks and verdant scenery. Thajiwas is a glacier near sonamarg which is a delightful place offering delightful little walks and treks.

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