Things to consider before travelling to Srinagar
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir is most important place of Jammu & Kashmir Tourism. Are you planning a trip to the beautiful valley? Then please read the post about the things to consider before travelling to Srinagar. If you are still in dilemma about the trip, because of current situation in Kashmir, please ready my post: “Safety of Tourist in Kashmir”
How to reach:
Srinagar can be reached –
By Air: Srinagar has international airport (SXR), which is owned by Indian Air Force. Earlier it was only for Indian Air Force, from 1979 Airport Authority of India started its operation. Most of the flights are connects to Srinagar Airport via Delhi. The airport is 12 Km from the Srinagar city.
By Rail: Currently Srinagar does not have broad gauge railway station. The Srinagar station is connected to Baramulla- Banihal narrow gauge line. In future the Banihal station will be connected to Jammu Station, which is a mega project (Baramulla- Jammu) of Indian Railway. Currently, if you want to travel by train, then you have to reach Jammu Tawi Station. From Jammu Tawi station, there is bus service available to reach Srinagar. From Srinagar to Jammu is approx. 260 Km and it will take 8-9 hours to reach Srinagar. You can hire Car for 5000-6500 (6 seater). Car rates also varies depending on the Peak & off-peak season.
One can take flight from Srinagar to Jammu, as Jammu has also the airport facility.
By Road: By road one can go via Bus/personal car/hired car. However it will be hectic if you travel from places which are far from Srinagar.
Best Time to Visit:
Form March-September is the best time to visit the valley, as the chances of road blockage due to snow will not be there. However if you want to see the snow-covered white valley, then March or October November can be considered. You can witnessed the Green version of the valley in the month of August- September. If you are travelling with kids, then July-September is the best time, as the temperature will be in between 15-25 degree Celsius.
If you have a plan to visit Leh- Ladakh from Srinagar, then you have to go in the month of May-September, as the Srinagar – Leh road opens only after mid of May and closes after September.
Things to consider:
- Network will not be available in any outside states prepaid sim card in Srinagar (total Jammu & Kashmir). Only postpaid Connection will have the network. If you have only prepaid sim card in your mobile, then you have to issue local sim card in Srinagar by submitting identity proofs.
- If you are leaving Srinagar by air, please note that it will take at least 1/1.5 hour extra time for check-in, as Srinagar Airport will have 2-3 rounds of extra check in. Even after check-in you have to go and identify your luggage, then only luggage will be transferred to airbus.
- Take one good driver. Most of the Kashmiri people are very helpful, but your safety solely depends on the driver, as he is the closest person during the tour.
- Don’t panic after seeing armed man standing road side or knowing about any forthcoming curfew/Bandh. For Tourist it is mostly safe, the local people, Police, Army people all will help tourist if anything happens.
Places to Stay:
There are many hotels/homestay/ house boats in and around Dal lake, Srinagar. The price of the stay depends on the seasonal peak/off-peak. Currently because of this news of terror activities, this year the tourist is very less even in the peak season. The rate for our home stay was 600 per room per day (August 2017 rate). There are many house Boat available in this range of price.
You can stay in Srinagar for your total trip duration as it is the center of all the Tourist attraction (Gulmarg, Sonmarg, and Pahalgaon etc) or you can consider staying in Pahalgaon for one or two days (Based on your itinerary). Staying in Gulmarg or Sonmarg is not advisable (for budget trip) as the price and availability of hotels are less in those places. However if someone don’t have budget restriction, then one must stay in Sonmarg. Generally price will vary from 2500-6000 for a night stay in Sonmarg Hotel, but you will get heavenly view from your window/ balcony.
Places to Eat:
If you stay near Dal Lake area, the Lal Chowk is nearest food paradise. This is like Paranthe Wala Gali in Old Delhi. The food lovers (Non Veg) will get fascinated with the smoky aroma of Kebabs.
There are many famous Kashmiri recipe, you should not miss. We have tested Kashmiri Wazwan (20 types of mutton and lamb kebab and gravy dishes along with Kashmiri phirni), Kahwa (Kashmiri Tea which is green tea along with almond, saffron, clove, cinnamon, Cardamom.) All the dishes were awesome but very heavy at the same time.
There are a lot of options for shopping lovers. You can get plenty of good quality saffron, walnut, pashmina shawl and other woolen items. It is recommended to buy from Jammu & Kashmir tourism department recommended shops, as there you will get Bill/receipt, against which one can complain if the material is not good after purchasing it. There is a floating market in Dal Lake which is similar to Bangkok. It only opens at 5 am in the morning for all vegetable, fruits, flower shopping for local people. In addition to that, if you take shikara in Dal Lake, you will come across many floating shops.
For details of Places to see in Srinagar, please read my next post “Top 5 Places to see in Srinagar” . Thank you for reading. For any quarry regarding Srinagar trip, please comment.