Srinagar, Kashmir Region, J&K
Main Means Of Transport: Air, Rail, Road
Local Transport: Shikaras, Bicycles, Taxis & Auto
Various airlines fly to Srinagar from New Delhi, Chandigarh,
Amritsar, Jammu and there are flights operating from Srinagar to
Leh and back. Flights are more frequent during the summer
Tourist Season; at that time there will probably be several
flights a day between Delhi and Srinagar. Some services are
direct, while others operate via Chandigarh, Amritsar or Jammu.
Flight time duration from Delhi on the direct flights is about
an hour and ten minutes.
Srinagar's railhead is Jammu, which in turn is connects all
parts of the country, including Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Pune,
Mumbai and Kanyakumari. The distance is about 876-km from Delhi
to Srinagar although almost everybody coming up from Delhi, or
other Indian cities, by land will come through Jammu from where
the buses run daily to Srinagar.
By train there are about four services a day from Delhi or New
Delhi to Jammu Tawi, across the river from Jammu. The trip takes
nine to 13 hours, usually overnight. For information about
booking trains from Jammu while in Srinagar enquire at the
railways office in the tourist reception centre.
Srinagar is connected by an all weather road to Jammu, which in
turn is connected to many parts of North India. One can catch
buses from Delhi but people making the trip by road should take
up the route via Chandigarh, Amritsar or from the Himachal
Pradesh hill stations.
Buses leave Jammu early in the morning for the 10 to 12 hour
trip to Srinagar in the Kashmir valley. Although there are many
buses, still one should book a seat as soon as one arrives in
Jammu. The same applies from Srinagar as the day before
departure all seats may be sold out. Buses also go from here to
Leh and Kargil.
The buses all arrive and depart in Srinagar from the Tourist
Reception Centre bus compound. From here's it's about a 10 to 15
minute walk to Dal Lake and the houseboat ghats. If one wants to
go straight to the houseboat area or to one of the upmarket
hotels by the lake ask for the boulevard. Bus bookings are made
at the tourist reception centre.
Taxis & Jeeps
Taxis can be hired for long distance trips as well as within the
Srinagar lends itself to human power transport - either by feet,
bicycles or Shikaras. Many of the interesting parts of town are
within walking distance wherever one stay. If one is on a
houseboat, walking along the boulevard into the area of
Residency Road, the Tourist Reception Centre, the Polo Ground
and the Bund, will provide one with the opportunity for plenty
of sightseeing and shopping.
The best-known Kashmiri transport is, of course, the Shikara.
These are the graceful, long boats, which crowd the Srinagar
lakes. They're used for getting back and forth from the
houseboats or for longer tours. Officially there is a standard
fare for every trip around the lake and these are prominently
posted at the main landings.
Try paddling a Shikara yourself sometime - it's nowhere near as
easy as it looks. You'll spend lots of time going round in
circles trying to master that single, heart shaped paddle. Even
if you do start to travel in a straight line you'll find it
requires a good amount of stamina to maintain the pace. If your
houseboat hasn't got one to spare some children passing by will
find you a boat although you may have to pay them. One can rent
rowboats on Nagin Lake.
Taxis & Auto Rickshaws
There are stands for these at the Tourist Reception Centre and
other strategic locations in town.
The Jammu & Kashmir road transport corporation buses go from the
Tourist Reception Centre while private buses operate from a
variety of stands in Srinagar. Certain major long distance
routes are reserved for the J&K buses but others are open for
competition and there will be a great number of buses operating.
Fares are set for all routes and the drivers or conductors are
usually very helpful.
Bicycles seeing Srinagar by bicycle is a surprisingly pleasant
way of getting around. Although the mountains soar up all around
the valley, Srinagar itself is surprisingly flat. Bicycles are
economical too. One can hire bikes for sightseeing purpose from
bicycle shops. There are several along the boulevard close to
Dal gate. Pleasant trips to be made include:
Round Dal Lake - an all day trip going by the Mughal
gardens. It's particularly pleasant around the north of the lake
where the villages are still relatively untouched.
Across The Lake - One can ride right across the lake on the
causeway, a nice trip since there are no problems with vehicle
traffic and there is plenty of opportunity to observe the lake
life without being in a boat.
Nagin Lake - One can ride out to the Hazratbal Mosque via
Nagin Lake and then make a complete loop around the lake on the
way back. This trip can easily be combined with a trip along the
Jhelum, taking in the various mosques close to the river. The
streets here are very narrow so vehicles keep away and bike
riding is pleasant.