Srinagar district is situated in the centre of Kashmir Valley, is surrounded by five districts.In the north it is flanked by Kargil and Ganderbal in the South by Pulwama,in the north-west by Budgam. The capital city of Srinagar,is located 1585 metres above sea level.The district with a population of around 10.94 Lakh souls(2001- census), is sperad over an area of 294 Sq.Kms.It comprises two tehsils/ towns viz Srinagar North and Srinagar South, one block (Srinagar), besides 136 Revenue villages. According to a popular legend which is mentioned in Kalhana's Rajtaringini Kashmir valley was a vast lake. Kashyap Rishi drained out the water and made it habitable. It is said that originally Yakshas, and Pisacas tribes inhabited the valley at the higher reaches and did not allow the inhabitants of the valley to live in peace. King Ashok brought Budhism to Kashmir which was strenthened by Kanishka. In 6th century Huns came to rule the valley and Mihirkul was one of the infamous Hun ruler. The area attained freedom in 530 AD which was shortlived.
According to Sir Aurel Stein the famous interpretor of Kalhana the chronicler of Kashmir the city of Srinagar had big market and mansions made of wood touching the clouds. Hieun-tsang the famous Chinese traveller visited Srinagar and has described it his memoirs. Various capitals were established by the latter kings but ultimately the city of Srinagar was destined to be the capital of the State. These capitals are now found only in ruins or history. Some of the famous capitals are Prvaerpora of Praversen, Prihaspora of Lalitaditya, Jayapida's Jayapora, Avantivarman's Avantipur and cities of Kanishkapura and Juskapura.
During muslim rule Sultan Sadar-ud-din founded Rinchenpur and Ala-ud-din founded Alauddinpura near Hariparbat Hill. ZainulAbideen founded Nowshera as the capital while Akbar founded Naagar Nagar and raised 28ft tall wall around it.
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 centre 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 Village.
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.
The Garden, 15 Kms from the city centre, 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.
The world famous water body described by Sir Walter Lawerence as the "Lake par-excellence",half a kilometers from the city, is the jewel in the crown of kashmir eulogised by the poets and abudantly praised by the travellers and tourists.The lake of late has unfortunately, consideably shrunk in size causing concern to environmentalists.The Governments have chalked out an ambitious project to save the lake from extinction.The lake is 6X3 km divided by causeways into four parts,Gagribal,Lokut Dal,Bod Dal and Nagin.Two islands,Sona Lank and Ropa Lank,within the lake add to its beauty. Nagin is the most lovely part of the Dal Lake separted by a causeway.
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.
It is located at 1100ft.above surface level of the main city on the Shankaracharya hill, also known as Takht-e-Suleiman. The shiva temple, as Kalhana belives, was constructed by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C.and as such is the oldest shirne in Kashmir. Dogra ruler,Maharaja Gulab Singh, constructed stone stairs upto the temple. In 1925,the temple was electrifed. The temple, besides a prominent religious place of Hindus, is of great archaeological importance. The temple commands a magnificient panoramic view of the Srinagar city.
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
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