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Srinagar district

Introduction

Srinagar district is situated in the centre of Kashmir Valley, is surrounded by five districts.In the north it is flanked by Kargil,in the South by Pulwama,in the north-west by Budgam. The capital city of Srinagar,is located 1730 metres above sea level.The district with a population of around 9,00,000 souls(1991- census), is sperad over an area of 2228 Sq.Kms.It comprises three tehsils/ towns viz Srinagar, Ganderbal and Kangan, four blocks (Srinagar, Ganderbal, Kangan and Leh), besides 175 villages.The population density in the district Srinagar is 401 per Square Kilometer which is highest in the state. The literacy rate of the district was 33.80%in 1981.

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 memories.

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.

Srinagar District at a glance :
Educational Institutions 955
Colleges/polytechnics 10
Universities 2
Road length 1296 Kms
Area 2228 sq. kms
Population 9,00,000 (1991)
Villages 175(7 uninhabited)
Tehsil 3
Towns 3
Panchayats 93
Blocks 4
Live-Stock Population 2.50 lakhs
Gross Area sown 0.24 lakh hect.
Forests 660.50 sqkm
Villages electrified 168
Villages with drinking water 168
Literacy rate 33.31 %

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.


Shankaracharya Temple

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.

Khanqah-e-Molla

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.

Khir Bhawani Temple

Situated at Tullamula in the Srinagar district,is an important hindu shrine.The temple is associated with the hindu goddess,Ragnya Devi.An annual festival is held here on Jesht Ashtami(May-June) when hindus visit the place in large numbers to offer prayers and seek the blessings of the diety. In addition ,there are umpteen places of religious importance in Srinagar.

Tourist Places

Like historical and religious places, the Srinagar district has many places of tourist attraction, visited by thousands of nature lovers and pleasure seekers. The Mughal gardens,laid out by kings who had a penchant for the beauty of Kashmir, are some of the few star attractions of the district.

Shalimar Garden

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.

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 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.

Dal Lake

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.

Sonmarg

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 delghtful place offering delightful little walks and treks.