Srinagar

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This article is about the municipality. For its namesake district, see Srinagar district.
For other uses, see Srinagar (disambiguation).
Srinagar
श्रीनगर
Metropolis
Panorama of city in green area near a river and lakes
View of Srinagar and Dal Lake
Srinagar is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar
Srinagar
Location in Jammu and Kashmir, India
Coordinates: 34°5′24″N 74°47′24″E / 34.09000°N 74.79000°E / 34.09000; 74.79000Coordinates: 34°5′24″N 74°47′24″E / 34.09000°N 74.79000°E / 34.09000; 74.79000
Country India
State India Jammu and Kashmir
District Srinagar
Settled 3rd century BC
Founded by Ashoka the Great[1][2][3][4][5]
Area
 • Metropolis 294 km2 (114 sq mi)
Elevation 1,585 m (5,200 ft)
Population (2011)[7]
 • Metropolis 1,192,792
 • Rank 31st
 • Density 8,523/km2 (22,070/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,273,312[6]
Languages
 • Official Urdu[8]
 • Other Spoken languages Hindi, English, Ladakhi
 • Regional Kashmiri
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 190 001
Telephone code 0194
Vehicle registration JK 01
Sex ratio 888 / 1000
Literacy 77.45%
Distance from Delhi 876 kilometres (544 mi) NW
Distance from Mumbai 2,275 kilometres (1,414 mi) NE (land)
Climate Cfa (Köppen)
Precipitation 710 millimetres (28 in)
Avg. summer temperature 27.1 °C (80.8 °F)
Avg. winter temperature 2.5 °C (36.5 °F)
Website www.srinagar.nic.in

Srinagar /ˈsriˌnʌɡʌr/ (About this sound listen ) is the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies in the Kashmir Valley, on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dried fruits.

Origin of names[edit]

Folk etymology draws the city name from two Sanskrit words: śrī (श्री"glory", "prosperity", a name for the goddess Lakshmi) and nagar(नगर "city"), which would make "City of Lakshmi" (श्रीनगर)(or, "City of Prosperity").

However, the earliest records mention the name as siri-nagar which in turn is a local transformation of the original Sanskrit name sūrya-nagar, meaning "City of Sun" (or, of sun god).[9]

History[edit]

Ancient Srinagar[edit]

The city is said to have been named by the King Pravarasena II over 2,000 years ago, named it Parvasenpur.[10] Kalhana notes in Rajatarangini that Maurya Emperor Ashoka built the city of Srinagari in the 3rd century BC and also built many stupas in Kashmir. The city was then a part of the Maurya Empire, one of the largest empires of the Indian subcontinent.[11] Ashoka introduced Buddhism to the Kashmir valley, and the adjoining regions around the city became a centre of Buddhism.[12] In the 1st century, the region was under the control of Kushans, based out of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan. Several rulers of this dynasty strengthened the Buddhist tradition.[13] Vikramaditya (of Ujjain) and his successors probably ruled the regions just before the city fell to the control of the Huns-a nomadic tribe from central Asia in the 6th century, and Mihirkula was the most dreaded ruler of the city and the valley.[14] Srinagar became the capital of Kashmir around 960 CE, under the rule of the Hindu Shahis of Kabul.[15]

Srinagar in 14th to 19th centuries[edit]

Srinagar and Environ map 1911

The independent Hindu and the Buddhist rule of Srinagar lasted until the 14th century when the Kashmir valley, including the city, came under the control of the several Muslim rulers, including the Mughals. It was also the capital during the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak, an Independent Kashmiri ruler who was tricked by Akbar when Akbar failed to conquer Kashmir by force. Yusuf Shah Chak remains buried in Bihar. Akbar established Mughal rule in Srinagar and Kashmir valley.[16]

With the disintegration of the Mughal empire after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, infiltrations to the valley from the Pashtun tribes increased, and the Durrani Empire ruled the city for several decades.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab province annexed a major part of the Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, to his kingdom in the year 1814 and the city came under the influence of the Sikhs.

In 1846, the Treaty of Lahore was signed between the Sikh rulers and the British in Lahore. The treaty inter alia provided British de facto suzerainty over the Kashmir Valley and installed Gulab Singh as an independent and sovereign ruler of the region. Srinagar became part of his kingdom and remained until 1947 as one of several princely states in British India. The Maharajas choose Sher Garhi Palace as their main Srinagar residence.

Srinagar city and its vicinity in 1959

Post Independence[edit]

After India and Pakistan's independence from Britain, villagers around the city of Poonch began an armed protest at continued rule of the Maharaja on 17 August 1947.[17] In view of the Poonch uprising, certain Pashtun tribes such as Mehsud and Afridi from mountainous region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan and with its collusion, entered the Kashmir valley to capture it on 22 October 1947.[18] The Maharaja, who had refused to accede to either India or Pakistan in hopes of securing his own independent state, signed the instrument of accession in exchange for refuge on 26 October 1947, as Pakistani-backed tribesmen approached the outskirts of Srinagar. The Accession was accepted by India the next day. The government of India immediately airlifted Indian troops to Srinagar and prevented the tribesmen from reaching the city.[19]

In 1989, Srinagar became the focus of the Kashmiri uprising against Indian rule and the Indian military, which has been present since 1990, and the area continues to be a highly politicized hotbed of separatist activity with frequent spontaneous protests and strikes ("bandhs" in local parlance). On 19 January 1990, the Gawakadal massacre of at least 50 unarmed protestors by Indian forces,[20] and up to 280 by some estimates from eyewitness accounts,[21] set the stage for bomblasts, shootouts, and curfews that characterized Srinagar throughout the early and mid-1990s. Further massacres in the spring of 1990 in which 51 unarmed protesters were allegedly killed by Indian security forces in Zakura and Tengpora heightened anti-Indian sentiments in Srinagar.[22] As a result, bunkers and checkpoints are found throughout the city, although their numbers have come down in the past few years as militancy has declined. However, frequent protests still occur against Indian rule, such as the 22 August 2008 rally in which hundreds of thousands[23] of Kashmiri civilians protested against Indian rule in Srinagar.[24][25] Similar protests took place every summer for the next 4 years. In 2010 alone 120 unarmed protestors were killed by police and CRPF, most recently protest following the execution of Afzal Guru in February 2013.[26]

The city also saw increased violence against minorities, particularly the Kashmiri Hindus, starting from mid-80s and resulting in their ultimate exodus.[27][28][29] Posters were pasted to walls of houses of Pandits, telling them to leave or die, temples were destroyed and houses burnt;[30] but a very small minority of pandits still remains in the city.[31] The recent years have seen protests in Srinagar from local Kashmiri pandits for protection of their shrines in Kashmir and their rights.[32]

Geography[edit]

Map of Kashmir showing various Geographic regions.

The city is located on both the sides of the Jhelum River, which is called Vyath in Kashmir. The river passes through the city and meanders through the valley, moving onward and deepening in the Dal Lake. The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city.

There are a number of lakes and swamps in and around the city. These include the Dal, the Nigeen, the Anchar, Khushal Sar, Gil Sar and Hokersar.

Hokersar is a wetland situated near Srinagar. Thousands of migratory birds come to Hokersar from Siberia and other regions in the winter season. Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October and again around spring. These wetlands play a vital role in sustaining a large population of wintering, staging and breeding birds.

Hokersar is 14 km (8.7 mi) north of Srinagar, and is a world class wetland spread over 13.75 km2 (5.31 sq mi) including lake and marshy area. It is the most accessible and well-known of Kashmir's wetlands which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.[citation needed]

Birds found in Hokersar—Migratory ducks and geese which include brahminy duck, tufted duck, gadwall, garganey, greylag goose, mallard, common merganser, northern pintail, common pochard, ferruginous pochard, red-crested pochard, ruddy shelduck, northern shoveller, common teal, and Eurasian wigeon.[citation needed]

Climate[edit]

Srinagar has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), much cooler than what is found in much of the rest of India, due to its moderately high elevation and northerly position. The valley is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. Winters are cool, with daytime a January average of 2.5 °C (36.5 °F), and temperatures below freezing at night. Moderate to heavy snowfall occurs in winter and the only road that connects Srinagar with the rest of India may get blocked for a few days due to avalanches. Summers are warm with a July daytime average of 24.1 °C (75.4 °F). The average annual rainfall is around 710 millimetres (28 in). Spring is the wettest season while autumn is the driest. The highest temperature reliably recorded is 38.3 °C (100.9 °F) and the lowest is −20.0 °C (−4.0 °F).[33]

Climate data for Srinagar (1971–1986 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.2
(63)
20.6
(69.1)
27.3
(81.1)
31.1
(88)
36.4
(97.5)
37.8
(100)
38.3
(100.9)
36.7
(98.1)
35.0
(95)
33.9
(93)
24.5
(76.1)
18.3
(64.9)
38.3
(100.9)
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
8.2
(46.8)
14.1
(57.4)
20.5
(68.9)
24.5
(76.1)
29.6
(85.3)
30.1
(86.2)
29.6
(85.3)
27.4
(81.3)
22.4
(72.3)
15.1
(59.2)
8.2
(46.8)
19.7
(67.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.5
(36.5)
3.8
(38.8)
8.8
(47.8)
14.2
(57.6)
17.7
(63.9)
22.3
(72.1)
24.1
(75.4)
23.5
(74.3)
19.8
(67.6)
14.1
(57.4)
8.1
(46.6)
3.4
(38.1)
13.5
(56.3)
Average low °C (°F) −2
(28)
−0.7
(30.7)
3.4
(38.1)
7.9
(46.2)
10.8
(51.4)
14.9
(58.8)
18.1
(64.6)
17.5
(63.5)
12.1
(53.8)
5.8
(42.4)
0.9
(33.6)
−1.5
(29.3)
7.3
(45.1)
Record low °C (°F) −14.4
(6.1)
−20.0
(−4)
−6.9
(19.6)
0.0
(32)
1.0
(33.8)
7.2
(45)
10.3
(50.5)
9.5
(49.1)
4.4
(39.9)
−1.7
(28.9)
−7.8
(18)
−12.8
(9)
−20
(−4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48
(1.89)
68
(2.68)
121
(4.76)
85
(3.35)
68
(2.68)
39
(1.54)
62
(2.44)
76
(2.99)
28
(1.1)
33
(1.3)
28
(1.1)
54
(2.13)
710
(27.96)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.6 7.3 10.2 8.8 8.1 5.7 7.9 6.8 3.5 2.8 2.8 5.1 75.6
Average relative humidity (%) 82 79 70 64 61 56 66 70 67 69 77 84 70.4
Source: [33][34]

Economy[edit]

Market boats on Mar Canal in Srinagar.

In November 2011, the City Mayors Foundation – an advocacy think tank – announced that Srinagar was the 92nd fastest growing urban areas in the world in terms of economic growth, based on actual data from 2006 onwards and projections to 2020.[35]

Tourism[edit]

Dal Lake and the shikaras.

Srinagar is one of several places that have been called the "Venice of the East" or the "Kashmiri Venice"[36][37][38] Lakes around the city include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nigeen Lake. Apart from Dal lake and Nigeen lake city is also famous for wular lake and manasbal lake to the north of srinagar. Wular lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia.

Srinagar has some Mughal gardens, forming a part of those laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent. Those of Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chashma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; the Naseem Bagh.[39] Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in the city, set up in 1969.[40] The Indian government has included these gardens under "Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir" in the tentative list for sites to be included in world Heritage sites.

The Sher Garhi Palace houses administrative buildings from the state government.[citation needed] Another palace of the Maharajas, the Gulab Bhavan, has now become the Lalit Grand Palace hotel.[citation needed]

The Shankaracharya Temple which lies on a hill top in the middle of the city, besides the Kheer Bhawani Temple are important Hindu temples in the city.[41]

Government and politics[edit]

The city is run by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). The Srinagar district along with the adjoining Budgam district forms the Srinagar Parliamentary seat.

Stray dog controversy[edit]

Srinagar's city government attracted brief international attention in March 2008 when it announced a mass poisoning program aimed at eliminating the city's population of stray dogs.[42] Officials estimate that 100,000 stray dogs roam the streets of the city, which has a human population of just under 900,000. In a survey conducted by an NGO, it was found that some residents welcomed this program, saying the city was overrun by dogs, while critics contended that more humane methods should be used to deal with the animals.

The situation has become alarming with local news reports coming up at frequent intervals highlighting people, especially children being mauled by street dogs.[43]

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 census Srinagar urban agglomeration had 1,273,312 population.[44] Both the city and the urban agglomeration has average literacy rate of approximately 71%,[44] whereas the national average is 74.04%.[45] The child population of both the city and the urban agglomeration is approximately 12% of the total population.[44] Males constituted 53.0% and females 47.0% of the population. The sex ratio in the city area is 888 females per 1000 males, whereas in the urban agglomeration it is 880 per 1000,[44] and nationwide value of this ratio is 940.[46] The predominant religion of Srinagar is Islam with 95% of the population being Muslim. Hindus constitute the second largest religious group representing 4% of the population. The remaining 1% of the population are Sikhs, Buddhist and Jains.[47]

Transport[edit]

Road[edit]

A dual lane road in Srinagar
Srinagar International Airport
A passenger train at Srinagar Railway Station

The city is served by many highways, including National Highway 1A and National Highway 1D.[48]

Air[edit]

Srinagar Airport (IATA code SXR) has regular domestic flights to Leh, Jammu, Chandigarh and Delhi and occasional international flights. The International flights terminal was inaugurated on 14 February 2009 with an Air India flight from Dubai. Hajj flights also operate from this airport to Saudi Arabia.[49]

Rail[edit]

Srinagar is a station on the 119 km (74 mi) long Kashmir railway that started in October 2009 and connects Baramulla to Srinagar, Anantnag and Qazigund. The railway track also connects to Banihal across the Pir Panjal mountains through a newly constructed 11 km long Banihal tunnel, and subsequently to the Indian railway network after a few years. It takes approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds for train to cross the tunnel. It is the longest rail tunnel in India. This railway system, proposed in 2001, is not expected to connect the Indian railway network until 2017 at the earliest, with a cost overrun of 5,500 crore.[50] The train also runs during heavy snow.

There are proposals to develop a metro system in the city.[51] The feasibility report for the Srinagar Metro is planned to be carried out by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.[52]

Cable car[edit]

In December 2013, the 594m cable car allowing people to travel to the shrine of the Sufi saint Hamza Makhdoom on Hari Parbat was unveiled. The project is run by the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC), and has been envisioned for 25 years. An investment of 30cr was made, and it is the second cable car in Kashmir after the Gulmarg Gondola.[53]

Boat[edit]

Whilst popular since the 7th century, water transport is now mainly confined to Dal Lake, where shikaras (wooden boats) are used for local transport and tourism. There are efforts to revive transportation on the River Jhelum.[54]

Culture[edit]

Hazratbal Shrine built in around 1700 AD
The Shankaracharya temple built in around 200 BC

Like the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar too has a distinctive blend of cultural heritage. Holy places in and around the city depict the historical cultural and religious diversity of the city as well as the Kashmir valley.

A view from Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden

Places of worship[edit]

There are many religious holy places in Srinagar. They include:

Additional structures include the Dastgeer Sahib shrine, Mazar-e-Shuhada, Roza Bal shrine, Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, Pathar Masjid ("The Stone Mosque"), tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin, tomb of Pir Haji Muhammad, Akhun Mulla Shah Mosque, cemetery of Baha-ud-din Sahib, tomb and Madin Sahib Mosque at Zadibal.[56]

Performing arts[edit]

Main article: Music of Kashmir

Education[edit]

Schools[edit]

Higher education[edit]

Srinagar is home to one of India's premier technical institutes;– The National Institute of Technology Srinagar (NIT;– SRI), formerly known as Regional Engineering College (REC Srinagar). It is one of the oldest NIT among the National Institutes of Technology that were established during 2nd Five year plan. Besides this the other Institutions/Colleges and Universities in Srinagar are:

Sports[edit]

The city is home to the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, a stadium where international cricket matches have been played.[57] The first international match was played in 1983 in which West Indies defeated India and the last international match was played in 1986 in which Australia defeated India by six wickets. Since then no international matches have been played in the stadium due to the security situation (although the situation has now improved quite considerably). Srinagar has an outdoor stadium namely Bakshi Stadium for hosting football matches.[58] It is named after Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. The city has a golf course named Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar located on the banks of Dal lake, which is considered as one of the best golf courses of India.[59] Football is also followed by the youth of Srinagar and Polo ground is maintained for the particular sports recently.There are certain other sports being played but those are away from the main city like in Pahalgam (Water rafting), Gulmarg (skiing).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]