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The ethereal Dal Lake is often referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Kashmir’. Bollywood movies have showcased its beauty in many a song sequence, only adding to its mystique! This stretch of water is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts as the abode of Goddess Durga. Centuries later, during the Mughal rule, it was developed as a centre for leisure, with gardens springing up around its shores. Today, tourists can stay in houseboats on the lake itself, and enjoy the sights like the Char Chinar – a tiny island in the middle of the lake, with four chinar (sycamore) trees growing on it. Evenings are the perfect time for shikara rides on the lake, so do make the time for this wonderful leisure activity.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is the pride of the valley. The city is famous for its lakes and the charming houseboats that float on them. Also famous are Srinagar’s charming Mughal gardens – Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Gardens and Chashmeshahi Gardens. These terraced gardens, replete with cascading fountains and beautiful flowering shrubs and trees, were originally designed for the relaxation of the Mughal emperors and their queens. The Hazratbal Mosque, an important Muslim shrine, stands reflected in…