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Paradise is not that far away

If it wasn't for Bollywood, Srinagar probably wouldn't take hold of our collective imagination the way it has for decades. Then again, maybe it would even without images of Shammi Kapoor running in the foreground, the city's gorgeous landscape scrawling far behind him.

Airfare for Rs 100 and less!

The capital of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar is a city of rivers and lakes. Sitting pretty 1,730 metres above sea level on the banks of the Jhelum, it was, until 2005, home to a little over a million people. The funny thing is, one can take a complete tour of the city within a day, including not just highlights like the Dal, Nagin and Naseem Lakes, but other spots like the picturesque Hazratbal Mosque, Shankaracharya Temple, Shalimar Gardens, Chashmeshahi Park, Nishant Gardens and Nehru Gardens.

There's much to see outside Srinagar too, like Pahalgam (127 kilometres away) and Gulmarg (56 kilometres). Accommodation is rarely a problem, considering most people can't get the idea of Kashmir out of their minds. Pick one of several hundred houseboats that line the Dal's periphery. Dera Palace is what I chose during my three-day stay (Call Bashir Ahmed Dabla on 9906518431), with the tariff ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,500.

Not comfortable on water?
There are more than enough hotels on land, like Hotel Duke (phone: 0194 - 2446135, 9419069175),
Parimahal (phone: 0194 - 2478885)
and Hotel Dreamland (phone: 0194 - 2475035, 9419540153)
among scores that face the Dal Lake.

Text and Photographs: Prasanna Zore
Also read: My Kashmir diary

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