How To Reach Srinagar
Although Srinagar has an international airport, it mostly serves domestic flights from cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Bangalore, Mumbai etc. Srinagar Airport has strict security measures and is itself 1.2km behind a security barrier. Arriving here before time is a good idea because there are several long queues for luggage and body screening. The airport is not too far from the city centre but because of security, it’s best to leave much before time. Airlines such as IndiGo, Spicejet, Go Air and Air India fly to Srinagar regularly.
From the airport, there are prepaid taxis to get into the city. The other option would be to take the free shuttle bus to the security gate outside and from there, you might try your luck with an auto. Since there are curfews often enough, getting to the airport on time could be a struggle. Even reaching early, you might have to wait outside as you can go inside only three hours before the flight departure. Also, during winter months, it’s common for flights to get cancelled routinely.
By Bus - There are bus services to Srinagar from cities like Delhi and Chandigarh, as well as Jammu and Leh. There’s a relatively new highway between Srinagar and Jammu and this has reduced travel time significantly. However, do note that the buses are often not in good condition and subsequently, your trip might not be very comfortable. There is a J&K SRTC bus station where you will be able to board your bus. Buses tend to arrive early morning or late at night and this is something you will have to keep in mind before finalising your travel plans. Direct buses from Delhi are also available but bear in mind that these take nearly an entire day to reach Srinagar.
By Road - There are taxi and jeep rental options that take you to Srinagar from nearby places such as Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam and Jammu. If you’re booking a taxi, then make sure you book it for multiple days. While this might appear expensive, it’s cost effective if you are planning to go to other places in the vicinity. While travel time from Jammu to Srinagar is 10 to 11 hours, it’s a good idea to keep a margin of 5 hours at least because traffic might affect the time adversely. Also, bad weather and even a small accident can cause delays and traffic jams on the roads.
Srinagar has a train station at Nowgam and it is approximately 10km from the old city. However, this covers only a select few cities like Baramulla, Anantnag, Qazigund and Banihal. It is not yet linked to the Indian Railway network. The only other option is Jammu Tawai Railway Station in Jammu which is well-connected to several cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Udaipur, Pune to name a few. The trains that arrive here regularly include Delhi Anand Vihar-Katra Special Express, Lucknow-Katra Special Express, Pune-Jammu Tawi Jhelum Express and several others. Once you arrive in Jammu, you can hire a taxi or get a bus to take you to Srinagar. However, this is indeed a very circuitous route and will take more than 8 hours of journey by road. Hence, it’s better to arrive in Srinagar directly by air or road.
Also check for the best time to visit Srinagar, before booking your tour packages.
Buses in Srinagar are run by JKSRTC and also private organizations. They are frequent and the price is quite reasonable. The private bus services take people to most tourist places and run throughout the city.
Autos are available in Srinagar and they will take you short distances. But they don’t run on meters and rates are not fixed. You can also hire autos per hour and they can take you around the city on short tours.
Taxis are available but not very frequent. A better idea would be to opt for rental from an agency where you can get a car for rent. There are several rental agencies from where you can get a car and explore Srinagar at your own leisure.
Minibusses are a good way to get around in Srinagar. There is a minibus stand in Lal Chowk and this takes you to several places on your itineraries such as Hazratbal, Shalimar Bagh, Dal Lake and other places. Minibusses are often crowded, so you have to bear that in mind before you get on one.
Shikharas are gorgeous and colorful boats that dot the surface of the Dal Lake. They are a tourist attraction in themselves and people can hire these shikharas for an hour. Enthusiastic boatmen will take you around the lake for maybe Rs. 500 and regale you with interesting and entertaining stories of film shoots that have taken place on the Dal Lake and the many beautiful houseboats.
Srinagar has several tourist spots that can be reached on foot. Explore the best places to visit Srinagar here with Thomas Cook. Several restaurants and shops are easily reachable by walking. If you don’t mind walking a bit, you can get to see several interesting sights all around you. Srinagar is also an excellent base for trekking expeditions and there are interesting and challenging routes that you can take.
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