Srinagar

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Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats.

Quotes[edit]

Kashmir was India’s paradise, an alpineSwitzerland” for the Moghuls, ancient Srinagar, its capital city on the banks of Jhelum River, with nine bridges and waterways reminiscent of Venice, and an adjacent lake of moored houseboats and gondola-like shikaras, provided a lyric spring and summer interlude…
  • The great city known as Srinagar, the city of the sun or the blessed city, also known to the cultivators of the valley as “Kashmir”. Srinagar became the capital of the Kashmir about 960 AD.
  • Kashmir was India’s paradise, an alpineSwitzerland” for the Moghuls, ancient Srinagar, its capital city on the banks of Jhelum River, with nine bridges and waterways reminiscent of Venice, and an adjacent lake of moored houseboats and gondola-like shikaras, provided a lyric spring and summer interlude…
    • Waldemar Hansen, in "The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India", p. 68
  • ...Srinagar inspite of its internal squalor is one of the most picturesque places in the world. The hill of Takht-i-Suliman, which rises abruptly to a height of 1000 feet, and the Hariparbat ridge, with the fort of Akbar surmounting it, form an appropriate frame to the scenery, and beyond these near hills the great mountains seem to tower over the city as one passes up the river highway. The very absence of order in the location of the houses and their tumbled—down appearance add a peculiar charm to the scenery, and Srinagar possess at once the attraction of a city full of life and a city of ruins.
  • Scattered about within the limits of Srinagar there are numerous gardens and open spaces.
  • It must be borne in mind that the name Kashmir given by the villagers to the city carries with it a deep meaning, that for many generations Srinagar has monopolized the attention of the rulers of Kashmir, and that the interest of the cultivators and the country have been jealously sub served to the well-being and comfort of the city. In short, Srinagar was ‘Kashmir’ in fact as well as in phrase.
  • According to documented history, the great Mauryan king Ashoka established the old city of Srinagar and named it Puranadhisthan (now Pandrethan). With the extension of Ashoka’s rule, Buddhism spread in the valley. After him, the Kushana Emperor Kanishka reinforced the spread of Buddhism.
    • History, in "Brief History of Kashmir'"
  • 300 years from 9th till 11th century have been exciting times for Srinagar. These centuries produced poets, saints and other creative men. Bilhan, the great poet and grammarian was born in 11th century. Though his intellectual accomplishments surfaced later in South India, where he migrated, his pandrethan ancestry is a matter of established historical record.
  • 14th century saw advent of Islam and establishment of Muslim rule. The Muslim rule gave a new character to the city, both to its physical and cultural form. Srinagar became the epicenter of the socio-cultural and religious transformation of the region. Then onwards, for another 500 years the city also got a new name, Shehri-Kashmir. Coincidentally the city has the same latitude as great Islamic cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Fez, Morroco.
    • INTACH, in "Shehr -i- Kashmir"
WMF: The city's most famous monuments, including the Shalimar and Nishat Gardens, were built after the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the province of Kashmir in the sixteenth century.
  • Founded between the [w:Jhelum River|Jhelum River]] and Dal Lake in the mid-third century B.C., the city of Srinagar reached its apogee in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
  • The city's most famous monuments, including the Shalimar and Nishat Gardens, were built after the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the province of Kashmir in the sixteenth century.
    • WMF, in "Srinagar Heritage Zone"
  • During the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British occupation of Srinagar, colonial-style colleges, hospitals, and courts were constructed. In the downtown area of the city are less well-known residences, mosques, temples, hammams, and bazaars constructed in the local vernacular of timber and masonry architecture. Together, these buildings represent an unusually intact pre-modern urban environment.
    • WMF, in "Srinagar Heritage Zone"
  • The famous Shalimar Bagh lies at the far end of the Dal Lake. According to a legend, Pravarsena II, the founder of the city of Srinagar, who reigned in Kashmir from A.D. 79 to 139, had built a villa on the edge of the lake, at its north-eastern corner, calling it Shalimar, which in Sanskrit is said to mean "The Abode or Hall of Love." …The Emperor Jahangir laid out a garden on this same old site in the year 1619.
  • The modern city of Srinagar was [thus] built upon the ruins of the capital cities of several kings, including Pravarasen, Lalitaditya, Jayapida and [[w:Avanti Varman|Avantivarman. Srinagar became the seat of government of the Dogras when Maharaja Gulab Singh became the ruler of Jammu & Kashmir.
    • History, in "Brief History of Kashmir"
Panoramic view of Srinagar and the Dal Lake.
  • The history of Kashmir has always been reflected as it were in that of its capital which has not changed its site for more than 13 centuires. Hiun-Tsiang, who visited the capital in 631 AD, found it already in position where most of the present day city of Srinagar is situated. He describes its as situated along the bank of a great river, i.e., the Vitasta, now known as Jhelum...He has referred to its as the new city to distinguish it from the old capital which was situated at Pandrethan, a village about 3-2 km from the south-east of Srinagar. According to Kalhana, Pandrathan, which then known as Puranadhisthana (meaning the old capital) or Srinagar was founded by Ashoka the great at the south foot of a mountain spur which rises with bold slopes to a height of 3000 feet above the village.
  • Like most of the districts of the State, Srinagar is named after its headquarters town which is also the summer capital of the State Government.
    • Aneesa Shafi, in "Working Women in Kashmir: Problems and Prospects", p. 41
  • In the last decade of the 20th century, Srinagar has been racked by some of the worst incidents of violence and killing that the country has witnessed.
    • History, in "Brief History of Kashmir"
...there is decreasing room for the urban geography of those areas of Srinagar where tourists, now moored to their increasingly opulent houseboats did not venture...
  • In the course of the first half of the twentieth century, an entire social season sprang up around Srinagar and Gulmarg...As the landscape becomes further framed into domestic views, there is decreasing room for the urban geography of those areas of Srinagar where tourists, now moored to their increasingly opulent houseboats did not venture. As the bridges, overhanging houses, Mar Canal views and ethnographic portraits receded from albums, increasing prominence was secured by landscapes of the Lake and the social life centered around the clubs of Srinagar and Gulmarg.
  • The architectural views of Srinagar...fed into an increasingly interested appreciation of Kashmir’s pre-Islamic past. In 1898, Maharaja Pratap Singh converted the Ranbir Singh in Srinagar into the Pratap Singh Museum. Today, in the first gallery of the dusty and neglected State Museum, statutory form Kashmir’s Buddhist and Hindu sites is still prominent,
    • Ananya Jahanara Kabir, in "Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir", p. 74
The Sufi shrine of Dawood sahib.
  • But within Sringar are also less privileged constituencies who resist such investment by valourising very different kinds of “Kashmir Views.” In Srinagar’s Batmaloo neighborhood, next to the Sufi shrine of Dawood sahib, is the tiny office of a breakaway resistance group termed Islamic League of Students (ILS).
    • Ananya Jahanara Kabir, in "Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir", p. 77
Old city view
  • Spurred on by Archeological interest in the regions pre-Islamic architecture, and by linguistic research conducted by missionaries in Srinagar, [these] Indologists laid the foundation for a potent imagining of ancient Kashmir that grounded its Hindu and Buddhist material in its Hindu elites in the Valley’s topography and history, but dismissed its Muslim masses as later day interlopers.
    • Ananya Jahanara Kabir, in "Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir", p. 81
  • The old shrines, some of great age, are made of deodar, and the great Juma Masjid of Srinagar, with its lofty shafts of cedar, is said to have been constructed of timer cut from the Tashawan Forest. The Tashawan Forest.is now part of the city lying on the left bank of the river between the Fatteh and Zaina bridges.
Hazratbal Shrine - The interaction and synthesis of men of religion with varying cultural back ground gave rise to a belief system of tolerance, accommodation, moderation and strict adherence to the principles of the great religion of Islam. This process of assimilation gave birth to a unique religious and secular architecture, represented by the Khanqah, mosque and vernacular houses. Though the city would be burnt, destroyed and rebuilt many times, yet in the end Srinagar survives as one of the representative intact cities of pre-modern vernacular and timber architecture.
Houseboats in Dal Lake at night
  • The interaction and synthesis of men of religion with varying cultural back ground gave rise to a belief system of tolerance, accommodation, moderation and strict adherence to the principles of the great religion of Islam. This process of assimilation gave birth to a unique religious and secular architecture, represented by the Khanqah, mosque and vernacular houses. Though the city would be burnt, destroyed and rebuilt many times, yet in the end Srinagar survives as one of the representative intact cities of pre-modern vernacular and timber architecture.
    • INTACH, in "Shehr -i- Kashmir"
  • Even now Kashmiris are the most expert craftsmen of the east; and it is not difficult to believe that the same people, who at present excel all other Orientals as weavers, gunsmiths and as calligraphers, must once have been the most eminent of Indian architects.
  • Srinagar has been declared as the first city among the list of seven heritage cities of India...the living heritage of the city [is] represented by its wooden buildings, Sufi shrines and the river front.
  • Kashmir, the rest is worthless
    • Emperor Jehangir, in Byline, Chronicle Books, 1 January 2003, p. 248
    • Attributed to Jahangir who, while on his death bed, is reported to have expressed his cherished desire.

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