Srinagar is the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus, and Dal and Anchar lakes. The city is famous for its gardens, waterfronts and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dried fruits.
Folk etymology draws the city name from two Sanskrit words: śrī (“glory, prosperity”, a name for the goddess Lakshmi) and nagar (“city”), which would make “City of Lakshmi” (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).
The Burzahom archaeological site located 10 km from Srinagar has revealed the presence of neolithic and megalithic cultures.
According to Kalhana’s 12th century text Rajatarangini, a king named Pravarasena II established a new capital named Pravarapura (also known as Pravarasena-pura). Based on topographical details, Pravarapura appears to be same as the modern city of Srinagar. Aurel Stein dates the king to sixth century CE.
Kalhana also mentions that a king named Ashoka had earlier established a town called Srinagari. Kalhana describes this town in hyperbolic terms, stating that it had “9,600,000 houses resplendent with wealth”. According to Kalhana, this Ashoka reigned before 1182 BCE, and was a member of the dynasty founded by Godhara. Kalhana also states that this king had adopted the doctrine of Jina, constructed stupas and Shiva temples, and appeased Bhutesha (Shiva) to obtain his son Jalauka. Multiple scholars identify Kalhana’s Ashoka with the 3rd century Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka despite these discrepancies. Although “Jina” is a term generally associated with Jainism, some ancient sources use it to refer to the Buddha. Romila Thapar equates Jalauka to Kunala, stating that “Jalauka” is an erroneous spelling caused by a typographical error in Brahmi script.
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 720 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).
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
Srinagar is one of several places that have been called the “Venice of the East” or the “Kashmiri Venice”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.
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.
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