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 city is located on both the sides of the Jhelum River, which is called Vyath in Kashmir. The river passes through the city and meanders through the valley, moving onward and deepening in the Dal Lake. The city is famous for its nine old bridges, connecting the two parts of the city.There are a number of lakes and swamps in and around the city. These include the Dal, the Nigeen, the Anchar, Khushal Sar, Gil Sar and Hokersar.
Hokersar is a wetland situated near Srinagar. Thousands of migratory birds come to Hokersar from Siberia and other regions in the winter season. Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October and again around spring. These wetlands play a vital role in sustaining a large population of wintering, staging and breeding birds.
Hokersar is 14 km (8.7 mi) north of Srinagar, and is a world class wetland spread over 13.75 km2 (5.31 sq mi) including lake and marshy area. It is the most accessible and well-known of Kashmir’s wetlands which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.
Birds found in Hokersar—Migratory ducks and geese which include brahminy duck, tufted duck, gadwall, garganey, greylag goose, mallard, common merganser, northern pintail, common pochard, ferruginous pochard, red-crested pochard, ruddy shelduck, northern shoveller, common teal, and Eurasian wigeon.
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).
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.
Srinagar’s city government attracted brief international attention in March 2008 when it announced a mass poisoning program aimed at eliminating the city’s population of stray dogs. Officials estimate that 100,000 stray dogs roam the streets of the city, which has a human population of just under 900,000. In a survey conducted by an NGO, it was found that some residents welcomed this program, saying the city was overrun by dogs, while critics contended that more humane methods should be used to deal with the animals.
As of 2011 census Srinagar urban agglomeration had 1,273,312 population.Both the city and the urban agglomeration has average literacy rate of approximately 70%, whereas the national average is 74.04%.The child population of both the city and the urban agglomeration is approximately 12% of the total population.Males constituted 53.0% and females 47.0% of the population. The sex ratio in the city area is 888 females per 1000 males, whereas in the urban agglomeration it is 880 per 1000, and nationwide value of this ratio is 940.The predominant religion of Srinagar is Islam with 96% of the population being Muslim. Hindus constitute the second largest religious group representing 2.75% of the population. The remaining population constitutes Sikhs, Buddhist and Jains.