Srinagar

In 1989, Srinagar became the focus of the insurgency against Indian rule. The area continues to be a highly politicised hotbed of separatist activity with frequent spontaneous protests and strikes (“bandhs” in local parlance). On 19 January 1990, the Gawakadal massacre of at least 50 unarmed protestors by Indian forces, and up to 280 by some estimates from eyewitness accounts, set the stage for bomb blasts, shootouts, and curfews that characterised Srinagar throughout the early and mid-1990s. As a result, bunkers and checkpoints are found throughout the city, although their numbers have come down in the past few years as the militancy has declined. However, frequent protests still occur against Indian rules, such as the 22 August 2008 rally in which hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri civilians protested against Indian rule in Srinagar. Similar protests took place every summer for the next 4 years. In 2010 alone 120 protesters, many of whom were stone pelters and arsonists, were killed by police and CRPF. Large-scale protests were seen following the execution of Afzal Guru in February 2013.[28] In 2016, after the death of militant leader Burhan Wani, there were mass protests in the valley and about 87 protesters were killed by the Indian Army, CRPF, and police in the 2016 Kashmir unrest.

The city also saw increased violence against minorities, particularly the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits, starting from mid-1980s and resulting in their ultimate exodus. Posters were pasted to walls of houses of Pandits, telling them to leave or die, temples were destroyed and houses burnt; but a very small minority of Pandits still remains in the city. In 2015 protests in Srinagar from local Kashmiri pandits were held in order to express demands from the government related to their official status, temples, and the ability to visit a temple in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

After the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent devolution of the state into a union territory in August 2019, a lockdown was imposed in Kashmir, including in Srinagar. This lockdown continued for more than 15 months till 5 February 2021. Thousands, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – were detained for an extended period. The Union Government announced the restoration of 4G mobile internet in Kashmir, including Srinagar, on 15 February 2021.

Geography
The city is located on both 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 Wular Lake. The city is known 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 areas. 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.

Climate
Srinagar has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). The valley is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. Winters are cool, with daytime temperature averaging to 2.5 °C (36.5 °F), and drops below freezing point at night. Moderate to heavy snowfall occurs in winter and the highway connecting Srinagar with the rest of India faces frequent blockades due to icy roads and 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 39.5 °C (103.1 °F) and the lowest is −20.0 °C (−4.0 °F).

Tourism
Srinagar is one of several places that have been called the “Venice of the East”. Lakes around the city include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nigeen Lake. Apart from Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake, Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake both lie to the north of Srinagar. Wular Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia.

Srinagar has some Mughal gardens, forming a part of those laid by the Mughal emperors across the Indian subcontinent. Those of Srinagar and its close vicinity include Chashma Shahi (the royal fountains); Pari Mahal (the palace of the fairies); Nishat Bagh (the garden of spring); Shalimar Bagh; the Naseem Bagh. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in the city, set up in 1969. The Indian government has included these gardens under “Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir” in the tentative list for sites to be included in World Heritage sites.

The Sher Garhi Palace houses administrative buildings from the state government. Another palace of the Maharajas, the Gulab Bhavan, has now become the Lalit Grand Palace hotel.

The Shankaracharya Temple which lies on a hilltop in the middle of the city, besides the Kheer Bhawani Temple is important Hindu temple in the city.