Srinagar is the summer capital of northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir Union territory. The city lies along the Jhelum River at an elevation of 5,200 feet. Though Srinagar is well known for its beauty, it is also home to many mosques and temples, including a center of worship reportedly containing a hair that belonged to the Prophet Muhammad.
An interesting facet of life in Srinagar is the tradition of houseboats on Dal and Nigeen, the two lakes around the city. This tradition started during British rule in the 1850s as a way for government officials to escape the heat of the plains. The local Hindu Maharaja denied them the ability to own land, so the Brits began converting barges and industrial boats to houseboats. As recently as the 1970s, more than 3,000 were available for rent.
Due to Islam’s predominant influence, Srinagar has many restrictions on apparel, alcohol, and social events that are more common in the Middle East.