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In Frames | Reinventing Srinagar’s landmarks

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Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar is undergoing an unprecedented image makeover. The Centre, ruling the Union Territory (UT) of J&K directly since it ended the erstwhile State’s special constitutional position in 2019, has reinvented public spaces and landmarks. There is a rare bid to create milestones to contest the past marred by bloody conflict of over three decades.

The rights of pedestrians were restored by widening the walking tracks, with detailing for people with disabilities, in the city’s commercial hub Lal Chowk. The 15-km cycling track has revived the dying habit of pedalling around the Jhelum river in Lal Chowk. The meticulously laid and well-lit fronts on the Jhelum river and around the Dal Lake have motivated people after decades to stay out and absorb the mesmerising beauty even after sundown.

The all-pedestrian Polo View market and Ghata Ghar square have tourists as well as local families shopping till late at night. These late-evening selfie points mark an end of the era when Srinagar wore a deserted look ahead of sunset.

The floating cinema on the Dal Lake with shikaras as front rows is among many features added for tourists who plan stays on the famed and beautifully carved houseboats. An old historic bridge, Habba Kadal, is being turned into a recreation centre with niches carved in wood for a panoramic view of the Jhelum river in the old city. These projects have been undertaken by the Srinagar Smart City Ltd. at the cost ₹980 crore.

(Text by Peerzada Ashiq)

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Floating luxury: Tourists explore the Dal lake in an illuminated shikara.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Changing times: Visitors flock the streets near the iconic Ghanta Ghar in Srinagar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Road ahead: The newly built road on the banks of Dal Lake for pedestrians and cyclists.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Iconic frames: A man captures a picture of the iconic Ghanta Ghar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Valley of peace: Places of worship coexist on the banks of the Jhelum river

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Selling smiles: Migrant children selling balloons near the Ghanta Ghar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Leisure on lake: Tourists inside a zorbing ball in Dal Lake.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Focus locked: A girl capturing pictures in the crowded street near Ghanta Ghar.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

On display: Handbags seen at a shop in the newly renovated market at Polo View.

Photo:
Nissar Ahmad

Out shopping: Local people visit a newly renovated market at Polo View.

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