Srinagar, June 12: In Srinagar, Boulevard road has assumed significant importance over the years for being one of the famous landmarks for people to spend their leisure time with families.
Placed at the heart of the city, the Boulevard road is flanked by the Dal Lake on the left side and a chain of roadside eateries, hotels, and Kashmir art showrooms on the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountains on the right side.
During twilight hours, scores of families usually hit the road to enjoy the ambiance of the fresh air and clear water of Dal Lake.
"It is the best place to spend quality evening time with the families.Â Whenever I get the time, I take my children with me for a walk down the road," Farooq Khan, a local from Karan Nagar said.
Khan said apart from enjoying the ambiance, it is the best place in the city for a brisk walk to keep oneself healthy.
"I encourage my children to at least take a brisk walk for an hour every day to keep fit. And in Covid times when schools are closed and kids don't have many activities to do, a walk on the boulevard road helps a lot," he said.
The first stretch of Boulevard road came into existence during the 1930s when Maharaja built a metal road along the sides of the lake from Dalgate to Kral-Sanger to access famous Mughal gardens.
Apart from providing an ideal place for locals to spend some quality time with families, Boulevard is also the first stop for travelers visiting the Valley for holidays.
The road that stretches almostÂ 12 km circumnavigates through popular Dal Lake on the banks of the Zabarwan range making it one of the most beautiful spots in the Valley.
It starts from Dal Lake gate and runs beautifully up to Mughal Garden Nishat.
The road also leads to most of the beautiful gardens including the famous Tulip Garden, Mughal Garden Chesma Shahi, Royal Springs, Pari Mahal, Botanical Garden beautifully laid on the foot of mighty Zabarwan Range.
Sunil Jain, a tourist from New Delhi who visited the valley in March this year, said that it has become a routine for him to take an evening walk every day during his stay in the Valley.
"It feels so refreshing to walk on the banks of Dal Lake. The serene atmosphere of the Boulevard is mesmerizing," Jain said.Â
One of the famous conference centers, Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) besides the Police Golf Course, Royals Springs Golf Course is also sitting on Boulevard's one side.
On the lakeside, the government has contracted beautiful wooden jetties, 27 in numbers, locally called Ghats where scores of the Shikaraâ€™s which sail in the Dal lake are moored waiting for the travelers.
If one has to board the beautifully decorated Shikara for a joy ride, then he has to walk onto the decks of the ghats which run over part of the Lake. Ghats are like bus or train stations in a busy commercial city where passengers can wait and board the shikara.
Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) has developed the pavement of the boulevard and also electrified it with beautiful light poles.
Over the years many hotels have come up all along up to the Nishat Garden.
The Boulevard road also consists of world-famous houseboats in which many tourists, locals as well as foreigners prefer to stay during their holidays in the valley.
Given its serene location and beautiful concrete payment, scores of the joggers make it to the Boulevard for a morning walk or run. The place remains busy from dawn to dusk - with joggers seen running in the morning and tourists and locals taking casual strolls or sitting along the Dal Lake bank, during the day. One can enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset while sitting on the parapet of the Boulevard and can easily idle away for a few hours.
From here, many other locations inside the lake are also reached. Taking a shikara ride from one of the jetties on Boulevard and reaching three small islands, Soan Lank, Roup Lank, Nehru Park, besides a Camel hump bridge, in the middle of the lake up to the beautiful locations is a lifetime experience.
There would hardly be a Bollywood movie shot here in the Valley which would not have a scene from Dal Lake and shikara.
For Hindu travellers, the 9th Century Shankaracharya temple sitting on Suliman Teng Hill is a must-visit place. Over a two km ride on the Boulevard starting from Dal Lake gate-one reaches a police station from where a serpentine road of around a five- km uphill can take you to the temple which is visible from most parts of the city.
With many important and historic places en route, the Boulevard forms an important tourist attraction.