The Jhelum flows from Verinag, 80-km south of
Srinagar , to
the Wular Lake in the north. Passing through Srinagar it's a wide, swift
flowing, muddy looking river. The river draws water from the lakes around
the city and many canals and rivers meander through the city area.
BRIDGES Of JHELUM
The Jhelum is famed for its nine old bridges although some of them are being replaced by more modern structures. The stretch north of the city is particularly picturesque with many fine views of Srinagar's old buildings on the riverbanks. One'll also find Srinagar's most interesting old mosques along this stretch and since the roads are too narrow and winding for most vehicles it's an interesting area to explore on foot or bicycle.
One can also take a Shikara along the river from Dal gate. The tour starts from Dal gate in a boat that firstly go south along the canal connecting Dal Lake to the river. On the right is the golf course and on the left the Srinagar Club where tourist visitors are welcome. Just beyond the club the canal enters the bridge immediately above the first bridge.
Zero Bridge & The Amira Kadal
The first Jhelum Bridge, close to the tourist reception centre, is zero bridge. Thus the next bridge is commonly known as the first bridge of the 'old' bridges. Built by Amir Khan it's named the "Amira Kadal". Between zero bridge and the Amira Kadal one drifts along beside the bund, past the government silk weaving factory on the opposite bank. Beyond that is situated the Shri Pratap Singh Museum.
Badshah Bridge & The Habba Kadal
The next bridge is the heavily trafficked modern Badshah Bridge and the Habba Kadal in the old part of town. On the left bank of the river, between these two bridges is the royal palace where the previous maharaja used to live. It's set back some distance from the riverbank and is now a government building.
Nearby one will also find the new secretariat building and the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Park. On the right side the Tsont-i-Kul or Apple Canal joins the Jhelum. This canal starts from the Dal gate and with a loop of the Jhelum makes part of Srinagar into an island. The busiest part of the old city is near the Habba Kadal Bridge, in an area where the national hospital and the Raghunath Mandir, Kashmir's biggest temple and the twin of the golden-spired temple in Jammu also stand.
The Fateh Kadal & Zaina Kadal
The Fateh Kadal, the third old bridge, is just before the Shah Hamdan Mosque and a new bridge has recently been built just upstream from it. The Zaina Kadal is the next bridge and crosses the river close to the tomb of its builder, the famous Kashmiri ruler Zain-ul-Abidin.
Ali Kadal, Nawa Kadal & Saffa Kadal
The fifth bridge, the Ali Kadal, is named after his son. Finally there's the Nawa Kadal and the Saffa Kadal. A lesser-known mosque of Bulbul Shah is situated close to the Ali Kadal. Bulbul shah was a Kashmiri mystic and the first Muslim Fakir (saint) to visit the valley. The ruined Badshah mosque, close to the tomb of Zain-ul-Abidin, is enclosed by an old stonewall and there is a belief that the bricks of this mosque could cure smallpox. The Maharaja Ranbir Gang bazaar, an important trade centre, is also here.
Attractions Around The Bridges
Just below the sixth bridge, the Nawa Kadal, one can see a canal enter the river; this is the Kota Canal, which diverts the river's flow at times of flood. It leaves the Jhelum between the Amira Kadal and the Habba Kadal. There's the old Yarkand Sarai, a travellers resting place, by the seventh bridge, the Saffa Kadal. The Jhelum weir is just past this bridge and on the left bank are graineries of the Kashmir Valley Food Control Department. Also close by is the large open ground known as Idgah where prayers are held during the Muslim Id festival.
Taski Kadal - The Exit
At the Taski Kadal one can again leave the river on the Tsont-i-Kul canal and pass under the floodgate back to the Dal gate.