Planning a Trip
1 Get in
1.1 By plane
1.2 By taxi
1.3 By bus
1.4 By bicycle
1.5 By rail
Many people take the train to Jammu followed by a taxi or bus ride to Srinagar. The journey from Jammu to Srinagar is costlier in the summers because the capital is being shifted from Jammu to Srinagar on both the state buses and Sumos. State buses are safer but take more time and are a bit uncomfortable.
Foreigners are required to register upon arrival at the airport or at their hotel or houseboat.
Sheikh ul Alam Airport (SXR IATA, (Urdu: شیخ العالم ہوائی اڈا; Hindi: शेख़ उल आलम हवाई अड्डा) is commonly known as Srinagar Airport). It is an international airport
A new terminal for arrivals and departures with air bridges and other up to date operational facilities was inaugurated on 14 February 2009. International, domestic and seasonal Hajj pilgrimage charters to Jeddah are operated from Sheikh ul Alam airport.
Flights are operated by Jet Airways, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Go Air, Jet Lite and Air India from Delhi and Mumbai to Srinagar, with or without a stopover at Jammu. The frequency is once or twice a day by each airline. The cost is approx ₹2,500 from Jammu, ₹ 2,500-5,000 from Delhi one way and higher from Mumbai, depending on the different season.
The airport is still heavily patrolled and you may see many soldiers or other armed security detachments. Winter flights can easily be canceled due to weather conditions. Tickets are easy to purchase in the city. The airport requires a ticket for entrance. A taxi into Srinagar town should be ₹ 720 (as in August 2017) and direct to Gulmarg is ₹1,500-2,000. There is a mini bus from airport to TRC (Tourist Reception Centre). It costs ₹ 70. TRC is 1 km to the Dal lake. The mini bus is dirty and full of big flies.
When departing Srinagar by air, make sure you have a printed copy of your ticket at hand, otherwise you will not be able to enter the airport. Additionally, allow approximately 1 hr to get from Srinagar to the airport. Security checks can cause traffic to bank up if there are a few flights leaving at around the same time.
Hiring a TATA Sumo SUV (fits up to 9 people, or 5 comfortably plus luggage) from Jammu costs approximately ₹1,900-2,700 depending on time of year or even time of day. To reduce costs many people choose not to take an exclusive taxi, and share the Sumo taxi with others. This costs about ₹300-400 per person. For a comfortable trip, try for a seat in the middle row - the front bucket seat is (sometimes uncomfortably) shared by 2 people, and the far back could be quite bumpy as the highway is full of mountainous roads. The journey takes around 8 hour.
J&K State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) operates fairly comfortable buses from Jammu costing around ₹350 and do the journey in around 12 hr. 2-day buses run between Srinagar and Leh staying overnight in Kargil.
There are also direct buses from Delhi taking almost 24 hours to reach Srinagar.
Srinagar is about 80 km away from Sonamarg. If cycling to Sonamarg this is a reasonable day ride for a fit cyclist, and Sonamarg provides plenty of accommodation options. The ride from Sonamarg to Srinagar, being mostly downhill is an easy day. Riding on the East side of Dal Lake, is slightly less direct, but is low traffic, provides lovely views over the lake, is simple to find the way, and is highly recommended.
The rail line between Srinegar and Anantnag is now operating, and is useful for those travelling from Pahalgam/Aru