Nightlife and Entertainment in Srinagar

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Although the situation has improved over the last 10 years, Srinagar nightlife doesn't tend to include pubs, bars and clubs. However, there's plenty else to do in the evening.

A Different Kind of Nightlife

Unlike other South Asian cities such as Mumbai, the nightlife and entertainment in Srinagar is not hugely alcohol-fueled. Fast-food restaurants, cafes and pool halls are doing a brisk business and very often the strongest drink served is comparatively overpriced coffee.

Coffee Arabica

This chic spot is where Western pop music is played and pictures of Hollywood stars adorn the walls. The intelligentsia gather here along with IT professionals and CEOs. In a city that has been ravaged by war in recent times, but Coffee Arabica is an oasis of calm enjoyment.

Boulevard Road

Srinagar nightlife really gets going on the buzzing Boulevard Road where travelers and locals alike sample the street food and enjoy the peace of Dal Lake. Although the Indian security forces cast an intimidating eye over proceedings, one can enjoy open-air festivals of Kashmiri music in nearby Zabarwan Park.

Drinking Issues

There are no official pubs in Srinagar as yet and since 1990s people have had to go to the bars of 5-star hotels or specialized shops in the cantonment to purchase alcohol. In any neighborhood there is usually a shop that sells it, but you will have to hand your money through grilles or barbed wire oftentimes. This is very much due to the security situation and the Islamization of Kashmiri militants.

Great Alternatives

So, with Srinagar nightlife being a virtual no-no as Westerners would understand it, what can you do for entertainment? A good place to visit is the Dachigam National Park only 22 km from the city. Here you can enjoy cinnamon sparrows, grosbeaks, leopards and Himalayan grey langurs. You can also trek for miles around the sanctuary.

The Best Restaurants

To extend your entertainment beyond daylight hours, you're best advised to go to one of Srinagar's excellent restaurants. Srinagar cuisine ranges from simple peasant fare to 30-course meals called 'Wazawan' which are normally served at weddings. In famed restaurants such as Ahdoos, Tafree and Mughal Darbar, you should definitely try the 'rista' or meatballs, 'rogan josh' curry and 'tabak maz' or fried rib meat. Like everywhere else in India, there are great vegetarian options available such as 'dum aloo' and a range of excellent breads: 'tsot', 'lavas', 'kulcha' and 'tsochvuru'. Desserts tend not to be a feature of Srinagar nightlife as the locals love their spices too much.

April 14, 2010 new by revjugular

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