Martand Sun Temple, constructed in the medieval era during the period from the 7th to the 8th century AD, is dedicated to the Hindu sun-god, Surya. Lalitaditya, one of the kings of the Surya dynasty, built this temple at the top of a plateau in proximity to a small town named Anantnag. It is considered to be one of the finest works of King Lalitaditya with its 84 columns; placed at regular intervals. Square lime stone bricks were used in the construction of this temple showcasing the skills of the artisans of the place at that time.
The majestic architecture of the temple makes it one of a kind. A magnificent shrine at the centre with the backdrop of mountains enveloped with snow adds to the charisma of the place. The temple also offers a panoramic view of the valley of Kashmir.
Kheer Bhavani is situated at a distance of 27 km from Srinagar, in the village of Tulla Mulla. Chinar trees and beautiful streams surround this temple adding to its charm. The temple received its name from the fact that only kheer, an Indian sweet dish, and milk are given as offerings by the devotees here.
Originally constructed by Maharaja Pratap Singh in honour of Hindu goddess Devi Ragnya in the year 1912, the temple was later reconstructed by Maharaja Hari Singh. A hexagonal spring in the temple is believed to represent the goddess. Legend has it that Hindu deity, Rama, used this temple as a place of worship while in exile. After the banishment period was over, the Hindu monkey-god, Hanuman, was asked to shift the idol of the Goddess to Shadipora, where it currently is.
Locals believe that the colour of the kheer, which is normally white, turns black to indicate unexpected adversity. In the month of May, on the 8th day of the full moon, devotees in huge numbers gather here to offer their prayers. The Goddess is believed to change the colour of the water on this auspicious day. Jesht Ashtam and Shukla Paksh Ashtami are some of the popular festivals that are celebrated in this temple.
Overa National Park, also known as Overa-Aru Biosphere Reserve, is at a distance of 76 km from Srinagar. The park houses several endangered species like the musk deer, hangul, brown bear, koklas, leopards, and snow cocks. Situated at an altitude ranging from 3000 m to 5425 m, this park is a popular tourist destination.
The park has registered 13 species of mammals and 80 species of birds living in it so far. Different species of pheasants can also be found here. An extensively diverse wildlife attracts tourists from all over the world. Dense coniferous forests, consisting of chestnut trees, deodar trees, pine trees, and fir trees, envelope the area. Shrubs like viburnum spp, indigofera heterantha and sorbaria tomentosa are also found this region. Rumex patientia, nemone spp and primula spp are some of the different herbs that are found in this region.
The best time to visit the upper area of the park is between May and August. The period during March to May is favourable for visiting the lower areas.