The Srinagar Airport has been undergoing lots of changes the last couple years due to construction of the new airport on the same site as the old one. Here’s the latest info on what you can expect on arrival at the airport. I’ll share info for the departure side of the airport in the next post.
When you fly into Srinagar, all foreign tourists will need to fill out an FRO (Foreign Registration Office) form before leaving the baggage claim area. Don’t worry about figuring out where to get the form, the FRO officials will usually spot the foreigners and come up to you with it. The form mainly asks for your passport/visa info, dates for your arrival into India and Kashmir, plus where you’ll be staying.
Currently all passengers coming into the airport also need to fill out a health form as part of the H1N1 flu screening.
Bathrooms are available in the baggage claim area as well as near the exit of the arrival hall before you leave the airport building.
There is a J&K Tourism office just behind the baggage claim carousels. They have various brochures on tourist places in Kashmir plus a nice map of Srinagar that you can buy for 10 Rupees.
After the baggage claim area there are counters for houseboat and hotel reservations, pre-paid taxi service, and a bus service from the airport to the Tourist Reception Center (TRC) near Dal Gate.
I’ve never used the houseboat reservations counter. From what I’ve heard if you book there you’ll pay high rates, so I don’t recommend it. Of course, my suggestion would be to book with us as we work with an excellent and trustworthy boat , but if you’re looking on your own it’s better to get in town and hire a shikara (water taxi) to take you around and look at different boats before making a reservation.
At the pre-paid taxi counter you can get a good rate for a taxi to take you into town. Currently a taxi from the airport to the Boulevard area by Dal Gate and all the way down to Nehru Park shouldn’t be more than 400 Rupees. You pay at this counter, they give you a receipt, and then when you go out of the airport you head down to the left to the taxi stand near the main parking lot. You can show your receipt to the drivers standing around there and one of them will then take you in his taxi. There’s nothing else to pay unless you want to tip the driver.
There was no one at the bus service counter when I was there recently, and I haven’t used it before. According to the J&K Tourism website this bus service to the TRC costs 250 Rupees, although I can’t guarantee how current that info is.
Near the pre-paid taxi counter is a ticket counter for the Gulmarg Gondola. If you’re planning to visit Gulmarg and take a ride up the gondola this could save you some time so you don’t have to wait in the ticket lines at Gulmarg.
When you walk out of the airport there will be a crowd of people outside. Most are taxi drivers waiting to pick people up or looking to find tourists that need rides. There also will be the J&K Tourist Police, and they’re watching out for any foreign visitors to collect their info before they leave the airport. They mainly want to know your name, what country you’re from, and where you’ll be staying. However, they don’t give you any of their contact info in case you needed to reach them for assistance. To get that, you can find phone numbers for the Tourist Police on the back the brochures from the J&K Tourism office back in baggage claim.
Hope this is helpful, and I’ll write about the departure side of the airport next.