The Mughal Emperors built gardens from Tehran
to Agra but it is in Kashmir, complemented by the lake and the mountains,
that they reach their perfection. Indeed after houseboats and the
mountains it is these gardens for which Kashmir is most famous.
Located in Srinagar, Nishat Bagh was built by Asaf Khan, Empress
Nur Jahan's brother. Nishat is celebrated for its stately chinar
(plane) trees, imported to Kashmir from Persia by the Mughals. Among
these, many of the giant chinar trees have been planted by the Mughal
Emperors. Nishat has 12 terraces representing the 12 signs of the
zodiac, which seems to gradually descend and merge in the Dal Lake's
periphery. The terraces viewed along with the bed of flower, a mosaic
of bright and beautiful colours, creates an unforgettable sight.
Also found within its surroundings are some remnants of Mughal era
buildings including a double storey pavilion enclosed on two sides
Shalimar Garden (Adobe
Located in Srinagar, Shalimar Garden was laid out by Emperor Jehangir
for his wife Nur Jahan in 1616. Shalimar Garden are the magnum opus
of Srinagar's many gardens and parks.This beautiful garden was originally
named the Farah Bakhsh or 'delightful garden', but today it is known
as the 'garden of love'. The garden features a canal, lined with
polished stones and is supplied with water from Harwan runs through
the middle of the garden.
Bagh has an air of solitude and quietude, and its rows of amazing
fountains and shaded lined trees seem to retire towards the snow
dressed mountains. A sound and light show is held here every evening
between May to October in the tourist season.
Laid out by Shah Jehan, the Garden of Chashma Shahi, so named because
of a mountain spring that waters it. The Garden include three terraces,
an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains. The fresh water spring in
these pleasant, calm gardens is renowned to have medicinal values.
There is also a small shrine, the Chasma Sahibi, close to the gardens,
which also has a fresh water spring.
Pari Mahal was initially a garden founded by Dara Shiko, Mughal
Emperor Shah Jehan's eldest son for his Sufi teacher, Mulla Shah.
Once dotted with numerous springs, which have dried up now, the
Pari Mahal gardens are now the treasure possession of the state.
Pari Mahal is bedazzling with radiant lights at night, and though
located on the spur of a hill, can he seen from most places in Srinagar.
Pari Mahal, once a Buddhist monastery, was converted into a school
of astrology by Dara Shikoh. Pari Mahal gardens are now fully maintained
by the state government.
South of the village Harwan, on the hillside, one can see some remarkable
remains of ancient ornamented tile pavements of the Buddhist era.
The tiles depict the dresses of the people of that time, such as
loose trousers, Turkoman caps or close fitting turbans and large
ear-rings which presents the central Asian influence.
More About Kashmir...
[Picnic Spots in Kashmir]