Gardens in Kashmir
The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir are a sight to behold indeed. Spanning over massive areas of utmost greenery, these Gardens in Kashmir offer one of the most stunning architectural excellences nestled within its abode.
The Mughal Gardens in Kashmir are noted amongst the best gardens in India, Kashmir Valley, and especially the State Jammu & Kashmir.
Kashmir once served as the Summer Resort for Persian Kings, later, followed by the Mughal Emperors who were, especially, far more than impressed with the natural beauty of the Kashmir Valley. Hence, they contributed further, to the splendor of this valley, by establishing Mughal Gardens.
Dating back centuries ago, these Mughal Gardens in Kashmir were the centre point of activity and relaxation for the Royal families, Emperors, and Kings who once ruled this land and today, are the focal point of the tourism of Kashmir marking them as one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jammu & Kashmir.
The Imperial era saw a massive change in the infrastructure of Kashmir with many forts, palaces and gardens cropping up. It was an era when Mughal Emperors and Persian Kings gifted this land with Persian-style gardens dressed with green lawns, beds of colourful blossoming flowers, and tall shaded trees fringed along its pathways.
The Gardens in Kashmir also feature exquisite Persian and Mughal architecture that exudes an ancient couture thus, reflecting the excellence of craftsmanship showcased by artists of a bygone era. These refined structures, though in partial ruins, endorses the legacy of such artisans leaving behind signatures of art for many years to come.
The love of Gardens that are vast and majestic like their Palaces, Forts, and even their Tombs were a unique style of the Mughals and Persians. These Mughal Gardens in Kashmir feature well defined structures and design that is typical of both the Persians and Afghan architecture. Lined with well placed pathways and waterways, the Kashmir Gardens reflect the vision of a Paradise-like environ that can only add a rustic yet classic charm to these gardens.
The Gardens in Kashmir can captivate every mind and soul with its delightful features such as spans of formally well maintained lawns, burst of vibrant flower beds, perfectly carved terraced step lawns, fountains and water pools placed towards the east that are all surrounded by the panorama of the Dal Lake in Kashmir are just a sight to behold.
The Gardens in Kashmir exhibits a harmonious blend of ancient structures with its surroundings that are reminiscent of a revered history. Coupled with an innovative use of its landscapes and Persian-style textured planting ideas, these gardens in Kashmir are a sheer bliss to all visitors.
Gardens of Kashmir
Mughal Garden of Shalimar in Kashmir dates back to 1619 AD when Kashmir was under the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Then named by the Emperor as ‘Farah Baksh’ that translates into ‘The Delightful’, Shalimar Garden in Kashmir, as it is known today, was further extended by Zafar Khan, the Governor of Kashmir in 1630 AD who renamed it as ‘Faiz Baksh’ or ‘The Bountiful’. Perfectly divided into three sections, Shalimar garden features an outer garden named as the ‘Diwan-i-Aam’, a central garden named as ‘Diwan-iKhaas’ and the top most portion that was designed the best for use of the Empress and her ladies. The garden features a number of fountains and water tanks that add to its beauty and grandeur.
Chashma Shahi Garden was named after a fresh water mountain spring that feeds this lush landscaped garden. The Gardens of Chashmashahi, as it is known today, features three terraced-style lawns, water channels, fountains within massive water pools and waterfalls as well.
Nishat Garden or the ‘Garden of Delight’ is considered as the largest Mughal Garden beside Dal Lake in Kashmir and approximately two and a half kms from Shalimar Garden. This garden was established in 1632 AD by Asaf Khan, who was the brother-in-law of Emperor Jahangir and hence the brother of Noor Jahan. The Garden commands a stunning view in the western portion of Kashmir and offers a panoramic backdrop of the majestic Himalayas towards the East.
Pari Mahal is situated at the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range that was established as a summer residence and mediation centre of Peer Mullah Shah. Therefore, the original name of this garden was ‘Peer Mahal’ which got distorted over the years and is known today as Pari Mahal or ‘Palace of a Fairy’. The Garden commands a fantastic view of Dal Lake and the Shalimar Garden in Kashmir.
Harwan nestles on a Hillside that lies south of a Village named Harwan situated about 19 kms from TRC or the Tourist Reception Centre of Kashmir. This site features the remains of ancient ornamented tiled pavements that date back to the Buddhist era. These exquisite tiles depict the attire of people such as Turkmen caps or Turbans, wide trousers, and large earrings that reflect influences of a typical Central Asian culture.
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden is situated at Chashmashahi in Srinagar. It is a well designed and landscaped garden established in 1969 set against the scenic Zabarwan mountain slopes which is quite close to the enchanting Chashmashahi Mughal Garden. Overlooking the vista of the stunning Dal Lake in Kashmir, this Botanical Garden covers 80 hectares of green land featuring several styles of inner gardens that offer complete solace to visitors.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden formerly known as the Model Floriculture Centre of Siraj Bagh situated at Chashmashahi in Srinagar, is also situated at the foothills of spectacular Zabarwan Mountains commanding a panoramic view of the world renowned Dal Lake of Kashmir.
Mughal Garden Jharokha at Manasbal is tucked away on a vertical slope of the northeastern banks of the solitary and absolutely breathtaking Manasbal Lake within the Valley of Jhelum. Probably referred to earlier as the ‘Daroga Bagh’, Jharokha Garden was also known as ‘Lalla Rookh's Garden’ that holds the Royal Palace of Empress Noor Jahan, wife of Emperor Jahangir.
Mughal Garden Achabal, placed about 8 kms from Anantnag, south of Kashmir was established by Empress Noor Jahan in 1620 AD. Situated about 62 Kms south of Srinagar, Achabal Garden is fed by an ancient and sacred spring that flows from the adjacent hillside of Manasbal.
Dara Shikoh Bagh or Dara Shikoh Garden at Bijbehara in Anantnag is located on the banks of River Jhelum just along the National Highway about 45 Kms from Srinagar. It was established in 1640 AD by Dara Shikoh, who was the eldest son of Emperor ShahJahan.
Kokernag Botanical Garden is situated at Anantnag, south of Kashmir and features a pleasant and tranquil environ. The serene beauty of this garden is further accentuated by the backdrop of dense Pine forests which existed centuries on. Covering over 0.8 hectares of scenic landscape, this botanical garden in Kashmir is known for its pristine and natural mineral water springs.
Mughal Garden Verinag at Anantnag was earlier, most likely, referred to as Virah Nag, a word derived from the Sanskrit Language that translates into ‘the chivalrous hooded snake’. Placed about 61 Kms south of Srinagar, Verinag Garden nestles at the foothills of the Banihal Mountain range and is famous for its gushing pristine springs that feeds River Jhelum in Kashmir as well.