Known as the paradise on Earth, Kashmir is home to some of the most beautiful gardens. The lush green vistas, serene lakes and glistening fountains add to the natural splendor of this pristine land.
These magnificent Mughal gardens are a testament to the region?s rich history. Listed below are the top 9 gardens to visit in Srinagar: 1. Nishat Bagh:
1. Chashme Shahi
One of the most famous gardens in Kashmir, Chashme Shahi, is a beautiful Mughal garden built in the 17th century. It is known for its serene ambiance, stunning views, and unique design. Its terraced format and flowing water channels give it a magical atmosphere.
It is also home to a natural spring that provides a refreshing source of drinking water. Its waters flow down through terraces and into a pool that is surrounded by Chinar trees. It is said that the water here has a therapeutic effect on the mind and body.
The garden is famous for its annual tulip festival which draws visitors from all over the world. Its tulips are beautifully displayed and the park is covered with a riot of colors.
2. Nishat Bagh
The largest of the Mughal gardens in Srinagar, Nishat Bagh (also known as Garden of Bliss) is a popular attraction. It offers a beautiful view of Dal Lake, snow capped Zabarwan Mountains and a range of flowering bushes and Chinar trees.
The garden was built by Asif Khan, brother-in law of Mughal Empress Nur Jehan in 1633. It is a series of 12 terraces, each representing one of the twelve zodiac signs.
Every terrace is beautifully adorned with a symphony of roses, lilies and daisies. The water canals and fountains are a sight to behold as they merge with the scenic landscape of the garden and create a harmonious ambiance.
The garden is home to two pavilions at the upper and lower end of the terraces, which are a popular place for tourists looking forward to refreshments or moments of leisure after exploring the sprawling expanse of the garden. Tourists also visit this enchanting garden during autumn when the leaves of the chinar trees start changing colors and provide a visual treat.
3. Shalimar Bagh
Designed by Mughal Emperor Jahangir as Farah Baksh (“Delightful Garden”) in 1619, Shalimar Bagh is one of the best-known gardens in the region. Its terraced format, flowing water channels and flower beds create a captivating environment.
Located on the banks of Dal Lake, the garden has four levels rising one above another. Its shady chinar trees and innumerable fountains are a sight to behold during the autumn and spring seasons.
The Tulip Garden, situated in Srinagar, is a must-see attraction during the season of tulips. It showcases a riot of colors in various shades and styles, which attracts tourists from all over the world. It is also famous for its sound and light show. This garden is a visual treat for nature lovers and photo enthusiasts alike. Moreover, it is an important source of ideas for visitors. It exemplifies the fusion of Persian and Indian form factors.
4. Pari Mahal
Whether you are a nature lover or just a record enthusiast, the gardens of Kashmir can offer you a perfect treat for your eyes. They are a sworn statement to the region’s rich records and culture.
The eldest son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Prince Dara Shikoh, built Pari Mahal in the mid-16th century. The garden sits on the Zabarwan Mountain range and renders a soothing view of Dal Lake. The multi-color flowers and soaring fountains create a beautiful scenery for the visitors.
The most enchanting feature of this Mughal garden is its blending with the natural landscape. The octagonal perimeter and linear water channel appear to emerge from the natural course of the Jhelum River. Besides, the lush green deodar forests and the soaring mountains act as a distinguished backdrop to this picturesque garden.
Located at an approximate distance of 78 km from Srinagar, Verinag is one of the best-known Mughal gardens in Kashmir. This beautiful lawn is surrounded by imposing mountains, making it a peaceful retreat away from the buzz of the city.
Built in the 17th century, by Emperor Jahangir?s eldest son, Dara Shikoh, the garden is known for its natural spring that is believed to have medicinal properties. The spring flows into an octagonal tank which is surrounded by Chinar trees and fountains.
This garden is also a pilgrimage site for Hindus. There is a Shiva shivling in one of the recesses in the pavilion. In addition to that, the garden is a popular picnic spot in the winters and is adorned by fragrant blooms all around. Moreover, it follows the trademark Persian design of Char Bagh and includes multiple terraces and canals. It also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the Harwan Lake.
Almost all popular gardens in Kashmir like Nishat, Shalimar, Chasme Shahi and Pari Mahal were laid down by the Mughals. Hence, they were already embedded with the Persian spirit. These gardens are characterized by the use of terraces for raised walkways and water channels sourced from natural springs. These water channels were lined with fountains and cascaded from one terrace to another in the form of chadars.
The Tulip Garden in Srinagar is Asia’s biggest tulip garden and opens its colorful doors to visitors during the tulip festival. The garden exhibits a panoramic show of tulips in different sun shades and styles, creating a captivating visual experience.
The serene Baisaran Meadow is the perfect destination for a leisurely stroll (takes around 1 hour or more) or a pony ride. It is also an ideal place for birdwatchers to spot black bulbuls and cinnamon sparrows amongst other species of migratory birds.