Heavenly heavens! Exclaims those who arrive in these fabulous gardens of Kashmir. Gardens in Kashmir Valley are not only known for their absolute beauty but also for the architecture and style in which they are built, the masterpiece of which is reflected in the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir. Babur was the first Mughal Emperor who laid the foundation of the Mughal Garden and incorporated the Persian Garden structure. Thus, the Persian style influences all of the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir. The Rambagh in Agra was the first Mughal Garden built by Babur in 1528. That was just the beginning. With time came many Mughal Emperors, Emperor Jahangir being the connoisseur of art. In the Valley, not only you will come across one but seven most majestic Mughal Gardens.
With flower beds beautifying the visitors’ path, you will witness running waters into the enclosed walls of rectilinear layouts, different species of fragrant flowers, fountains, canals and pools inside these Gardens. Characterized by the Charbagh style, these paradisiacal Gardens in the heart of the most romantic Valley are perfect for a royal retreat. Care to take a stroll? Meander these must-visit Mughal gardens in Kashmir.
Adjoining Northeast of Dal Lake is Shalimar Garden. The city of lakes, Srinagar, is a popular tourist spot. Travellers who arrive here first head out to take a Shikara ride. And the sight of the Mughal Gardens adds a mystical aura to the whole scenery. When King Pravarasena II (530 – 590 CE) founded the city of Srinagar, he made a cottage for himself on the banks of Dal Lake known as Shalimar. Ruined and destroyed centuries later, its name remains the only thing that remains in people’s memory. In the 16th century, Jahangir visited this place and turned it into a majestic garden. The Garden comprises three terraces: Diwan-i-Khas (the upper two) and Diwan-i-Alam (the lower portion of the Garden).
Another Garden from the reign of Emperor Jahangir is Nishat Garden. One of the most famous and the second largest Mughal Gardens in Kashmir, this terraced Garden is located on the eastern side of Dal Lake. One can ascertain the royalty of the Garden from the title that it has been bestowed with, namely “Garden of Bliss,” “Garden of Joy,” and “Garden of Gladness”. The distinctive design of this Garden is its 12 terraces, each representing 12 zodiac signs. Walking through the Garden, you will truly get insights into the Mughal art and architecture with its riverfront fountain at the intersection of channels and flowers abundant with roses, lilies, etc.
Naseem Bagh, aka. The Garden of Breeze is located on the western front of Dal Lake. The Garden is considered the oldest Mughal Gardens, built by Emperor Akbar. Later, Shah Jahan planted more than 12000 Chinar trees, the symbol of longevity and an integral part of Kashmiri culture. Surrounded by immense Natural beauty, the Garden has been frequented by many filmmakers for shooting Bollywood films. Autumn is the best time to visit Naseem Bagh, for that is the time when Chinar trees’ famous leaves turn into hues of red, yellow and fiery brown.
Achabal Garden, designed in the Charbagh style, is the epitome of Mughal Garden architecture. The Princesses’ place, as it is also known, is located in the Anantnag district, approximately 60 km away from Srinagar. Built on a hill, the Garden was the idea of Noor Jahan, wife of Jahangir, who admired the beauty of Nature here. The Garden is a delight to look at for a connoisseur of Mughal arts. The regality of the Garden is apparent once you walk in here. There are four terraces, and the most distinctive feature of this Garden is its mountain spring in the centre.
Verinag Mughal Garden
The Verinag Mughal Garden, south of Srinagar, lies on the foothills of the Banihal Mountain Range and is a fascinating Garden to visit. The symmetry, geometrical shape and octagonal design in which this Garden is outlined around the Verinag springs are spellbinding. It was built by Jahangir and extended by Shah Jahan, which is why we see fountains, cascades and Turkish baths around the spring. Moreover, one can find Persian inscriptions on stone slabs.
Pari Mahal, The Abode of Fairies, is one of the most beautiful Gardens in Kashmir. Like an enchanting fairytale castle, the Garden here is a masterpiece. Built by Prince Dara Shikoh, son of Shah Jahan, it is a seven-terraced garden. The Garden sits majestically on the top of the Zabarwan mountains and is a noteworthy example of Mughal architectural style. Dara Shikoh built the Garden on the ruins of a Buddhist monastery where he used to learn astronomy lessons from his teacher. And tragically, his life too ended here when he was murdered by his younger brother Aurangzeb.
Chashme Shahi Garden
Shah Jahan built Chashme Shahi Garden for his son Dara Shikoh. Built on the slopes of Zabarawan hills, the Garden presents a breathtaking view of Dal Lake and is considered a popular tourist destination. Apart from offering an amazing view, the Garden is famous for its natural springs. The spring is said to carry medicinal properties from the Zabarwan mountains. There is also a story associated with Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan, who once fell ill and was made to drink from this natural spring. Her speedy recovery was seen as a miraculous offering of the Natural springs’ healing properties.
A travel lover and moody chef, Surbhi loves to read & write and doodle in her free time. For her, being able to write is a blessing, and to keep at it—a work-in-progress. When not working, you can find her swimming her worries away, dancing to the beats, or filling up her bucket list to tick them off.