Mughal Gardens, Srinagar Overview
Mughal Gardens is considered one of the major crowd pullers in the beautiful city of Srinagar. Most of the architecture during the Mughal era was inspired by Persian architecture, so they tried to build different types of gardens with a common architecture. Mughal Gardens is the combination of all these beautiful gardens that the Mughals built.
Tourists come here to marvel the work of art. The gardens are replete with greenery. You will find scented flowers of different varieties in every part of these gardens. Each part of the gardens is built intricately and special attention has been given to them. There are arrangements to sit comfortably too so you can admire the natural beauty and the effort put into building these marvelous gardens.
The following gardens collectively are known as Mughal Gardens – Shalimar Bagh, Nishat Bagh, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Achabal and Verinag Garden. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Jahangir had a profound love for Kashmir. It is he who himself chose the location for all these gardens and put in his attention to designing and planning of the now-famous Mughal Gardens. Each garden has a story behind its designing. Canals, pools and beautiful fountains are a major and common feature of each of the gardens.
More on Mughal Gardens
History of Mughal Gardens
When Babur came to South India, he brought along the concept of planned charbagh. Charbaghs were famous in his homeland Farghana and also in his kingdom Kabul. Babur thought that Hindu rulers did not use running water to water their gardens, and, according to him only enclosed spaces were gardens. So, he gave orders to build gardens with the necessary features so he could make a replica of gardens in his homeland.
As a result, in 1519,
the first Mughal Garden was built in Punjab after Babur gave the orders. This
garden was meant to be a representation of the garden he had in his homeland
away from India and was, therefore, supposed to be filled with greenery and
beautiful flowers. After Babur, his successors continued to follow his
undertaking and kept building more Mughal Gardens throughout the country. The
Mughal Gardens in Srinagar are a result of them.
There’s an interesting story behind the designing of Shalimar Bagh, which is one of the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar. It is said it was built during the rule Pravarsena II who made the district of Srinagar. He used to live in a nearby cottage. When Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor, became the ruler, he paid a visit to this place. He was so impressed with the location that he decided to turn into a beautiful garden and gift it to his wife Nur Jahan. The garden, however, turned into a pleasure hall for all pathans.
The Shalimar Bagh spans
an area of 31 acres. It is 587 meters long and 251 meters wide. Each roof in
the garden has beautiful water fountains. The water for the fountains in the
garden comes from Dal Lake via a canal.
Architecture and Symbolism of Mughal Gardens
The architecture of Mughal Gardens is inspired heavily from the medieval Islamic garden. It also derives influence from the Turkish-Mongolian ancestry of the Mughal rulers. Author Julie Scott Meisami states that the old Islamic style gardens followed a particular pattern. They were usually closed spaces. Each garden has a structure in the center and a gate on the entrance. The entrance had additional structures on the left-out walls.
During the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s time, gardens were constructed on the riverfront. This concept came from Central Asia. So most gardens constructed by him were that way. Shah Jahan was also known for building a beautiful terraced garden, named Shalimar Garden. It was built on three terraces. The top terrace was called Fara Baksh Bagh and the lowest terrace was Fayz Baksh Bagh. The terrace in the middle housed beautiful flowers, fountains and a large pool. Water was sourced from the river Ravi by means of a hydraulic system that was installed in the garden. An expert courtier of Shah Jahan designed the canal system to achieve this.
Best Time To Visit Mughal Gardens
If you are planning to visit the Mughal Gardens, the period from October to June is the time to visit Srinagar. This is when the weather in the city is really cold and you would love the snow if you enjoy winters. However, the period from April to June is very soothing. In Srinagar, the Tulip festival is celebrated in Srinagar. It is a great time to visit Srinagar and watch the city immersed in colors and festivities.
Tips For Visiting Mughal Gardens
The flowers and trees are what have earned the Mughal Gardens the fame they deserve, so plucking flowers or damaging the property is prohibited. Any failure to do so will extract a fine of INR 500.
How to Reach Mughal Gardens
Reaching the Mughal Gardens is quite easy. You can reach them by public taxis and buses that are available from Lal Chowk. If your hotel offers cab facility, it would become even easier for you to reach the Mughal Gardens and return to your place.