Located in Srinagar, Shalimar Gardens or Shalimar Bagh was laid out by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan in 1616. Shalimar Gardens 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. The fourth terrace was once reserved for royal ladies.It represents a pavilion built of black stone in the centre of the tank, which was used as a banquet hall. Shalimar 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.
Nishat Bagh is smaller than Shalimar Garden, but is more movingly beautiful. 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.
Laid out by Shah Jehan, the gardens of Chashma Shahi, so named because of a mountain spring that waters it. The gardens include three terraces, an aqueduct, waterfalls and fountains.Chashma Shahi is the Ist Mughal Garden you will come across after Nehru Park. Smallest of the Srinagar Mughal gardens, the Chashma Shahi, or ‘Royal Spring’, are well set up the hillside, above the Nehru Memorial Park. 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 is a historic monument as well as a well-laid spacious garden. Situated around a small spring, the garden has beautiful flowering plants and various kinds of fruit. Although Pari Mahal boasted a large number of springs earlier, only a few can be seen today. The Mahal, on the spur of a hill, is illuminated at night and can be seen from most places in Srinagar. It overlooks the picturesque Dal Lake.
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 present the central Asian influence.
Harwan Garden is situated in the district of in Srinagar. A beautiful and massive garden, Harwan is a popular picnic spot. A beautiful canal, fed from a lake just behind the garden, passes through its center. The canal is bordered with blossoming flowerbeds and chinar trees. Kashmir Harwan Garden does not have the usual terraces, artificial fountains, etc, like the other gardens of Kashmir. It has been deliberately kept devoid of these man-made things. The main attraction of the Harwan garden of Kashmir, India, is its natural beauty that is present in plenty. The big lawns, carpeted with green grass, draw people automatically towards this place. An ideal spot for picnics and excursions, Harwan is the perfect place to take long walks in the lap of nature. It also serves as a take-off point for visiting Dachi Gam Wild life sanctuary and a starting point of a Mahadev Mountain trek.