One of the most famous Mughal gardens in the Kashmir valley, Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar has become the crown of Srinagar today. Built by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir as a symbol of love for his beloved wife Nur Jahan, this garden is an apt representation of the word ‘Shalimar’ that translates to ‘Abode of Love’.
The garden is nestled on the banks of the serene Dal Lake and has lush green terraced lawns, fountains, pools, flower beds and rows upon rows of chinar trees and pavilions.
Shalimar Bagh was constructed on flat land along the Dal Lake and has a rectangular central layout with four radiating arms. It offers splendid views of the lake and the shallow terraces.
There are three main terraces that display a colorful picture. The first terrace is also known as the Diwan-e-Aam while the second is known as the Diwan-e-Khas. The third terrace is the Zenana gaden. Water fountain supply water to each Chinar lined terrace.
The garden houses innumerable varieties of flora that offer a marvelous play of colors when the seasons change. The Shah Nahar water canal in the garden is fed by water from the Dal Lake and runs through the center of the garden.
These arched niches render a distinct and unique feature to the terraced gardens of Srinagar Shalimar Bagh. Once lit with oil lamps to give the cascading water an exotic look, these niches now house pots with brightly colored flowers.
Yet another distinct architectural feature, the four exquisite doors of the Baradari in the garden complex are rumored to be ruins of old temples that were demolished by Shah Jahan.
When to visit?
Most tourists flock in large numbers during spring and autumn when the garden is brimming with color and life.