Kashmir, Union territory of India, was called "The Heaven On Earth" by Mughals, was not just for any petty reasons. But because of its pristine beauty of snowy and uninhabited Himalayan ranges, expansive and natural meadows, fruitful and verdant forests, icy blue streams, glacial rivers, and glassy lakes, giving the pure and only feeling of being in mystical Heaven. And for many centuries, humans made many efforts to add up in this natural and raw beauty by their intelligence and artistic brain. Palaces, heritage buildings, Mughal gardens built by humans in and around Jammu and Kashmir are marvelous creations. Mughal Gardens in Kashmir are one such artistic and classical architectural human phenomena that never fails to make visitors admire.
Chashma Shahi, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh Mughal Gardens in Srinagar, J&K's Summer Capital, enhances the surroundings' real natural beauty with their presence. While Nishat Bagh was built by Jahangir's brother-in-law Asaf Khan, Chashma Shahi was built for Shah Jahan's favorite elder son Dara Shikoh. On the Other hand, Shalimar Bagh was Jahangir's dream project developed for his beloved wife, Nur Jahan.
Though Shalimar Garden was built in the 16th century by Jahangir, its history goes back to the 2nd century. During the 2nd century, Srinagar was endowed by King Pravarsena II. During his trips to visit a local saint, he took a halt at the same spot and later built a cottage near Dal Lake and called it Shalimar, which means "abode of Love" in Sanskrit. In due time, the cabin became ruined, but the name got forwarded through local tells.
When Jahangir visited Shalimar during the 16th century, he renewed the ruins into a royal garden and named it "Farah Baksh," meaning "delightful." During the era of Shah Jahan, Son of Jahangir, an addition was made with the "Faiz Baksh" Garden, which meant "the Bountiful."
In the three-storied Garden, the top floors are called "Deewan-e-Khas," which the Royals used, while the lower floors were called "Deewan-e-Aam" and were built for public use. It was believed that Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan were so much in love with Kashmir that they traveled 13 times during summer from Delhi with their entire royal entourage.
Shalimar Garden was built by Mughals, who were fond of fine architecture and intricate designs. With fountains, pools, and gazebos, the whole Garden was well planned and depicted a Parsian Layout, which was an adaptation of Islamic garden architecture.
Behind the waterfalls, Chini Khanas or Arched Niches were created to light an oil lamp at night in the past, used to give a magical effect to waterfalls. Now they hold flower pots whose colors reflect behind the waterfalls. Baradari or Bara Dari is another feature of Mughal architecture, a pavilion of four doors supported by pillars in the Garden's middle. The speculation says that the Pavillion in Shalimar garden built by using stones from some old temple that Shah Jahan destroyed. Shalimar Bagh is famous for more than 400 fountains connected directly with Dal lake and flow throughout the Garden. Even after the Mughals era, Gardens were maintained by Maharajas and now by the government of J&K, which mesmerize every tourist visit here by just imagining a picture of Shalimar garden during Mughal Raj.
Jammu and Kashmir state is well connected with Rail, Road, and Air routes to other parts of India. Nearby railway stations for Kashmir are Jammu Tawi, Katra, and Udhampur. From any of the stations, you can get the local buses and taxis to reach Kashmir.
The nearby airport is in Srinagar and is connected to other domestic airports in India. It is the nearest Shalimar Garden location as both are situated in Srinagar.
By Road, you can take NH1 or NH44 Highway, which is well connected to other national highways in India and has one of the best scenic route titles. You can take your car, buses, or hire a cab to reach Kashmir.
Shalimar bagh is filled with local plants and flower beds, so the best season to visit here is from March to April and September to November.
From March to April, the spring season, the blooming season brings the whole Garden to new life. With colorful flowers everywhere makes us realize the true meaning of Heaven.
Autumn turns everything into gold from September to November, and the air is full of mist and cozy, which gives the feeling of the dusk before dawn, which is winter.
The Shalimar Garden is open every day except Friday from 9 am to 7 pm.
The entry fee at Shalimar garden is charged INR10 per person.
The light and sound show charges are different and can be paid at the ticket counter.
Other than the Shalimar Garden, there are many places to visit in Jammu and Kashmir. Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonmarg have many attractions that entertain tourists as much as Shalimar Bagh.
In Srinagar, Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, Wular Lake, Nishat Bagh, Chashma Shahi Garden, Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple, Hazratbal Masjid, Hari Parbat, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden are main attractions other than Shalimar Garden.
Gulmarg, Gulmarg Gondola, Apharwat Peak, Alpather Lake, Outer circle Walk, Single Nallah, Baba Reshi Shrine, Drang, Rani Temple, Kongdori, Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve are well visited after the Srinagar and Shalimar garden plan.
In Sonmarg, Thajiwas Glacier, Zoji-la Pass, Vishansar Lake, Nilagrad River, Kishansar Lake, Baltal Valley, Gadsar Lake, Gangabal and in Pahalgam, Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Baisaran, Kashmir Valley, Dabyan valley, Lidder river, Kolahoi glacier, Mamleshwar temple, Chandanwari ar some more destinations are flocked by tourists every year.
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