Srinagar: Gardens and Gondola

The city of Srinagar is famous for a number of things, amongst which the regal Mughal Gardens deserve a special mention. Srinagar's extensive, well-manicured gardens date back to the Mughal era. They're abundant with bright blooms and stunning vistas.

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Mughal Gardens in Srinagar

Srinagar’s extensive, well-manicured gardens date back to the Mughal era. They’re abundant with bright blooms and stunning vistas. Starting with Shalimar Bagh, which Mughal Emperor Jehangir built for his wife in 1619. Next, visit Nishat Mughal Garden (Garden of Gladness), which borders Dal Lake. It was constructed in 1634 after Shah Jahan became the Emperor of India. Head up to historic Pari Mahal palace gardens for fabulous sunset views over Dal Lake and Srinagar. On the way, one would pass Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial  Botanical Garden, where the famous Tulip Festival is held every April, and Chashme Shahi Gardens. The gardens all have a 10 rupee entry fee. If one wants a more tranquil experience, it’s best to avoid going there on Sundays. Naseem Bagh (Garden of Morning Breeze) is spectacular during Fall/Autumn when the leaves of its thousands of Chinar trees turn bright orange and red. Also not to be missed is the lesser-known and more peaceful Badamwari Garden, particularly during Spring (from mid-March) when it’s almond trees are in full bloom.

MUGHAL GARDENS

The city of Srinagar is famous for a number of things, amongst which the regal Mughal Gardens deserve a special mention. Established during the Mughal era, these royal gardens are exemplary of fine landscaping and intricate architecture blended with the ethereal beauty of nature. There are three such beautiful gardens in the city, which depict the inclination of erstwhile Mughal emperors towards nature and greenery. Inspired by the lavishly laid gardens of Persia, these Mughal Gardens mesmerize visitors with their scenic charm.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar

Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is one of the recent additions to the multitude of tourist attractions in Srinagar. It was established in 2006-07, by covering an area of 29.6 acres that made it the largest tulip garden across the continent of Asia. This seemingly endless green patch of land is dotted with about 20 lakh flowers, which include several varieties of tulips. The eye-soothing verdure and blossoming tulips lend immense scenic beauty to this garden. What adds to the charm of this garden is its picturesque backdrop that includes the majestic ‘Zabarwan’ and the beautiful ‘Dal Lake’.

Tulip Festival is organised at this site in March, April every year when tulip flowers are in their full bloom. This popular event is hosted by the floriculture department of the state government. During this flower festival, several cultural programs, as well as exhibitions of local handicraft and cuisine, are also organized.

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden in Srinagar

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden in Srinagar

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden lies in the foothills of the ‘Zabarwan’ mountain range and overlooks the picturesque ‘Dal Lake’. This well-manicured garden covers an area of 80 hectares, of which 17 hectares is occupied by a beautiful lake. It was established in 1969, with the aim of spreading awareness about various varieties of flora and beautifying the city.

There are four main divisions of this sprawling green space, namely Plant Introduction Centre, Research Section, Recreational Garden, and Botanical Garden. More than 300 species of flora fill the landscape of this garden, including trees of willow and cedar. Visitors coming to this place can relax in its serene surroundings or enjoy the paddle-boat ride on the lake.

Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar

Shalimar Bagh Srinagar

Shalimar Bagh is a royal Mughal garden that lies along the right bank of the ‘Dal Lake’ in Srinagar. Spread across a total area of 31 acres, it is the largest among the three Mughal gardens in the city. The name of this garden literally means ‘abode of love’, which is supported by the fact that it was built by Emperor Jahangir for his loving wife Nur Jahan. Laid in 1619, this garden was originally named ‘Farah Baksh’ that means ‘delightful’ on translation.

The architecture and landscaping of this garden draw inspiration from the Persian Chahar Bagh. It is segregated into three terraced portions, each serving a different purpose. The outer portion of the garden is named ‘Diwan-i-Aam’ that was open to the public, whereas the central portion named ‘Diwan-i-Khas’ was exclusively for the emperor. Its uppermost portion was designed for women belonging to the royal family. The garden is encompassed by tall trees of chinar and is dotted with colourful flowers. A beautiful canal with polished pebbles runs through the centre of this garden and adds to its beauty.

The highlights of Shalimar Bagh are ‘chini khanas’, which are delicately designed arched niches placed behind waterfalls. During olden times, these ‘chini khanas’ were lighted with oil lamps that created a stunning effect. In present times, these niches are adorned with flower pots that create an attractive visual effect. From May to October – the peak tourist season – a light and sound show is organised here during the evening.

Nishat Bagh in Srinagar

Nishat Bagh in Srinagar

Next in the list of these man-made landscaped marvels is the Nishat Bagh, which was built in 1633 by Nur Jahan’s brother Asif Khan. It is known for the 12 terraced formations, which represent different zodiac signs of astrology. The rectangular pool in the middle of this garden was formed by changing the course of a mountain stream.

Nishat Bagh, situated on the eastern shore of the enchanting Dal Lake, is a beautiful terraced garden with the Zabarwan ranges as its scenic backdrop. Covering an area of 46 acres, it is Kashmir’s second largest Mughal Garden, next to the Shalimar Bagh situated nearby. Its name translates to ‘garden of joy’, which is justified by its enthralling natural beauty.

The garden was built in 1633 under the patronage of Asif Khan – the elder brother of Mughal Empress Nur Jahan. Its structure consists of 12 terraces, which represent an equal number of zodiac signs. ‘Tall chinar’ trees and colourful flowers adorn the lush green landscape of this garden that also has several beautiful fountains. There is a rectangular pool in its centre that has been formed by bringing down a mountain spring from a 15-feet high slide.

Chashme Shahi Garden in Srinagar

Chashme Shahi Garden in Srinagar

Chashme Shahi Garden, meaning ‘The Royal Spring’, is situated at the foothills of Zabarwan Mountains in Srinagar. Covering an area that is 108 meters in length and 38 meters in width, this garden is the smallest amongst the three Mughal Gardens in the city. Shah Jahan – the Mughal emperor – got this garden laid under his supervision in 1632. It has several natural springs discovered by a revered female saint Rupa Bhawani, who was also known as Sahibi. In her honor, the garden was initially named as Chashme Sahibi.

The highlight of Chashme Shahi Garden is its natural spring of fresh water, which has mineral content. There are three terraced formations in the garden, which are carpeted with lush greenery and dotted with colorful flowers. Several fountains and waterfalls adorn the verdant landscape of this garden. It is lined with numerous trees of Chinar and different fruits, which add to its picturesque charm.

Naseem Bagh in Srinagar

Naseem Bagh in Srinagar

Naseem Bagh is a sprawling garden, situated along the western banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar. Emperor Akbar, regarded as the greatest ruler of the Mughal dynasty, established this garden. Laid in 1586, it is considered the oldest Mughal Garden in the region. The garden presents a wonderful melange of natural beauty and human creativity. Trails of chinar trees adorn the verdant landscape of this garden and add to its charm. Camping is allowed within the premises of the Naseem Bagh, which attracts several visitors who want to spend quality time at this peaceful location.

Gulmarg Gondola in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir is one of the world's highest operating cable cars

Gulmarg Gondola in Gulmarg, Jammu, and Kashmir is one of the world’s highest operating cable cars.

Overall, Srinagar is home to some of the most beautiful Mughal Gardens and amazing rides in Gondola, in India. Besides being perfect representations of Persian influenced Mughal architecture in its prime, Mughal Garden Srinagar and Gondola rides are known for their exceptional beauty owing to their spectacular mountainous natural settings which remain unparalleled in all of India. One can visit Srinagar, to have an amazing trip with scenic beauty which is absolutely safe and would give feels of heavenly on Earth.