Much has been talked and written about the heavenly splendor of Jammu & Kashmir but the more you encapsulate it, the more and more it seems to be intriguing. Snuggling in the lap of unflinching Himalaya, the state was once the favorite pleasure destination of Mughals and it is clearly vivid in the diverse tourism of J&K. Being one of the most loved honeymoon destinations in India, the state is dotted with the magnificent and lush Mughal gardens which were built by the Mughal Emperors themselves to spend their quality time. Amid the snow-capped mountains and the untouched greenery, these lavish gardens appear as the diamonds in the crown of J&K. So, let’s take a stroll through the snowy lanes of luxuriant gardens in Jammu & Kashmir.
Shalimar garden gained so much popularity that today Shalimar itself has become a synonym of indescribable splendidness. Built majestically in a royal style, Shalimar Bagh is undoubtedly the finest garden in India. Entwined with the love saga of Emperor Jahangir and his beloved Empress Nur Jahan in every pebble of the grass, Shalimar Garden was built by Emperor Jahangir for his most loved Begum Nur Jahan. As we know Emperor Jahangir was an ardent lover of nature, he built this garden so magnificently that even time can stop to take a look at the beauty of Shalimar Garden. Decorated with the royal terraces, pavilions, fountains, and pools, Shalimar Garden offers a bird eye’s view of Dal Lake which is very near to the garden. The consummate Mughal architecture matched with nature’s unrivalled charm make the visitors go weak at the knees. Certainly, it is one of the must visit gardens in Jammu & Kashmir!
Designed and built by Asif Khan, the brother of Noor Jahan, in 1633, Nishant Bagh is yet another garden from the regime of Emperor Jahangir. Facing the beautiful Dal Lake, Nishant Bagh is close to Shalimar Garden. Though it is smaller in size as compared to Shalimar Bagh, it gives a tough run to the latter one when it comes to the fascination of the garden. Nishant Bagh literally means ‘the garden of bliss’ and it truly is a heaven where you can witness nature dancing in full swing amid the utmost serenity. The 12 royal terraces, royal gushing fountains, and carved Mughal architecture articulate the construction of Nishant Bagh. From the high terrace of Nishant Bagh, you can capture an absorbing sight of Dal Lake and also Pir Panjal Mountain ranges. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is said to be highly impressed with architectural as well as natural magnetism of Nishant Garden.
Yes, it is one of the beautiful gardens in Jammu & Kashmir. Don’t go by its name. Manifesting the stateliness of Mughals, Pari Mahal is yet another testimony to the royal luxuriousness of Mughal Emperors. Dara Shikoh, the eldest son Emperor Shah Jahan, built this garden in the mid of 16th century and dedicated to his teacher Mulla Shah. However, the garden is more known for being the murder site of Dara Shikoh. He was killed by his brother Aurangzeb in this garden only. Talking about the construction of the garden, it is a seven-terraced garden comprising of several water fountains and verdant trees. Sitting majestically on the top of Zabarwan Mountain ranges, Pari Mahal renders a soothing view of Dal Lake.
Unlike the other Mughal Emperors, Jahangir was a passionate art & nature lover. He was so much inclined towards nature that he even made Kashmir the summer capital of Mughals during his regime. Along with Jahangir, his beloved Begum Noor Jahan too was an ardent admirer of nature and Achabal Garden is seal mark of it. Designed and built by Empress Noor Jahan, Achabal Garden is probably the most beautifully designed garden of Kashmir. In Achabal Garden, romance seems to bloom in every soil of ground, every leaf of trees, and every pebble of the walls. Built at the altitude of 1677 m, Achabal Garden is the sheer blend of architecture and nature. Located 58 km from Srinagar, it is exactly located in Anantnag district. Though it is very small in size as compared to other Mughal gardens, the exceptional royal designs make it a must-visit garden in J&K.
The first garden in this list that has nothing to do with Mughals. Known as Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, it came in front of the world in 2007 when the government allowed the public visits. Spreading in a sweeping area of 30 hectares, Tulip Garden boasts the pride of being the largest ‘Tulip garden’ in Asia. It houses more than 1.5 million of plants from over 40 species. Completely designed in modern Hindu style architecture, Tulip Garden is located at the base of Zabarwan Range. Walking through Tulip garden feeling the aromatic atmosphere and capturing the enthralling view of Dal Lake give the heavenly vibes. Once you’re inside Tulip Garden, you would feel as if you have landed in the land of flowers. Being home to more than 20 lakhs vivid flowers, Tulip Gardens never fails to impress its visitors.
Chashme Shahi Garden
For a clear hint, Chashme Shahi Garden was built by the emperor who had commissioned the world-wonder Taj Mahal. Yes, of course Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Interestingly, most of the Mughal Gardens in Jammu & Kashmir including Chashme Shahi Bagh are laid out on foothills of Zabarwan Mountain offering a breathtaking view of Dal Lake. Shah Jahan built this garden for his eldest son Dara Shikoh. True to unmatched Mughal architectural style, the garden is built completely in royal style. It is adorned by the fountains, terraces, and royal chambers here and there but what makes Chashme Shahi Bagh famous is its natural spring. A natural spring sprouts within the premises the garden which is believed to contain some medicinal properties in its water. The water of this spring is extremely fresh and hygienic. This perennial spring is the sole reason that Shah Jahan built luxuriant Chashme Shahi Garden around it.
These are the most famous gardens in Jammu & Kashmir which you can’t afford to miss. There are many other stupefying gardens too in J&K but these are the prominent ones. If you want to get closer to the royal stateliness of Mughals, after the monuments of Agra, I think no other places can be better than these stately gardens.