Kashmir: A Journey To The Mughal Gardens Of Kashmir

 

Kashmir: A Journey To The Mughal Gardens Of Kashmir



Kashmir is a region in the Indian UT of Jammu and Kashmir that has been the site of three major empires. From the ancient emperors of the Indus Valley Civilization to the Mughal Dynasty, the region has been a great site of beauty, knowledge, and nature. This blog post is going to cover the most beautiful and beneficial of the many gardens that exist in Kashmir. The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir are a sight to behold. They have a calming and serene atmosphere. They are a site of beauty and power. All of these factors make the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir a wonder that deserves to be seen firsthand.



1. The history of the Mughal Gardens


Kashmir is a beautiful mountainous region in India that has been inhabited since the dawn of time. While it is known today for its beautiful valleys and hills, it was once a rich and influential region that was home to many Mughal Gardens. The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir were a great example of the way that the Mughals lived, and many of them still exist today.

Before the advent of Islam, Kashmir was primarily a Hindu region. Inspired by the concepts of the Vatikas (or wild pleasure gardens) of ancient India, a type of such gardens was created mostly in the form of gardens in the valley. The gardens were adorned with a variety of flowers, herbs, and fragrant plants. Many ancient myths and dramas revolve around events that take place in the Vatikas.


One of the oldest such gardens in Hindu Kashmir was the Toot or Mulberry Garden. It was originally a garden of mulberry trees located near the present-day Maisama area and was laid out by a Hindu saint named Maya Swami. The garden was later maintained by later Muslim rulers and is said to have existed until the end of the 19th century, although in a much-modified form.


Islam came into the Kashmir region in the 14th c.  with the establishment of the Shahmeeri Empire. Some of the leading members of the new family were immigrants from Persia or areas with a heavy Persian influence. In this way, along with language, dress, customs, and traditions, many kinds of arts and crafts related to Persia also flourished in this region. Among them was the art of gardening.


The most notable gardens during this period are said to have been built by the legendary King Sultan Zainal Abidin, whose beloved title was Budsah (Bod-Shah) or 'Great King'. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin is credited with constructing many gardens in Indorekot (Bagh-e-Safa) in his capital Nowshera and the gardens of Zani Link Island inside Walur Lake. The Zani Link Gardens set an example for later gardens of Rupa Lank and Sona Lank on the Mughal island inside Dal Lake. Another Sultan Hassan Shah Chak also built a large garden around Lachhma Kul in Nauhatta.


Historically, these gardens seem to follow the same style as the Persian Paradise Gardens, with the roofs arranged around a central watercourse, with fountains, and a variety of flowers and trees were planted which grew abundantly within the valley. By the time Kashmir fell to the Mughals in the 16th century AD, these Persian-inspired gardens had already been established in Kashmir. What the Mughals did later was to work on correcting the set pattern, thus taking them to a new height.




2. The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir


The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir are a large complex of gardens, palaces and pavilions built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir are a large complex of gardens, palaces, and pavilions built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The gardens were designed to be seen from the royal palace. The gardens were designed to be seen from the royal palace.

The famous Mughal gardens of Kashmir are mainly due to Emperor Jahangir who loved Kashmir and his son Shah Jahan immensely. Jahangir was responsible for the careful selection of the place and adapting it to the needs of the traditional paradise gardens. Although the Mughals never deviated from the original form or concept of gardens, their biggest challenge in Kashmir was to use the chosen place and the abundance of water resources to their maximum potential. The selected places were always at the foot of the mountain, wherever there was a source of water either in the form of rivers or springs. This feature eventually turned into a rooftop garden. Despite the challenges posed by the mountainous terrain, Mughal engineering skills and aesthetics helped to harness the dominant landscapes and available water resources to the best of their ability and attained unprecedented heights.

... Normally, in the happy gardens of Kashmir, the place of the garden is at the lower height of the hill between the hill and the lake. It is no coincidence that this special place is the best place to have a spectacular view of the valley's regional space: the mountains on one side and the lake on the other. Towards the lake, the visual connection between the garden and the valley is marked by the flow of water in this direction and the rising roofs with large poplars on both sides. They take the view away from the details of the garden to the panorama that stretches across the lake and the hills beyond. The garden celebrates the beauty of the valley. It transcends its visible physical boundaries, and the interior space dramatically engages with the larger sequence.

With the exception of Verinag, almost all the famous Mughal gardens in Kashmir are run in the same style as the main waterways from natural springs. This channel, which formed the main visual axis of the garden, was further extended through poplar or poplar trees. These water channels have one or more barracks or pavilions with a central open space 'Dalan'. These water gutters flow down from a platform in the form of sheets or waterfalls, where they fill large water tanks, reservoirs, squares and a row of fountains. Finally, the water from the main channel joins the reservoir, either in a nearby flowing river, such as in the case of Achabal, or in the case of a lake, such as Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh.




3. A tour of the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir


The Mughal Gardens of Kashmir is a beautiful place to visit. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the city of Srinagar. It is a beautiful garden that is filled with a lot of color and flowers. The garden is divided into four sections. The first section is the central garden which is the most popular. The central garden has a lot of trees, flowers, and fountains. The second section is the garden of the royal palace. It is the most beautiful garden in the garden and is filled with flowers and water features. The third section is the garden of the Sufi saint and the fourth section is the garden of the king.


Nishat Bagh


Designed by Mirza Abul Hasan in the 17th century (1634 AD), Nishat Bagh is one of the most prominent gardens developed by the Mughals in former India. Bagh or Bagh Zabrwan is located at the foot of the mountain range, directly along the east bank of Dal Lake. The garden is spread over a rectangular area of ​​approximately 116.70 acres and measures approximately 556.50 x 350.00 meters, which is equal to 6 quarters (3 x 2) of the traditional tea garden concept.


The extraordinary beauty of Nishat Bagh lies in its layout, intricate roof layout, the play of water fountains, the views it offers, and its surroundings. In terms of length, the garden consists of twelve roofs, which is supposed to be a sign of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The width of the garden consists of seven linear sections, consisting of three main sections. The main wing with the main features of water and two lower side wings. The roofs in the garden rise not only from Dal Lake to the mountain, along the length of the garden, but also along its width, from the wings to the axis of the main channel. The exquisite geometric style through which the concept of Chahar Bagh and the roofs are shaped like mountains helps to make Nishat Bagh one of the best exhibitions of the traditional Chahar Bagh Garden spread across the Islamic world.


Shalimar Bagh


The current size of the garden is approximately 594 x 250 meters and it represents five main terraces consisting of two and a half to four gardens. The entire royal garden was divided into two large sections according to the royal needs. The lower part of the first three roofs was the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held a public audience. The upper two roofs were only for the emperor and his courtiers and hence they are called Diwan Khas. The two sections were screened through a thick masonry wall with two identical gateways on each side of the water channel. The area was also called Zenana, and as the name implies, it was a private area for the queen and her ladies.

The earliest origins and cultural landscape of Shalimar Bagh date back to the 6th century AD. It is believed that a villa in Shalimar was built by Parvarasena II in the late 6th century when the garden was a sacred site. The small village retained the name Shalimar, while the villas and gardens disappeared. Zain-ul-Abidin, an early Muslim king in the 16th century, is said to have built a canal and a dam to Shalimar. Farah Bakhsh, the 'gambler' garden of Shalimar Bagh or the Lower Garden was built by Emperor Jahangir around 1620. The construction was supervised by Prince Khurram and later by Shah Jahan. Like Nishat Bagh, this garden was designed according to the concept of traditional four gardens. After ascending the throne, Shah Jahan added Faiz Bakhsh, 'Fazal Bakhsh Bagh' or Zinana to Farah Bakhsh in Shalimar Bagh. This work was done by the Mughal Governor of Kashmir, Zafar Khan, around 1630, and included a black marble pavilion building in Zinna.



Achabal Bagh


The royal garden of Achbal is located near Anantnag which predates the arrival of Mughals in Kashmir. It was also famous during the reign of the Sultans of Kashmir in the 15th century when there was an orchard on the site. An ancient Hindu text of the Neelmat Pran mentions the existence of a spring called Achpal Nag at this place. The present garden was founded by Queen Noor Jahan in 1620 and was named Begumabad. In the Mughal era, this garden was also known as Sahibabad in memory of Mughal King Jahangir.


The spring of the Achabal Bagh was once famous for its healing values ​​and quantity of water. Achbal Bagh, with its abundant poplar trees and roaring waterways, is another iconic example of the genius of the Mughal landscape demonstrated in Kashmir.


The garden is trapezoidal in shape with an area of ​​about 9.7 acres and follows the traditional concept of four gardens. It is based on a forested mountain, locally known as Achabal Thing. The existing garden was greatly improved and rearranged by Maharani Noorjahan and consisted of four slowly ascending terrace levels based on the theme of the four gardens. The main feature of the garden is the spring whose water collects in a canal (canal), branch canals (jadwal, joi) in which platforms (nasheman) and platforms (baradri) are built above the water channel. The spring, now preserved under a modern shelter, provides the entire garden with its irrigation as well as aesthetic needs. It combines the charming appeal of a magnificent rock boundary between the natural rock and the forested backdrop and the orderly paths of full-grown trees. Jahanra Begum, the eldest daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan, had a bath built inside the garden in the 17th century. Remains of the old baradari or verandah can still be seen in Bihar.



Chashma Shahi


This garden was built by Ali Mardan Khan in 1632 on the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan around an abundant spring rising from the slopes of the Zabrwan mountains. Springwater is known for its cool and youthful properties.


Based on the north-south axis, the garden is arranged on three ascending roofs. The total area within the perimeter of the rectangular garden is about 1.73 acres with a width of 70.83 meters and a length of 122.81 meters. Chashma is sheltered under a pavilion dating to the later Kashmiri period. The Chashma Shahi at the top edge of the garden passes through narrow waterways that cascade down to the surface of the lower roof one after the other. The hallmarks of this garden are its very high ceilings and the strong Mughal character of its gateway, waterfalls, and retaining walls.


Chashma Shahi retains the natural spring around which it was built and is unique for its high ceilings, and from its rooftops there are distant, but magnificent views of Dal Lake. This garden is known for its best in the late afternoon and evening. The garden stands apart from the rest due to its narrow rails and single fountain inside its ponds - adopting the typology of the early Mughal gardens of India.



Pari Mahal


Pari Mahal is also located on the slopes of the Zebwanwan Mountains near Chashma Shahi, west of the city center of Srinagar. Prince Dara Shukoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan, had gardens built around 1650. It was built on the site of the ruins of a Buddhist monastery and at the request of his revered spiritual teacher, Mullah Shah Badakhshi, as a residential school of Sufism. It is believed that the fairy palace was built during the Mughal period for astronomical observations and teachings or astrological calculations. Dara Shukoh named him after his wife Nadira Begum, who was known as Pree Begum, daughter of Prince Pervez, son of Jahangir.


The palace has a domed roof with gardens on six rooftops. Arched retaining walls support the roof, which varies in width. The garden is 122 meters x 62.5 meters wide. The roofs can be accessed by stairs at their corners. One pavilion or barn can be found on the fourth floor and the other connects the fifth and sixth terraces. The garden enters from the fourth roof, where there is a series of interior buildings, which are thought to contain hymen.



Verinag


Verinag is an octagonal pavilion garden, built around a spring that is a recognized source of the Jhelum River and its main feeder. The garden was built by Mirza Haider, a competent engineer of the Mughal court, on the orders of Emperor Jahangir. The date of construction of a Persian quatrain garden is 1619-20. During the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan, between 1626 and 1627, the garden was further expanded and renamed Shahabad.



Spring is enclosed within a perfectly geometric octagonal arcade with a fairly wide stone path that surrounds the spring. In the plan, the garden is a large octagonal tank connected to a very long and straight water channel (12 'wide and 1000' long) to the north which leads to the point where it supplies water to the river Jhelum. Is excluded for Spring is believed to be at a depth of 15.24 meters and is rich in trout, which is claimed to have never been eaten due to certain religious sentiments. This behavior has helped to maintain the spring as a rich reservoir of fish.




4. Conclusion.


Jammu and Kashmir is a state in the north of India. The region is a popular destination for tourists who visit the Kashmir Valley, the largest valley in the Indian state. The valley is a lush green valley with the snow-capped Himalayas in the background. Kashmir is home to numerous ancient and beautiful gardens, including the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir. These gardens have been in existence since the times of the Mughal Empire. The gardens are in the shape of a vast rectangle with a central square. There are four different entrances, each with a gate and a huge fountain. The gardens are beautifully maintained, and the pathways are lined with fruit trees and flowering shrubs.










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